Study validates importance of drinking in moderation

March 5th, 2008 - 12:29 pm ICT by admin  

New York, March 5 (IANS) How much and how often people drink influences the risk of death from several causes, according to a new study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH researchers said the results of the study validate the importance of drinking in moderation.

“These findings underscore the importance of looking at drinking patterns when investigating alcohol-related health outcomes,” said Ting-Kai Li of National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Rosalind A. Breslow of NIAAA and Barry I. Graubard of National Cancer Institute, examined data from an earlier nationwide health survey. Almost half of the nearly 44,000 people surveyed identified themselves as current drinkers who consumed at least 12 drinks over the past year.

By the end of 2002, more than 2,500 of them had died. Breslow and Graubard compared their causes of death with the alcohol consumption patterns they reported in the survey.

A report of their findings appears in the latest issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

The researchers found that, in men, alcohol frequency and quantity had opposite effects on cardiovascular mortality. The greater the amount of alcohol that men consumed on drinking days, the greater was their risk for death from cardiovascular disease.

For example, men who had five or more drinks on drinking days had a 30 percent greater risk for cardiovascular mortality than men who had just one drink per drinking day.

Alcohol quantity was also associated with increased mortality from cancer among men.

On the other hand, higher frequency of drinking was associated with decreased risk for death from cardiovascular disease. Those who reported drinking 120 to 365 days a year had about 20 percent lower cardiovascular mortality than men who drank just one to 36 days per year.

Among women, frequent drinking was associated with a significantly increased risk of cancer, while increased quantity was associated with risk for mortality from all causes.

Previous studies have linked moderate drinking with reduced risk for death from cardiovascular disease, while heavier drinking has been linked with increased mortality.

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