Oct 28 Women who drank anywhere from a few
alcoholic drinks a month to more than three a week in the year
leading up to a heart attack ended up living longer than women
who never drank alcohol, according to a U.S. study.
The findings, which focused on more than 1,000 women and
were published in the American Journal of Cardiology, add to
mounting evidence that alcohol, regardless of the type of drink,
can be good for the heart.
"One thing that was interesting was that we didn't see
differences among different beverage types," said Joshua
Rosenbloom, a student at Harvard Medical School who led the
"The most recent evidence suggests that it's the alcohol
itself that's beneficial."
There was a similarly reduced risk of dying within the
follow up period whether the women drank wine, beer or hard
liquor, Rosenbloom and his colleagues found.
"One drink a day is a really good target, assuming that a
person can be disciplined about that," said James O'Keefe, a
cardiologist at St. Luke's Health System in Kansas City,
Missouri, who was not involved in the study.
Researchers surveyed more than 1,200 women hospitalized for
a heart attack. They asked questions about how many alcoholic
drinks the women usually consumed, along with other health and
After at least 10 years of follow up, the team found that 44
out of every 100 women who had abstained from alcohol had died,
while 25 out of every 100 light drinkers and 18 out of every 100
heavy drinkers had died.
This translated to about a 35 percent lower chance of dying
during the follow up period for women who drank, compared to
those who didn't.
In an earlier study including men and women, O'Keefe found
that people who continued to drink moderately after having a
heart attack had better health than those who abstained.
"You don't need to assume that people need to stop drinking
once they develop heart disease," he said.
"The problem is that alcohol is a slippery slope, and while
we know that a little bit is good for us, a lot of it is really
(Reporting from New York by Kerry Grens at Reuters Health;
editing by Elaine Lies)