Monday, August 25, 2008

A lot and a little versus the middle

When scientists talk about the relationship between alcohol and heart disease, the words J-curve often pop up. What’s a J-curve? A statistical graph in the shape of the letter J.
In terms of heart disease, the lower peak on the left of the J shows the risk among teetotalers, the high spike on the right shows the risk among those who drink too much, and the curve in the center shows the risk in the moderate middle. In other words, the J-curve says that people who drink moderately have a lower risk of heart disease than people who drink too much or not at all.

That info’s nice. This is better: According to a recent report from the Alberta (Canada) Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, the J-curve may also describe the relationship between alcohol and stroke, alcohol and diabetes, alcohol and bone loss, and alcohol and longevity. The simple fact is that moderate drinkers appear to live longer, healthier lives than either teetotalers or alcohol abusers. Cheers!

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