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The New Zealand Medical Journal

 Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 25-September-2009, Vol 122 No 1303

[full text] [PDF]

Alcohol cardio-protection has been talked up
Doug Sellman, Jennie Connor, Geoffrey Robinson, Rod Jackson


Doctors have been promoting alcohol as a health tonic for a very long time. The last 30 years has seen the accumulation of a considerable medical literature investigating the potential role of alcohol use as a protection against coronary heart disease. When viewed through the lens of two major early reviews in the mid-1980s, Sir Richard Dollís contributions of the mid-1990s, two large meta-analyses of 10 years ago and two most recent overviews, the health-giving properties of alcohol use become increasingly debatable.

The influence of the alcohol industry is raised as a factor in the exaggeration of alcohol use as a health intervention, in similar fashion to activities of pharmaceutical companies. The status of alcohol as a potentially dangerous recreational drug is emphasised as a warning against talking up alcohol as a cardio-protection manoeuvre by anyone.

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