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Heavy drinkers outlive nondrinkers

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Posted · Report post

See here.

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Posted · Report post

Nothing new. Exactly 35 years ago I was snarkily mentioning this to tee totalers at my old church. Moderate drinkers (1 to 3 drinks a day!?) do the best as always.

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Posted · Report post

My grandmother drank one to two gin martinis a day for probably 50 years. She died of natural causes in 2007 at the spry age of 95. The night of her departure, she ate some very rich Italian food and had two martinis.

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Posted · Report post

Ben Goldacre's not quite commenting on the same survey here, but I bet a good few of his observations are also valid.

Matt

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Ben Goldacre's not quite commenting on the same survey here, but I bet a good few of his observations are also valid.

Matt

I'm not sure. This wasn't a survey, and seems to be a more thorough study. To quote the article:

But even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables - socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on - the researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second-highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Posted · Report post

But I think the point that the observed difference is not necessarily because of the alcohol may still have some validity (to be fair to the article, it does a good job of leaving the actual cause open).

Matt

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Posted · Report post

Alcohol is more lethal than heroin.

FWIW, the headline is fairly misleading, but it's still an interesting study.

I dunno. Ranking alcohol high because it's so widely used seems bogus. You could just as easily turn it around and emphasize how innocuous it is, because look at all the people who use it safely on a regular basis, compared to the much smaller number of people who use heroin on a regular basis while remaining functional in their lives.

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Posted · Report post

I thought this research was fairly classic NHS type stuff. This metric is not concerned with the actual lethality of a given substance, but its overall effect on health care services in a given area. The headline actually uses the word "dangerous," which in the broader context of public health may be true.

Does alcohol command more health care resources than heroin? It seems that is the case by a pretty big margin. This makes it an inherently more dangerous substance from a public health perspective. It endangers more people in general.

An aside:

As health care in the US turns away from privatized, individual-oriented care to more generalized federal models, this kind of epidemiology is going to become more prevalent. UK media, for example, is directly responsible for the proliferation of all this home remodeling, possession auctioning, weight losing reality TV that has become popular in the US. Why? Because when the population is always being confronted with ways to keep their bodies and homes cleaner, NHS health care costs go down.

I don't think this is a bad thing. Leviticus 13 has the same cultural effect.

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