ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Gene Therapy May Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Six Healthy-Sounding Foods That Really Aren't
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Database Helps Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
EYE CARE, VISION
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
FITNESS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
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Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not

(HealthDay News) -- Just about every month -- if not every week -- a new study emerges touting the health benefits to be gained from a daily glass of wine or a pint of dark beer.

The benefits related to cardiovascular health have become well-known. A study released in mid-July, for instance, found that moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in women by increasing the amount of "good" cholesterol in the bloodstream and reducing blood sugar levels.

But other studies have linked a daily drink, most often wine, to reduced risk of dementia, bone loss and physical disabilities related to old age. Wine also has been found to increase life expectancy and provide potential protection against some forms of cancer, including esophageal cancer and lymphoma.

But don't invest in that case of Pinot noir just yet.

Experts with the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association say that though these studies do show some benefits to moderate drinking, the health risks from alcohol consumption far outweigh the potential rewards.

Drinking any alcohol at all is known to increase your risk for contracting a number of types of cancer, said Susan Gapstur, vice president of epidemiology for the American Cancer Society. These include cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon/rectum and breast.

"At the end of the day, if you are at very high risk for cancer, you might want to limit your alcohol consumption even further," Gapstur said. "It's a lifestyle modification you can make, and we don't have as many lifestyle modifications for preventing cancer as we do for coronary heart disease."

There also are other health risks from moderate drinking, including liver damage and accidents caused by impaired reflexes, said Dr. Jennifer Mieres, director of nuclear cardiology at the New York University School of Medicine and an American Heart Association spokeswoman.

The health benefits from drinking generally are related to the antioxidants and anti-inflammatories found in red wines and dark beers, Mieres said, but those substances can be found in a number of different fruits and vegetables.

"When it comes to disease prevention, you're better off changing your diet to include fruits and vegetables and get your antioxidants and anti-inflammatories from natural sources," she said.

For example, people can get resveratrol -- the antioxidant found in red wine that's believed to provide most of the drink's health benefits -- from drinking grape juice just as well as from drinking wine, Mieres said.

"For people that don't drink, not drinking is important," Mieres said. "You can get the same benefits of drinking from leading a heart-healthy lifestyle. To me, it's not worth the risk to start drinking. But for people who enjoy a glass of red wine or enjoy drinking, the key is to stick to the definition of moderation," she said.

Moderate drinking is defined as one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. What counts as one drink are:

* 12 ounces of regular beer or wine cooler
* 8 ounces of malt liquor
* 5 ounces of wine
* 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor

Drinking anything more than that on a daily basis is known to lead to a host of health problems that can reduce your life expectancy, Mieres and Gapstur said.

"I think the take-home message is, if you don't drink, don't start to help protect yourself from coronary heart disease because there are so many other things you can do," Gapstur said. "If you already drink, you might want to limit your consumption."

Though the studies touting the positive health effects of alcohol are scientifically accurate, they also appear to play into people's desires for quick fixes to complex problems, Mieres said.

"To prevent heart disease, 50 percent of the work has to come from you," she said. "Prevention is a big piece, and you have to be accountable. You have to make lifestyle changes, and that's very tough to do. People look for easy ways to get heart-healthy benefits, and drinking is an easy way to do that. It's a known human tendency: Let's find an easy way out that doesn't involve a lot of thought or work.

SOURCES: Susan Gapstur, Ph.D., M.P.H., vice president, epidemiology, American Cancer Society; Jennifer Mieres, M.D., associate professor and director, nuclear cardiology, New York University School of Medicine, New York City Published on: October 18, 2009