A friend emailed me an article this morning, which, at least temporarily caused great elation. The headline said the best study ever proves booze really does make life better, and then goes on to quote a study that tracked 5,000 drinkers and determined that those who imbibed in moderation scored highest when measured on factors including dexterity, emotion, cognition and mobility. Sweet, right? Might as well pick up another case of vino on the way home from work tonight. Your health depends on it.
But a closer look at the study clouds things a bit. A great, big, sad, murky cloud.
For starters, the study was carried out on Canadians: a generally happy and healthy people. But stereotypes aside, there are other holes as pointed out in this critique, including the fact that decline in the quality of health index was the same for drinkers and non-drinkers alike. So while drinking is correlated with happy living, the study doesn't show that swilling booze will actually pick up your mood or sufficiently improve your mobility such that a late career change into professional athletics is warranted.
The study also found that people who reduce their alcohol intake experience an accelerating decline in quality of life, suggesting that drinkers ought to keep on drinking. But the doctors conducting the research didn't determine why the subjects stopped drinking, which means illness was just as likely to be the cause of decreased consumption as the effect. Bummer.
So really the study doesn't prove much of anything, but let's face it. You really didn't need an excuse to go out and get hammered this evening anyway.