New Study Supports Moderate Drinking

The so-called U-shaped curve of alcohol consumption risk has long puzzled researchers, but some new work on the subject has added weight to the theory that moderate alcohol drinking really does protect us against mortality. The new work has ruled out stress as a complicating factor in such research.

The International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research recently reported on a review of data from a large and well-known project, the WHO Monica study based in Germany. By way of explanation: the U-curve shows that moderate alcohol drinkers have lower total mortality than non-drinkers (which is unexpected) or heavy drinkers (expected). Why total abstention should carry a greater risk than any level of drinking has puzzled many of us observers.

Is it because the non-drinker group contains reformed alcoholics, sick people or people with psychological issues? The answer is no: in the past this may have been the case, but these days such people are excluded from studies. But the question remains: could there be other ‘confounders’? This study investigated whether ‘confounders’ such as family and social support, depressive tendency, job strain, somatic (physical) symptoms and self-perceived health status (including, I assume, hypochondria) could have been influencing the results.

The short answer is no: these possible confounders were proven to have no effect on the results. In other words, the idea that alcohol itself is giving the protective effect, is further strengthened. This is good news for wine-lovers.

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