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New York: Elderly people above 65 who are newly diagnosed with heart failure can continue moderate alcohol drinking without worsening their condition, a new study suggests.

The study showed an association between moderate drinking -- seven or fewer drinks per week -- and an extended survival of just over one year compared with those who abstained from alcohol.

However, the findings do not suggest that non-drinkers should start imbibing this after a heart failure diagnosis, the researchers emphasised.

"We have long known that the toxic effects of excessive drinking can contribute to heart failure. In contrast, we have data showing that healthy people who drink moderately seem to have some protection from heart failure over the long term, compared with people who do not drink at all," said senior author David L. Brown, Professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in the US.

But, people who develop heart failure at an older age and never drank should not start drinking, the team suggested in the paper published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Conversely, people who have had a daily drink or two before their diagnosis of heart failure can continue to do so without the concern of it causing harm.

However, decision should always be made in consultation with their doctors, the researchers noted.

For the study, the researchers included 5,888 adults.

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