Heavy Drinking, but Not Moderate or Intermediate Drinking, Increases the Risk of Intracerebral Hemorrhage

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An increased risk of intracerehral hemorrhage among heavy consumers of alcohol has been demonstrated in several epidemiologic studies. The effect of moderate or intermediate intakes is, however, unclear. Although several studies provide evidence for a protective effect, this conclusion may he spurious, resulting from the inclusion, within the zero intake (reference) group, of past drinkers who have recently abstained for health reasons. The present study describes the relation between alcohol consumption and intracerebral hemorrhage among 331 case-control pairs recruited in Melbourne, Australia. Heavy drinking was associated with an increased risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (odds ratio (OR) 3.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.4–8.4). The odds ratio of intracerebral hemorrhage with moderate drinking, when compared with never drinkers, was 0.7, (95% CI = 0.4–1.2) and was 0.6 (95% CI = 0.4–1.0) when compared with nondrinkers (never drinkers plus past drinkers). Wine drinkers were apparently protected from intracerebral hemorrhage (OR 0.5, 95% CI = 0.2–0.9). These results are consistent with the possibility that moderate drinking may confer protection from intracerebral hemorrhage, but this protection may he less than that previously reported. (Epidemiology 1999;10:307–3 12)

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