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Myth Of Positive Health Impact Of Moderate Drinking Debunked In New Study

Myth Of Positive Health Impact Of Moderate Drinking Debunked In New Study
Earlier studies which had given rise to the notion that one or two drinks a day might protect against stroke have been negated in the results of a major genetic study which has also claimed a very direct relation between increased alcohol consumption and risks of higher blood pressure and stroke.
The risk of stroke in increased by 10 to 15 percent in people who are used to moderate drinking — consuming 10 to 20 grams of alcohol a day, found the study which was conducted based on the data from a 160,000-strong cohort of Chinese adults, and many in that sample population have been unable to consume alcohol because of genetic intolerance.
Here is a significant rise in blood pressure as well as an increase of 35 per cent in the risk of stroke for those individuals who are heavy drinkers and drink four or more drinks a day, found the study.
"The key message here is that, at least for stroke, there is no protective effect of moderate drinking," said Zhengming Chen, a professor at Oxford University's Nuffield Department of Population Health who co-led the research. "The genetic evidence shows the protective effect is not real."
Around 2.3 billion people worldwide drink alcohol, estimates the World Health Organization (WHO). The average consumption rate daily is at 33 grams of pure alcohol. That is almost equivalent to two 150 ml glasses of wine, a large (750 ml) bottle of beer or two 40 ml shots of spirits.
People from East Asian descent, many of whom have genetic variants that limit alcohol tolerance, were the focus of the study that was published in The Lancet medical journal.
The variants can also be used by scientists to further research to identify causal effects of alcohol intake because there is specific and large effects on alcohol by the variants but it does not impact on other lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking, economic status or education.
"Using genetics is a novel way ... to sort out whether moderate drinking really is protective, or whether it's slightly harmful," said Iona Millwood, an epidemiologist at Oxford who co-led the study. "Our genetic analyzes have helped us understand the cause-and-effect relationships."
Use of Western population would not have been possibly used for this kind of a study there is almost no-one there with the relevant alcohol-intolerance gene variants, said the research team which included scientists from Oxford and Peking universities and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.
They however said that for all people worldwide, the conclusions about the biological effects of alcohol would remain the same.
The WHO says that even though there has been a 10 per cent decrease in the rate since 2010, Europe still represents the highest per person alcohol consumption in the world. It also said that there is a global trend in the rise of per capita consumption in the next 10 years.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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