Latest scientific news 15 December 2016

Light and moderate drinkers may have a lower risk of ischemic stroke

This meta-analysis indicates that the intake of alcoholic beverages has divergent effects on the stroke types: moderate drinking reduced the risk of ischemic stroke and was not associated with hemorrhagic stroke subtypes whereas heavy drinking was clearly linked to an increased risk of all stroke types, especially for hemorrhagic strokes.

Whether light-to-moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is protective against stroke, and whether this association differs by stroke type, is controversial. Swedish researchers conducted a meta-analysis to summarize the evidence from prospective studies on alcohol drinking and stroke types. The meta-analysis included 27 prospective studies with data on ischemic stroke (25 studies), intracerebral hemorrhage (11 studies), and/or subarachnoid hemorrhage (11 studies). The results showed that light and moderate drinking (up to 2 drinks/d) was not associated with any hemorrhagic stroke subtype but was associated with a lower risk of ischemic stroke. In contrast, heavy drinking was associated with an increased risk of all stroke types, with a stronger association for hemorrhagic strokes.

Larsson SC, Wallin A, Wolk A, Markus HS. Differing association of alcohol consumption with different stroke types: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Med. 2016;14(1):178.

For more information about this article, read the scientific abstract here.