For about a decade or so, there has been this notion around that alcohol consumed in moderation can be beneficial for health. For example, there are allegations that alcohol in small amounts can reduce the risk of heart attacks.
Well, the idea of alcohol benefits sounds very tempting as, let’s face it, most of us would love to get the following advice from the doctor: “Drink 4 to 7 alcoholic beverages a week to keep a heart attack at bay and live longer.”
To a greater extent, the notion was brought up and has so far been supported by large companies producing alcohol drinks, as some health experts claim. The alcohol industry doesn’t seem to grudge spending money on campaigns promoting moderate drinking. However, despite the fact that the idea of drinking in moderation in very popular today, no proper research has been done to prove that such alcohol consumption is absolutely harmless, not to mention beneficial.
Without a doubt, this is an area that definitely needs more research to answer very important questions. Perhaps, this is why the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has decided to start a massive clinical trial that will focus on the long-term effects of different amounts of alcohol on health. The study is estimated to cost $100 million.
The interesting news, though, is that most of the money may come from 5 well-known alcoholic beverage manufacturers. More specifically, Pernod Ricard, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken, Diageo and Carlsberg are willing to give about $70 million to the foundation that has been collecting money for this NIH study.
The research is going to include 8000 participants from different parts of the world. They will be both men and women no younger than 50 years old. Additionally, to qualify for this trial and take part in it, a participant has to be either diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or be at high risk for developing it. The recruits will be then divided into a few groups depending on the amount of alcohol they will have to consume on a regular basis. They will be monitored for no less than 6 years.
The important question that many people ask, though, is whether it’s right to accept money for such a study from alcohol producers. In fact, some scientists have already expressed a rather skeptical opinion on that score, saying that study results are sometimes indirectly affected by the funders, even if the researchers feel absolutely immune to any influence of the finance party of the study.