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Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 07:10 GMT 08:10 UK
Wine prevents repeat heart attack
Red wine
How to ward off heart attacks?
Scientists say they have found a way for coronary patients to minimise the risk of a second heart attack - drink wine every day.

Previous research has shown that drinking wine in sensible amounts may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

But the new research suggests that it might also be an effective way to reduce the risk for people who have already had one heart attack.

French researchers found that middle-aged men who had had one heart attack and who drank two or more glasses of wine regularly were 50% less likely than non-drinkers to have a second attack.

Dr Michel de Lorgeril, of the Joseph Fourier University of Grenoble, France, and colleagues studied 353 men aged 40 to 60 who had just had heart attacks.

There were no significant differences in how severe their heart attacks had been, what drugs they used to treat heart disease or what they ate. The main differences lay in whether the men drank wine.

Between them, the men had 104 cardiovascular complications such as a heart attack or stroke over the next year.

Thirty-six of the complications occurred among men who abstained from alcohol, 34 among men who drank fewer than two glasses of wine a day, 18 among those who drank about two glasses a day, and 16 among men who drank an average of four to five glasses of wine a day.


The researchers stressed that more studies are needed to better define what type of patients would most benefit from moderate drinking after a heart attack.

The American Heart Association recommends drinking only moderately and advises anyone who does not drink against starting to do so.

Last year the AHA published guidance to doctors advising them not to prescribe red wine as a way to ward off heart attacks.

US doctors have been advised not to tell their patients that drinking red wine is an effective way to ward off heart attacks.

It said the protective benefits of red wine remain uncertain, and that doctors should concentrate on promoting more proven methods to reduce risk.

Professor Ira Goldberg, of Columbia University in New York City and a member of the AHA's nutrition committee, said: "We want to make clear that there are other risk-reduction options that are well-documented and free of the potential hazards associated with alcohol consumption."

Professor Sir Charles George, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said: "This is further evidence to drink moderate quantities of wine remain at a lower risk of having a heart attack than those who are teetotal.

"In middle age, men are much more likely to have had a heat attack than women, and consequently the findings from the study apply to middle-aged men and not more generally to other age groups."

The research is published in the journal Circulation.

See also:

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