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Moderate Drinking Could Lower Death Risk for Kidney Transplant Patients
Date:11/19/2010

By Ellin Holohan
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Kidney disease patients, once cautioned against alcohol use, can relax and have a drink a two, but they also need to be mindful of their weight, two new Dutch studies show.

The researchers found that fears about moderate drinking by kidney disease patients may be unfounded, while concerns about weight are not.

Both studies, conducted by different researchers, were presented Thursday at the American Society of Nephrology's annual meeting in Denver.

One study focused on the effects of alcohol use among kidney transplant patients, who traditionally have been warned against drinking because it might interfere with medications that prevent the body from rejecting a new kidney. It found, instead, that a few drinks might actually help.

"Quality of life and long-term outcome after transplantation may benefit from advising moderate intake of alcohol," said study author Dorien Zelle, a Ph.D. Fellow in the department of nephrology at the University Medical Center in Groningen, The Netherlands.

The study followed 600 kidney transplant patients for seven years, recording deaths until 2009. Of those, 48 percent were alcohol abstainers, 35 percent were moderate drinkers, 16 percent were sporadic drinkers and 1 percent were heavy drinkers.

During the follow-up period, moderate drinkers were 67 percent less likely to develop diabetes and 44 percent less likely to die than those patients in the other groups.

Total post-transplant prevalence of diabetes in study participants was 12 percent. Less than a half a percent of those who developed diabetes were moderate alcohol users. During follow-up, 26 percent of abstainers, 24.5 percent sporadic drinkers and 25 percent of heavy drinkers died. Only 15.7 percent of moderate drinkers died.

The authors reported no financial conflicts of interest.

Dr. Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, a profes
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