Although studies have shown moderate alcohol consumption may protect the heart from some problems, periodic binges could have the opposite effect, a Milwaukee research team says. Dr. Harvey W. Gruchow, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the Medical College of Wisconsin, said those who drink large amounts of alcohol less than once a week had a relatively high level of coronary artery occlusion, which strongly increases the risk of heart attacks. In another report to the American Heart Association, researchers from the University of North Carolina said men and women with one or more years of college have higher levels of a so-called "good" cholesterol which may interfere with the process of atherosclerosis. "We have found that moderate amounts of alcohol can be protective against heart disease," Gruchow said. "We've also found that the pattern of alcohol use is important. Those who occasionally drink heavy amounts lose this protective effect. "Those who do it all at once aren't protected." the scientists defined a binge drinking pattern as the equivalent of at least three ounces of 200 proof alcohol consumed at a frequency of once a week or less often. The study of 273 male volunteers found that the average "binge drinker" consumed the equivalent 10 drinks once every 10 days. The study also showed that the extent of coronary occlusion increases in proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed during binges. in the North Carlina study headed by Dr. Heiss, better educated people seemed to have more high density lipoprotein (HDL), a beneficial cholesterol. Heiss said findings from the study of 2,182 white women and 2,386 white men may mean that men and women with more years of formal education are more aware of the importance of good personal health habits.