Friday, 6 March 2009

Have that drink, girls

While the Righteous have succeeded in getting established so-called alcohol health “guidelines” that had no scientific basis and seemed to anyone beyond anti-drink zealots unrealistically low, it remained some consolation to those of us who did enjoy the occasional glass that moderate drinking was accepted as not harmful to health and indeed there was some evidence that drinking a small amount might be better for health than total abstinence.

It was inevitable, though, that they would be frantically casting about for evidence that any amount of alcohol at all was harmful, and this duly turned up in the form of a study sponsored by Cancer Research UK suggesting that women had a heightened risk of cancer if they only consumed one drink a day. Of course, as this article points out, the study turned out to be a piece of intellectual garbage based on junk science.

…the study fails to meet even the most basic requirement of science – that is, being able to validate its measurements – since it is entirely based on the women’s self-reports of their recollection of their drinking. None of these reports was checked and the authors can make no claim about how reliable they are. No one knows how much or how little these women really drank since no one bothered to measure it.
However, it’s unlikely that a lack of proper science will deter further attempts to justify the “even one drink is dangerous” message. After all, it has now become generally accepted amongst the population that “passive smoking” is a danger to health, despite there being a conspicuous dearth of firm proof that it is anything more than an irritation. And imagine the scope for attacking drinkers and pubs if you can claim that there is no safe level of drinking!

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