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Oct 23, 2014

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Beer and health: Another view

Scottish study questions value of alcohol in battling heart disease

June 25, 1999 - Differing from studies that have found that alcohol may help protect against heart disease, research from Scotland indicates there is no evidence of health benefits from alcohol.

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"We have shown in this (group) of Scottish men there is no clear relation between alcohol consumption and mortality from coronary heart disease, but there is a strong relation with risk of mortality from stroke,'' Dr. George Dave Smith of the Unversity of Bristol wrote in The British Medical Journal.

His conclusions are based on a study that included 5,766 men in Scotland over a 21-year period. The researchers found no difference in the risk of any cause of death between moderate drinkers, who consumed up to 14 units of alcohol a week, and non-drinkers. But men who drank over 35 units of alcohol a week had double the risk of dying from a stroke than the men who didn't drink. The study defined a unit of alcohol as the equivalent of half a pint of beer (10 ounces), a glass of wine or a single measure of liquor.

The researchers think drinking patterns could account for the difference between their findings and other studies which have shown protective health benefits of alcohol. A daily glass of wine is probably healthier than weekend binge drinking, they said.


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