Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Breasts and Hearts -- What's good for one, not necessarily good for the other

The sage advice that having a glass of wine every day might be good for you now may have a foot note attached.

A recent study by Catherine Berkey of Brigham and Woman's Hospital indicates that girls who have a history of breast cancer in the family and who have two glasses of red wine every day may increase their risk of benign breast disease.

Now, I didn't say cancer, but the leap has been suggested.

The study included 7000 girls and among the heaviest drinkers (that was about 1 drink a day in a 22 year old), the risk of benign breast disease was almost three times that of abstainers.

This comes on the heals of an article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medicine Association) earlier this month that alcohol may be linked to breast cancer. In their study, 3.5% of woman who had 13 drinks a week developed breast cancer compared to about 2.8% of those who didn't drink at all.

Many experts contend, though, based on the evidence to date, that stopping drinking would have very little impact on a woman's risk of breast malignancy.

Only time will tell.

And to make matters more confusing -- having a glass or two of wine may lower your risk of heart disease.

The take home message is that data obtained from retrospective studies is always useful, but many times it lacks the clarity of a prospective, randomized study.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Dallas, Texas

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