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Study: Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers (from Time)

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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:14 AM
Original message
Study: Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers (from Time)
I just found this interesting.

But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that - for reasons that aren't entirely clear - abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.

Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don't have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems.

But why would abstaining from alcohol lead to a shorter life? It's true that those who abstain from alcohol tend to be from lower socioeconomic classes, since drinking can be expensive. And people of lower socioeconomic status have more life stressors - job and child-care worries that might not only keep them from the bottle but also cause stress-related illnesses over long periods. (They also don't get the stress-reducing benefits of a drink or two after work.)

But even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables - socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on - the researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second-highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599201433200

They did under sample women for the study, but it's still interesting (and good news for red wine lovers!).
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Bonhomme Richard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:17 AM
Response to Original message
1. Maybe it has more to do with the release of stress......
than alcohol per say.
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Fridays Child Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yes, the other variables aren't necessarily being controlled in this study. Besides...
...I always get a kick out of statements like "mortality rates are higher" in one group over another. The last time I checked, mortality rates were pretty much the same for all groups.
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. Answers to both are in the last excerpted paragraph.
Even after controlling for "almost all imaginable variables" including common proxies for stress, and over a 20 year period, when mortality rates are certainly not equal.
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zazen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:21 AM
Response to Original message
3. did they ID the variable of "need for control?"
One could be a Buddhist monk and abstain but have a low need to feel one's "in control," while one could abstain but do it because one's terrified of 'losing control.' Or one could be a heavy drinker and not give a crap about one's consciousness changing due to an altered substance, or one could drink a little less, but destructively, because one wants to use alcohol to medicate feelings in specific response to events one wants to control but can't.

Ernest Kurtz laid it all out in "Not God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous," which is very profound yet unsung work on alcoholism, egoic consciousness, and the role of practicing more traditionally Eastern values in recovery from addiction, whether in AA or not.

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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:23 AM
Response to Original message
4. Drinking 1 to 3 glasses of wine a day is expensive!
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Lochloosa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:35 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. Not really
http://www.nypress.com/article-13402-cheap-wine-$4-and-...

I had zero complaints; my twelve-wine total was $43.23. It set the stage for the ensuing evening's bad idea: The Trader's Joe's Cheap-Wine Bacchanal. I invited a dozen friendsone per bottleand instructed them to bring food fit for low-rent wine. Namely, tuna celery boats, Peeps, spray cheese, gritty crackers and pigs in the blanket. They arrived at cocktail o'clock, and we set to an unscientific, hardly comprehensive tasting.

Our sampling started with Charles Shaw. The chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot (all $2.99) were liberally poured and drunk with great, teeth-staining expectation.

Look out, Napa, there's a new varietal in town, one panelist said, sipping the cabernet. It was eminently drinkable, which is perhaps the finest compliment: It won't make you gag.

Excellent legs, with hints of pear and apricot make this wine a well-rounded must, was another panelist's take on the chardonnay.
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #7
17. No Trader Joes here.
Our best bet is Costco.
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Merlot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
32. 2 buck chuck isn't the trader joes brand
they (Tj's) have a good brand of wine that costs 2.99 per bottle and doesn't give you the headache that 2-bucks does. 2- buck is made up of the remnats of grapes which are the worst for causing headaches - a lot of sediment.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 01:10 AM
Response to Reply #7
38. Two comments on this:
You have to let the 2-buck Chuck Merlot breathe a little before drinking.

Also, I LOVE the bull's blood. I have no clue where the dude who wrote this was coming from, 'cause I am all over that action. :P
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mistertrickster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #4
30. I drink sherry or port. It doesn't go bad 12 hours after you open it. Cheap too. nt
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 01:03 AM
Response to Reply #4
37. box wine --
You can get the equivalent of 5 bottles (about 15 glasses) for about 10 bucks -- and it's not bad. And while boxed wine once had a reputation for being cheap and low-quality, in the last few years there have been some decent winemakers getting in on the act, and you can get a pretty decent variety of wines in boxes. It stays good for a month or so (you don't have to worry about ruining/wasting half a bottle just to have a glass or two for yourself) and it uses less packing material than multiple bottles.

:woohoo:
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mistertrickster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #37
40. Good idea. I'm going to try that. nt
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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:28 AM
Response to Original message
5. I have tried to have at least one drink every day for my health
Can't do it. Hate the taste of alcohol.

Weird, huh?

Wonder if they could put it in a pill form?

Don
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Mimosa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. Benefits of red wine in pill form
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safeinOhio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #5
19. My great grandfather lived to a ripe old age.
Dad remembered scoring booze for him during prohibition so he could have his tablespoon of whisky in his morning tea everyday. I have found that a splash, about a half shot, of Jack every day in my morning coffee to be very tasty. I too, have never been a real drinker.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #5
22. I hate it too. Always tastes a little like poison to me, no matter what form
it comes in. Guess I'll have to force down a glass or two every now and then.
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Bonhomme Richard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:37 AM
Response to Original message
8. Isn't that what Mamma said? Everything in moderation. n/t
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:48 AM
Response to Original message
9. Well then, I should live 'til I'm 100.
Good news!

:toast:
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qb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
10. Did they include no former heavy drinkers? Or are they included in the heavy drinker column?
I seems odd that their study would only include current drinkers and lifelong teetotalers.
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Wednesdays Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:57 AM
Response to Original message
12. IIRC, alcohol thins the blood and/or lessens coagulation
If true, this is good for people with cholesterol/circulatory/heart conditions.

For that reason, I have a small "nightcap" at bedtime every night.
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unblock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:57 AM
Response to Original message
13. i always wonder, whenever there's a study pushing wine -- do they also test grape juice?
would moderate consumption of grapes or grape juice lead to the same benefits as moderate consumption of wine, or are there some specific benefits from the fermentation process in terms of health & longevity?

conversely, if it's alcohol specifically that helps, then is there a meaningful difference between alcohol derived from grapes vs. rice, vs. potato, etc.?
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:59 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. I've wondered that too, but this study was on alcohol in general. nt
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unblock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 09:05 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. apparently grape juice is nearly as good and in some ways may be better:
Does grape juice offer the same heart benefits as red wine?

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/AN0...


Well, Susan Sanford, worry no more. If you don't like wine, the latest studies show you can get almost all the same benefits from grape juice. The reason: Purple grape juice contains the same powerful disease-fighting antioxidants, called flavonoids, that are believed to give wine many of its heart-friendly benefits.

http://archives.cnn.com/2000/HEALTH/alternative/03/31/w...
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Fuzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:58 AM
Response to Original message
14. And I stopped drinking a month ago. I'm dead.
;)

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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 08:59 AM
Response to Original message
15. What does "especially when the beverage of choice is red wine"
mean? Did they control for type of alcohol?

This part is problematic:

"One important reason is that alcohol lubricates so many social interactions, and social interactions are vital for maintaining mental and physical health. As I pointed out last year, nondrinkers show greater signs of depression than those who allow themselves to join the party."

Would the death rates be different regardless of alcohol consumption, if you just compared those of us loners with the more social segments of the population?

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mimitabby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 09:25 AM
Response to Original message
20. I'm not going to take out an insurance policy
Edited on Mon Aug-30-10 09:25 AM by mimitabby
I don't drink and i'm 58 and I know I'm going to outlive my coworker with the huge gut* which they got from drinking. Alcohol IS a poison and heavy drinkers tend to get poorer nutrition as they destroy their livers.

I think one of the reasons people benefit from drinking wine compared to fruit juices; wine is addictive, fruit juices are not; so the fruit juice drinkers are not compelled to drink their fruit juice, but the wine drinkers definitely are.


*** enlarged liver ***
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. hmmm... alcohol according to CDC kills fewer than medical mistakes
So as long as your coworker with the huge gut avoids doctors he sould be fine.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #20
28. Sometimes I wonder if the people who do these "studies" are on something themselves...
I'm 57...yes, I used to drink some in my younger days, but it's been a long long time, and I don't have more than two drinks a year. Sometimes less. I would actually qualify for "non-drinker".

My mom is the same way...basically a non-drinker. She's 76.

My brother, who is a heavy drinker, is right at this moment in the hospital for the fifth time this year with severe liver damage. He nearly died three times this year.

He is 40 years old.

When he was in the last time, the doctor told him he had a 50/50 chance of living another 5 years IF he stopped drinking completely.

He did well for a couple of months and then fell off the wagon again.

Heavy drinkers live longer than non drinkers...yeah. OK.

:eyes:


Oh, PS...about the huge gut from drinking...my daughter's ex husband died from alcoholism too. His gut got HUGE. It was filled with fluid to the point where his navel was as big as a baseball and it actually burst and started shooting blood all over the place. He had to have surgery to remove it, and then have a couple of gallons of fluid pumped from his abdominal cavity. Two or three times, in fact. I've read that 80% of people with liver damage who go into a coma die...which is what happened to him.

It was so sad seeing this happen and not be able to do anything. And now my brother too.

I hate what alcohol does to people....

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Art_from_Ark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #28
33. I had an uncle who died of cirrhosis at 50
His tea-totaling sister lived to be 97.
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
21. Aside from cirrhosis, my experience has been the causes that are secondary
to alcoholism. Specifically the incessant smoking that is often coupled with the drinking. A dear friend succumbed to lung cancer rather than his liver and malnutrition. We were sure nothing could kill him b/c he last so long.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
24. now you know there are some smugly satisfied feelings going around right about now. nt
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
25. W00t! I'm gonna live forever!!
:beer:
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
26. No, thanks.
Pot works for me.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
27. Woo-Hoo !!!!
I'm gonna Live FOREVER!!!
:party:
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mistertrickster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 07:50 PM
Response to Original message
29. Meaning that FundyCONs like Jerry Falwell are more likely to die sooner.
I guess that proves there really IS a God.
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DCBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 07:56 PM
Response to Original message
31. I think social interaction and enjoyment of life are most signficant beneficial aspects..
of alcohol consumption... of course in moderation.
:toast:
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 12:50 AM
Response to Original message
34. It just seems longer when you don't drink
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proteus_lives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 12:53 AM
Response to Original message
35. That explains about half my family.
Drunks and druggies and they all live to be 80-90.
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Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 12:54 AM
Response to Original message
36. Wonderful, then George W. Bush is immortal. nt
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MrScorpio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 01:15 AM
Response to Original message
39. Alcohol is a preservative.
Edited on Tue Aug-31-10 01:15 AM by MrScorpio
My favorite is liquor
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