Friday, March 31, 2006

Booze Health Benefits Studies Drowning In Flaws

A man in a liquor store. An international team of researchers have found that most studies suggesting that moderate drinking staves off heart disease are flawed (AFP/File)

It never fails, come St. Patrick's Day, Spring Break, Graduation, the Holiday season, hey! - a slow news day, there are these stories about scientific studies that extol the health virtues of drinking alcohol (...in moderation).

Some truth about how these studies were conducted are coming to light and the results are a little woozey.

Excerpts from AFP via Yahoo News -

Studies showing health benefits of alcohol are flawed
Thu Mar 30, 6:17 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Most studies suggesting that moderate drinking staves off heart disease are flawed, an international team of researchers concluded in a report.

In the suspect studies, people who had cut back or quit drinking because they were ill, frail or on medication were counted as "abstainers," whose death rates were compared to that of drinkers, said the study released in San Francisco.
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"These findings suggest that caution should be exerted in recommending light drinking to abstainers because of the possibility that this result may be more apparent than real," said Tim Stockwell of the Centre for Addictions Research at the University of Victoria.
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Too few studies have been done without the "abstainer error" to conclude that drinking has health benefits, the researchers said.
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