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Drinking alcohol wards off asthma

Booze. Is there anything it can't do?

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Yet more splendid news for that substantial proportion of Reg readers who are familiar with the view through the bottom of a glass: Scientists have discovered that drinking booze prevents one from developing asthma.

The new research is to be announced today at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam, and reports on a study which examined almost 20,000 people – all twins, to assist with eliminating extraneous factors such as genetics, upbringing etc – over eight years and compared alcohol intake against the rates of asthma among the participants.

The results make sobering reading for the sober, as it was found that those who drank "rarely or never" had a much worsened chance of getting the potentially deadly lung complaint: some 1.4 times the average among moderate drinkers.

Being a heavy boozer was a much healthier option, as those who quaffed down plenteous grog had only a 20 per cent greater chance of getting asthma in comparison to "moderate drinkers" who downed one to six units of alcohol weekly (up to three pints, say, or a bottle of vino).

Booze has also lately been shown to reduce heart disease and senile dementia, not to mention acting as a useful remedy against the effects of a blow to the head (in some forms). Booze has also been shown to make people clever, and it's entirely possible that it wards off cancer, too. (See "related stories" below for coverage of these sensational developments.)

Now it turns out that alcohol also prevents asthma. Surely, at last, the UK government will reverse its foolish ongoing medical crusade against booze, ease the crippling taxes it levies on this vital and beneficent substance and finally introduce a lower safe limit on the amount of alcohol people should drink as opposed to its hotly disputed upper boundary? ®

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