Thursday, February 18, 2010

Should your doctor prescribe wine? Answer to NY Times piece

The New York Times online has a Q&A feature which today addressed the question of "prescribing" wine. Dr. Mark Willenbring of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism addresses the question. (His answer and my comments here: http://consults.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/18/is-a-drink-a-day-good-for-you-is-grape-juice-as-good-as-wine/?scp=2&sq=alcohol&st=cse) The good doctor does allow that it might be helpful in very limited amounts for some people, but dismisses the data as "correlational." In other words, finding a correlation between moderate drinking and health is insufficient to draw conclusions. I agree, but there is so much more than correlational data to draw on. In my book Age Gets Better with Wine I use what I call the skeptic's checklist for that very reason; we need plausible cause-and-effect explanations and evidence to support those explanations. I will leave you to read about it in the book, which is extensively referenced with peer-reviewed scientific and medical literature. Wine is not only safe in moderation for those without susceptibility for alcohol abuse, it is a powerful health food.

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