Prepared Foods October 17, 2005 e-newsletter

A recent report focused on alcohol use and risk of ischemic stroke among older adults.

Scientists in the U.S. report, "The association of light-to-moderate alcohol consumption with risk of ischemic stroke remains uncertain, as are the roles of potentially mediating factors and modification by apolipoprotein E (apoE) genotype."

K.J. Mukamal and colleagues of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston wrote, "We studied the prospective association of alcohol consumption and risk of ischemic stroke among 4,410 participants free of cardiovascular disease at baseline in the Cardiovascular Health Study, a population-based cohort study of older adults from four U.S. communities. Participants reported their consumption of alcoholic beverages yearly."

"During an average follow-up period of 9.2 years, 434 cases of incident ischemic stroke occurred," the researchers reported. "Compared with long-term abstainers, the multivariate relative risks of ischemic stroke were 0.85 (95% CI, 0.63 to 1.13), 0.75 (95% CI, 0.53 to 1.06), 0.82 (95% CI, 0.51 to 1.30) and 1.03 (95% CI, 0.68 to 1.57) among consumers of <1, 1 to 6, 7 to 13, and greater than or equal to 14 drinks per week (P quadratic trend 0.06). ApoE genotype appeared to modify the alcohol-ischemic stroke relationship (P interaction 0.08), with generally lower risks among drinkers than abstainers in apoE4-negative participants but higher risks among drinkers than abstainers among apoE4-positive participants."

"We could not identify candidate mediators among lipid, inflammatory and prothrombotic factors," the authors noted.

They concluded, "In this study of older adults, the association of alcohol use and risk of ischemic stroke was U-shaped, with modestly lower risk among consumers of 1 to 6 drinks per week. However, apoE genotype may modify this association, and even moderate alcohol intake may be associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke among apoE4-positive older adults."

Mukamal and colleagues published their study in Stroke (“Alcohol Use and Risk of Ischemic Stroke Among Older Adults in the Cardiovascular Health Study.” Stroke, 2005;36(9):1830-1834).

For additional information, contact K.J. Mukamal, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Department of Medicine, 330 Brookline Avenue, RO-114, Boston, MA 02215.

Source: Heart Disease Weekly