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Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Date:6/5/2008

More than three drinks of alcohol a week can trim that risk by 50%, study says

THURSDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- People who drink alcohol regularly may cut their risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, a new study finds.

Alcohol has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and now this new study shows drinking may also reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis by up to 50 percent. This finding underscores the importance of lifestyle factors in the development of rheumatoid arthritis, the study authors said.

"Moderate alcohol consumption is not deleterious and may in some contexts be beneficial concerning risk for future onset of rheumatoid arthritis," said lead researcher Henrik Kallberg, of the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

"In addition, our paper underlines that smoking may trigger development of rheumatoid arthritis," Kallberg added.

The report was published in the June 4 online edition of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

For the research, Kllberg's team collected data on 2,750 men and women who took part in two studies of rheumatoid arthritis. Among these people, 1,650 had rheumatoid arthritis.

All the people in the study were asked about their lifestyles, including how much they smoked and drank. In addition, their blood was analyzed to check for genetic risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis.

The researchers found that both men and women who drank regularly were less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, those who drank the most cut their risk for developing the disease by 50 percent, compared with those who drank the least.

"Drinking more than three drinks per week is associated with a 50 percent decrease for developing rheumatoid arthritis," Kallberg said.

Moreover, in people with antibodies to a group of proteins involved in the development of rheumatoid
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