JOENSUU, FinlandDrinking alcohol more than 2.5 times a week, independent of the amount, triples the risk of stroke mortality in men compared to those who don’t drink alcohol, according to a new study published in the journal Acta Neurologica Scandinavica. The findings support previous studies that link heavy alcohol consumption to stroke risk.
Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland conducted a study to examine the association between the frequency of alcohol consumption and stroke mortality among eastern Finnish men. The study is based on follow-up data from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD. At the onset of the study, the men participating in the study were middle-aged, and the follow-up time was 20 years. A total of 2,609 men participated in the study. The consumption of alcohol was measured with the help of a Nordic alcohol survey charting the amount of alcohol consumed at one time and the average number of drinking occasions in the preceding 12 months. The data on cases of stroke was obtained from hospital discharge registers, the Finnish Stroke Register, and the National Cause of Death Register maintained by Statistics Finland.
The study showed that people who consume alcohol more frequently than twice a week have more than a threefold risk of stroke mortality than people who do not consume alcohol at all. The risk of stroke mortality is elevated irrespective of the amount of alcohol consumed.
A similar study conducted in 2013 found men who consume more than six alcoholic drinks per day may be at risk of increased atherosclerotic progression, while further data suggests hangovers may indicate an increased risk of stroke.
However, there is some good news for those who like to indulge in a cocktail or two. A 2010 study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found resveratrol, an active polyphenol compound found in red wine, may have neuroprotective effects that could mitigate brain damage related to stroke. The authors suggest resveratrol itself may not be shielding brain cells from free radical damage directly, but instead, resveratrol, and its metabolites, may be prompting the cells to defend themselves.