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Alcohol consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in older adults
This study found that the highest category of alcohol intake had the lowest relative risk of MI. ; the average weekly intake of these subjects (20.8 drinks) is slightly less than 3 drinks per day.

The study evaluated several aspects of the relationship between alcohol use and coronary heart disease in older adults, including beverage type, mediating factors, and type of outcome. Researchers carried out analyses from a prospective cohort study in four U.S. communities of 4,410 adults aged 65 and older and free of cardiovascular disease at baseline. The primary outcome was the risk of incident myocardial infarction or coronary death according to self-reported consumption of beer, wine, and spirits ascertained yearly.

During an average follow-up period of 9.2 years, 675 cases of incident myocardial infarction or coronary death occurred. Compared with long-term abstainers, multivariate relative risks of 0.90 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.71–1.14), 0.93 (95% CI = 0.73–1.20), 0.76 (95% CI = 0.53–1.10), and 0.58 (95% CI= 0.39–0.86) were found in consumers of less than one, one to six, seven to 13, and 14 or more drinks per week, respectively. Associations were similar for secondary coronary outcomes, including nonfatal and fatal events. No strong mediators of the association were identified, although fibrinogen appeared to account for 9% to 10% of the relationship. The associations were statistically similar for intake of wine, beer, and liquor and generally similar in subgroups, including those with and without an apolipoprotein E4 allele.

Further, when they separated this group into groups reporting 14-20 and < 21 drinks/week, the relative risks were 0.55 and 0.61, respectively; the exact number of subjects in the higher category is not reported.

Article: Mukamal KJ, Chung H, Jenny NS, Kuller LH, Longstreth Jr WT, Mittleman MA, Burke GL, Cushman M, Psaty BM, Siscovick DS. Alcohol consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in older adults:The Cardiovascular Health Study. J Am Geriatr Soc 54:30–37, 2006.

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