(HealthDay)—There is a modest association between long-term, moderate alcohol consumption and reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in women, according to a study published online April 11 in Arthritis & Rheumatology.
Bing Lu, M.D., Dr.P.H., from Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues evaluated the association of alcohol consumption and the risk of RA in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and Nurses' Health Study II (NHSII). Alcohol consumption was assessed with food frequency questionnaires, which were completed every four years.
The researchers identified 580 incident RA cases diagnosed in the NHS during 1.90 million years of person-time evaluated from 1980 to 2008, and 323 incident RA cases diagnosed in the NHSII during 1.78 million years of person-time evaluated from 1989 to 2009. The pooled adjusted hazard ratio for alcohol use of 5.0 to 9.9 grams/day was 0.78 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.61 to 1.00), compared with no use. The association appeared stronger among seropositive RA cases (hazard ratio, 0.69). Compared with women who never drank beer, those who drank beer two to four times per week had a 31 percent decreased risk.
"We found a modest association between long-term moderate alcohol drinking and reduced risk of RA," the authors write.
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