Radionics: can a lock of hair hold the key to health?

First cut a strand of hair from your head. Next, fill in a questionnaire about your state of health and send it, with your hair, to an address on the other side of the country.

Then sit back and, while not exactly by return of post, you will in due course receive relief from whatever ailment is troubling you. It could come in the form of a pill or a potion, but it's just as likely to come in the form of healing vibrations, transmitted from the person to whom you've sent your hair.

What is it? Magic? Witchcraft? A load of twaddle? No, it's radionics, the largely unexplained art of healing someone you've never met, who is hundreds, even thousands of miles away.

There are only 80 or so practitioners of radionics in Britain and Rebecka Blenntoft is one of them. She's also the secretary of the UK Radionic Association and, like her colleagues, she gets to the root of her patients' problems by holding a pendulum over their hair sample (or "witness", as it's called), and seeing what happens.

"We get the information by interrogating the witness," she claims. "I will ask question after question, some looking for a yes or no answer, some looking for an answer that will quantify the health or otherwise of the patient's various physiological systems [aural, visual, skeletal]."

So, as well as rotating in a clockwise direction for "yes", and anticlockwise for "no", the pendulum also gives scores out of 100 when placed over a sort of healthometer chart.

"It's quite a time-consuming process, because you have to go through every part of the body," says Blenntoft. "It's also quite tiring, because you have to stay very tuned in and focused on the person you are treating."

Once she's identified the problem area, she enters an eight-digit numerical code into a black-box-like radionics machine (they prefer the word "instrument"), either via a digital keyboard or a set of dials. Followed by the relevant treatment instruction (restore, rejuvenate, elasticise, for example). Almost simultaneously, it is claimed, the patient will experience some form of improvement in their condition.

You don't believe it? Neither did Blenntoft, until she saw the effect a radionic diagnosis had on a dog in her local village (the treatment can be used not just on humans, but on animals and even crops and soil).

Source - Telegraph

Music holds the key to working out successfully

Forget costly personal trainers: according to the results of a 21-year study, your MP3 playlist could be the only fitness instructor that you will ever need. In the mid-1980s, scientists became convinced of the ability of music to transform our workout; one sports psychologist has dedicated more than two decades of research to finding the reason why.

Costas Karageorghis, who led the study, has discovered that training to music lowers your perception of effort and can trick your mind into feeling less fatigued during a workout. The result is that you are less likely to suffer from the breathlessness that can stop you completing that “uphill” setting on the treadmill.

The results of the Brunel University study reveal how the cardiovascular benefits of training can be boosted by running in time to your favourite beats. Matching the beat of the music with the tempo of the exercise can also regulate your movement and reduce the oxygen required during running by up to 6 per cent.

Athletes have long suspected that music boosts their performance: the marathon runner Haile Gebrselassie reportedly trains to the 1994 dance smash Scatman. Some athletes consider music with a fast tempo to be a legal drug with no unwanted side-effects and use it to pump them up before competition, or use slower music to calm their nerves and help them to focus.

But this is the first time research has looked in detail at the phenomenon. The results, published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, reveal that plugging into correctly paced music increases stamina on a treadmill by 20 per cent. They also show that listening to music that matches the pace of your footfall can give you such a psychological boost at critical points of exhaustion and fatigue that it helps you to fight through the pain barrier.

Source - Times

Green tea extract could help to fight leukaemia

Green tea could prove to be a life-saver for leukaemia patients, new research suggests.

Patients given high doses of a green tea supplement saw significant improvements, including a 50 per cent reduction in the size of swollen lymph glands. Researchers hope the active ingredient in green tea may increase the survival chances of leukaemia patients with an aggressive form of the disease.

In a clinical trial, patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) received eight different doses of a commercially produced green tea extract known as Polyphenon E, which contains a powerful antioxidant.

Lymphocyte count - a measurement of numbers of white blood cells - was lowered in one third of the participants, indicating cancer regression. Tests have shown that green tea extract can combat cancer in the laboratory, but there has been conflicting evidence from studies of its effects on patients.

Dr Tait Shanafelt, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who led the US team conducting the latest trial, said: 'We found not only that patients tolerated the green tea extract at very high doses, but that many of them saw regression to some degree of their chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. The majority of individuals who entered the study with enlarged lymph nodes saw a 50 per cent or greater decline in their lymph node size.'

Source - Daily Mail

Music 'nurtures' premature babies

Hospitals that play music to premature babies help them grow and thrive, mounting evidence suggests.

The benefits are said to be calmer infants and parents as well as faster weight gain and shorter hospital stays. A Canadian team reviewed nine studies and found music reduced pain and encouraged better oral feeding.

Music also appeared to have beneficial effects on physiological measures like heart and respiratory rate, Archives of Disease in Childhood reports. Increasing numbers of neonatal units are using music on their wards.

Six of the studies the University of Alberta team looked at music played to babies during painful procedures such as circumcisions and heel prick tests. One looked at the effect of music on feeding rates and the remaining two looked at the effect of music on physiology and behaviours. Most of the trials the researchers looked at used lullabies with or without added sounds, such as heartbeats or womb noises, and one used live music - a specially composed wordless lullaby sung by a female voice and accompanied by a harp. Other hospitals have been playing music by some of the great composers, like Mozart.

Source - BBC

As a woman is hypnotised into believing she's had surgery: Yes, the power of the mind can heal your body

We often take the link between our mind and body for granted, yet in truth it is one of the least understood phenomena in the whole of science.

Take the strange case of Marion Corns. Last week, it was reported that Mrs Corns, who is from Merseyside, allowed herself to be hypnotised after becoming obese. After trying the usual diets and exercise regimes with no success, she travelled to a clinic in Spain where she was put into an altered state of consciousness and then 'talked through', in step-by-step detail, the procedure for a drastic weight-loss operation.

Mrs Corns did not actually go under the knife. But under hypnosis she was told she had been fitted with a gastric band - a device which constricts the stomach, dramatically reducing the amount that can be eaten. Although she was fully aware that no band had been fitted, something in her brain seemed to believe otherwise, and she lost four stone - exactly the sort of weight loss that could be expected if a band had been fitted.

So what on earth is going on? Can the mind be fooled to such an extent that it can 'fake' the effects of a major surgical procedure? And, if so, could it provide the path to a whole new kind of medicine - one in which pills and scalpels can be replaced by the power of mental suggestion?

The strange case of Mrs Corns certainly looks like a clear victory for those who claim that 'alternative' treatments, into which category hypnosis is often lumped, are often as effective, or better, than conventional Western medicine. But can this really be the case?

Source - Daily Mail

pine bark supplement to ease arthritis pain

Pine bark supplement could ease the symptoms of arthritis.

Over three months, researchers compared joint inflammation levels in patients taking either two 50mg tablets of the supplement daily or 'dummy' tablets. Those who took the supplement, marketed as Pycnogenol, had reduced levels of C-reactive protein, which is linked to inflammation.

Pain relief persisted for an additional two weeks after they stopped taking it, reported staff at Italy's Chieti-Pescara University and the Munster University, Germany.

Results suggest properties of pine bark may be strong enough to stop the spread of inflammation from osteoarthritic joints throughout the whole body, said Dr Peter Rohdewald, one of the scientists.

Source - Daily Mail

How apples can help you lose weight

Eating an apple a quarter of an hour before a meal could help dieters lose weight.

A U.S. study, published in the journal Appetite, found people ate 15 per cent fewer calories after having an apple. A recent study warned one in three adults in the UK will be obese by 2012.

Dietitians usually recommend lowcalorie foods and regular exercise as the first line of attack against obesity - but it is estimated that around 80 per cent of severely obese patients fail to achieve their target weight by changing eating habits and lifestyle.

In the study, volunteers were split into two groups. Half ate an apple or drank apple juice before a meal every day for five weeks, while the rest had just the meal.

Although eating apples cut calorie intake, drinking apple juice made no difference. The researchers suggested this is because the whole fruit contains fibrous 'bulk', which reduces appetite.

Source - Daily Mail

As research shows mouthwash contains TWICE the alcohol of wine, could you be gargling your way to cancer?

A glug of mouthwash is the best way to sweeten breath in the morning - well, that's what the Brits who spend £156million a year on it hope.

And more are joining their ranks: Sales rose by nearly 10 per cent last year, according to market research company IRI. But are mouthwashes as effective, or as healthy, as they seem?

Earlier this month, one well-known manufacturer was forced to recall thousands of bottles after they were found to have 'microbiological problems' that could cause chest infections. While investigations revealed this was related to a production rather than ingredient problem, it came hot on the heels of another, more worrying, revelation - that some mouthwashes may increase the risk of oral cancer.

According to a report published in January in the Dental Journal of Australia, there was 'sufficient evidence' linking breath-freshening products containing alcohol with a higher risk of the disease.

Source - Daily Mail

Back sufferers to receive acupuncture on NHS

Backache sufferers will receive spinal manipulation or acupuncture on the NHS as a result of official guidance being issued this week on how to treat the debilitating condition.

The move will be welcomed by many of the millions of patients with the ailment, which brings widespread misery and costs the country billions of pounds in sick leave, welfare bills and medical treatment.

The new approach will be unveiled on Wednesday by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which tells the NHS which treatments are worth spending money on. Nice is expected to say that exhaustive research has shown that manipulation of a patient's spine can be effective in relieving the symptoms of low back pain and recommend that GPs refer sufferers for up to nine sessions with an osteopath, chiropractor or physiotherapist who is trained in manipulation, or an acupuncturist.

Professor Steve Field, the chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: "It's good that GPs are finally being given what appears to be authoritative and well-researched guidance. I have found osteopathy and chiropracty helpful with some patients, and become more convinced about acupuncture, having previously been sceptical."


Source - Guardian

Acupuncture needles can improve back pain - and so can toothpicks

Acupuncture needles can improve back pain - and so can toothpicks

Acupuncture can lead to lasting improvements for people with long-term low back pain, according to a new study - but so can simulated acupuncture using toothpicks pressed against skin. These findings suggest that penetrating the skin with needles may not be necessary for the treatment to work.

What do we know already?

Low back pain is extremely common. Up to 85 percent of people in the UK have back pain at some point in their lives, and about 5 million people see their GP for back pain each year. Most people's back pain improves in less than two weeks, but some have pain for three months or more. Long-term back pain is harder to treat, leading many people to seek out alternative therapies, such as acupuncture.

Acupuncture uses very fine needles placed into specific points around the body (called acupuncture points). Some doctors think acupuncture helps the body to release natural chemicals that block the feeling of pain. Some studies have found that acupuncture can ease the symptoms of low back pain, and help people move more freely.

But most studies have been fairly short, so it's unclear how long the benefits of acupuncture last. Also, some research has found that shallowly inserting needles into non-acupuncture points can also improve low back pain, raising questions about how acupuncture actually works. To explore these issues further, researchers have now looked at how real acupuncture compares with simulated acupuncture that doesn't pierce the skin, in both the short and long term.

What does the new study say?

The study included 638 adults with long-term low back pain who were randomly assigned to receive one of the following four treatments over seven weeks:

  • 10 acupuncture sessions that were tailored to them individually
  • 10 acupuncture sessions that weren't tailored, but instead followed a standard approach for low back pain
  • 10 sessions of simulated acupuncture, which involved applying a toothpick inside a needle-guide tube to acupuncture points, to mimic insertion, stimulation and removal of needles
  • Usual care provided by a GP, with no real or simulated acupuncture added.

People who had real or simulated acupuncture wore eye masks to conceal which treatment they were receiving.

After eight, 26 and 52 weeks, the participants were interviewed about their symptoms and how much the pain was hampering their usual activities (their level of dysfunction). They were also asked to rate how troublesome their pain was on a scale of zero (not troublesome at all) to 10 (extremely troublesome).

Overall, people who had either real or simulated acupuncture had less pain and were less hampered in their activities than those who had only usual care. Acupuncture that was tailored to the individual didn't seem to help any more than standard or simulated acupuncture.

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The study was done by researches in California and Washington State, and was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. It was published in a medical journal called the Archives of Internal Medicine, which is owned by the American Medical Association.

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Source - Guardian

Ginger may help ease nausea from cancer treatment

Taking ginger capsules before and after chemotherapy for cancer can ease nausea when anti-vomiting drugs aren't enough, according to a new study.

Nausea and vomiting are common and distressing side effects of chemotherapy. Anti-vomiting drugs (called anti-emetics) can reduce these symptoms, but many people find their nausea lingers.

Ginger is a spicy root used to flavour food and beverages such as gingerbread, stir-fried vegetables and ginger beer. It is also used in herbal medicine to relieve various types of nausea, including morning sickness and motion sickness. Researchers don't know for sure how it might reduce nausea, but it may help relax the muscles in the stomach and prevent them going into spasm. Some people eat fresh or candied ginger, but many take ginger capsules, which are more concentrated. Previous small studies have suggested ginger may be able to help reduce nausea after chemotherapy.

Researchers have now looked at ginger's effects among a large group of patients having chemotherapy. In an interesting twist, they gave ginger to people before as well as after chemotherapy, as research on motion sickness suggests that early treatment can maximise effects later on.

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The study was done by US researchers with the University of Rochester Medical Center and was funded by the National Cancer Institute. The research will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting at the end of May.

Source - Guardian

Growing herbs: A taste for your own medicine

Growing your own herbs is enjoying a slow but sure revival, alongside the massive new interest in home-produced fruit and vegetables.

To find out more about growing and using herbs it's worth watching the professionals. Elaine Perry, a professor of neuroscience at Newcastle University, is researching plant medicines and has worked on herbs traditionally thought to improve memory (sage, lemon balm, rosemary).

Elaine grows a range of herbs in the garden next to her miller's cottage at Dilston, deep in the Tyne Valley. Following an illness, she decided to start a larger herbal garden so she bought an adjacent field which is now the Dilston Physic Garden, a non-profit organisation open to the public (see www.dilstonphysicgarden.com )

Dilston is not just a collection of herbs but is actively used and anyone interested can glean practical, up-to-date information on how to grow and use herbs. Ross Menzies, a qualified medical herbalist based in nearby Hexham, www.the-herbal-clinic.co.uk runs courses such as The Hedgerow as a Medicine Chest and Larder, and you can buy many herbal medicines there. A big bonus is that the plant labelling in the garden includes folklore information as well as scientific evidence. It is run predominantly with volunteer labour. Anyone wishing to help or those who want to buy herbs (for a small charge) is encouraged to contact them.

Source - Telegraph

The rock and roll of natural therapy

Similar to shiatsu and energy healing techniques, seiki is great for lowering stress levels and reducing backache.

Seiki is the rock and roll of natural therapy. This "anything goes" treatment isn't hung up on stringent diets or exercise regimes and wouldn't dream of asking you to give up anything, except your stress and pain (and even then, only if you are ready to let it go).

''People already put so much pressure on themselves,'' says practitioner Margot Gordon, who has treated a host of Hollywood stars. ''The last thing you need is a therapy that puts on even more pressure and causes more stress, yet so many treatments are all about giving up this or not doing that.''

Seiki, frankly, couldn't care less. If you want to drink a bottle of Beaujolais a night that's cool (though people often find that, after a series of treatments, their senses become so acute that they automatically eat and drink well).

Seiki originated from a Japanese shiatsu practitioner, Akinobu Kishi. He felt that shiatsu was too controlling – it sought to change the person's body, whether it wanted to be changed or not. His solution was to learn by precise observation exactly what the client's body wanted him to do.

Source - Telegraph

Miracle bugs: Fancy 'probiotic' yoghurt drinks really ARE good for you, scientists say

Probiotics are one of the most over-hyped health products of recent years.

Until now doctors have been sceptical about these yoghurts, drinks and pills - partly because the evidence for them hasn't been convincing, but also because it's not clear what the different strains of these 'good' bacteria actually do. However, new research shows that not only are probiotics useful, but they could even act as effective medicines - and help you control your weight.

Probiotics are the 'good' strains of gut bacteria which play an important role in digestive health and the immune system. The problem, as many a nutritionist likes to point out, is that these good bacteria can be killed off by poor diet and antibiotics.

Now, scientists have been able to pinpoint precisely what effects particular types of bacteria have. For instance, they have found that some influence the ways fats and nutrients are absorbed. More importantly, this new understanding is helping them develop ways to adapt probiotics more precisely. It seems they could actually replace certain drugs such as antibiotics and even provide new treatments for other conditions such as asthma - and without side effects.

Last month, for instance, researchers from University College Cork reported that two probiotics specially prepared in their lab were as effective as the best available antibiotics in fighting off various infections in animals.

Lead scientist Dr Colin Hill explains that each works in different ways. 'We've got one that protects mice from an infection called listeriosis that causes vomiting and nausea and can affect pregnant women. The probiotic works by producing a type of small molecule known as a peptide that specifically kills the listeria bacteria.'

Source - Daily Mail

Back pain? A turnip-like herb could bring you comfort

Comfrey could provide relief for millions of people with back pain, scientists claim.

An ointment containing an extract of the turnip-like herb made pain all but disappear within five days, their study found. Researchers studied 120 people with upper or lower back pain.

Half were given a comfrey ointment to rub on three times a day for five days, while the others received a dummy ointment. Neither group was told which they were using. After five days, the amount of pain suffered by those using the dummy ointment had fallen by an average of 39 per cent, which researchers put down to them wanting to believe they were getting better.

But those treated with the comfrey ointment reported a fall of 95 per cent. Comfrey was also fast acting, getting to work after just an hour.

Back pain is the single biggest cause of sick days, and the NHS spends about half a billion pounds treating the problem each year. Lost productivity and sickness benefit costs the taxpayer a further £10billion.

The research, by academics at the German Sport University in Cologne and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, concluded: 'Comfrey root extract showed a remarkably potent and clinically-relevant effect in reducing acute pain.'

Source - Daily Mail

Brighten the twilight years: 'Sunshine vitamin' boosts brain function in the elderly

Getting more of the ‘sunshine vitamin’ may make you brighter later in life, a study suggests.

Middle-aged and older men with high levels of vitamin D in their blood were mentally quicker than their peers, researchers report. The team, from the University of Manchester, said taking supplements could boost brain function as you age and shore up protection against dementia. However, they warn against spending extra time in the sun, which can raise the risk of skin cancer.

‘At the population level, we are talking about large numbers of people. If there is a link it could potentially have a significant effect,’ said Professor David Lee, who led the study. ‘It is so easy to rectify with supplementation.’

Vitamin D, produced by the body when skin is exposed to sunlight, is also found in certain foods such as oily fish. It helps cells absorb the essential mineral calcium and is important for bone health. Cancer, artery disease and tuberculosis have also recently been added to the list of conditions warded off by the vitamin.

Source - Daily Mail

Too much cola 'leads to muscle and heart problems'

Experts have issued a warning against drinking large quantities of cola, saying it could lead to muscle problems, an irregular heartbeat and bone weakness.

The number of cola-lovers suffering health issues is on the rise, they said, adding there had been a food industry push towards an “increase in portion sizes”. As well as tooth decay, diabetes and “softening” of the bones, doctors have seen patients suffering from hypokalaemia — where potassium levels in the blood drop too low. This can increase the risk of muscle problems and heart rhythm abnormalities, which could prove fatal in some cases.

“We are consuming more soft drinks than ever before and a number of health issues have already been identified including tooth problems, bone demineralisation and the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes,” said Dr Moses Elisaf from the University of Ioannina in Greece, who led an academic review of the issue.

“Evidence is increasing to suggest that excessive cola consumption can also lead to hypokalaemia, in which the blood potassium levels fall, causing an adverse effect on vital muscle functions.”

His study, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, detailed cases where patients drank two or more litres of cola a day. In one case a 21-year-old pregnant woman was admitted to the hospital suffering tiredness, loss of appetite and repeated vomiting.

Source - Independent

Vitamin D lowers risk of heart disease and diabetes in pensioners

Older people who enjoy the sunshine have a lower risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, scientists have revealed.

Researchers from Warwick University found pensioners who went outdoors regularly had higher levels of vitamin D. This is essential because their skin is less able to produce it naturally.Study author Dr Oscar Franco said: 'As we get older our skin is less efficient at forming vitamin D and our diet may also become less varied, with a lower natural vitamin D content.

'When we are older we may need to spend more time outdoors to stimulate the same levels of vitamin D we had when we were younger.' In a study of more than 3,000 pensioners in China, the team found 94 per cent suffered from vitamin D deficiency and 42 per cent also had metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome affects a person's ability to produce insulin which in turn increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Source - Daily Mail

Why brushing your teeth regularly can prevent a stroke

Brushing your teeth and gums regularly could reverse early signs of heart disease. In fact, researchers suggest that good dental care can achieve results comparable to those from drugs by reducing dangerous fatty deposits on blood vessel walls.

The key to all this is the role oral bacteria play in heart disease.

Scientists have long suspected that periodontitis, also known as gum or gingival disease, is linked to early signs of heart disease, specifically atherosclerosis - the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. But the new study has now identified a specific bacteria - porphyromonas gingivalis - as one of the main culprits in both gum and heart disease.

'It's thought that bacteria in the mouth trigger an immune response, increasing production of T. lymphycytes, which are part of the body's defence system,' says Dr Mario Clerici, the study leader and an immunologist at the University of Milan in Italy.

The problem is that proteins found on the surface of all blood vessels resemble those proteins on these gingivalis bacteria. And once the immune system is provoked into attacking the gingivalis bacteria, it moves on to the proteins in the blood vessels.

'The result is the start of the process that leads to the build-up of fatty substances,' explains Dr Clerici.

Source - Daily Mail

Acupuncture is 'better at beating a bad back than conventional treatments'

If your back has been needling you for a while, it could be time for a trip to the acupuncturist, for experts have found that the ancient Chinese therapy can relieve a bad back better than anything else.

As many as 85 per cent of us are said to feel a twinge or two at some point in our lives. Back pain costs the NHS £500million a year.

A study found that acupuncture, based on the theory that needles can release the body's vital energy, had a better success rate in relieving pain than conventional treatment. For the research, hundreds of adults who suffered from chronic lower back pain were split into four groups.

One received an individual programme of acupuncture; one group standard therapy; a third group had a simulation of acupuncture using toothpicks; and the fourth group had the usual care.
After eight weeks, 60 per cent of those having some kind of acupuncture were much improved.

For those having conventional care, it was only 39 per cent. After a year, between 59 and 69 per cent of those treated with acupuncture reported improvements, compared to 50 per cent of those having usual care.

Researcher Dr Daniel Cherkin said all the varieties of acupuncture 'had beneficial and persisting effects on chronic back pain', when compared to usual treatment.

This makes acupuncture appear a promising option for chronic back pain, he explained.

Source - Daily Mail

The magnet that draws poison from your blood

A magnetic device that draws dangerous bacteria out of the blood could be a revolutionary new treatment for blood poisoning.

It works by pulling harmful organisms from infected blood that has been extracted from the body. Once filtered, the 'clean' blood can be pumped back into the system.Tests suggest just a few hours of treatment could be enough to flush out 80 per cent of bacteria from a patient's bloodstream.

The experimental treatment, developed in the U.S. at The Children's Hospital in Boston, is still being tested. But it's hoped it could one day reduce the UK's death toll from blood poisoning - or sepsis - which stands at around 30,000 a year.

Sepsis kills around half its victims, often within just a few hours. It develops with considerable speed when germs get into the body through wounds in the skin or infections in the ears, lungs or urinary tract.Those most affected are usually the very young, sick or elderly, whose defences may not be up to fighting off bacterial invasion.

Source - Daily Mail

Moderate wine drinkers 'live longer'

Drinking up to half a glass of wine a day may boost life expectancy by five years, at least in men, it was claimed today.

Dutch researchers studied a total of 1,373 randomly selected men whose cardiovascular health and life expectancy at age 50 were repeatedly monitored between 1960 and 2000. They looked into how much alcohol the men drank, what type it was, and over what period, to see whether this had any impact on the risks of their dying from cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and from all causes. They also tracked weight and diet, whether the men smoked, and for how long, and checked for the presence of serious illness.

The scientists found that light long-term alcohol consumption of all types - up to 20g a day- extended life by around two extra years compared with no alcohol at all. Extended life expectancy was slightly less for those who drank more than 20g. Men who drank only wine, and less than half a glass of it a day, lived around two-and-a-half years longer than those who drank beer and spirits, and almost five years longer than those who drank no alcohol at all, the study found. Drinking wine was strongly associated with a lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and death from all causes.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: "This study reinforces the view taken by a Government committee some years ago that moderate consumption of alcohol can have a positive impact on people's health, particularly in relation to heart disease. It's important to recognise the benefits of moderate consumption while acknowledging the risks associated with alcohol misuse."

Alcohol Concern chief executive Don Shenker said: "Alongside other research into drinking patterns, there are a very limited number of people for whom moderate alcohol intake may be beneficial, but this must be weighed up against the serious risks caused by drinking at more than moderate amounts."

Source - Independent