NIH to Launch Alcohol Clinical Trial Paid for by Manufacturers

Drunk

The New York Times recently ran a story announcing that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is starting a $100 million clinical trial to test whether a drink a day really does prevent heart attacks.

And the trial will be paid for by Five companies that are among the world’s largest alcoholic beverage manufacturers — Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken, Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Carlsberg.

These manufacturers have so far pledged almost $70 million to a foundation that raises money for the National Institutes of Health, according to Margaret Murray, the director of the Global Alcohol Research Program at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which will oversee the study.

Recent stories have noted that moderate drinking is supposedly good for the heart. However, this has concept has never rigorously tested. In fact, new research has linked even modest alcohol consumption to increases in breast cancer and changes in the brain.

According to the article, the international effort to study the benefits and risks of alcohol will recruit nearly 8,000 volunteers age 50 or older at 16 sites around the world, starting at medical centers in the United States, Europe, Africa and South America. Participants will be randomly assigned to quit alcohol altogether or to drink a single alcoholic beverage of their choice every day. The trial will follow them for six years to see which group — the moderate drinkers or the abstainers — has more heart attacks, strokes and deaths.

The article also quotes George F. Koob, the director of the alcohol institute, who stated that the trial will be immune from industry influence and will be an unbiased test of whether alcohol “in moderation” protects against heart disease.

NCADD will stay on top of this story and will keep you updated in future postings. Meanwhile, if you wish to read the original New York Times article, click here.

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