THE POISON GARDEN website      Arum maculatum berries on a Cannabis leaf 

Search thepoisongarden.co.uk:

This free script provided by JavaScript Kit

Pontifications on Poison

Being some ramblings on events associated with poisonous plants.

Sunday 15th January 2012

There have been a number of stories, recently, about alcohol so I thought, today, I’d take a quick look at some of them.

The debate about how alcohol should be perceived continues. The existing government guidelines are said to be misunderstood because they give a recommended weekly maximum intake but stop short of saying how that intake should be spread across the week. There was a suggestion, in 1995, following reports that alcohol could have a protective effect against coronary heart disease (CHD), that daily limits should be used as the message but this never fully happened so that further confusion arose.

Although only reported on 9th January, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report on the alcohol guidelines was printed on 9th December. I don’t know if the committee held its publication back to avoid appearing to be spoilsports at the start of the holiday season or the media didn’t notice it. It notes that the current guidelines are confusing and questions the evidence on CHD (see below) pointing out that the benefit, if any, only applies to men over 40 and post-menopausal women.

The key point in its report, that became the headline for most of the media, is that the guidelines should advise people to have at least two alcohol free days each week. The report feeds into the government’s overall review of alcohol policy which is due to be published soon so we don’t know what the response will be. Clearly, there is a danger that people will assume that, if they have the recommended two days off, then they can drink larger amounts on the drinking days.

The second alcohol story concerns that suggestion that alcohol can be beneficial. On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that the University of Connecticut had completed a long-running investigation into the work of one of its professors, Dr. Dipak Das, and found that he had falsified or manipulated data used in his research on the effects of resveratrol, found in red wine, on 145 occasions over seven years.

The university noted that other work on resveratrol, conducted by other places, had found similar benefits to those claimed by Dr. Das but, clearly, there will be a need to review all of that work to see if it was unconsciously led to find the same conclusions as Das. For the time being it places a question mark over the notion that drinking red wine can be beneficial and certainly casts doubt on all those who extended the story from red wine being beneficial to alcohol in general.

As to whether we should feel sad that another prominent scientist has made it easier for people to say ‘scientists don’t know’ and ignore quality research or pleased that the anonymous tip-off, received in 2008, was taken seriously and means that flawed research can be removed from the archives I’ll leave you to decide.

It is unfortunate that this revelation will, probably, make people more sceptical about a paper published in Science Translational Medicine entitled ‘Alcohol Consumption Induces Endogenous Opioid Release in the Human Orbitofrontal Cortex and Nucleus Accumbens’ This small study found that excessive drinking causes the body to produce natural substances with opioid-like effects and suggests this may indicate how alcohol produces addiction.

The sub-headline for one mainstream report of this paper says that the research found that drinking produced the same chemicals as laughing and exercising. I can only guess why it didn’t add heroin to that list. Presumably, drinkers wouldn’t like to be told that their behaviour was similar to ‘druggies’.

And, talking of being ‘similar to ‘druggies’’ brings up a new book ‘Alcohol Nation: How to Protect Our Children from Today's Drinking Culture’ by Dr Aric Sigman. Reviews of the book have focussed on Dr. Sigman’s view that drink can be especially harmful to young people whose brains have not fully developed. That sounds remarkably similar to the view, held by an increasing number of people, that Cannabis sativa, marijuana, is most likely to cause problems, later in life, if use begins before the brain has fully matured.

 

Full Entries

2016

Tuesday 25th October 2016
Saturday 20th August 2016
Sunday 6th March 2016
Wednesday 3rd February 2016

2015

Saturday 28th November 2015
Friday 27th November 2015
Monday 17th August 2015
Wednesday 15th July 2015
Friday 26th June 2015
Thursday 25th June 2015
Thursday 30th April 2015
Wednesday 29th April 2015
Wednesday 11th March 2015
Tuesday 3rd March 2015
Saturday 28th February 2015
Sunday 22nd February 2015

November 2014

Monday 24th November 2014
Saturday 8th November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

Wednesday 24th September 2014
Monday 1st September 2014

August 2014

Tuesday 26th August 2014
Saturday 16th August 2014
Tuesday 5th August 2014
Friday 1st August 2014

July 2014

Sunday 27th July 2014
Wednesday 23rd July 2014
Sunday 13th July 2014
Sunday 6th July 2014
Tuesday 1st July 2014

June 2014

Wednesday 25th June 2014
Tuesday 24th June 2014
Sunday 22nd June 2014
Monday 9th June 2014
Wednesday 4th June 2014

May 2014

Monday 26th May 2014
Sunday 18th May 2014
Wednesday 14th May 2014

April 2014

Sunday 13th April 2014
Saturday 5th April 2014
Thursday 3rd April 2014
Tuesday 1st April 2014

March 2014

Monday 31st March 2014
Tuesday 25th March 2014
Friday 21st March 2014
Monday 17th March 2014
Sunday 16th March 2014
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Thursday 6th March 2014
Wednesday 5th March 2014
Saturday 1st March 2014

February 2014

Thursday 27th February 2014
Monday 24th February 2014
Wednesday 19th February 2014
Monday 17th February 2014
Thursday 13th February 2014
Monday 4th February 2014
Monday 3rd February 2014
Saturday 1st February 2014

January 2014

Thursday 28th January 2014
Thursday 23rd January 2014
Friday 17th January 2014
Wednesday 15th January 2014
Monday 13th January 2014
Thursday 9th January 2014
Tuesday 7th January 2014
Wednesday 1st January 2014

December 2013

Monday 23rd December 2013
Friday 20th December 2013
Tuesday 17th December 2013
Friday 14th December 2013
Thursday 12th December 2013
Sunday 8th December 2013
Wednesday 4th December 2013
Sunday 1st December 2013

November 2013

Friday 29th November 2013
Wednesday 27th November 2013
Tuesday 26th November 2013
Friday 22nd November 2013
Monday 18th November 2013
Friday 15th November 2013
Thursday 14th November 2013
Sunday 10th November 2013
Thursday 7th November 2013
Wednesday 6th November 2013
Friday 1st November 2013

October 2013

Thursday 31st October 2013
Sunday 27th October 2013
Wednesday 23rd October 2013
Monday 21st October 2013
Friday 18th October 2013
Friday 11th October 2013
Wednesday 9th October 2013
Tuesday 8th October 2013
Monday 7th October 2013
Tuesday 1st October 2013

September 2013

Monday 30th September 2013
Saturday 28th September 2013
Friday 27th September 2013
Monday 23rd September 2013
Sunday 15th September 2013
Monday 9th September 2013
Tuesday 3rd September 2013
Sunday 1st September 2013

August 2013

Sunday 8th September 2013
Tuesday 3rd September 2013
Sunday 1st September 2013

Tuesday 27th August 2013
Sunday 25th August 2013
Monday 19th August 2013
Friday 16th August 2013
Tuesday 13th August 2013
Friday 9th August 2013
Friday 2nd August 2013
Thursday 1st August 2013

July 2013

Saturday 27th July 2013
Sunday 21st July 2013
Wednesday 17th July 2013
Monday 15th July 2013
Saturday 13th July 2013
Friday 12th July 2013
Thursday 11th July 2013
Wednesday 10th July 2013
Tuesday 9th July 2013
Saturday 6th July 2013

June 2013

Friday 28th June 2013
Tuesday 25th June 2013
Friday 21st June 2013
Thursday 20th June 2013
Wednesday 19th June 2013
Saturday 15th June 2013
Sunday 9th June 2013
Saturday 8th June 2013
Saturday 1st June 2013
 

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012 blog

June 2012 blog

May 2012 blog

April 2012 blog

March 2012 blog

February 2012 blog

January 2012 blog

December 2011 blog

November 2011 blog

October 2011 blog

September 2011 blog

August 2011 blog

July 2011 blog

June 2011 blog



IMPORTANT NOTE

The POISON GARDEN website is not connected with Alnwick Garden Enterprises Ltd and/or The Alnwick Garden Trust.