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3 Drinks a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the drink-em-if-you-got-em dept.

Idle 470

Nzimmer911 writes "Heavy drinkers outlive non-drinkers according to a 20 years study following 1,824 people. From the article: 'But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that - for reasons that aren't entirely clear - abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.'"

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Let's have them in lockup to cut down on doctors c (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33426904)

Let's have them in lockup to cut down on doctors costs there.

Re:Let's have them in lockup to cut down on doctor (4, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427236)

I think it was Dean Martin who said it best:

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."

Doctors give people beers in prohibition! (-1, Offtopic)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426936)

Doctors give people beers in prohibition! whats next pot as well?

stress (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426944)

I would say that people who don't drink are also worries. Did I close the door. Have I done all my homework. Are people going to like these shoes. How can I hide that I sleep around from my church. That sort of thing. People who drink may also spend less time worrying about the little details, and therefore have happier longer lives. Probably not, but maybe.

Re:stress (1)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427280)

They just worry about less things: where is the next drink, and why is it taking so long to come?

Less stressful.

Old News (2, Informative)

Serenissima (1210562) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427492)

Well, this has been studied before. This isn't anything new. Alcohol in moderation has been proven to reduce lots of types of disease and medical problems in those who only drink a little. The studies form a J-Curve where those who don't drink in a population have a certain number of (Strokes, heart attacks, etc). Those in the population who drink 1-2 drinks a day show a significant lowering of those symptoms. However, those who drink more than 3 drinks per day have a DRASTIC increase as they have more health problems like Cirrhosis of liver and other alcohol related problems.
Here's an article from 2004 [medscape.com] about the effects of alcohol and strokes and has an image of the J-Curve graph.

Eh (5, Funny)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426946)

Except next week they will "discover" the opposite, and the following week alcohol will cause cancer, and the week after that it will help you lose weight, and next month they'll find that it causes Parkinson's, and then next spring it will be therapeutic for the same illness, and then...

Re:Eh (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427020)

[citation needed]

Not for them, for you. Because TFA has one.

Re:Eh (3, Insightful)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427148)

Eggs.

Was good for you. Then bad for you. Now has good cholestorol. It's the prime example of why "studies" are nothing but trash. Follow some people, draw a conclusion based on horribly imperfect information and call it science!

Re:Eh (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427400)

Was good for you. Then bad for you. Now has good cholestorol. It's the prime example of why "studies" are nothing but trash. Follow some people, draw a conclusion based on horribly imperfect information and call it science!

I've significantly increased my consumption of eggs at the recommendation of a nutritionist. In a month or so I'm due another cholesterol test, so we will see if it helped me at all.

(Aside from losing 13 lbs over the past month.)

Re:Eh (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427496)

Me too. Lately they have been putting something in eggs that's making them scrumpdiddlyicious!

Re:Eh (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427594)

Tabasco?

Re:Eh (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427068)

Except next week they will "discover" the opposite...

Yeah. It's enough to drive me to drink.

Re:Eh (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427342)

Except that the studies have been leaning fairlly conclusively this direction for decades. We've known about the heart benefits since the 1970s, and recent studies continue to point even more strongly in this direction.

True, though, that it is a balancing act---binge drinking is linked to increased rates of certain benign breast diseases in women that can be precancerous, for example---but that seems to be true for pretty much everything.

Re:Eh (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427508)

Heavy drinkers outliving everyone else? We have a conclusive train of evidence dating back 40 years on that?

Re:Eh (3, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427202)

That's not the opposite.

This study measures a fact (death certificates vs reported drink rates).

Facts can vary with each collections but don't tend to reverse.

You can discover a problem with your collection methods but these researchers have other papers and have been doing this a while so it's unlikely (google their names).

Atherosclerosis (5, Interesting)

IdahoEv (195056) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427454)

This country is so very freaked about mind-altering substances, vices, and "sins", that it doesn't get talked about much. But the truth is it's been known for over a century that drinkers have cleaner arteries. Thinner blood, and/or some chemistry with the alcohol seems to help keep the plaques from forming.

Very heavy and binge drinking does start to cause other problems - and these results are what people bandy about in order to bash alcohol as a deadly vice. But it's been clear for a long time that moderate drinking can avoid those problems while still resulting in cleaner arteries. And since heart disease is the single biggest killer in the first world, it should be no surprise at all that anything which can reduce atherosclerosis results in a noticeable decrease in the death rate.

Nothing about this study is news to anyone who's paid attention to the science, anytime in the last hundred years.

You should read up on it. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427278)

I don't think I've ever seen a study on the long term effects of Alcohol that didn't reach the same conclusion as this study. It's paradoxical since the short term effects can be fatal, and as the article says it's known to cause specific diseases (like cancer). You should read up on it (or at least read the fucking article).

Re:Eh (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427284)

Except next week they will "discover" the opposite, and the following week alcohol will cause cancer, and the week after that it will help you lose weight, and next month they'll find that it causes Parkinson's, and then next spring it will be therapeutic for the same illness, and then...

Some citations to save the day then! (Attention pedants: Yes, I know these citations are all about beer and not alcohol specifically. Buy me a pint and we can discuss this matter further!)

Beer isn't fattening [theregister.co.uk] , fights cancer [theregister.co.uk] and heart disease [theregister.co.uk] all while making you smarter! [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Eh (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427530)

All of which are probably outdone and overdone by the corresponding weight gain in most people.

I have no cups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33426956)

No one has posted? Everyone must be out drinking...

To be perfectly clear ... (0, Troll)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426966)

Everybody's mortality rate is exactly the same: 100%

Really it's just a matter of when you die and how happy you are.

Re:To be perfectly clear ... (4, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427274)

That's mortality probability. A mortality rate (like many rates) is per unit time.

Re:To be perfectly clear ... (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427336)

Everybody's mortality rate is exactly the same: 100%

If you measure it on a large enough time scale, yes, but mortality rates are usually measured over the course of one year.

Really it's just a matter of when you die and how happy you are.

Couldn't have said it better.

Stress? (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426974)

I imagine tightwad teetotalers live lives consumed with mental stress. If you're so uptight and judgmental that you can't even enjoy a single drink, that's got to have a lot of negative influences on your state of mind. I can see how that would translate from mental health to physical health, giving us the results we see here.

Re:Stress? (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427010)

While I wouldn't be so bitter in my analysis, there's probably a great deal of scientific truth to what you're saying...

Re:Stress? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427138)

Yep. We already know that stress releases cortisol, which can cause a number of physical problems. I wonder if we'd find higher cortisol levels in non-drinkers than in drinkers.

There's also the old saw about people who don't drink, they're not the kind of people you would want to drink with anyway. That's consistent with non-drinkers being somewhat stuffier.

Re:Stress? (5, Funny)

Sinistar2k (225578) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427190)

Honestly, the only time I feel stress about being a tightwad teetotaler is when people offer to buy me a drink or try to hand me a beer and then express shock that I'm alcohol averse.

But then, I masturbate a lot, so maybe I just relieve stress in other ways.

Re:Stress? (1)

Codename Dutchess (1782238) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427196)

Why is it that you have to be uptight or judgmental to not drink? How about having less stress in your life that you don't need a beer to relax? Perhaps you can find some other way to 'have fun', that doesn't involve memory lapses or impaired motor functions. Myself, I can say that I've never had a 'eureka' moment while drunk. I've never looked back on the night before and gone, "Man, that fifth of vodka was awesome! Lets do it again!".

Re:Stress? (4, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427276)

"I've never looked back on the night before and gone, "Man, that fifth of vodka was awesome! Lets do it again!"."

You're not doing it right!!

Re:Stress? (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427318)

No one is mentioning blackouts or fifths of vodka. While the study found that non-drinkers had the youngest average death, the people who had the oldest were the moderate drinkers. Unless you're some kind of allergic or something, a beer or two is not going to give you blackouts or impair your functionality at all really.

Re:Stress? (4, Interesting)

FoboldFKY (785255) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427198)

I don't drink. But it's not because I'm a tightwad: I just hate the taste of alcohol. I can taste it in seemingly trace amounts in everything other than drinks with ridiculous amounts of sugar.

There is a smaller reason in that I've seen a lot of people, including friends, do... inadvisable things while drunk. The thought of not being in possession of my faculties and not being able to tell scares me.

I also know I have a somewhat addictive personality. So on the whole, I think I'll continue to not drink booze.

Re:Stress? (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427256)

"There is a smaller reason in that I've seen a lot of people, including friends, do... inadvisable things while drunk"

Yeah, but I bet they were laughing their asses off whilst they were doing it.

Drinking to excess once in a while is fun an d a great way to blow off steam. It's also dangerous and antisocial, which makes it even more appealing to some of us :)

Re:Stress? (1)

Captain Segfault (686912) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427432)

I don't drink. But it's not because I'm a tightwad: I just hate the taste of alcohol. I can taste it in seemingly trace amounts in everything other than drinks with ridiculous amounts of sugar.

Yeah. Ethyl alcohol doesn't exactly taste good. That's one reason I prefer liquor when actually trying to get drunk -- you don't have to drink as much liquid with alcohol in it.

To some extent it is an acquired taste.

There is a smaller reason in that I've seen a lot of people, including friends, do... inadvisable things while drunk. The thought of not being in possession of my faculties and not being able to tell scares me.

In my experience it's not that bad. If you're worried I suggest experiments in a controlled setting until you get a good idea of what the effects of alcohol are on you. By golly, by the time I'm even thinking of doing inadvisable things I know I am not in possession of my faculties!

I also know I have a somewhat addictive personality. So on the whole, I think I'll continue to not drink booze.

That might be a good reason.

Re:Stress? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427468)

I don't drink. But it's not because I'm a tightwad: I just hate the taste of alcohol. I can taste it in seemingly trace amounts in everything other than drinks with ridiculous amounts of sugar.

Yes. A thousand times.

Re:Stress? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427586)

There is a smaller reason in that I've seen a lot of people, including friends, do... inadvisable things while drunk. The thought of not being in possession of my faculties and not being able to tell scares me.

This sounds not carefree. Considering the OPs premise was non-drinkers are less care free it is kind of supporting OP.

This is not to say start drinking, especially with a concern about addiction, but simply you could be a mild case of supporting OPs premise about the correlation, but not causation of drinking and longer life.

No offense meant.

Re:Stress? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427226)

Some people just hate the taste of alcohol.

And a lot of people around the world can't consume it (and would probably die much earlier if they did).

But if the reasons are mental/philosophical I completely agree with you.

And in those cases, pot would probably serve just as well. Let's hope it is legalized in california this fall!

Much better for diabetics.

Re:Stress? (2, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427244)

You do know that many non-drinkers have no intrinsic problem with drinking, but abstain for a variety of personal reasons, right? To me, alcohol takes foul and triggers migraines, so I avoid it. (I have no actual problem with anyone else drinking, usual cavaets about moderation, driving, etc. in effect.) I have friends who come from families of alcoholics and who therefore avoid alcohol for pretty obvious reasons. Frankly, you're been pretty insulting to all of us with your generalizations.

(For that matter, anyone who can only relax by drinking probably has as many problems as anyone who can't unwind long enough to drink. Just saying.)

Re:Stress? (1)

NEW22 (137070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427340)

Why is someone who doesn't drink necessarily a tightwad? Is a person who doesn't drink also necessarily judgemental? Your comment could be read as being pretty judgemental itself.

Also, the 2nd sentence... "If you're so uptight and judgemental you can't even enjoy a single drink, that's got to have a lot of negative influence on your state of mind."...

Can't you use that same logic for any other activity other than drinking? "If you're so uptight and judgmental you can't even enjoy a single prostitute/line of coke/bacon butter cheeseburger/hot gay sex experience/ice cold Mt. Dew..." etc. Basically, you seem to be privileging alcohol consumption in an odd way here.

The most shocking part? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33426994)

Nothing.

It is only a shock because the perception of Alcohol as an always harmful poison has been enhanced past reality by prohibitionist types.

It seems that a readily available solvent does some spring cleaning on the circulatory system with benefits that outweigh the over-hyped downsides of liver effects and social problems that do effect a subset of users.

Stress? (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426996)

I'd wager it has something to do with the relative stress levels of the people.

Alcohol is great for relaxing, and one might argue that people who are wine or beer drinkers tend to be more laid back across the board.

Alcohol can also kill off yucky bacteria that you might have in your throat or mouth.

It can also thin your blood a bit and decrease the risk of blood clots and various other things of that sort.

Re:Stress? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427544)

Alcohol can also kill off yucky bacteria that you might have in your throat or mouth.

Did they classify people who use mouthwash as "drinkers"?

Chill out factor (1, Interesting)

TamCaP (900777) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427006)

a) as usual, one of the favorite caveats of Slsahdot: correlation != causation
b) it would be interesting to see if choice of abstinence (not forced due to alcoholism or previous medical condition) is actually undertaken by people with higher level of general stress or those who are less social. As in, moderately consumed alcohol is basically being a "have reasonable fun" catalyst, which probably should increase life expectancy at least slightly.

Re:Chill out factor (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427094)

They don't point out causation, just correlation. Essentially the study authors have no idea *why* heavy drinkers seem to outlive teetotalers, but they appear to do so. If you read the article, they have actually tried to factor for a remarkable number of factors, from social strata, to number of friends and family (and of course alcoholism in earlier life).

It's really a pretty interesting bit of research, and not just because it shows that doing the fun thing isn't always doing the worst thing.

Re:Chill out factor (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427466)

I spent the first 35 years of my life NOT drinking. Just a personal choice.

Then I started drinking, and seriously, my life got better.

Re:Chill out factor (3, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427520)

It was more like 23 or 24 years in my case, and since then I’ve noticed that drinking made good times better and bad times worse. YMMV.

Beer (3, Interesting)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427014)

"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Attributed to Ben Franklin and I'm too lazy to verify it.

I don't find this information at all surprising, but I'm happy enough to hear it. make mine a double too.

Re:Beer (1)

lemmis_86 (1135345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427212)

Make the most of the hemp seed and sow it everywhere - George Washington .... :)

Applied Natural Selection (1)

Selfunfocused (1215732) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427032)

Alcohol kills off my weakest cells, leaving only the fittest.

This is not surprising (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427038)

We've know for a LONG time that teetotalers had higher rates of heart attacks than social drinkers. Abstention from alcohol is unnatural - even apes have been found to make home brew using fruits. And where do you think the "milk from contented cows" came from? That silage at the end of the winter stinks of alcohol, it's been partially fermenting for months.

Re:This is not surprising (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427386)

Dunno. I'm the first person in my family who hasn't been in farming in some form or another and I've never heard the term "milk from contented cows" before. However making your own silohooch is easy as dumping a jug at the bottom of your silo, filling it up and waiting.

Re:This is not surprising (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427500)

It was a marketing slogan for California? dairy products. If you didn't live in the West coast (west of the rocky mountains it's likely you'd never hear of it), as dairy products are split into two major markets (east of the rockies where milk prices are based on your distance from Eau Claire, WI and west of the Rockys where they're set by other criteria. Maintaining that price is the source of government cheese.

Re:This is not surprising (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427554)

I'm the first person in my family who hasn't been in farming in some form or another and I've never heard the term "milk from contented cows" before.

Carnation Evaporated Milk [wikipedia.org]

They never define what a heavy drinker is. (0, Redundant)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427060)

They never define what a heavy drinker is. If there are negative effects associated with excessive drinking and positive effects with "heavy" drinking then it's just semantics. "Heavy drinking" is now that proper amount and excessive drinking will be called heavy drinking. Just assign a quantitative value so everyone has an unambiguous definition.

Re:They never define what a heavy drinker is. (4, Informative)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427326)

The article says that they define heavy drinking as more than three drinks a day.

Does that help?

Religious post incoming... (1)

Titan1080 (1328519) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427092)

This must be why the average lifespan of Muslims is so low. BrB; researching Mormon lifespans...

Re:Religious post incoming... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33427460)

This is only in Utah: http://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol10/3/ [demographic-research.org] but it found better life expectancy among LDS (mormon) people, so there are definitely studies that show opposite results.

Re:Religious post incoming... (3, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427578)

They also abstain from tobacco and caffeine. It’s not like alcohol is the only factor here...

"for reasons that aren't exactly clear" (1, Insightful)

M. Kristopeit (1890764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427098)

how are the reasons not clear? alcohol kills cells... the regenerative immune system is stimulated while the environment is made less hospitable to bacteria or any organism or weak cells that might turn cancerous or otherwise cause problems...

like a herd of buffalo... booze comes in and kills the weakest link.

Re:"for reasons that aren't exactly clear" (2, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427234)

Woah, you should submit your findings to Nature.

No, I don't want to be premature here, but I think I smell a Nobel in Medicine.

Re:"for reasons that aren't exactly clear" (1)

M. Kristopeit (1890764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427378)

why would i care if anyone else understands the obvious? i only commented to point out the idiocy of someone making a public announcement of ignorance.

if you lay in bed all day every day, you'll die sooner. if you move around and stimulate the organic functions of your body and cells, they are given more opportunity to adaptively regenerate.

autoimmune atrophy.

Re:"for reasons that aren't exactly clear" (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427330)

They were probably restricting themselves to scientific evidence, not reasoning that someone made up because it sounded logical.

Re:"for reasons that aren't exactly clear" (1)

M. Kristopeit (1890764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427408)

given that science can't explain consciousness or the basis of sentient life to begin with, putting those restrictions on themselves for an experiment on a higher level was guaranteeing their own failure.

putting the roof on a house before laying a foundation...

Well yea... (5, Funny)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427104)

It's easy to avoid sports-related, travelling, or stress-related fatalities if you're passed out on the deck.

I have a theory (3, Interesting)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427116)

While the WC Fields wino-stereotype is quite common in fiction, its actually not very common in the real world. Most alcoholics tend to be thin, and to a lesser extend borderline malnourished. Their poison of choice is alcohol, it occupies most of their spare time. In contrast, most western nations now have major dietary problems -- most people are overweight due to lifestyle, choice of foods, and lack of exercise. Its not that alcoholics or heavy drinkers are more healthy, its that they're not as unhealthy as the median (of fatties and smokers).

Re:I have a theory (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427302)

Well, to be fair, they're not saying alcoholics live longer, just that heavy drinkers do. There's a difference between an addict who is poisoning themselves thin with it, and the fat jolly man that has a fair number of beers a few more times a week than we thought was healthy.

Re:I have a theory (1)

archmcd (1789532) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427308)

Your assumption is that these three groups, alcoholics, fatties and smokers, are mutually exclusive. I would have to see some significant proof showing alcoholics in general eat healthier than the median and do not smoke. I, for one, am an alcoholic, and I've observed first-hand the unhealthy environment bars tend to be - filled with cigarette smoke, booze and greasy deep-fried fatty foods. I myself don't expect to live past 40, but we'll see.

Re:I have a theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33427548)

"I, for one, am an alcoholic, and I've observed first-hand the unhealthy environment bars tend to be - filled with cigarette smoke, booze and greasy deep-fried fatty foods."

Keep in mind that in today's world, "eating healthier" than the normal joe sixpack can easily be done by not eating much at all. Sure you'll be malnurished, but your arteries won't likely be as choked with cholesterol and other shit.

Also, this is by following like a bit under 2000 people. There are millions and billions of people they aren't taking into account here.

Re:I have a theory (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427348)

Never been a Reservation or Native area have you?

Alcoholism can cause obesity.

Confusion... (2, Insightful)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427130)

I think what confuses me more than the result is why this study hadn't already been performed already. It's such an obvious study that everyone would be interested about.

What gives?

well that settles it. (1, Interesting)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427136)

guess I am getting back on the wagon... or is it off the wagon. Where's my bottle opener...

Food (1)

lemmis_86 (1135345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427140)

This could be due to many other factors than just alcohol. What about the food? Who eats more additives? Maybe the alcoholics only eat fresh food, and the nondrinkers eat a lot of fastfoods with tons of food additives. And, as many have noted: stress. I personally believe that non drinkers live longer, as long as you have your mental health under control (stress). Cannabis smokers probably live the longest :) Alcohol is still a poison for the human body and damages the liver, so it can't imagine that it would be healthy in the long run. The majority of non drinkers in this study must have been religious freaks with no spirituality what so ever... start doing qigong or whatever (have a joint).

Re:Food (1, Insightful)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427176)

What about people who abstained from drinking alcohol because they were sick?

Here we go again (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427160)

From TFA:

heavy drinkers are less likely to die than people who have never drunk.

      Oh really? Gee the way I see it, both groups are 100% likely to die. Now I would accept "less likely to die before age X", or "less likely to die from disease Y", but as it stands the above sentence is utter rubbish.

      When will science reporters sit down and analyze what they write?

Re:Here we go again (4, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427370)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazard_ratio [wikipedia.org]

This is what they're talking about. Don't blame the reporters; if they said "non-drinkers have a hazard ratio of 1.6 ± 0.2 (p 0.05) relative to heavy drinkers" most people would say "Whaaa ...?"

Stress release??? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427184)

Maybe because having a drink sort of releases the build of stress, and they say stress is the #1 killer,
but then again, I might just be looking for any excuse to drink!

Three drinks a day is "heavy"? (4, Insightful)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427192)

Three drinks a day is moderate. If you regularly have a few drinks with friends after work, you're not drinking heavily. This is the same kind of nonsense as the claim that five or six drinks in two hours constitutes a binge. I don't know why the hell we let people who hate the idea of a good time dictate what's socially acceptable, to the point where anyone who doesn't conform is labeled an alcoholic and stuck in a treatment / proselytizing program.

Re:Three drinks a day is "heavy"? (2, Insightful)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427374)

I think what you meant to say is, "Hi, my name is sco08y and I'm an alcoholic."

I do agree with you though.
I mean, "Hi, my name is Taibhsear and I'm an alcoholic."

Re:Three drinks a day is "heavy"? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33427498)

3 drinks a day is a heavy drinker even if that is 1 for lunch and 2 with dinner. 6 drinks a day is an alcoholic.

2 or less drinks a day is moderate. 2 drinks a week is a lite drinker.

I'd drink more, but can't see wasting so much money to make myself fall asleep AND paying $20 for cab rides home would need to be included in the cost. There isn't any public transportation where I live AND there aren't any places in walking distance to drink socially besides my home.

BTW, my contract prohibits mind altering substances, including alcohol. on the way to or from work OR during a break.

I am a little concerned about the tone of your post - if drinking is THAT important to you socially, seems you need a better type of friend.

I'm amazed no one has said it.... (1)

madfilipino (557839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427216)

I'll drink to that!!!

Back in college... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427240)

whenever someone complained they couldn't go out drinking due to being sick, we used to say, "alcohol kills all germs!"

Looks like we were right.

There goes my pension plan (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427250)

There goes my pension plan: looks like I can't drink myself to the point where I won't live long enough to need a pension...

Well spaced drinks... (1)

realsilly (186931) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427262)

...probably helps keep people happy, and happy people are usually less stressed out. Wine is good for the heart. Liquor helps kill germs and sterilize, right? Beer is good for any reason.

Now how to space it so I'm always happy....

blah blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33427272)

Disclaimer: I drink. Alot.

You cannot trust the numbers. People have (in the past), can (right now), and will continue to (in the future) rig the numbers for whatever interest is providing the funding. Non profit organizations aren't excluded, although the corporate entity may not be making money off of it someone within the organization stands to make a lot of money off of something like this. I remember in the past all of the studies showing that wine was good for your heart, and that drinking with a meal aided in digestion. This is bogus. The people that brought the study together regarding the wine were catering to special interest groups. And drinking "helps" digestion in a negative way. Alcohol irritates membrane in the lining of your intestines, this irritation does produce more fluids to aid in breaking down the food but it comes at a massive disadvantage. It is akin to saying "I have a cure that instantly remedies athlete's foot. It is sawing your foot off with a hacksaw."

Re:blah blah blah (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427360)

""I have a cure that instantly remedies athlete's foot. It is sawing your foot off with a hacksaw."

Mind if I have a few drinks before we get the saw out?!?!?

"risk of dying"? (0, Offtopic)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427312)

Summary:

...tend to increase one's risk of dying...

Isn't my risk of dying, uh, pretty close to 1, regardless of other factors?

Prost! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33427314)

What doesn't alcohol help you with? Better brain, longer life, more fun, less stress ;)
http://science.slashdot.org/story/05/01/20/1459230/Alcohol-is-Good-for-Your-Brain
http://science.slashdot.org/story/06/12/20/1913227/Drinking-Alcohol-May-Extend-Your-Life

Anyway, decades ago my grandmother's doctor already told her to occasionally drink a glass of wine or sparkling wine because it's good for your circulatory system or something like that.

I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned in the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33427338)

Alcohol increases your HDL cholesterol levels. This alone could explain the mortality rates.

what is the death rate (1)

vxice (1690200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427352)

one per person.

Ridiculous (1, Insightful)

Gandhizzle (1890798) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427362)

What a ridiculous study and article. It's a pretty narrow sample population (only 1,824 people who had outpatient care), and it has a huge age range without taking into account any other age ranges. They can't take such a narrow sample, especially one with such a strange and not-so-common denominator (outpatient care), and apply it to the population in general to make conclusions that fly in the face of other studies that use real stratified sampling. Also, what's with the unfounded statements the writer makes? "One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do." Consistent finding? Where are his citations? He doesn't have them... Time just wants hits on their website because it increases their revenue, so they write a biased article about a poorly-devised study, and what do you know? It works. It's pretty sad. They should stick with their "Top 10" and "Top 100" lists they put out all the time. At least then they're inherently based on opinions and not trying to mask them with nonsense they call science.... just my two cents.

Statistical Significane? (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427366)

The sample of those who were studied included individuals between ages 55 and 65 who had had any kind of outpatient care in the previous three years. The 1,824 participants were followed for 20 years. One drawback of the sample: a disproportionate number, 63%, were men. Just over 69% of the never-drinkers died during the 20 years, 60% of the heavy drinkers died and only 41% of moderate drinkers died.

What's missing is information on the uncertainty. The difference between 60% and 69% mortality isn't that much in a study this small. If you divide up the participants equally into three categories, I can easily see the two values being not statistically significantly different. (It's harder to imagine the 41% isn't significantly lower, though.)

Just 1 caveat... (2, Interesting)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427390)

These studies are not new, and doctors have known about the 'J' shaped curve for a while - where abstaining is correlated with high all-cause mortality than moderate alcohol intake, but heavy intake is associated with increased mortality too. However, these studies have only shown a correlation, not a causation, and until we have a randomised control trial (which is unlikely ever to happen) this is unlikely to be proven clearly. There is some suggestion that the correlation may be to do with a confounding factor - which is social drinking. Those drinking 3/day every other day, likely have a good social environment, which is independently linked to improved health. On the other hand, the cardiologist at our local hospital believes it is a true effect of alcohol and prescribes two glasses of wine to all patients admitted with a myocardial infarction/heart attack.

Drink standing or die! (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427428)

But, as we learned [slashdot.org] yesterday, sitting down kills, so I guess there are some stand-up drinkers bumping up the average somewhere.

Not exactly news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33427502)

At my medical school, I've heard professors say on several occasions that drinking a single measure of alcohol (defined as either 1 dl of wine, 2,5 dl of beer or 0,3 dl of spirit) a day is beneficial to your health, though nobody can say why that is. It's usually mentioned in the context of the French paradox [wikipedia.org] . Of course, they never forget to mention to be careful about spreading that bit of information around - you never know when you might be talking to an alcoholic in recovery. Certainly puts the habits of Mad Men characters in a new perspective.
I am surprised, though, at the article claiming that alcohol abstination is more common in lower socioeconomic classes. I was always under the impression that lower standard of living leads to higher prevalence of alcoholism and that higher income usually correlates with better higher health consciousness.

Practice makes perfect (1)

Keith111 (1862190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427504)

I imagine this is due to alcohol being considered a poison by the body, thus making the body work to kick out toxic substance. Keep your body in shape by giving it a lot of practice fighting off things probably keeps you stronger.

Does anybody know anything about anything? (1)

fkx (453233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427522)

Does anybody know anything about anything?

I'm reminded of the Woody Allen film "Sleepers".

Great, there goes the universe... (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33427552)

After hearing about this, the Daleks have instituted a strict regimen of daily alcohol intake to ward of The Oncoming Storm...

One Word: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33427568)

Yes!

And more time to drink!

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