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Heavy drinking may lead to stroke earlier: study

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-09-11 07:59

WASHINGTON - People who have three or more alcoholic drinks per day may be at higher risk for experiencing a stroke almost a decade and a half earlier in life than those who do not drink heavily, according to a new study, which will be published Tuesday in Neurology, a medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study covered 540 people with an average age of 71 who had a type of stroke called intracerebral hemorrhage. The participants, as well as the caregivers or relatives of the participants, were interviewed about their drinking habits.  

A total of 137 people, or 25 percent, were heavy drinkers, who were defined as having three or more drinks per day, or about 1.6 ounces per day of "pure" alcohol.

Participants also underwent CT brain scans and their medical records were reviewed.

The study found that heavy drinkers experienced a stroke at an average age of 60, 14 years before the average age of their non- heavy drinking counterparts. Among people younger than 60 who had a stroke that occurred in the deep part of the brain, heavy drinkers were more likely to die within two years of the study follow-up than non-heavy drinkers.

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