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Stroke. 2010 Jan;41(1):141-6. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.109.562173. Epub 2009 Nov 12.

Alcohol consumption and functional outcome after stroke in men.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.



Light-to-moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with reduced risk of total and ischemic stroke. However, data on the relationship between alcohol consumption and functional outcomes from stroke are sparse.


Prospective cohort study among 21 860 men enrolled in the Physicians' Health Study who provided information on alcohol consumption at baseline and had no prior history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Alcohol consumption was divided into 5 categories: <1 drink/wk, 1 drink/wk, 2 to 4 drinks/wk, 5 to 6 drinks/wk, and >/=1 drink/d. Possible functional outcomes included TIA, modified Rankin Scale (mRS)=0 to 1, mRS=2 to 3, and mRS=4 to 6. We used multinomial logistic regression to evaluate the relationship between levels of alcohol consumption and functional outcomes from stroke.


During a mean of 21.6 years of follow-up, 766 TIAs and 1393 strokes (1157 ischemic, 222 hemorrhagic, and 14 unknown type) occurred. Men who consumed 1 drink/wk had lowest associated odds for any outcome. Compared with men who did not experience a TIA or stroke and who consumed <1 drink/wk, men who consumed 1 drink/wk had odds ratio (95% CI) for total stroke of 0.85 (0.60 to 1.21) for mRS=0 to 1, 0.84 (0.64 to 1.10) for mRS=2 to 3, and 0.60 (0.37 to 0.97) for mRS=4 to 6. The odds ratio for TIA was 0.95 (0.73 to 1.23). The pattern of association did not substantially differ for ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. Higher alcohol consumption showed no association with functional outcome after stroke.


Our data do not show strong associations between alcohol consumption and functional outcome after stroke. Modest beneficial associations exist with low alcohol consumption.

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