We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Moderate levels of alcohol, good or bad?

Gene Expression
By Razib Khan
Jun 16, 2009 6:03 PMNov 5, 2019 9:33 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

Alcohol's Good for You? Some Scientists Doubt It:

For some scientists, the question will not go away. No study, these critics say, has ever proved a causal relationship between moderate drinking and lower risk of death -- only that the two often go together. It may be that moderate drinking is just something healthy people tend to do, not something that makes people healthy. "The moderate drinkers tend to do everything right -- they exercise, they don't smoke, they eat right and they drink moderately," said Kaye Middleton Fillmore, a retired sociologist from the University of California, San Francisco, who has criticized the research. "It's very hard to disentangle all of that, and that's a real problem." ... "The bottom line is there has not been a single study done on moderate alcohol consumption and mortality outcomes that is a 'gold standard' kind of study -- the kind of randomized controlled clinical trial that we would be required to have in order to approve a new pharmaceutical agent in this country," said Dr. Tim Naimi, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are obvious issues with a randomized controlled clinical trial outlined in this article. The bigger issue seems to be that associations are overwhelming in the medical literature, and the way the media works in relation to health stories means that preliminary stuff gets way over-hyped very quickly. On the other hand, the article doesn't mention resveratrol and red wine. I suspect that's because at least there's a plausible biochemical mechanism from animal studies in this particular case in addition to an association.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.