Women and Alcohol : Not much leeway between healthful and harmful drinking

Published: July, 2006

BOSTON, MA — Various studies suggest that moderate drinking helps prevent cardiovascular disease and lowers the risk for dementia. What hasn't made the headlines are the downsides of alcohol for women. The July issue of Harvard Women's Health Watch reports on the risks of alcohol, and why women, especially older women, are particularly vulnerable to them.

There is solid evidence for benefits from moderate drinking. For example, studies have shown that one drink per day, compared with no drinking at all, can reduce a woman's risk for heart disease and stroke by as much as 50%. Other research suggests that older women who drink moderately have better cognitive skills.

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