Monday, April 12, 2010

New Scare About Young Adult Drinking

This one is so easy to knock down it is almost a straw man, but we will do what we always do when junk science is encountered.  That's what we're here for, after all.

A new study reports that there is a correlation between benign breast disease and frequent drinking in young women aged 15-22.  One headline, "Underage Drinking Tied to Breast Disease Risk," is misleading because it includes women up to two years over the legal drinking age of 21, and not all drinkers were equal.  The risk was only statistically significant for those who drank three or more times per week, with the highest risk for daily drinkers.  Even so, the confidence intervals were very wide, suggesting possible residual or unmeasured confounding.  And the effect was not explained by age of onset of regular drinking.  That's right--no correlation with age of onset, and therefore nothing magic about the drinking age of 21.

Once again, it appears moderation is the key, regardless of age.  That should be the take-home message for this study, not "don't drink a drop until 21, then do what you will," which is apparently what one of the authors implied when discussing the results.  But moderation appears to be a forgotten virtue in the land of extremes that is America, no doubt spurred on by the 21 drinking age.

We at 21 Debunked provide this for informational purposes only and do not in any way advocate drinking of any kind, underage or otherwise.

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