Buzzkill Wash U Scientists Say Even Light Drinking Increases Risk of Death


We're all going to die.

That much was already an accepted fact. Save for the Elon Musks and the Jeff Bezoses among us, who probably have enough capital and access to nightmarishly unnatural brain-preserving technology to cheat death and defy the will of God for centuries at the very least, sooner rather than later, we'll all shuffle off this mortal coil.

It just turns out that a lot of us are going to go even sooner than we previously thought.

That's because a new study from the total and complete buzzkills over at Washington University finds that even light drinking increases the risk of early death. The findings — which are totally and completely uncool, by the way — fly in the face of previously accepted guidelines, which held that drinking a glass of wine or so every day had benefits for your cardiovascular system (in addition to making you more cool and fun and handsome, obviously).

“It used to seem like having one or two drinks per day was no big deal, and there even have been some studies suggesting it can improve health,” says one of the study's authors, Dr. Sarah M. Hartz, an assistant professor of psychiatry and big-time party pooper. “But now we know that even the lightest daily drinkers have an increased mortality risk.”

Wash U's killjoy researchers came to their positively dispiriting conclusions by analyzing data from more than 400,000 people ages 18 to 85. Their findings suggest that one or two drinks four times a week — an amount deemed perfectly healthy in happier times — actually increases the risk of premature death by a full twenty percent.

The reason comes back to that ol' son of a bitch cancer, who just can't seem to leave the living the fuck alone. Hartz's team found that while daily drinking can in fact reduce the risk of heart-related health issues, it categorically increases the risk of contracting cancer.

“Consuming one or two drinks about four days per week seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease, but drinking every day eliminated those benefits,” Hartz explains. “With regard to cancer risk, any drinking at all was detrimental.”

Hartz predicts that in the future, as medicine becomes more tailor-made to individual patients, doctors may recommend that people with a family history of heart disease have an occasional drink, while telling those with a family history of cancer to avoid alcohol entirely. (As for those of us with a family history of both? Might as well throw ourselves in front of a train now.)

"Overall, I do think people should no longer consider a glass of wine a day to somehow be healthy,” Hartz says.

For those of us in St. Louis, who grew up in the shadow of a brewery and are known to imbibe from time to time, this all basically means we're fucked, and probably going to die much sooner than most, probably of cancer. But considering the amount of alcohol necessary to deal with the ongoing horror show that is, well, this *gestures broadly at everything* it seems there's gonna be a whole lot of people coming with us. It's all bad news, to be sure.

Frankly, it's enough to make a person want a drink.

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