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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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Department of Neurology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA.



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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