just-drinks authors and correspondents
International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research
Columns by International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research
The International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research hosts forums that look at research conducted around the world on the relationship between alcohol consumption and health.
Articles by International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research
Many studies have shown that moderate alcohol drinkers tend to have higher ratings of their quality of life (QOL) than non-drinkers. The directionality of this association has been difficult to ascertain: Does moderate drinking improve someone’s QOL, or do people with higher QOL to begin with tend to drink alcohol moderately?
While there have been many observational studies of the relation of alcohol consumption to health risks and benefits, the number of clinical trials of alcohol administration for its health effects are limited.
Most observational studies have found that moderate drinkers, in comparison with non-drinkers, tend to have lower risk of all-cause (total) mortality; this is probably related primarily to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death among the elderly.
Most observational epidemiologic studies have shown a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer for women who consume alcohol; the degree of increase is usually small for light-to-moderate drinkers (between 5% and 15% increase for consumers of no more than one drink/day), but the risk may be higher for women consuming greater amounts of alcohol.
Observational epidemiologic studies have consistently found that moderate drinkers are at lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Such alcohol consumption also lowers both the risk of diabetes as well as of CVD among diabetics. However, there have been few clinical trials of the administration of alcohol or wine among diabetics, and most have been for relatively short periods of time.
A recent paper presented prospective data from a large population-based cohort from rural Norway, a region with typically-light alcohol consumption and many abstainers who were not ex-heavy drinkers.
Prospective cohort studies for decades have tended to show that the risk of developing Type II diabetes mellitus is reduced among moderate drinkers in comparison with non-drinkers.
A recent analysis - based on data from two very large cohort studies, the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study - evaluated the association of alcohol consumption over many years with the risk of cancer.
Our forum recently considered a paper based on a large cohort of subjects in Sweden who had IQ tests as children (when they were 13 years old) and were then followed for more than 30 years.
A recent paper describes the effects among 24 normotensive pre-menopausal women, all of whom were regular drinkers (of an average of two to three drinks per day), of the administration of two levels of alcohol in the form of red wine in a randomised clinical trial.
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