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Wine: it's good for the heart.

The Chardonnay and Chablis crowd can take heart: It's not just red wine that provides protection against heart disease.

Previous studies have suggested that a substance in red wine helps lower a person's risk of coronary artery disease (SN: 7/18/92, p.47). Arthur L. Klatsky of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, Calif., and his colleagues wanted to learn more about the alcohol and heart disease connection.

Starting in 1978, Klatsky's team collected information on 81,825 men and women who said they drank alcoholic beverages. Over the next 10 years, the researchers also recorded deaths in this group attributed to heart disease.

The California researchers discovered that all alcoholic beverages seem to ward off coronary artery disease, a finding that confirms previous research. However, wine drinkers enjoyed greater protection than those who regularly imbibed beer or hard liquor.

The new study found no particular benefit to picking red wine over white. Indeed, the new findings suggest that women who drank white wine lowered their risk of coronary disease more than women who preferred red wine.

Klatsky believes that moderate drinking of any kind offers a shield against heart attacks. However, he's not ready to say that wine offers the best hedge against coronary artery disease. It may be that wine drinkers have other attributes, such as smoking less, that help keep heart disease away, he says.

Nobody's advising people to go out and tank up. "When you talk about the possible protective effect of alcohol, you always have to put it in context," Klatsky says. Heavy drinking can lead to numerous health problems -- including liver disease, high blood pressure, and certain heart rhythm abnormalities -- that can cause a heart attack, he adds. For people who already drink, Klatsky advises limiting their alcohol intake to fewer than three drinks per day.
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Title Annotation:research says moderate wine drinking lowers risk of heart disease
Author:Fackelmann, Kathy A.
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 28, 1992
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