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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Myths reinforced

In my discussion with GPs yesterday I was told that although the French do not go in for binge drinking their alcohol consumption was significant and that it lead to more health problems than in the UK. I was told that a health study comparing Belfast with Toulouse confirmed this.

As a result I went onto the web but could only find this:

The PRIME Study was begun in 1991 and recruited 10,600 men aged 50 to 59 years in the WHO MONICA Project centers of Belfast, Lille, Strasbourg and Toulouse. Although drinkers in France and Northern Ireland consumed almost identical amounts, the pattern of consumption was different. In Northern Ireland beer and spirits were the staple beverages, whereas in France it was predominantly red wine; in France, 90% of men drank at least one unit per week versus 61% in Northern Ireland. Frenchmen drank evenly throughout the week, whereas in Northern Ireland two thirds of the consumption took place on Friday and Saturday nights. In the 5-year follow up of PRIME in France, the usual cardiovascular protective effect of increasing consumption (up to 45 units per week) was shown and the level of significance for trend in consumption was highly significant (p = 0.006); in Northern Ireland, this pattern was less consistent and did not attain significance. It remains a matter of conjecture whether in Northern Ireland the beneficial effects of alcohol consumption were annulled by a pattern of drinking that increases blood pressure, a well-established risk factor for heart disease, or whether the protection in France resulted from the consumption of wine along with food.

There is more information if you stump up $4.95 but I am not really that motivated to pay to have my myths reinforced. If anybody does though please let me know if there is anything significant in there.
A lot of our doctors are heavy drinkers themselves and this very much clouyds their opinions. Who can deny uk booze sub-culture?
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