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Are drinking guidelines adequate regarding the risk of cancer?
Date:7/19/2011

excessively.

Scientific data over many decades have shown that excessive or irresponsible alcohol use has severe adverse health effects, including an increase in the risk of certain cancers. On the other hand, moderate drinking is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease and many other diseases of ageing and with all-cause mortality. A very large number of experimental studies, including results from human trials, have described biological mechanisms for the protective effects of the moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages against such diseases. A number of comprehensive meta-analyses provide much more accurate, up to date, and scientifically balanced views than does the current paper; such documents may be better sources of data upon which guidelines to the public regarding alcohol consumption should be based.

Finally, International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research (ISFAR) reviewers are not aware of guidelines that suggest that non-drinkers should begin to drink. Further, guidelines state clearly that any sensible drinking limits do not apply to minors, pregnant women, etc. The consensus of ISFAR members is that decisions regarding drinking habits should be done by individuals in consultation with their physicians. One of the most respected senior physician/cardiologists in the field and ISFAR member, Dr. Arthur Klatsky of California, has provided some key recommendations regarding giving advice on alcohol use to individual patients: "Such advice depends on the individual's age, sex, past alcohol use experience, cardiovascular risk, and other factors." Klatsky added, "While some patients may rationalize their heavy drinking because of its purported health effects, I have yet to find someone who had developed alcohol abuse because of messages about the health effects of moderate drinking'.


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Contact: R Curtis Ellison
ellison@bu.edu
508-333-1256
Boston University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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