Sellman D, Connor J, Robinson G, Jackson R.
Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand.
N Z Med J. 2009 Sep 25;122(1303):97-101.
Doctors have been promoting alcohol as a health tonic for a very long time. The last 30 years has seen the accumulation of a considerable medical literature investigating the potential role of alcohol use as a protection against coronary heart disease. When viewed through the lens of two major early reviews in the mid-1980s, Sir Richard Doll’s contributions of the mid-1990s, two large meta-analyses of 10 years ago and two most recent overviews, the health-giving properties of alcohol use become increasingly debatable.
The influence of the alcohol industry is raised as a factor in the exaggeration of alcohol use as a health intervention, in similar fashion to activities of pharmaceutical companies. The status of alcohol as a potentially dangerous recreational drug is emphasised as a warning against talking up alcohol as a cardio-protection manoeuvre by anyone.