Alcohol could help you live longer, say scientists
Survey finds that even heavy drinkers live longer than teetotallers
Gordon Brown may have done Tony Blair a favour by driving him to drink. New research from America suggests that drinkers - even heavy ones - live longer than teetotallers.
A survey of more than 1,800 people by researchers at the University of Texas found that, over a 20-year period, mortality rates were significantly lower among those who drank than for those who did not touch liquor. Even heavy drinkers - those imbibing four or more drinks a day - outlived those who did not partake at all.
The sample was made up of 55- to 65-year-olds who were monitored as they entered old age. Of the teetotallers in the group, 69 per cent died over that time, but only 60 per cent of the heavy drinkers ended up in the great saloon bar in the sky.
The worst news for the anti-booze brigade was that the research found only 41 per cent of the 'moderate' drinkers - those who took one to three drinks a day - failed to survive 20 years.
Published in the snappily-titled journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, the results appear to show that drinking helps you live longer. However the authors have shied away from making such a sweeping statement. They point out that boozing has its drawbacks, including mental impairment, the possibility of accidental injury, and addiction - not to mention the increased possibility of acting like a fool.
But the findings do lend credence to the idea that alcohol does have health benefits. The debate over whether red wine is good for your heart and circulation has been going on for years, and then there is the concept of "social benefits". Drinkers tend to have a more active social life, which is said to be good for mental health, while abstainers run a greater risk of depression. ·
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