Latest scientific news 02 November 2016

Only heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages is associated with increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke

The results of this meta-analysis show an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke (subarachnoid hemorrhage) for heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages but no correlation for light to moderate drinkers.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) refers to the bleeding within the subarachnoid space (the area between the brain and the tissues that cover the brain). The subarachnoid space is the space where the cerebrospinal fluid circulates, and it’s responsible for protecting your brain from serious injuries by serving as a cushion.  A hemorrhage in this space is a form of stroke and comprises 1–7% of all strokes. The death rate for subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is between 40 and 50 percent. In epidemiological studies, the association between the consumption of alcoholic beverages and the risk of SAH has been inconsistent. Chinese scientists thus performed meta- and dose-response analyses with the purpose of assessing the association between alcohol consumption and SAH. The meta-analysis included 14 observational studies with data of 483,553 individuals and 2,556 patients. The results showed that light (<15 g/day) and moderate (15-30 g/day) intake of alcoholic beverages showed no significant association with SAH. However, an increased risk of SAH was noted in heavy consumers of alcoholic beverages (>30 g/day) compared to teetotalers.

Yao X, Zhang K, Bian J, Chen G. Alcohol consumption and risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage: A meta-analysis of 14 observational studies. Biomed Rep. 2016 Oct;5(4):428-436.

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