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Effects of alcohol on risk factors for cardiovascular disease
Date:3/7/2011

mortality from all causes showed lower risk for drinkers compared with non-drinkers (relative risk 0.87 (0.83 to 0.92).

The authors concluded that light to moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of multiple cardiovascular outcomes.

Summary of Forum review: In an excellent summary, the authors of this paper have synthesized results from longitudinal cohort studies comparing alcohol drinkers with non-drinkers for the outcomes of overall mortality and mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD), incident coronary heart disease (CHD), mortality from CHD, incident stroke, and mortality from stroke. They conclude that light to moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of multiple cardiovascular outcomes. Further, they suggest that current scientific data satisfy Hill criteria indicating causality, that alcohol intake is the cause of the lower risk of cardiovascular disease among moderate drinkers.

ISFAR members thought that this was a very well done, comprehensive summary of a large number of studies on alcohol and cardiovascular disease. ISFAR welcomed the discussion in the paper as to causality and regarding future directions in research, with more emphasis into how physicians and individual patients might respond to encouragement to consume alcohol for its potentially beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease. Most believe that there is no substitute for balanced judgment by a knowledgeable, objective health professional when discussing alcohol intake, and this requires a synthesis of common sense and the best available scientific facts as they apply to the individual.

Members also emphasised that: It is unlikely that there will ever be adequate clinical trials to judge the effects of alcohol consumption on major cardiovascular outcomes such as myocardial infarction or cardiac death in humans. Hence, for these lifestyle habits, we must use our best judgment based on carefully d
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Contact: R Curtis Ellison
ellison@bu.edu
508-333-1256
Boston University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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