Thursday, August 05, 2004

Alcohol The New Wunderdrug

After reports stating the bliss that can be had from drinking Guinness, and now this study stating that drinking half a bottle of wine per day can make you smarter, I thought I'd piss on the party.

First off, the study recently published stating the latter of the two statements above has quite a few holes. Most notably, when researchers controlled for 'education' using a slipshod standard of 'earning power', almost all statistical significance was lost in those areas whereby education has the most benefit (verbal and mathematical problem solving). Hence, those who were smarter, remained smarter even after drinking wine. Lo and behold, those who are 'smarter', have larger job responsibilities, etc. are more prone to 1) stress, which is relieved via alcohol and 2) the uncanny ability to still be smart AFTER drinking. We all know that people act stupid while drunk, but it's not as if individuals lose 100 iq points during a kegger.

With the above in mind, I'd also like to quote the following from Blueprints Psychiatry, 3rd Edition:

Alcohol-dependent patients also develop elevated [HDL] cholesterol and decreased [LDL] cholesterol....
Wow, taken completely out of context, we've got the next statin on our hands in a much cheaper form. However, since we're not morons, we know that telling an overweight person to become an alcoholic to reduce LDL and raise HDL is rather stupid. Incidentally, we should have the same reaction to this wasteful study, whereby the authors weren't even stupid enough to say that drinking alcohol in such amounts would be beneficial, regardless of the apparent 'increase' in intelligence they purported to find.