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Health quango: Booze 'evidence' not Puritan enough, do us another

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In before the smartarses going "what's new?", "we all knew this already", etc....

What's new is the audit trail of the back and forth between sponsor and researcher where one persuades the other to fuss the figures to fit their agenda.

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Pint

Re: In before the smartarses going "what's new?", "we all knew this already", etc....

What's wrong with a bit of policy-based evidence-making...

Beer icon, obviously. As we all need to get our units in for the week. I must confess I'm a little ahead of government targets, due to an incident on Saturday night with a rather tasty bottle of single malt.

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Pint

Re: In before the smartarses going "what's new?", "we all knew this already", etc....

Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

H L Mencken

I'm off to get my five a day. Cheers!

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Re: In before the smartarses going "what's new?", "we all knew this already", etc....

I'll go with Heinlein's take on this: “Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.”

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Re: In before the smartarses going "what's new?", "we all knew this already", etc....

I'm happy with two units a day. I'm up to June 2034 already.

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standard gov behaviour

We need a justification for this idea. Let's ask the experts!

Wait, that's not useful, that isn't what we want.

Let's just say what we want, and imply its come from the experts. Bonus points, we can blame them when it goes south.

Hey, new idea!....

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Re: standard gov behaviour

It's called 'policy based evidence'.

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Hardly a surprise...

If memory serves one of the many "how bad are drugs" studies (for classification etc) ended with everyone sacked because they could or would not state that certain drugs were as bad as the gov wished to claim.

Fired. New team hired.

DRUGS ARE BAD verdict given.

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Re: Hardly a surprise...

Cannabis kills, that is a fact. Whinng about your favourite drug-enabler 'scientist' Nutt being rightfully sacked will not change anything.

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Re: Hardly a surprise...

David Nutt is who you are thinking about.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hardly a surprise...

I can't wait in a 100 years when the health campaign would ask "have you had your zoot today".

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Re: Hardly a surprise...

Unwarranted Triumphalism's past posts are a warranted magnet for down-votes. He seems to have something against cannabis (which for some varieties and some users he has a point, but he wildly overstates his scantily-made case) and is one of those with views of what constitutes a 'real computer' or 'real work'.

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Re: Hardly a surprise...

Real computer & real work onsessions ... does he like a computer workstation with nice ERGonomics?

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Re: Hardly a surprise...

UT - have you got a single citation for a death that was due solely to cannabis?

I'll bet you an upvote that you haven't.

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FAIL

Re: Hardly a surprise...

"Cannabis kills, that is a fact"

would you care to present any evidence for this "fact"?

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FIA

Re: Hardly a surprise...

Cannabis kills, that is a fact.

So does water.

Whinng about your favourite drug-enabler 'scientist' Nutt being rightfully sacked will not change anything.

Rightfully sacked? IIRC he pointed out the risks of taking ecstasy were lower than the risks associated with horse riding; which they are.

The take home message presumably intended to be 'There's an activity that carries an element of risk but people enjoy it so we allow them to undertake it whilst being aware of the risks, whereas another less risky activity is prohibited which is maybe something as a society we should consider if we're happy with'.

Unfortunately people missed that bit as reactionism is so much easier. Much less thinking.

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Happy

Re: Hardly a surprise...

Cannabis kills, that is a fact

The relevant paper:

Stoner, A; Toker, D et al. J. Drug Phys, Vol 420, pp42-45.

Abstract: In controlled trials involving dropping calibrated weights of cannabis a distance of 2 metres onto laboratory rats, the LD50 value was estimated at 376.2 kg +/- 17.8 kg.

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Re: Hardly a surprise...

<quote>Abstract: In controlled trials involving dropping calibrated weights of cannabis a distance of 2 metres onto laboratory rats, the LD50 value was estimated at 376.2 kg +/- 17.8 kg.</quote>

Sod the rats, you'd kill an elephant if you dropped 376kg from 2m.

Besides, shouldn't the measurement be stones?

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Re: Hardly a surprise...

Water kills, that is a fact.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs347/en/

Go peddle yer papers.

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Childcatcher

Re: Hardly a surprise...

On that note 100% of all murderers and paedophiles have taken water...

Maybe we should ban that too..

Thinking of the children of course....always thinking of the children.

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Re: Hardly a surprise...

"Rightfully sacked? IIRC he pointed out the risks of taking ecstasy were lower than the risks associated with horse riding; which they are."

Horse riding while rolling on X may be a risky adventure as well.

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Re: Hardly a surprise...

"Cannabis kills, that is a fact."

Citations required.

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Re: Hardly a surprise...

"Water kills, that is a fact."

Every single person who drank water in 1881 is now dead. Thus we prove that water kills.

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Policy based evidence making

It's hardly new, but being caught doing it breaks the first rule of government.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Policy based evidence making

being caught doing it breaks the first rule of government

I think that over the past few decades they've been caught out so many times that they now have no shame. As a bunch of useless arts graduates, they wouldn't know what "scientific evidence" actually was, so why worry what any advisor says? It's only "advisory".

The general population should take note that the underlying purpose of this made-up set of rules is far more sinister than merely the inherent hypocrisy and killjoy tendencies of government. Just as the NHS is starting to refuse treatment to overweight people and smokers, the Department of Health think that it'd surely be a great thing if they could refuse treatment to anybody caught drinking at all (other than in the Palace of Westminster's subsidised bars).

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Re: Smoking and Drinking

Given the huge tax put on smoking and drinking , far in excess of a Bupa subscription or other health insurance policy , not to mention not hanging around claiming a pension for as long , smokers and drinkers should be be treated like fucking royalty by the NHS.

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Anonymous Coward

The role of government scientists and statisticians is not to guide in the making of policy, but to gather evidence in support for policy that has already been made.

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Pint

No comment

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Sheffield Alcohol Research Group....

I'm sure that's an interesting Christmas Party

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Happy

Re: Sheffield Alcohol Research Group....

With all that left-over research booze?

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Re: Sheffield Alcohol Research Group....

Left over? You're not doing enough research Red.

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WTF?

I Don't Understand The Graphs

Hi,

How is it that your "relative risk for dying from chronic alcohol related causes" is 1 for no alcohol per week, and your relative risk goes below 1 if you start drinking ?

I know it states it is a J curve - but if you drink no alcohol, then dying from a chronic alcohol related death must be zero ?

Or, is this based on being hit by a car, and being pissed you are more floppy, so less damage ?

Regards,

Shadmeister.

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Devil

Re: I Don't Understand The Graphs

An alcohol-related disease doesn't mean exclusively caused by alcohol. Heart disease risk increases with excessive alcohol intake but reduces with moderate intake, compared to no intake.

The secret of a long, happy life is to ensure all your vices counteract each other...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I Don't Understand The Graphs

What's the counteraction to nose picking. If it is farting, then i am doing ok.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I Don't Understand The Graphs

You need to remember that statistics are merely mans attempt to abstract real life into numbers. But there's a limit to how well they do that.

As proved by the fact that someone who never drinks (in this case) won't live forever, they'll just die of something else.

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Re: I Don't Understand The Graphs

"but reduces with moderate intake"

Does it? Is there any proof or realistic possibility of obtaining proof that the correlation is causal?

I would suggest the completely T-total are already worried about their health or unhealthily anal retentive.

That is the problem with the frankly bullshit interpretation of these studies and the bullshit 'risk factors' they produce.

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Re: I Don't Understand The Graphs

The secret of a long, happy life is to ensure all your vices counteract each other.

Or, as they used to say: "moderation in all things". Including moderation..

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Re: I Don't Understand The Graphs

Moderate intake is maybe a bit high, but there is an observed effect for very low amounts. (One possible motivation for PHE's approach was that when you say a very small amount may be beneficial people are quite ready to go "wahay!" and order another ten pints to celebrate. So if you're attempting to influence health outcomes then do you take that into account?) . On one side there are people who suggest what you do: teatotallers might be people with bad health or who stopped drinking for health reasons. On the other hand, particularly for red wine, there are people who will attribute an effect to stuff in the drink, such as riboflavins, and alcohol itself is a small molecule we've evolved in the presence of (one of the few drugs people take that lots of animals have exposure to too), so could have a minor role. The effects of people stopping drinking can be mitigated by study design, but apparently there is a RCT on alcohol consumption and heart disease being done in the states now.

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Re: I Don't Understand The Graphs

> "but reduces with moderate intake"

> Does it?

In a word, "yes."

Statistical analysis is a mature science with straightforward (albeit unintuitive) rules. We now have quite a bit of data to work with. If the data shows that risk decreases with moderate intake and other analysis shows strong correlation, then the statement "risk decreases with moderate intake" is a correct statement.

To summarize and reiterate, "yes".

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Re: I Don't Understand The Graphs

What's the counteraction to nose picking. If it is farting, then i am doing ok.

[Citation needed] for my SO

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Re: I Don't Understand The Graphs

>If the data shows that risk decreases with moderate intake and other analysis shows strong correlation, then the statement "risk decreases with moderate intake" is a correct statement.

I'm sure that's true, but it's a very technically-worded statement, and open to huge misinterpretation (especially by media hacks, who rarely understand the science and simply want a good headline and story).

What it says is that it has been observed that, ON AVERAGE, people who drink in moderation are less likely to suffer from the said diseases than those who don't drink at all. It says nothing about the "why". And what it most definitely does NOT say is "Scientists prove that a little drink is good for you". But that, of course, is the next day's headline.

"Correlation does not imply causation", and all that. "Weather improves with ice cream sales" is also true - but you won't bring on a sunny day by buying a few tonnes of the stuff.

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Re: I Don't Understand The Graphs

What's the counteraction to nose picking. If it is farting, then i am doing ok

I think you may have to stick something in your bum rather than something coming out. Then you're even.

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Pint

Whether it's news or not

I'll drink to it

Sorry, couldn't resist

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And yet

The bars in the Palace of Westminster are still open.

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Re: And yet

"The bars in the Palace of Westminster are still open." Are they still allowed to smoke in those bars too?

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Not Puritans!

I would just like to point out that the American Puritans, which is what people seem to think of when they say "Puritans," were not anti-alcohol. They drank heavily, in part because beer was often safer to drink than water. But alcohol was also simply one of "God's gifts," and like other gifts (the big one being free will) was covenanted for either proper or improper use.

"Puritanical" really means "Victorian," because Modernist writers of the 1920's hated Victorians for being, well, puritanical, and there were people in the 1840s-50s, like Nathaniel Hawthorne, ready at hand to foster the myth that the Puritans were grey-wearing, life-hating, humourless prudes etc.

I know. I bore even myself.

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Re: Not Puritans!

"Puritans," were not anti-alcohol.

They did, however, disapprove heartily of drunkenness.

They drank heavily, in part because beer was often safer to drink

Indeed it was. However, the majority of what they drank was "small beer" which only has about 0.5% alcohol - so you would have to drink gallons of the stuff to get drunk.

To counteract your argument - the Puritans were the major Parliamentarian faction in the Civil War in Britain[1] - the end result of which was theatres being closed and laws made banning public singing.. So they really were keen to ban anything seen as frivoulous or "worldly".

And lets not forget - the Puritans left Britain not because they were persecuted (they were not) but because they were angry that the state allowed Catholics to live. So, they went to America to found their ideal state based on religious intolerance and very, very strict adherance to moral codes that precluded public drunkenness, singing or Christmas.

"Puritanical" really means "Victorian,"

Nope. Read some history (particularly British history) before you make such silly statements.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not Puritans!

Victorians? Puritan? They were some of the world's biggest drug pushers. They even had navel battles to force countries to buy their junk. And don't even get me started of Victorian sex... (please don't. Nanny says I can get exited like that again until next Friday)...

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Re: Not Puritans!

""Puritanical" really means "Victorian,"

Nope. Read some history (particularly British history) before you make such silly statements."

I specified I was talking about the usage of "Puritanical" (and "Victorian") to refer to American Puritans, so read carefully before you shoot your mouth off.

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Re: Not Puritans!

When El Reg refers to puritans, you can be pretty sure that they're referring to the Cromwellian ones since this is a predominantly UK site.

Prat.

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