jamie goode's wine blog: Drink wine and live longer

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Drink wine and live longer

The subject of wine and health is an interesting and complex topic. A new scientific paper in the American Journal of Medicine is a welcome addition to the literature, because it seems to be pretty free of the issue of confounding, where other factors could potentially explain the results (an example of this would be that moderate wine drinkers tend to be moderate in other areas of their life, for example they may eat more healthily than other groups).

The paper in question is titled 'Adopting Moderate Alcohol Consumption in Middle Age: Subsequent Cardiovascular Events', and the results are summarized in the abstract thus:
"Of 7697 participants who had no history of cardiovascular disease and were nondrinkers at baseline, within a 6-year follow-up period, 6.0% began moderate alcohol consumption (2 drinks per day or fewer for men, 1 drink per day or fewer for women) and 0.4% began heavier drinking. After 4 years of follow-up, new
moderate drinkers had a 38% lower chance of developing cardiovascular disease than did their persistently nondrinking counterparts. This difference persisted after adjustment for demographic and cardiovascular risk factors (odds ratio 0.62, 95% confidence interval, 0.40-0.95)."

There's a BBC news piece on this paper here. The conclusion seems quite clear, to me. If you are middle-aged, then if you can take up moderate wine drinking without becoming an alcoholic, then you will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

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