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Long-Term Study Concludes Drinking Does Not Protect Against Stroke

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Researchers who studied 22,000 men over more than two decades have concluded that drinking alcohol is not associated with either the odds of having a stroke or the severity of stroke symptoms, Reuters reported Jan. 5.

Previous, smaller studies have suggested that moderate drinking may protect against stroke, but researcher Tobias Kurth and colleagues found that the association is weak and grows even weaker over time. The study found that very light drinkers — those who consumed just one alcoholic drink weekly — were slightly less likely to suffer strokes, but moderate drinking had no impact.

On the other hand, heavy drinking was found to raise stroke risk, said Kurth, a researcher with the French national research institute INSERM and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

The findings were published in the January 2010 issue of the journal Stroke.

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