Its not Quite Pick Your Poison

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He short answer to the question posed in the title is attributed to Ben Franklin-“Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see” (or read).

First, recognize that research (could apply to some study ) concerning the Hays County Wildlife Removal, might be initiated and conducted with various degrees of bias. By way of instance, I recently noticed conflicting research data from two apparently benign sources concerning the benefits, or lack of, in alcohol consumption.

With just the information implied by the names, what take-aways should the reader be left to consider?

What is the consumer to trust? For years I have been writing on conflicted studies relative to the benefits of drinking alcohol and wine generally. I find that the disparity in studies can have a deleterious impact on making reasoned decisions from information in such studies. If you enjoy consuming some alcoholic beverages, you are no doubt interested in the long-term consequences. But, based on endless studies covering both sides of the issue, it is hard to have much faith in any one research or perhaps arrive at a fair conclusion.

Most benefits of wine consumption are based around cardiovascular benefits. A French scientist analyzed wine and grape seeds/skins for decades. He was widely released relative to the anti-oxidant benefits from wine, and grape seeds in particular. “In 1985, Jack Masquelier managed to further explain the intense and instant positive effects that OPCs (an anti-oxidant compound in grape seeds/skin and wine) have on the human body when he discovered that OPCs neutralize free radicals, the common cause of degenerative conditions and premature onset of age-associated changes in the body.”

The point being; skin and seeds of grapes have high concentrations of OPC’s and while drinking wine has some anti-oxidant values (derived primarily from resveratrol) most are found in grape seeds and skin. In fact, there are some big wine producers (Gallo being one) also producing grape seed extract for the supplement industry. Also, resveratrol has been used in some topical skin care skincare products.

I you do an online search for advantages of wine and wine by-products; the search yields are too many to count. Sufficed to say, people have been reporting on both benefits and harmful effects of alcohol for decades. But, can you rely on some of the research? Some is anecdotal, full of biases and predetermined targeted findings. It is like chasing rainbows if a person attempts to make healthful lifestyle changes based upon cogent and trusted information. We are told to drink lots of water, but not to much; today, how is that denying trusted information? Alcohol consumption has been a fact of life long before Christ.

If past studies were based on science, why do their initial conclusions change so quickly? In the 1970’s a Navy doctor told me to limit coffee intake to two cups every day and preferably none. He stipulated that research demonstrated that drinking coffee hardened arteries and was harmful to kidneys. Today there are physicians that tout the anti-oxidant values of java and in fact promote coffee consumption. What changed?

If one reads the headlines there are a number of problems that come to mind; mostly about with the way the research was conducted, and facts presented. Maybe the data was badly aggregated. Simply, how can we have confidence in using the data to determine if lifestyle changes are appropriate, especially if information is faulty? Maybe we just feel the conflicting information in the public domain isn’t worth much consideration.

As with this study and most polls, there are a whole lot of caveats associated with the findings. For example:

Age disparities and sizes of each grouping will impact results on just how important alcohol ingestion was to the findings. In one finding, researchers assumed alcohol played a part in deaths even when the deaths were not primarily or even tangentially related to alcohol.
There are geographical disparities. “Among men, drinking alcohol in 2016 was widespread in Denmark (97 percent), along with Norway, Argentina, Germany, and Poland (94 percent),” notes Griswold.
Gender will affect findings. Among women alcohol consumer, Danes rated first (95 percent), followed by Norway (91 percent), Germany and Argentina (90 percent), and New Zealand (89 percent).
The largest drinkers identified geographically come in the Slavic countries-Ukraine, Romania, Belarus, etc.. Here we are talking about women and men who consume more than 4 units per day of alcohol; this is important.

The top six killers of people who also have alcohol are: high blood pressure, smoking, low-birth weight and early delivery, higher blood sugar (diabetes), pollution and obesity. But are not those the exact same health culprits for men and women that do not consume alcoholic beverages? Griswold goes on to report,”a small beer, glass of wine or shot of spirits — per day, as an instance, ups the odds of developing at least one of two dozen health issues by about half-a-percent.” The logic here is hard to follow along with an unqualified conclusion!

To sum up, the Griswold study attributes 2.8 million premature deaths worldwide annually to booze. But they don’t define the caveats relative to what the”pre-mature” category is based upon. As I pointed out earlier, it’s subjective when trying to account/factor-in for family health history, ethnicity, mix of beverages (beer, wine, spirits) seasonal issues, etc..

Just because we enjoy the findings of a particular study on alcohol, does not mean it’s a better study. Nevertheless, another study titled: Moderate Drinking May Protect Your Health by Health Day and published by Newsmax on August 22, 2018. This study comprised 35,000 British and French taxpayers over ten years. But, where the French are involved in a study there should be thought to diets. Remember another study from years ago brought into our lexicon the term”French Paradox”? At the moment, that study turned all previous studies on their collective heads. Even then some researchers found fault with the study. (The French are noted for high fat in their diets, yet French had what most researchers considered to be healthy cardiovascular systems.)

In either study I’m address in this guide, there are always variables. Listed below are a few variables that can make alcohol consumption studies, conducted many decades ago, irreverent:

Individuals turning to better exercise habits in certain parts of the world and not so in others. Again, this may impact study participants geographically.
Improved support systems for older adults due to retirement incomes, families, etc..
Reduced stress; a few of that can be credited to retirement.
Higher education degrees.
Better observation and understanding of family health history and adjusting to these factors in lifestyle changes.
Even the web makes information more available.
Changes in consumer preferences. There has been a shift to craft beers and spirits within the past 7 decades.
Relative to the center, it was found that consistent and moderate consumption of alcohol was crucial. (This statement isn’t consistent with the initial study.) Consistent and moderate drinking has been the critical element to receiving the benefits of alcohol consumption.

General findings of this Health Day study are outlined:

Consistent drinking seems to diminish heart disease.
Retirement seems to be a factor in increase alcohol intake above the moderate category.
In the long-term,”non-drinkers” heart risks were most noted amongst women.
Dr. Eugenia Gianos, who directs women’s heart health at Lennox Hill Hospital in NY says,”the jury is still out about the effect of moderate drinking on a person’s overall health.” (Tell that to Griswold.) But, Dr. Cathy Grines who directs department of cardiology at North Shore University Hospital at NY says,”the protective effects of alcohol moved away if one did not drink the same amounts regularly.” “Many of us believe that we are detoxing and helping ourselves by having periods of abstinence, but that (possibly ) is a false premise.”

We now have diametrical opposing studies; should one be right and the other wrong? There appears to be even conflicting views from within the medical community. These are from primary care professionals that read the same studies as we read and are passing along lifestyle change recommendations to patients based on selected studies; possibly faulty studies. In talking to cardiologist, I have found some say there are several benefit to spirits and wine.

A large portion of these studies seems to be based on empirical data. But this introduces a problem:”If there are flaws in how empirical data is collected, the research won’t be regarded as valid,” say Ana Bradford in Life Science, July 27, 2017. By reading both of these studies I’ve said, as laymen, we actually aren’t equipped to understand any level of validity in either study.

I found it interesting that on the same day, two reports regarding effects of alcohol on health were printed; one purporting that alcohol is totally bad and the other discussions about the benefits of alcohol for the heart. Bottom-line, everybody should consumer research but always remember, all research has defects and as Dr. Grines states, there are”flukes” in data. I believe there’s more research on wine and wine related products than study that definitively say’s”moderate alcohol or wine reduces life expectancy that is natural”!

We probably should not trust poll-based study as a tool to produce lifestyle changes without understanding the protocols used. The more variables there are in the management groups the more we should be prone to be skepticism.

Cheers!

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