Why there's no future in drinking alcohol

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2012, 9:31am

Heavy drinking has long been known to be a risk factor for intracerebral haemorrhage, a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain. But a new study published today in the journal
Neurology has put a figure on the grave prognosis for alcoholics.

People who have three or more alcoholic drinks per day may be at higher risk for experiencing a stroke almost 15 years earlier in life than those who do not drink heavily, finds Dr Charlotte Cordonnier of the University of Lille Nord de France, who wrote the study.

Among 540 patients with intracerebral haemorrhage and an average age of 71, one in four were heavy drinkers - defined as about 47ml a day of "pure" alcohol.

The heavy drinkers experienced stroke at an average age of 60, compared to 74 for their sober counterparts. Among the under-60s who had a stroke that occurred in the deep part of the brain, heavy drinkers were more likely to die within two years of the study follow-up than non-heavy drinkers.

Non-alcoholic red wine might be a good alternative for those looking to cut down on booze. According to a new study published in the American Heart Association journal
Circulation Research, men with high risk of heart disease had lower blood pressure after drinking the wine every day for four weeks.

Researchers studied 67 men with health conditions who had the same diet plus one of the following: about 300ml of red wine, non-alcoholic red wine or about 90ml of gin. All of them tried each food-beverage pairing for four weeks.

The red wine and non-alcoholic wine contained equal amounts of polyphenols, an antioxidant that decreases blood pressure. During the red wine phase, the men had very little blood-pressure decrease and there was no change while drinking gin.

Meanwhile, non-alcoholic red wine increased participants' levels of nitric oxide, which helps blood vessels relax and allows more blood to reach the heart and organs.