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Stroke. 2006 Jan;37(1):13-9. Epub 2005 Nov 23.

Moderate alcohol consumption reduces risk of ischemic stroke: the Northern Manhattan Study.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA. mse13@columbia.edu



Moderate alcohol consumption is protective against coronary disease, but its relationship to ischemic stroke (IS) is controversial.


Stroke-free participants > or =40 years of age identified by random-digit dialing were enrolled in a prospective cohort study between 1993 and 2001. Alcohol consumption was assessed through in-person interview and categorized as none in the past year, > or =1 drink in past month to < or =2 per day (moderate drinkers), and >2 drinks daily. Lifetime drinking was also assessed. Cox proportional hazard regression modeling was used to assess hazard ratios and their 95% CIs for the association of drinking with risk of stroke and vascular events.


Mean age among participants (n=3176) was 69.1+/-10.3 years; 62.8% were women, 20.8% were non-Hispanic white, 24.5% non-Hispanic black, and 52.4% were Hispanic. No alcohol in the previous year was present in 62.3%, and 32.5% drank moderately. After adjusting for other risk factors compared with those who did not drink in the past year, moderate drinkers had a reduced risk of IS (0.67; 95% CI, 0.46 to 0.99) and IS, myocardial infarction, or vascular death (0.74; 95% CI, 0.59 to 0.94). Results were similar when never-drinkers were used as referent group. Reduction in risk was seen for nonatherosclerotic IS subtypes, and results stratified by age, sex, and race-ethnicity were similar.


Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with decreased risk of IS in a multiethnic population. This effect is independent of other risk factors and holds for nonatherosclerotic stroke subtypes.

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