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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

S.F. Research Hospitals Say 1-2 Cups of Booze a Day Keep the Doctor Away

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 5:30 AM

Those of you who woke up this morning in the bushes of McLaren Park in a post-St. Pat's haze with strange clothes on your back, strange phone numbers written on your extremities, and the taste of yesterday's Irish Car Bomb on your lips -- take heed. A group of San Francisco scientists have published research claiming moderate boozing may help you live a longer, healthier life (sleeping on a rake in the park: Not so much).

A paper in the current edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society penned by researchers from U.C. San Francisco and the San Francisco VA Medical Center claims that "moderate drinkers" of one or two servings of alcohol a day are 25 percent less likely to be struck down by an untimely death than those who drink more. No surprise there -- but moderate drinkers are also 25 percent less likely to drop dead than non-drinkers. What's more, unlike other studies that affirmed the health benefits of moderate drinking but did not factor in details like age, sex, race, , smoking, or obesity, this study did -- and moderate drinkers still came out on top. 

The study, which was conducted on 12,519 participants 55 years old or

more, also found that moderate drinkers were better educated, had

higher incomes, had amassed more wealth and were less functionally

limited (i.e. able to carry out more basic daily activities) than their

hard-drinking or non-drinking colleagues. Incidentally, a "drink" is

considered to be 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces

of the hard stuff.

click to enlarge lampion.jpg


author Dr. Sei J.Lee -- a staffer at the VA and a UCSF professor --

said further study past the self-reported data he culled is required

before moderate drinking can definitively be declared a boon to health.

Lee's advice is not uncontroversial: Find teetotalers and give 'em a


"What we call for in the paper is an intervention trial

in which we randomly ask non-drinkers to either begin moderate drinking

or continue to abstain and then compare them over time," says the

doctor. "People have made the argument that such a study carreis the

risk of creating harm for the people we ask to drink, which is true.

However, if we find that alcohol is as helpful as it appears to be,

there is a substantial overall benefit to be gaine.d It's really the

only way to find out." 

In other words: Who wants to rush DKE next year with Dr. Lee? Wooooo!

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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