Dr. Montgomery: What are the main findings of the study?
Answer: We evaluated for 15 years a cohort of Swedish men and women and observed, after taking into account various socio-demographic, dietary, and lifestyle factors, that a low daily consumption of alcoholic beverages is tied with longer survival.
Dr. Montgomery: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Answer: The positive long-term effects of a regular moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages had already been suggested and are probably due to a reduction in the risk of CVD. We confirmed this result in a large cohort and added a time-dimension to the association.
Dr. Montgomery: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Answer: The wrong take-home message would be that we have to drink alcoholics to live longer. We know that the consumption of alcoholic beverages provides various negative effects, especially short-term. However, our finding that on the long term people benefit from regular alcohol consumption suggest that to improve the overall health of the population the effort should not be on ´if to drink´ but on ‘how to drink’ (for example regular and limited consumption, during launches).
Dr. Montgomery: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Answer: It would be interesting to evaluate if the observed association is similar across alcoholic beverages or if wine, beer, and liquors have different behaviors. Also, an essential piece of information would be to understand the trade-off between positive long-term effects and negative short term effects of alcohol consumption.
Alcohol consumption and mortality: a dose-response analysis in terms of time
Andrea Bellavia, Matteo Bottai, Alicja Wolk, Nicola Orsini
Annals of Epidemiology – 06 January 2014 (10.1016/j.annepidem.2013.12.012)