A woman from Luzerne County had good reason to celebrate Tuesday.
As reported by the AP, Pauline Spagnola of Plains Township celebrated with friends at her 100th birthday party at the Golden Living East Mountain Center near Wilkes-Barre.
She says the secret to her longevity is “a lot of booze.”
Some truth to it?
A study published in 2013, in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggested that — for reasons that aren’t entirely clear — abstaining from alcohol does tend to increase one’s risk of dying, even when you exclude former problem drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers’ mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.
Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don’t have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems.
A team led by Charles Holahan, a psychologist at the University of Texas followed 1,824 participants over two decades. They conceded the gender ratio of participants was disproportionate as sixty-three per cent of participants were male. All of the individuals were aged between 55 and 65.
Sixty-nine per cent of the participants who abstained from drinking alcohol died during the 20 year observation period, in comparison to 60 per cent of the heavy drinkers. Only 41 per cent of moderate drinkers died within this time frame.
These results came even after the team controlled variables such as socio-demographic factors, health and social-behavioural factors.
The authors noted: “A model controlling for former problem drinking status, existing health problems, and key sociodemographic and social-behavioral factors, as well as for age and gender, substantially reduced the mortality effect for abstainers compared to moderate drinkers.
“However, even after adjusting for all covariates, abstainers and heavy drinkers continued to show increased mortality risks of 51 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively, compared to moderate drinkers”.
They concluded: “Even after taking account of traditional and non-traditional covariates, moderate alcohol consumption continued to show a beneficial effect in predicting mortality risk”.