[ExI] Drinking

Alejandro Dubrovsky alito at organicrobot.com
Thu Feb 9 00:06:15 UTC 2012

On 02/08/12 14:41, Kelly Anderson wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 6, 2012 at 1:59 AM, Kryonica <kryonica at gmail.com> wrote:
>> This morning on BBC news "too much drinking" is once more all the
>> rage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16869618
>> Does anyone know how well founded scientifically is all this talk
>> about for instance increased risk of mouth cancer if one glass of
>> wine regularly turns into two or three?  I get suspicious with
>> these general statements (after being repeatedly reminded by Anders
>> that they have to be taken with a pinch of salt and that one must
>> always have a look at the real scientific article behind them), and
>> all the more so because I like my red wine and have read elsewhere
>> (on the BBC!) that it is good for me :-/  The BBC article is full
>> of very sweeping statements indeed that would require some expert
>> reading to sort the wheat from the chaff.
> I understand that even a little alcohol does increase the incidence
> of breast cancer, but I can't point to the specific research.
> However, it was reinforced recently by my girl friend's doctor (while
> getting a mammogram).
> There is a lot of anti-alcohol sentiment where I live (Utah), so it
> is difficult to separate out what is real and what is not.
> Drinking while pregnant, even in relatively small amounts does 
> increase the chances of FAS for the fetus. That's not a fun one.
> I don't think anyone would argue for large amounts of alcohol. That 
> clearly does liver damage and lots of other bad stuff. Had a friend
> of a friend die last week from that stuff.
> There are of course the reports that the antioxidants in red wine 
> helping the French. The question is whether you could get
> antioxidants some other way... and I don't think we know a lot about
> the health hazards of just a little alcohol. There are some
> indications that longevity is better in people who never use any
> alcohol, but since the people in those studies also didn't typically
> smoke, it's hard to draw a very strong conclusion.

I thought the epidemiological studies about alcohol were relatively
solid: light drinkers live longer than non-drinkers, and whether it is
wine or beer or anything else doesn't make a difference. Higher odds of
cancer, more than compensating lower odds of cardiovascular death.

Meta-analysis reviews:
http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d671  (0.87x)
http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/166/22/2437 (0.82x)

None of this proves causation, and there are many suggested mechanisms
of action not related to anti-oxidants.

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