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Moderate Alcohol Consumption

MUSC Study Shows that Moderate Alcohol Consumption for People that Start Drinking in Middle Age Produces Positive Effects for the Heart

A recent MUSC study shows that middle aged non-drinkers who begin moderate alcohol intake live longer and are less likely to develop heart disease.

In a study published in the American Journal of Medicine in 2008, people who started drinking in middle age were 38 percent less likely to have a heart attack or other serious heart event than  non-drinkers. Even subjects who were overweight, had diabetes, high blood pressure or other heart risks demonstrated the benefits of moderate alcohol, according Dr. Dana King  and colleagues of  MUSC.    While several previous studies have shown that light to moderate drinking may benefit heart health, previous recommendations from the American Heart Association had cautioned that there is not enough evidence for a new recommendation for the abstinent to start drinking.

Now there may be a reason to reconsider.  King's team studied the medical records of 7,697 people between 45 and 64 who were non-drinkers at the start of a larger study. Over the next four years, new drinkers were compared to the persistent non-drinkers.  Wine was demonstrated to have particularly positive effect, and ‘new drinking’ during middle age was associated with a 68% reduction of fatal and nonfatal heart disease relative to non-drinkers. The investigators cautioned that any such benefit must be weighed against the known ill consequences of alcohol consumption and over-consumption.


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Cardiology  Nov. 24, 2008

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