Mortality and alcohol consumption

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6975.325 (Published 04 February 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:325

Non-drinkers shouldn't be used as baseline

  1. A G Shaper
  1. Emeritus professor of clinical epidemiology Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London NW3 2PF

    EDITOR,—The interpretation of the finding that light or moderate drinkers have a lower mortality than non-drinkers remains controversial.1 The original cohort of 34000 male doctors was recruited in 1951, and information on alcohol consumption was obtained from the surviving third of the men some 27 years later (1978) and from the surviving quarter 40 years later (1991). The authors make no comment on the possible implications of these large gaps in time or on the issue of survivorship.

    The British regional heart study has shown that middle aged male non-drinkers are likely to be exdrinkers, are older, and have higher rates of a wide range of diseases and …

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