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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Drinking May Decrease Risk of MS


Drinking alcohol halves the risk of developing MS in men, according to a Swedish study, and cuts it substantially in women.

If you raised a glass to toast the new year, you may havealso reduced your risk of developing multiple sclerosis, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Neurology.

Drinking alcohol can cut multiple sclerosis risk in half for men and by 40 percent for women, according to research conducted by the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The results are the first of their kind.

“You can drink alcohol without being afraid that the risk of MS will increase,” Anna Hedstrom, MD, a researcher at the institute and co-author of the study, said in an email. “Most people do not think about [their MS] risk, but they might if the disease runs in the family.”

Two previous studies in the 1990s and the 2000s respectively looked at the link between alcohol and multiple sclerosis (MS) but were inconclusive.

Bottom’s Up: Drinking Suppresses the Immune System

The Swedish scientists used questionnaires to study the drinking habits of745 MS patients and matched them with 1,761 people without MS, controlling for age, gender and residential area at the time of diagnosis. The Swedes discovered that while alcohol type doesn’t matter – results were the same whether the person drank wine or spirits – the amount imbibed does.

Women who drank more than 4 ounces of alcoholic beverages per week – the rough equivalent to 2.5 shots or a small glass of wine – were at the most reduced risk for multiple sclerosis. Men who drank more than 6 ounces of alcoholic beverage weekly – about four shots or a large glass of wine – also saw the benefits.


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