Light to Moderate Drinking May Not Be as Beneficial as Previously Thought

Magazines and health journals have been publishing studies for years saying a glass of wine is good for your heart. A recent study calls those findings into question.

Magazines and health journals have been publishing studies for years saying a glass of wine is good for your heart. But that may not be the case, according to a recent article by Pacific Standard's Nathan Collins. He points to a new study questioning previous medical data that claims an association with health benefits and moderate alcohol consumption.


In the study, researchers have found that compared to people who don't drink throughout their entire lives, only women over the age of 65 who drank lightly were able to reap some minor benefits from light alcohol consumption. As for all other age and sex groups — no dice.

Researchers from the University College London alongside colleagues from the University of Sydney looked into the Health Survey Data from England and found previous studies weren't entirely accurate in their assessments of participants. They argue that previous researchers never divided people who were life-long non-drinkers with people who were just now abstaining. Other researchers may have neglected to ask for a complete history of drinking, and only inquiring how many drinks they'd had in the last day, month, or year.

The team of researchers focused on 18,368 adults ages 50 and older. They split the data into groups of people who drank, currently abstain, and never drank. Former drinkers had quite a higher mortality rate compared to other groups.

The researcher concluded:

“Findings indicate that beneficial associations between alcohol consumption and all cause mortality may be attributable in part to inappropriate referent group selection and weak adjustment for confounders.”

They say that to really delve into the health connections, researchers will have to take up better practices:

“Future research should seek to move toward statistical techniques capable of analyzing complex heterogeneous drinking trajectories, such as growth mixture models.”

Read more at Pacific Standard.

Photo Credit: martin.mutch/Flickr

Stress is contagious–but resilience can be too

The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.

Big Think Edge
  • Stress is contagious, and the higher up in an organization you are the more your stress will be noticed and felt by others.
  • Kelly McGonigal teaches "Reset your mindset to reduce stress" for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

5 short podcasts to boost your creativity and success

These quick bursts of inspiration will brighten your day in 10 minutes or less.

Personal Growth

Podcasts can educate us on a variety of topics, but they don't have to last an hour or more to have an impact on the way you perceive the world. Here are five podcasts that will boost your creativity and well-being in 10 minutes or less.

Keep reading Show less

Philosopher Alan Watts: 'Why modern education is a hoax'

Explore a legendary philosopher's take on how society fails to prepare us for education and progress.

Alan Watts.
Personal Growth
  • Alan Watts was an instrumental figure in the 1960s counterculture revolution.
  • He believed that we put too much of a focus on intangible goals for our educational and professional careers.
  • Watts believed that the whole educational enterprise is a farce compared to how we should be truly living our lives.
Keep reading Show less

Mining the Moon

How can we use the resources that are already on the Moon to make human exploration of the satellite as economical as possible?

The All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE), a prototype heavy-lift utility vehicle to support future human exploration of extraterrestrial surfaces, at right, is parked beside the Habitat Demonstration Unit - Pressurized Excursion Module (HDU-PEM), at left, a concept off-Earth living and work quarters for astronauts stationed on asteroids, the moon or Mars, 15 September 2010. Photo by: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
Technology & Innovation

If you were transported to the Moon this very instant, you would surely and rapidly die. That's because there's no atmosphere, the surface temperature varies from a roasting 130 degrees Celsius (266 F) to a bone-chilling minus 170 C (minus 274 F). If the lack of air or horrific heat or cold don't kill you then micrometeorite bombardment or solar radiation will. By all accounts, the Moon is not a hospitable place to be.

Keep reading Show less