AAN: Smoking May Counteract Alcohol's Benefit on Stroke Risk

Study suggests that lower risk associated with moderate drinking is offset by smoking
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- The beneficial effect of moderate alcohol consumption on stroke risk may be counteracted by cigarette smoking, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 10 to 17 in Toronto.

Yangmei Li, of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues studied 10,171 men and 12,353 women aged 39 to 79 who had no known history of stroke, heart attack, or cancer at baseline in 1993 to 1997, and followed them until 2008.

During the 12-year follow-up, 864 incident strokes were observed. The researchers found that there was significant interaction between drinking, smoking and stroke risk. Compared to non-drinkers, they found that the risk was significantly lower in non-smoking subjects who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol (up to 21 units per week; hazard ratio [HR], 0.63) but significantly higher in current smokers who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol (HR, 1.43).

"Our findings could have public health implications in that we appear to have a clearer understanding of the dangers of combining smoking and moderate drinking on overall stroke risk," Li said in a statement.

Abstract No. P01.297 (subscription or payment may be required)
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