BLASPHEMY: brain sizes: Einstein's and women's

John Knight jwknight at
Wed Nov 27 14:42:04 EST 2002

"Stewart Millen" <Stewart_Millen at> wrote in message
news:Xns92CDC95E8CBC3StewartMillenhotmail at
> "John Knight" <jwknight at> wrote in
> news:0JbC9.19891$XF5.3472880 at
> >> Gray Shockley wrote:
> >> > Heck! Booze probably qualifies as there are tens
> >> > (hundreds?) of thousands (or more) who have died as a
> >> > result of drinking alcoholic beverages themselves or
> >> > being killed by those who have.
> >> >
> >
> > And, again, this is something that only a "liberal" would
> > dare say.  When the beneficial effects of alcohol are
> > compared to the most extreme estimates of the accidental
> > deaths caused by alcohol, drinking alcohol is far safer than
> > not drinking it at all
> Simply not true. While there is some uncertainty about the
> number of lives lost to alcohol, it is undeniably huge. The
> figure for 100,000 lives/year in the US, and more than 1 million
> worldwide (WHO) may, if anything, be undercount, perhaps only
> *half* of the true total. That's because some of the countries
> with the greatest known alcohol problems (Russia, Eastern
> Europe, France) have some of the most unreliable statistics.
> However, alcohol is believed to be one of the biggest reasons,
> if not the primary one, of why Russian male life expectancy is
> down to 57 years.

Agreed that the statistics from Russia are suspect.  And the most suspect
statistic from Russia is that Russians drink a lot of alcohol.

Do you know how much a bottle of Wyborova Vodka, the most popular vodka in
Russia, costs?  60 cents per liter.  That might not sound like much, but
when you realize that a family of four in Russia earns only $10.00 per
month, you have to appreciate that they just can't afford to drink that

Conversely, the Germans CAN afford to drink a LOT of alcohol, and they do.
Germans consume much more alcohol than Russians, and 45% more than we do,
per capita

Germans also have a longer life expectancy than we do, so if there's a
relationship between alcohol and life expectancy, it's a proportional

And we have a 45% higher fatal accident rate than they do.

> Even according to the lower figures, alcohol kills as many
> people worldwide every six years as did, uh, er, the Nazi
> Holocaust directed against the Jews.

There's obviously a media blitz underway in the US to convince you of that,
and you've obviously bought it.  The best way to analyze how effective this
blitz has been is to take a closer look at the facts behind the "45% of all
auto accidents are alcohol related".  If you do, you will discover that only
5% of fatal auto accidents involve a driver with a BAC > 0.10. and that the other 40% is smoke and

> As for the "number of people 'saved' by alcohol" (presumably by
> reduction of risk for heart disease) the truth is that we can't
> name a single *one*. Because we simply don't know for a fact
> that alcohol does help prevent heart disease. Anyone who makes
> that claim without the necessary reservations and caveats
> doesn't really understand the subject.

Then there are thousands of doctors and health researchers who don't "really
understand the subject", because coast to coast, nation to nation, around
the world, this is exactly what they claim

If they're correct, then our current level of alcohol consumption saves
80,000 lives per year.  Unless all of them "really understand the subject",
then increasing alcohol consumption has the potential save as many as
300,000 lives per year.

> The current "best science" is that alcohol may well indeed help
> prevent heart disease, perhaps by raising HDL levels, but only
> for light/moderate drinkers. Even for them, the benefit is
> believed to be relatively modest (say, a 20 % risk reduction)
> and even then at a cost of slightly elevated risks for deaths by
> accident, suicide, and various cancers.

Cancer is not and cannot be related to alcohol consumption.  If there is a
relationship between suicide and alcohol consumption, it's likely that the
relationship is to a third factor rather than a linear relationship to each
other.  And the accident mythology can be easily dismissed if you will just
answer the following questions:

Who causes the MOST number of accidents in the US:  the drinking driver, or
the non-drinking driver?  By how much?

btw, a 20% reduction in heart disease would save 120,000 lives, so it's not
as trivial as you imply.

> Since one can lower one's risk for heart disease by 65 % by a
> relatively modest exercise program--while at the same time
> lowering, instead of raising, one's risk for a number of
> cancers--AND lower it by diet AND lower it by various
> medications, AND considering that about 20 % of men and 10 % of
> women who start to drink go on to develop addiction (very likely
> due to genetic reasons), one can see easily why most medical
> professionals are loathe to recommend that their non-drinking
> patients start drinking for its alleged benefits. The
> benefits-to-risks assesment of drinking just isn't good.
> Stewart

Less than 1% of Americans are classified by the medical community as "heavy
drinkers".  Even for most of them, the adverse health effects due to the
amount of alcohol that most of them drink still doesn't put them at risk of
health problems, particularly compared to the increased health risks of the
other factors you cite in this paragraph.

iow, if you research this honestly and completely, you'll discover that it's
a far smaller problem than the media would have you believe it is.

John Knight

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