A daily cocktail may be associated with a lower risk for heart failure. A new study, in the European Heart Journal, followed 14,629 people for 24 years, starting at an average age of 54. It found that moderate drinkers have a lower risk of heart failure than either heavy drinkers or abstainers. There were 2,508 cases of heart failure in the group studied, and the researchers controlled for age, race, smoking, hypertension and other variables.
Compared with abstainers, men who drank up to a drink a day — a glass of wine, a 12-ounce beer or a shot of liquor — had a 20 per cent reduced risk, and women a 16 percent reduced risk, of heart failure. The advantage gradually declined with heavier drinking. The senior author, Dr Scott D Solomon, a professor of medicine at Harvard, said that these results were not a reason to start drinking or license to increase alcohol consumption.