Today's Health Headline: Alchohol May Only Benefit Women Over 65

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Initial studies looking at low level alcohol consumption found health benefits, but recent studies have found plenty of caveats.

Those early studies included people of all ages and genders. A new study has found that only a select few actually benefit. “Unless you’re a woman over 65, alcohol consumption is unlikely to forestall your death.

For these older women, the health benefits of alcohol are not enormous, but drinkers were less likely to die six and 10 years after the study. The same study initially returned findings that men between the ages of 50 and 65 might reap a small benefit from drinking alcohol. But those apparent benefits evaporated when the researchers scrubbed from their non-drinking ‘reference group’ all those who used to drink but have stopped.” The health benefits found in past studies are thought to have resulted from the inclusion of people who used to drink a lot, but who have since cut back and improved their health in doing so.

While older women did see a benefit from alcohol, the authors warn “that older drinkers are more likely to have health conditions, and to take medicine for them, that impair their ability to metabolize alcohol. That puts this group of people at greater risk from drinking alcohol.” Even the finding that alcohol consumption benefits older women, they caution, may be the result of "selection bias," wherein the group of women polled for this study were somehow unusually healthy.

References & Further Reading:
1. LA Times
2. Image Source: Ziptrials

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