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Beer and Wine for Geriatric Patients

Thomas B. Turner, MD
JAMA. 1973;226(7):779-780. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230070043012.
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Moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages have been recognized as useful therapeutic agents in geriatric patients for many years.1 Recently, several groups of investigators have attempted to conduct controlled studies of the use of beer or wine among institutionalized patients. Among the reported studies have been those by Kastenbaum and associates,2,3 Black,4 and Chien et al.5,6

Kastenbaum and Slater2 make the point that among institutionalized geriatric patients, there is a dearth of peer interaction and often social impoverishment, which the authors regard as neither desirable nor necessary. Two groups of 20 patients each were studied for a base line period of one month. Members of one group were then given one or two glasses of wine daily, and the others grape juice. After three weeks the groups were switched for a similar period that was followed by an extended free choice period.

Appropriate psychological tests were


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