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Is wine good for the heart?

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Many of us have likely read - and toasted - recent studies suggesting that drinking red wine, in moderation, keeps the cardiologist at bay. But how much faith can you put into these findings?

In a post today on Clinical Correlations, Aditya Mattoo, MD, a second-year fellow in nephrology at the NYU Langone Medical Center, offers an analysis of the growing body of research on alcohol and cardiovascular disease. Interestingly, he embarked on his review to better understand how to advise his own patients. He writes:

Overall, large epidemiological findings have consistently demonstrated a cardiovascular benefit of light alcohol consumption. Although no head-to-head prospective studies have been conducted to compare cardiovascular outcomes of different types of alcohol, the literature suggests that red wine seems to be the most protective. However, skeptics note that these studies do not take into account the different drinking patterns of wine, beer and hard liquor drinkers. Another potential confounder is lifestyle. Studies have shown that light, particularly wine, drinkers may have different demographics and behavior patterns as compared to the rest of the population. They have a tendency to eat healthier, exercise more and come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds (which may imply they have better access to medical care). The contribution of the direct effect of alcohol or the common lifestyle choices of light moderate drinkers is a difficult confounder to tease out from survey-based, uncontrolled data.

Previously: Study finds alcohol consumption may compromise healthy eating habits
Photo by Kristian H¯gsberg

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