Skip to comments.Pattern of drinking affects the relation of alcohol intake to coronary heart disease
Posted on 12/02/2010 8:47:15 AM PST by decimon
A fascinating study published in the BMJ shows that although the French drink more than the Northern Irish each week, as they drink daily, rather than more on less occasions, the French suffered from considerably less coronary heart disease than the Northern Irish. Ruidavets and colleagues compared groups of middle aged men in France and Northern Ireland, who have very different drinking cultures and rates of heart disease.The authors found that men who "binge" drink (drink =50 g of alcohol once a week) had nearly twice the risk of myocardial infarction or death from coronary disease compared with regular drinkers over 10 years of follow-up. Similarly abstainers were at higher risk. 9,778 men aged 50-59, free of ischaemic heart disease at baseline, were recruited between 1991 and 1994. A total of 2,405 men from Belfast and 7,373 men from the French centres were included in the analyses.
The investigators related weekly alcohol consumption, incidence of binge drinking (alcohol >50 g on at least one day a week), incidence of regular drinking (at least one day a week, and alcohol < 50 g if on only one occasion), volume of alcohol intake, frequency of consumption, and types of beverage consumed to risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events over a 10 year follow-up period. Overall, 60.5% of subjects from N. Ireland and 90.6% of French reported drinking alcohol at least once a week. Among drinkers, 12% of men in Belfast drank alcohol every day compared with 75% of men in France. Mean alcohol consumption was 22.1 g/ day in Belfast and 32.8 g/day in France. Binge drinkers comprised 9.4% and 0.5% of the Belfast and France samples, respectively.
Results showed that, after multivariate adjustment, the hazard ratio for hard CHD events compared with regular drinkers was 1.97 (95% CI 1.21 - 3.22) for binge drinkers, 2.03 (95% CI 1.41 - 2.94) for never drinkers, and 1.57 (95% CI 1.11 - 2.21) for former drinkers. The hazard ratio for hard CHD events in Belfast compared with in France was 1.76 (95% CI 1.37 to 2.67) before adjustment, and 1.09 (95% CI 0.79 to 1.50) after adjustment for alcohol patterns and wine drinking, indicating that most of the differences between the rates in the two countries were related to these two factors. Irrespective of country, only wine drinking was associated with a lower risk of hard coronary events.
The authors conclude that regular and moderate alcohol intake throughout the week, the typical pattern in middle-aged men in France, is associated with a low risk of ischemic heart disease, whereas the binge drinking pattern more prevalent in Belfast confers a higher risk.
Comments: While a strong inverse association between moderate alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease has been demonstrated for decades, more recent research has emphasized the importance of the pattern of drinking (regular moderate versus episodic or binge drinking). Further, there continues to be debate about the potential greater effect of wine versus other beverages containing alcohol. This study shows that regular moderate drinking (especially of wine) is associated with lower risk of MI, but episodic or binge drinking increases the risk. Lifetime abstinence has a similar adverse relation to CHD as does episodic or binge drinking.
Reference: http://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c6077 Ruidavets J-B, Ducimetièere P, Evans A, Montaye M, Haas B, Bingham A, Yarnell J, Amouyel P, Arveiler D, Kee F, Bongard V, Ferrières J.
Patterns of alcohol consumption and ischaemic heart disease in culturally divergent countries: the Prospective Epidemiological Study of Myocardial Infarction (PRIME). BMJ 2010;341:c6077 doi:10.1136/bmj.c6077.
For the detailed critique of this paper by the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research, go to www.alcoholforum4profs.org
Contributions to this critique by the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research were provided by the following members:
Pierre-Louis Teissedre, PhD, University Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, Bordeaux, France.
Erik Skovenborg, MD, Scandinavian Medical Alcohol Board, Practitioner, Aarhus, Denmark.
R. Curtis Ellison, MD, Section of Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
David Vauzour, PhD, Dept. of Food and Nutritional Sciences, The University of Reading, UK.
Harvey Finkel, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.
David Van Velden, MD, Dept. of Pathology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Andrew L. Waterhouse, PhD, Marvin Sands Professor, University of California, Davis.
The specialists who are members of the Forum are happy to respond to questions from Health Editors regarding emerging research on alcohol and health and will offer an independent opinion in context with other research on the subject.
But is this a valid study? How can they be sure it has anything to do with alcohol? What about genetics? It could very well be the lack of bathing. I can hear it now, ban soap and water for the sake of Mother Nature.
Party ping. :)
I would like to know which group was just drinking BEER?
50 g of alcohol works out to about 4 oz of Scotch.
By the reckoning of these folks, I should have been dead years ago.
I think it would be safe to say the Irish were more the beer drinkers than the French.
God invented beer so the Irish couldn’t conquer the world.
Prolonged moderate alcohol consumption is a survival mechanism. We could ask the descendants of those who abstained and drank the water, except there are few left to represent because cholera killed their would be ancestors.
Nothing exists without purpose. Those who we are descended from drank wine and mead and beer, not because they knew the water would kill them. They were just the lucky ones who did not perish.
Jewelry and alcohol are as old as recorded history.
Both are a testament as to why we are here today.
I started drinking red wine when I was four.
French Canadian parents and whatnot.
You’ve well explained the present-day propensity to drink alcohol, but not necessarily the present-day salutary effects—in other than third-world countries.
You and me both.
A calming mechanism for many...?
Compare to the calming effect of crystal or cocaine.
I’ve been fighting a head cold this week with Nyquil. Forget that crap! Back to the Absolute!
Make that Absolut (I need a drink...)
But you need to remember to party regularly and consistently!!
You know, I already blew it this week. I thought about cracking open a bottle of vino last night, but just didn’t get around to it. Making up for it tonight would probably be a bad idea, huh? LOL!
So, math becomes he problem...... How many grams of alcohol are contained in 2 oz of 80 proof Jack Daniels before slight dilution with pure branch water for sipping?
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