Study examines alcohol’s benefits. The industry is funding it.

By Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times Updated 3:34 pm, Saturday, March 17, 2018 Photo: EDU BAYER / Edu Bayer / New York Times Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 An ongoing study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, and funded by the alcohol industry is researching the effects of a daily drink as part of a healthy diet. less An ongoing study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, and funded by the alcohol industry is researching the effects of a daily drink as part of a ... more Photo: EDU BAYER / Edu Bayer / New York Times Study examines alcohol’s benefits. The industry is funding it. 1 / 1 Back to Gallery It was going to be a study that could change the American diet, a huge clinical trial that might well deliver all the medical evidence needed to recommend a daily alcoholic drink as part of a healthy lifestyle. That was how two prominent scientists and a senior federal health official pitched the project during a presentation at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla., in 2014. And the audience members who were being asked to help pay for the $100 million study seemed receptive: They were all liquor company executives. The 10-year government trial is underway, and Anheuser Busch InBev, Heineken and other alcohol companies are picking up most of the tab, through donations to a private foundation that raises money for the National Institutes of Health. The NIH, a federal agency, is considered one of the world’s foremost medical research centers, investing over $30 billion of taxpayer money in biomedical research each year. The vast majority of the funding goes to scientists outside the NIH, which manages the grants and provides oversight. Recommended Continue Reading

CDC: Americans consume 17 billion binge drinks each year

WASHINGTON -- Despite warnings against it, binge drinking is relatively commonplace in the United States, according to a newly published study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Researchers found that one in six Americans admitted to binge drinking at least once a week in 2015. The CDC defines binge drinking as consuming four or more drinks per occasion for women or five or more drinks per occasion for men. Study participants consumed an average of seven drinks per binge, researchers said, accounting for a staggering 17 billion binge drinks nationwide each year.While binge drinking might be commonly associated with college parties and younger revelers, the study found that half of binge drinks were consumed by those aged 35 or older. The results were, however, heavily skewed toward men, who consumed 80 percent of binge drinks measured. The practice is also more common among those who are less educated and have lower incomes. The CDC warns that binge drinking can lead to dangerous driving, risky sexual behavior and violent behavior, adding that binge drinking is responsible for more than half of the nation's nearly 90,000 annual alcohol-attributable deaths."This study shows that binge drinkers are consuming a huge number of drinks per year, greatly increasing their chances of harming themselves and others," study co-author Robert Brewer said in a news release. "The findings also show the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to prevent binge drinking, focusing on reducing both the number of times people binge drink and the amount they drink when they binge." Continue Reading

Stylish wedding guest dresses to try now for spring weddings

I currently have 11 tabs open (and slowing down) my laptop right now, all of them revealing my current obsession with finding a frock for an upcoming season of multiple "I dos." And while shopping for a wedding guest dress is much more fun than say, browsing for a staple white tee, it does come with its series of stresses. First off, there are several factors to keep in mind. Is it fancy and formal or daytime dressy casual? Will it be cold in the venue or sweltering in the sun? Should I go for long or midi length? And the most important question of them all: Is it comfortable enough to dance in for four hours straight?With this in mind, I've rounded up chic dresses that are perfect for every type of spring wedding. So whether you're going to a rustic vineyard in Sonoma, Calif., or a fancy hotel in the city there's a low-stress dress for every taste and budget.Picks:— ASOS Curve Scuba Cami Pephem Midi Dress (, $60). How chic is the cowl neckline? Available in sizes US12 to US24.— Y.A.S Satin Midi Dress With Kimono Sleeve (, $103). We love this for everything from a church ceremony to a country club reception. Available in sizes XS to XL.— Lovers + Friends Leah Gown (, $198). You'll be a vision in spring's trending color de jour — lavender. Available in sizes 0 to 12.View the full article and more picks at the latest celebrity style, runway trends and shopping suggestions from the fashion experts at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Continue Reading

The Morning Manifesto: Why waking up earlier could be the secret to being more creative, happy and content

Rising at 5am, Allan Jenkins feels his way to the kitchen in darkness, filling the kettle by the sound of the swelling ­water. He then sits with a cup of Earl Grey and luxuriates in the hours that stretch before him. Jenkins believes that the early hours of the morning, when everyone else is still asleep, have their own magic. His theory is that by getting up early we can step through a metaphorical doorway and visit a sort of Narnia, a world where time becomes fluid, and free ourselves to be more imaginative – to read, to walk, to write, to think. In his new book, Morning: How To Make Time – A Manifesto, he pushes gently for a morning that isn’t shaped by what time you leave the house. It is... To continue reading this article Start your free trial of Premium Access all Premium articles  Subscriber-only events  Cancel any time Free for 30 days then only £2 per week Try Premium Access one Premium article per week Register for free To continue reading this article log in to your Telegraph account. Or register now, it's free. Register Log in Registered customers can access one Premium article per week HALF-PRICE OFFER Unlimited access to exclusive stories. Half price for one year. Access all Premium articles Subscriber only events Cancel any time Free for 30 days, then just £1 per week Start free trial Enjoy a year of Amazon Prime, worth £79, with an annual subscription Continue Reading

Alka-Seltzer issues voluntary recall due to wrong ingredient list

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you have a cold you may want to double check any Alka-Seltzer packages before you use that product.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that Bayer is voluntarily recalling certain Alka-Seltzer Plus cold, medication products. A press release from the FDA states that Bayer is recalling packages sold at Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and Kroger stores.The packages being recalled can be identified by checking the front stickers that may not match the actual product that is inside the carton.The products that have Bayer logos with an orange or green background are being recalled. This recall was issued after it was learned that the ingredients on the front of the carton are different than the ones on the back of the carton. This mishap may lead to consumers to ingesting a product they could potentially be allergic to or could contain an ingredient which may contradict their medical condition, according to the FDA.Consumers are urged to check their Alka-Seltzer package if the logo has an orange or green background, the FDA says it is included in the recall.Consumers who have purchased the recalled product are advised to stop using the product and contact Bayer or the FDA to report any issues or for instructions on how to receive a refund. Continue Reading

City opens 14th virtual supermarket

The city has opened its 14th virtual supermarket at Ruscombe Gardens, a low-income housing complex in Northwest Baltimore.Under the virtual supermarket program, the city partners with Klein’s Family Markets to offer online grocery ordering and delivery at Baltimore senior apartment buildings, which are often in areas with few healthy food options. The program also encourages corner stores to sell more nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables.Online grocery shopping is seen as a way to make healthy foods more accessible to areas with a dearth of grocery stores.Last year, Maryland became one of seven states chosen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to participate in a two-year pilot program to allow food stamp recipients to buy groceries online for the first time.“It is difficult to ask people to keep healthy when they don’t have options to do so,” Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said in a statement. “With the support of our partners and generous organizations, we can invest in solutions to the critical issue of food access and work together to level the playing field so that our older adults can choose healthy options to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.”[email protected]/ankwalker Continue Reading

Milwaukee sees unexpected spike in HIV rates

Story highlights HIV rates are stable, but Milwaukee and Beaver County, Pennsylvania, show unusual rises In September, the CDC reported the highest-ever number of sexually transmitted diseases in America (CNN)Milwaukee is seeing an unexpected spike in cases of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, according to health officials. There are high incidence rates in communities with larger vulnerable populations, including men who have sex with men, ethnic minorities, injection drug users and women, especially those who have been trafficked or who work in the sex trade, city Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia McManus said this week. Three Milwaukee children born with syphilis were identified in 2017, McManus said. "It rarely occurs," she said, and "the last known single case was in 2012." This "sentinel event" -- an unexpected and dramatic occurrence -- is a cause for concern, she said. Syphilis is the most serious bacterial STD. Left untreated, it can affect the brain, heart and other organs, ultimately leading to death. New STD cases hit record high in US, CDC says Angela Hagy, director of Disease Control and Environmental Health for the City of Milwaukee Health Department, reported the preliminary number of new diagnoses of sexually transmitted disease in 2017 for the Wisconsin city: 117 cases of HIV, 53 cases of syphilis, 4,401 cases of gonorrhea and 9,725 cases of chlamydia. Read More The numbers represent a 13% increase in new cases of HIV compared with 2016, a 29% increase in syphilis, a 12% increase in gonorrhea and a 0.5% increase in chlamydia, according to Clarene Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the department of health. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are both bacterial infections. Gonorrhea can cause severe and permanent health problems, including long-term pain and infertility, and chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can affect fertility in women and cause testicular pain and swelling in men. For 2016, the Milwaukee Continue Reading

Salmonella cases linked to consuming opioid substitute kratom

State officials are warning Minnesotans not to consume a plant called kratom in any form because it may be contaminated with salmonella. Minnesota’s health and agriculture departments, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as several other states, are investigating a multi-state outbreak of salmonella infections linked to kratom consumption, a health department news release said Friday. Kratom is a plant native to Southeast Asia that is used for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute. Kratom may also be known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom or Biak, and may be consumed as pills, powder or used to make tea. Two of the 87 cases reported in 35 states so far are from Minnesota. Symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever. Symptoms usually begin within 12 to 96 hours after exposure, but they can begin up to two weeks after exposure. No single common brand or supplier of kratom products has been identified, the health department said.   Continue Reading

Paying hospitals to keep people out of hospitals? It works in Maryland.

Saturdays at Mercy Medical Center used to be perversely lucrative. The dialysis clinic across the street was closed on weekends.That meant the downtown Baltimore hospital would see patients with failing kidneys who should have gone to the dialysis center. So Mercy admitted them, collecting as much as $30,000 for a treatment that typically costs hundreds of dollars.“That’s how the system worked,” said Mercy CEO Thomas Mullen. Instead of finding less expensive alternatives, he said, “our financial people were saying, ‘We need to admit them.’”Maryland’s ambitious hospital-payment overhaul, put in place in 2014, has changed such seemingly crass calculations, which remain business as usual for most of American health care. A modification of long-standing state regulation that would be hard to replicate elsewhere, the system is nevertheless attracting national attention, analysts say.As soon as Mercy started being penalized rather than rewarded for such avoidable admissions, it persuaded the dialysis facility to open on weekends, saving close to $1 million annually in state health care spending.In the four years since Maryland implemented a statewide system of pushing hospitals to reduce admissions, such savings are adding up to hundreds of millions of dollars for the taxpayers, employers and others who ultimately pay the bills, a new report shows.A report, released Friday by Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission and the Maryland Department of Health, found that the system, already produced $586 million in hopsital-related savings for Medicare in its first three years.Maryland essentially pays hospitals to keep people out of the hospital. Analysts often describe the change as the most far-reaching attempt in the nation to control the medical costs driving up insurance premiums and government spending.Like a giant health maintenance organization, the state caps hospitals’ revenue each year, letting Continue Reading

FDA takes ‘historic’ step to lower nicotine in cigarettes

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday took the first concrete action to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to make them much less addictive, opening a regulatory process described as a "historic first step" by the agency's top official.Commissioner Scott Gottlieb unveiled an "advance notice of proposed rulemaking," the earliest step in what promises to be a long, complicated regulatory effort to lower nicotine levels to be minimally addictive or nonaddictive.The notice, to be published Friday in the Federal Register, includes new data published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday based on a possible policy scenario. That FDA-funded analysis found that slashing nicotine levels could push the smoking rate down to 1.4 percent from the current 15 percent of adults. That in turn would result in 8 million fewer tobacco-related deaths through the end of the century — which Gottlieb termed "an undeniable public health benefit." The evaluation was based on reducing nicotine levels to 0.4 milligrams per gram of tobacco filler, FDA officials told reporters during a teleconference.Many adults try to quit smoking each year but fail because nicotine is such an addictive substance, said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products. Cutting the nicotine level would not only help them succeed, but it also could keep young people who may be experimenting with cigarettes from becoming addicted, he said.The nicotine notice will be open for public comment for 90 days. FDA officials are seeking input on what the maximum nicotine level in cigarettes should be and whether such a limit should be implemented all at once or gradually. Nicotine levels can be manipulated by leaf blending, chemical extraction and genetic engineering.Other critical issues that will need to be addressed, according to officials, include the potential for illicit trade in high-nicotine cigarettes and whether addicted smokers would compensate for lower Continue Reading