Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More on Alcohol and Health

The latest in the moderate alcohol is good for you reporting:
Researchers examined data on 1,158 patients treated at a Toronto hospital for severe brain injury due to blunt trauma from 1988 and 2003.

Those with blood-alcohol levels up to 0.23 percent -- nearly three times the common legal limit of 0.08 percent -- were 24 percent more likely to survive their injuries than patients entering the hospital with no alcohol in their bloodstream, the study found.


The researchers suggested that alcohol at low or moderate levels in the bloodstream may protect against secondary brain injury that happens when traumatized brain cells remain starved of oxygen, exacerbating the damage inflicted by the original trauma.

I don't doubt their statistics showing a correlation. But with regard to whether causation exists, I'm skeptical. A big reason people don't drink alcohol is because of other ailments they may have. It wouldn't surprise me if the other ailments had increased the death risk in those with no alcohol in their system. Did the researchers take this into account? They should have -- but I don't know if they did.

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