Volume 93, Issue 43

Tuesday, November 16, 1999


Patron stabbed at the Wave

Research to further pig/human transplant goals

CIBC donates $1 million to fund new programs

Project on garbage wins award

A glass of booze a day keeps the doctor away

Gas and fire cause false alarms, not panic

Chaplains to give peace a chance

Caught on campus


A glass of booze a day keeps the doctor away

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

Drinking alcohol can be good for you, but only in moderation, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Manitoba.

The study found that livers of rats put on a regimen of light drinking – about two drinks a day – performed better than rats which drank heavily or not at all.

Bill Clark, a professor of medicine at Western, said an enzyme found in the liver has been shown to react to alcohol, strengthening the liver's overall ability to work itself. "That's an important enzyme system that's inducible and a little bit of alcohol would make it a little more efficient," he said.

Clark added the study, published earlier this month by the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre, points to the potential benefits of ethanol exposure – the type of alcohol found in beer, liquor and wine – and how it may actually enhance, not hinder, a liver's regenerative process. "It does point to the mild benefits of alcohol in terms of cardiovascular benefits."

But Clark said making the leap from conclusive evidence for rats and potential benefits for humans was a significant gap that could not be proven by a single study. "I suppose it's not too striking – a little drink, one or less a day, however the results are a very big stretch," he said.

Still, Joseph Butchey, an associate professor of medicine at Western, maintained the study's results were not off the mark. "What the study is saying is that a bit of activity is better than none, it gets the enzymes functioning," he said.

"There has been research saying that a glass or two of red wine a day is actually helpful for the heart and so the study is not alone in its findings," he explained.

Second-year massage therapy student Dawn Little, agreed with the study's findings. "I could see why they would conclude that way. If you over-drink, your liver can't process it all, but if you don't drink at all, you're not reaping the benefits of alcohol. If you do drink a little, it's all right," she said.

But Michelle Lecky, a third-year economics student, said she was not even a moderate drinker and her personal habits would not allow her to be swayed by the study. "Personally, it doesn't make a difference to me. I'm a bit of a health freak and so it's more the calories and increase in metabolism that I'm worried about," she said.

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