August 27, 2010

Booze and Lose…Or Not?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "” Rumor has it that one glass of red wine a day helps keep heart disease away. But there has always been disagreement about the health benefits of moderate drinking. A new"”and different"”study confirms that limited alcohol consumption can really reduce mortality in older adults.

The benefits of moderate drinking are complicated because a number of underlying health risks can affect both alcohol consumption and mortality. Studies from the past have been observational. Usually comparing one group of people who drink any varying amount of alcohol to those who do not drink at all. "Because conditions in these observational studies are not controlled and the characteristics of persons who choose to drink varying amounts of alcohol or not differ quite a bit, it is impossible to prove that alcohol consumption causes reduced risks for coronary heart disease, diabetes or mortality," Alison A. Moore, professor of medicine and psychiatry in the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles was quoted as saying.

Researchers followed nearly 2,000 older adults who were former or current drinkers for 20 years. Daily alcohol consumption and a number of social and demographic factors were noted. Those who did not drink and those who drank heavily showed an increased mortality risk of 49 and 42 percent compared to those who drank in moderation.

"In other words, the association of moderate drinking and reduced mortality among older adults is reduced but still present when taking into consideration factors that affect both alcohol consumption and mortality," Moore said.

SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research