The data comes from a large prospective public health study in Japan involving more than 19,000 subjects evaluated for the incidence of stroke and heart disease relative to drinking habits. As one would expect, light-to-moderate drinkers had fewer episodes (this has been reported in studies too numerous to list) and heavy drinkers had more. In epidemiology this is known as a J-shaped curve, about which more in my book. What was unique about this study was the use of a measure called the "social support score" which looks at patterns of social behavior. When this was applied as a filter (a tool known as stratification) the risk of stroke was significantly lower among social drinkers.
There are a number of ways this can be interpreted. The most likely one is that it is simply a "marker" for healthy behaviors and a healthful drinking habit. But from an anti-aging point of view, it is an important finding, as it reinforces the well-known phenomenon of people living longer when they are connected and engaged in their communities. This study provides a link between the two.
I say cheers to that. Join me for a glass of wine?