Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Frequency of light-to-moderate drinking reduces heart disease risk in men

09.01.2003


A 12-year study of 38,077 male health professionals found that men who drank alcohol three or more days per week had a reduced risk of heart attack compared with men who drank less frequently. Men who drank less than one drink a day had similar risk reduction to those who drank three.



Many epidemiologic studies have reported that moderate drinking--for men two drinks a day--is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. This study looked at the relationship between quantity and frequency and found that it was the frequency of drinking--not the amount, the type of alcohol, or whether or not it was consumed with a meal--that was the key factor in lowered heart disease risk. Compared with men who drank less than once a week, men who consumed alcohol three or four days a week had approximately 2/3 (68 percent) the risk of heart attack, and men who consumed alcohol five to seven days per week had slightly less (63 percent) the risk. Study data suggested no additional cardiac benefit to drinking more than 2 drinks a day. Also, the study authors point out that the small number of study participants who drank roughly three and a half or more drinks (50 or more grams of alcohol) per day limited their ability to study the harmful effects of heavy drinking. However, heavy drinking has well documented adverse health effects.

The study, published in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, was based on an analysis of data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which has followed a population of male dentists, veterinarians, optometrists, osteopathic physicians, and podiatrists, ages 40 to 75, for 12 years. Kenneth J. Mukamal, M.D., M.P.H., at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was lead author for the project, which included scientists from the University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston; and the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and the National Cancer Institute, all components of the federal government’s National Institutes of Health, supported the study.


NIAAA director Ting-Kai Li, M.D., said, "This rigorously conducted observational study adds to the epidemiologic evidence of a strong association between light-to-moderate alcohol consumption and reduced risk of heart disease. Only by research on the mechanisms of alcohol’s effects on the cardiovascular system, and perhaps the liver, and the genetic background of how individuals respond to alcohol, will we provide a scientifically informed means for assessing the risks and benefits of alcohol use on a person-to-person basis."

NHLBI director Claude Lenfant, M.D., said, "There are well-proven ways to prevent cardiovascular disease and reduce its risks, including lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and stopping smoking. These preventive measures do not have the risks associated with alcohol consumption. Therefore, we do not advise the public to begin drinking alcohol to prevent heart disease. However, those who already drink alcohol should be aware that current evidence suggests that moderate drinking may reduce the risk of heart disease in some individuals."

At entry into this study, all participants had to be free of heart disease. Participants in the study completed questionnaires on diet every four years. Investigators confirmed the validity of the questionnaire responses by comparing them with seven-day dietary records in 127 participants. The investigators controlled for numerous health and dietary factors, including smoking, exercise, diet, and family history of premature heart attack. Also, because alcohol use changes over time, and the effects of alcohol may be short-term, the study tracked the effect of recent versus baseline alcohol consumption, and found that the level of risk was more strongly related to recent, rather than past, consumption.

By the end of the 12-year follow-up, the investigators had documented 1,418 heart attacks. Men who consumed alcohol three or more times a week had a reduced risk of fatal or nonfatal heart attack, even when the amount consumed was only 10 grams of alcohol a day or less. A standard drink--a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits--has between 11 and 14 grams of alcohol. Dr. Mukamal, the study’s lead author, said, "We found little difference among different alcoholic beverage types in our study. This further emphasizes the role of frequent intake, rather than any specific beverage type, in the link between moderate drinking and heart attack risk."

In an accompanying editorial, Ira J. Goldberg, M.D., of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, points out that some studies show a reduction in cardiovascular disease, but not overall mortality, in patients who drink alcoholic beverages (this study did not report on overall mortality). He notes that alcohol has toxic effects that are well established and that additional research is needed to inform physicians on how to advise their patients.


For interviews with Dr. Mukamal, please contact Bonnie Prescott at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 617-667-7306. For interviews with Dr. Li, please call the NIAAA press office at 301-443-3860. For interviews with NHLBI scientists, please call the NHLBI communications office at 301-496-4236.

The paper, "Roles of Drinking Pattern and Type of Alcohol Consumed in Coronary Heart Disease in Men," appears in the January 9, 2003 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine 348(2):109-118. An accompanying editorial appears on pages 163-164.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, issued jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, defines moderate drinking for men as no more than 2 drinks per day. The Guidelines can be viewed on-line at the website www.nutrition.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the Federal Government’s primary agency for biomedical and behavioral research. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Ann Bradley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>