Alcohol lowers risk of RA?

Denise Mann writing in Healthday reported on a study published online in the swedish-flagBritish Medical Journal.  The report described a Swedish study that showed that drinking more than three alcoholic beverages a week for at least 10 years may cut a woman’s risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in half.

The study included more than 34,000 Swedish women born between 1914 and 1948. Researchers gathered information about their alcohol consumption, diet, smoking history, physical activity and education in 1987 and 1997. Participants were then followed for seven years. During this time, nearly 200 women were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Women who reported drinking more than three glasses of alcohol per week in both 1987 and 1997 were 52 percent less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who didn’t drink.

These findings held regardless of whether women consumed wine, spirits or glass-of-wine

beer. Exactly how alcohol may lower arthritis risk is not fully understood. The researchers speculate that it may alter the immune response and reduce inflammation.

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