STROKES: Alcohol Consumption Lowers Minority Stroke Risk
Moderate consumption of alcohol cuts the risk of stroke in half for minorities as well as white men, according to a study published in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers at New York Presbyterian Hospital have found that daily consumption of up to two drinks has a protective effect for African American and Hispanic men and women (Rubin, USA Today, 1/6). The inclusion of minorities in the study "breaks new ground" from previous studies that "focus[ed] almost exclusively on older white men" (Rosen, New York Daily News, 1/6). The study examined data from the Northern Manhattan Stroke Study, a comparison of stroke incidence among whites, African Americans and Hispanics living in the same community. Over a four-year period, researchers compared the drinking habits of 677 patients who had suffered ischemic stroke with subjects of the same age, sex and race who had never suffered a stroke. The study revealed that while seven or more drinks each day was associated with increased stroke risk, moderate daily alcohol consumption was protective against ischemic stroke. Ralph Sacco of Columbia-Presbyterian said, "[O]ur data support the view, endorsed by the National Stoke Association and its Stroke Prevention guidelines, that among those who are moderated drinkers, continued consumptions may provide a reduction of ischemic stroke risk. Those benefits, of course, must be weighed against the overall risk of morbidity and mortality due to excess alcohol consumption" (Columbia-Presbyterian release, 1/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.