"These patients are susceptible to infections and are quite vulnerable," said Kalantar-Zadeh, who is also an associate professor-in-residence of medicine, pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. "However, moderate alcohol consumption does not appear to interfere with immunotherapy."
The findings about alcohol consumption among transplant patients are consistent with research showing a positive impact of moderate alcohol use on the general population, said Kalantar-Zadeh, who was not connected to the study. Over the past 20 years, research has shown that moderate alcohol consumption helps prevent diabetes, heart attacks and early death, he said.
"It is welcome news. The findings are reassuring because in this population with chronic kidney problems hardly anything has been associated with better outcomes," said Kalantar-Zadeh.
About 19.2 million Americans -- or 11 percent of the population -- have chronic kidney disease, according to research funded by the National Institute of Health.
In the study examining the impact of weight on dialysis patients, researchers led by Dr. Ellen Hoogeveen of Jeroen Bosch Hospital compared patients who were over or under 65.
A higher risk of mortality for both the obese and the underweight was found for those under 65. There was no higher risk of death for obese patients over 65.
The study followed 1,749 dialysis patients until they had a transplant or died, or for a maximum of seven years. The average age was 49 for the younger group and 73 for the older group. All patients were to begin dialysis when the study started.
Both younger and older patients who were underweight had twice the risk of dying during follow-up than the obese patients, according to the research.<
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