alcohol

Alcohol is bad again. Sometimes, epidemiologists tell us it's good, but today, they're telling us it's bad. What else is bad? The study that arrived at that conclusion.

Published in The Lancet -- a journal that has shown a worrisome trend in sensationalizing unremarkable research -- a new paper concludes (and advertises prominently in its abstract) that consuming an additional 100 grams of alcohol per week (roughly an additional one drink per day) increases a person's risk of stroke, coronary disease, heart failure, fatal hypertensive disease, and fatal aortic aneurysm.

The media, as usual, put the results into proper context, discussing the...

A new analysis by 24/7 Wall St., reprinted in part by USA Today, lists all 50 U.S. states in order of "excessive alcohol consumption," which is defined as binge drinking ("four or more drinks in a single occasion for women and five or more for men") or heavy drinking ("at least eight drinks per week for women and 15 for men").

The 24/7 Wall St. article indicates that there is a complicated relationship between income and excessive drinking. Richer people tend to drink heavily, while poorer people tend to binge drink. The conventional wisdom,...

Recently, while watching television, I came across a cast reunion show for the reality series Real Housewives of Orange County (RHOC) on the Bravo network. The program cut to a scene where a main character called for an ambulance believing she was having a heart attack. Next, the cast revealed while laughing that she had taken another person’s prescription Adderall in addition to Xanax, alcohol and NyQuil.

This is not the first demonstration of misuse of medications and polypharmacy in the successful franchise (1). Or, on television in general. But, due to Andy Cohen’s -- the program’s host and producer-- apparent support when I engaged him on social media, I am asking him to help further in the interest of public safety.

Thankfully, he re-tweeted my important...

Pregnancy is an exciting time for parents-to-be. Pregnancy also means letting go of some of your favorite things. The nine month journey can be quite limiting, and the following piece is not about sunshine and roses; the next few paragraphs are all about my whining, so if you aren't in the mood, I suggest you stop reading now. This piece is all about the fun I am missing out on, while waiting on the most precious little nugget to arrive. I'm sure most expectant mothers would say they miss a  good night's sleep (meh), a rigorous workout (LOL), or caffeine at will (doesn't bother me). Not me. Nope. Here's what tops my list:

1. Alcohol

I miss alcohol.

That is the honest truth. I am not above admitting that alcohol was...

If you read only the headlines this past weekend, your holiday festivities might have been less fun, since the message seemed to be that consuming any amount of alcohol was a certain precursor to developing breast cancer. For example,  the story in the Wall Street Journal catches the eye with its headline "Just One Drink Raises the Risk of Breast Cancer." So that headline will do what it's supposed to — engage the reader and get her to peruse the story itself. But a somewhat different story then emerges — take a look at this quote from the article: "The studies don’t show that alcohol causes breast cancer, but they do show an association or link.”

The...

Full Disclosure: Before five minutes ago, I was unsure what teams made it into the upcoming Super Bowl. I mean, if one of them isn’t the Eagles, then my attention span plummets to nonexistent.

But, being that “THE” game is apolitical and topical, what better way to contribute some semblance of expertise than through analysis of the ads and how they may or may not reflect the health interests and possible status of the audience? 

Given that the ads are my favorite part of the event anyway, they will be the focus.  Because they are the focus of a lot of people, the ads have become a cultural phenomenon, and so there is real investment in being entertaining. It sometimes makes or breaks companies for the year so they want to appeal even to those not captivated by...

Hand sanitizers are ubiquitous. They are used by staff in hospitals, and many people keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in their bags or purses. The active ingredient is often some kind of alcohol, such as isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) or ethanol (the drinkable kind).

New research published in the American Journal of Infection Control suggests that professionals who administer breath alcohol tests should stay away from sanitizers that contain ethanol, as they can cause breathalyzers to produce a false positive result.

The research team performed a series of breathalyzer tests on ten volunteers with an Alco-Sensor III, a device approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation and law...

What goes up must come down.  There is no top without a bottom.  Two sides to every coin.  No front without a back.  A lid without a pot.  My cliche list is endless.  So, I will stop torturing you.

Just know, most arise from kernels of truth.

Alcohol is good and bad.  Makes some happy.  Others sad.  Amplifies joy.  Or, exacerbates decline.  It alienates.  It coalesces.  De-stresses and stresses.  It calms.  It kills.

You are the variable.  As is the dose.

Is ‘Moderation’ sexy? 

For those whose health benefits from moderate drinking exceed their drawbacks, it is.  Like most things, there are no absolutes or guarantees. No one size-fits-all.

According to the...

Depending on who's consuming it, alcohol affects different people in very different ways. And to go along with that, drinking stereotypes are never in short supply. Too many of us are quick to roll out generalities like, "The Irish know really how to drink," or a pack of 20-something men, regardless of their demeanor, are just "former frat boys looking to get loud and loaded."

And then there are Asians, a large percentage of whom are also...

preggersI for one had thought the theory of "no safe level of alcohol while pregnant" had been thoroughly dispelled. Guess not, because now the primary health agency of our nation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has issued a new advisory for women.

It's telling all women of child-bearing age who are not using contraception to "just say no" to alcohol. Go dry, in other words, to protect the fetus/embryo from the potentially toxic effects of alcohol during the early stages of development. The most feared outcome: fetal-alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), more commonly known as "fetal-alcohol syndrome,"...