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Heart risk warning on alcohol

A HEALTH expert warns today against drinking alcohol in the belief that it will protect against heart disease.

Several recent studies have shown that moderate consumption seems to cut the risk of heart disease. A British Regional Heart Study survey found the highest rates of heart attack in non-drinkers and occasional drinkers. The study, over nine years, covered 7,735 men aged 40 to 59.

Professor Gerry Shaper, an epidemiologist at the Royal Free Hospital, London, said: 'The findings provide no encouragement for regular moderate drinking on the grounds of . . . promoting good health.'

The study showed the more alcohol drunk, the lower the heart attack death rate. This was most marked in men aged 55-59. Professor Shaper believed this could be attributed to healthier people continuing to drink, while those with serious heart disease tended to reduce or give up alcohol.