Alcohol: benefit or harm


  • Does alcohol slow down the development of senile dementia
  • Do not rush with conclusions

  • Anyone who daily reads fresh newspapers, has the right to be surprised why the opinion about carbohydrates, alcohol, fats - yes, actually about many substances and ingredients - is constantly changing: yesterday they wrote that they are good for health, today - what is terribly harmful, and tomorrow Again write on the contrary... Perhaps most confusion with alcohol: Some scientific studies indicate that it protects from heart attacks and strokes, it follows from others that it destroys the liver or encourages a tendency to aggression. What explains his contradictory character? Here is the data of another study, on the example of which we will look at how failures occur.

    Does alcohol slow down the development of senile dementia

    Alcohol: benefit or harmThe most recent work that continues the long tradition of studies of the advantages of alcohol - and promising to become a sensation is an article by gerontar studies from the University of Bari (Italy), published in the issue of the magazine «Neurology» (Neurology) of May 22, 2007. It reports that the development of people who moderately consume alcoholic beverages, senile dementia can develop more slowly than the sober. Watching for three and a half years behind the group of older Italians, 1445 of which did not suffer from impairment of thinking, and 121 suffered from a slight cognitive disorder syndrome (LCR), scientists found out that under LCRs who were drinking less «One serving» alcohol a day, syndrome progressed towards dementia by 85% slower than those who did not drink at all. Those who drank more, the results were as disappointing as the sober. Wait for headlines: «Alcohol strengthens the brain», «Drink on a glass per day - and do not fall into childhood».

    The trouble is that researchers from Bari, of course, did not make such categorical conclusions in their article. They only noted that one wineglass per day maybe - maybe! - Protects from dementia. The history of such studies shows: when researchers simply watch a large group of people who do not resort to active intervention, it is difficult to distinguish between the impact of alcohol and the role of other lifestyle features. The article in Neurology is clearly stated: «It is possible that from the decline of cognitive abilities protects the moderate lifestyle as such (its specific features may vary depending on cultural characteristics). Consequently, dementia prevents not direct impact of alcohol or some specific components of alcoholic beverages».

    In other words, you can ourselves, relying on common sense and your own life experience, explain how the use of alcohol with a sharpness of the mind is due, and you will not need these neurology. Seventy-year-old men and women who regularly drink wine, for example, can be moderately drinking precisely because they are in good physical form, eat healthy food, do not suffer from serious diseases and, accordingly, do not take potent drugs that are incompatible with alcohol, as well as Actively communicate with people - and all these factors, as well as moderate use of alcohol, are associated, as scientists have proven, with the preservation of witness. Of course, when researchers study the role of one of these factors, they are trying to deliver it from others. But in practice it is not always easy. There are some ethical problems that do not allow scientists to force the patients into the mouth of pre-aggravated portions of alcohol. The power of experimenters above their experimental is limited, and it remains to be measured.

    Do not rush with conclusions

    We will be fair to scientists and scientific press: they almost never assure that alcohol - or any other substance - is undoubtedly useful for health. But scientific articles are usually written with the fact that readers understand: conditionality is not yet clear causal. Non-specific, it happens, do not catch this subtlety. And the fineness is often necessary in order to represent such studies in the true light. Yes, alcohol still can to some extent to protect from the decline of cognitive abilities. The use of alcohol in moderate doses, as scholars found out, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and healthy vessels can slow down the development of dementia. The authors of the article note that, as some experiments showed, ethyl alcohol stimulates the release of some chemical substance, which acts on the brain and, possibly improves the memory; What is the connection between alcohol use and high level «Good» cholesterol, and consequently healthy coronary vessels; and that the antioxidants contained in wine (namely, this alcoholic drink usually drink elderly Italians), can also enhance cognitive abilities. However, it is quite possible that there is a completely different mechanism.

    Consider one simple fact: scientists who realized this study do not claim that they have proven something from the above. This does not detract from the values ​​of their work: they first revealed the connection between alcohol consumption and the rate of progression from a slight cognitive disorder to dementia. Their conclusions coincide with the conclusions of other scientists whose studies conducted for a longer period also indicate that moderate use of alcohol may accompany the reduced risk to fall into childhood. For the heading in the yellow press, all this, perhaps, too awake. But when it comes to similar research, it is better to contact the original and read everything from start to the end.

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