Alcohol’s benefits debunked: Heart research reviewed

Researchers from Canada, USA, and Australia have together produced a meta-analysis of 54 published studies, regarding drinking, and death from all causes and from coronary heart disease (CHD).

The report found that many of the previous prospective studies have failed to distinguish between former drinkers and persons who never were drinkers.

This systematic error was used to support the hypothesis that alcohol use (by older users) reduces CHD risk.

Research actually showed: no evidence of alcohol helping heart

The researchers found that the few studies without this error showed no evidence of health benefits.

People may abstain because they are sick—they are not sick because they abstain.

The new study supports an early researcher’s idea that an apparent benefit is merely due to a ‘reduction or termination of drinking in older people due to increased illness, disability, frailty and/or medication use.’

Kaye M. Fillmore, William C. Kerr, Tim Stockwell, Tanya Chikritzhs, Alan Bostrom, 2006, ‘Moderate alcohol use and reduced mortality risk: Systematic error in prospective studies’, http://www.iogt.org/pdf/m350jp7v218202g8.pdf

Besides, researchers from Brazil found that in certain populations, drinking is not even statistically associated with lower coronary heart disease. They questioned ‘whether the cardioprotective effect of alcohol is real or may be confounded by lifestyle characteristics of drinkers.’

Flávio D. Fuchs, Lloyd E. Chambless, Aaron R. Folsom, Marsha L. Eigenbrodt, Bruce B. Duncan, Adam Gilbert, Moyses Szklo, 1 Sep. 2004, ‘Association between Alcoholic Beverage Consumption and Incidence of Coronary Heart Disease in Whites and Blacks’, American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 160, No. 5, pp. 466-474, http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/160/5/466.full

Again, researchers (after excluding certain confounding factors) have associated drinking with greater risk of future heart disease. ‘In conclusion, our findings add to the emerging evidence that binge drinking is associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease…’ ‘Surprisingly, our findings also raise the possibility that even moderate alcohol consumption could have proatherogenic effects [harmful effects on arteries] among young adults.’

Mark J. Pletcher, Paul Varosy, Catarina I. Kiefe, Cora E. Lewis, Stephen Sidney, Stephen B. Hulley, 1 Mar. 2005, ‘Alcohol Consumption, Binge Drinking, and Early Coronary Calcification: Findings from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study’, American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 161, No. 5, pp. 423-433, http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/161/5/423.full

American Heart Association cautions: ‘NOT to start drinking’

Why should anyone be told to start drinking under the illusion of heart disease prevention?

Alcohol is known to increase the danger of: ‘alcoholism, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, breast cancer, suicide and accidents.’ ‘the American Heart Association cautions people NOT to start drinking…’

American Heart Association, ‘Alcohol and Cardiovascular Disease’, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Alcohol-and-Cardiovascular-Disease_UCM_305173_Article.jsp

Cancer Council Australia: drinking won’t help heart

‘In the past, researchers believed red wine might have had health benefits for heart disease, but this does not appear to be the case.’

Cancer Council Australia, http://www.cancer.org.au/preventing-cancer/reduce-your-risk/limit-alcohol.html

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