Background and purpose: The relationship between alcohol consumption and cerebral infarction remains uncertain, and few studies have investigated whether the relationship varies by alcohol type or is present in young adults. We examined the relationship between alcohol consumption, beverage type, and ischemic stroke in the Stroke Prevention in Young Women Study.
Methods: All 59 hospitals in the greater Baltimore-Washington area participated in a population-based case-control study of stroke in young women. Case patients (n=224) were aged 15 to 44 years with a first cerebral infarction, and control subjects (n=392), identified by random-digit dialing, were frequency matched by age and region of residence. The interview assessed lifetime alcohol consumption and consumption and beverage type in the previous year, week, and day. ORs were obtained from logistic regression models controlling for age, race, education, and smoking status, with never drinkers as the referent.
Results: Alcohol consumption, up to 24 g/d, in the past year was associated with fewer ischemic strokes (<12 g/d: OR 0.57, 95% CI 0. 38 to 0.86; 12 to 24 g/d: OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.86; >24 g/d: OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.43 to 2.10) in comparison to never drinking. Analyses of beverage type (beer, wine, liquor) indicated a protective effect for wine consumption in the previous year (<12 g/wk: OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.35 to 0.97; 12 g/wk to <12 g/d: OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.28 to 1.10; >/=12 g/d: OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.23 to 3.64).
Conclusions: Light to moderate alcohol consumption appears to be associated with a reduced risk of ischemic stroke in young women.