COULD A COCKTAIL HELP AN AILING HEART?
Who needs oatmeal? A new study has concluded that regular and moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial for people who had a previous heart attack or other ischemic vascular events. The study, which was performed by the Research Laboratories at the Catholic University of Campobasso, Italy, claimed that moderate consumption (1 to 2 drinks a day) significantly reduces the risk of death from any cause in those who already suffered from ischemic vascular disease. The research, published in the journal of the american college of cardiology (JACC), was performed using the statistic procedure of meta-analysis which allows researchers to combine different studies conducted worldwide to achieve more precise results. Researchers analyzed the most important scientific studies performed during the last years – eight in total in four countries: the United States, Sweden, Japan, and Great Britain. Each study took into account patients already affected by an ischemic vascular event. During the years following the disease onset, patients were followed by researchers to study lifestyle habits, including alcohol consumption. The meta-analysis allowed them to pool all those studies for a total of 16,351 people examined. “We observed,” says Simona Costanzo, epidemiologist and first author of the study, “that regular and moderate consumption has beneficial effects even for people already affected by heart attack, or stroke. Not only they are less likely to be affected by similar diseases again, but all-cause mortality too resulted to be lower than in those who did not consume any alcoholic beverage”. The effect is very similar to that observed in healthy people. “Risk reduction”, Costanzo argues, “is about 2O percent. This means that one event out of five can be spared. It is a huge advantage, comparable to the one already recorded for healthy individuals”.
“When we talk about moderate alcohol consumption, we mean something quite far from what we use to see in TV fictions,” says Licia Iacoviello, Head of the Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Epidemiology and responsible of the Moli-sani Project. “We refer to moderation as drinking regularly, at low doses, within a healthy lifestyle, such as the Mediterranean diet – a glass of wine or beer during meals has always been an integral part of the Mediterranean way of eating. Our research highlights another crucial issue: drinking has not only to be moderate, but also regular. A moderate consumption spread along the week is positive. The same amount of weekly alcohol, concentrated in a couple of days is definitely harmful”.