A study of young women reported in the January issue of Stroke,
the Journal of the American Heart Association by Ann Malarcher
et al, has found that light to moderate alcohol consumption is
associated with a reduced risk of ischemic stroke in young women.Researchers
surveyed 244 women between the ages of 15 and 44 who had suffered
an ischemic stroke within the last year, as well as 392 women
of the same ages who had not had strokes. Ischemic stroke is caused
by a blood clot blocking a brain artery.
To asses alcohol consumption patterns, researchers conducted interviews
asking how often, how recently and in what quantities the women
had consumed light beer, wine or hard liquor. Blood tests were
also conducted. Many studies have indicated the protective effect
of moderate alcohol use, but here researchers looked specifically
at young white and black women, and the type of alcohol used.
"The relationship between alcohol and stroke risk had not been
explored among young adults, who are more likely to have different
patterns of alcohol consumption than older adults," notes Ann
Malarcher, Ph.D., the studys lead author and Epidemiologist in
the Cardiovascular Health branch of the Center for Disease Control
and Prevention in Atlanta.
"Women who drank in the past week, and whose average intake for
the week was two alcoholic drinks a day, had an almost 60% lower
stroke risk than those who never drank," says Malarcher. "Wine
appeared to have beneficial effect, while beer and liquor were
not as strongly related to stroke risk." Wine may have additional
benefits than other alcoholic beverages because it contains flavonoids
- compounds in fruits and vegetables that may protect against
heart disease and cancer. But it is also possible that other factors
may be responsible for the protection.