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Moderate Alcohol Use Helps Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death: Study
Date:10/2/2010

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- In yet another study, a moderate intake of alcohol has been shown to be healthy for the heart.

The current research found that when women consumed between one-half to one drink a day, their risk of sudden cardiac death dropped by 36 percent.

However, when women doubled their intake and had more than two drinks per day, they upped their risk of sudden cardiac death by about 15 percent.

"Numerous studies have found a protective association between alcohol intake and coronary heart disease, stroke and congestive heart failure, but little research has been done on alcohol and sudden cardiac death," explained study author Stephanie Chiuve, an instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

"In this study, we wanted to look at the association of moderate alcohol intake and the risk of sudden cardiac death in women. We found a U-shaped association between alcohol and sudden cardiac death," said Chiuve, which means that too little or too much alcohol intake was associated with a higher risk of sudden cardiac death than moderate intake of alcohol.

"For women who choose to drink alcohol, they should have about one drink a day. That's where we saw the greatest benefit," she said.

Results of the study are published in the October issue of the journal Heart Rhythm.

Although the study wasn't designed to figure out exactly how alcohol might help prevent sudden cardiac death, Chiuve said that alcohol has a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels and helps reduce the amount of plaque that collects in the blood vessels. She said that it doesn't appear that any one particular type of alcohol is more beneficial than others, suggesting that it's the ethanol contained in alcoholic beverages that provides the health boost.

But, the news on alcohol isn't all good. Alcohol can also have what's known as pro-arr
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