alcohol

Health check: is moderate drinking good for me?

Health check: is moderate drinking good for me?

For the past three decades or so, the conventional wisdom has been that drinking alcohol at moderate levels is good for us. The evidence for this has come from many studies that have suggested the death rate for moderate drinkers is lower than that for non-drinkers. In other words, we thought moderate drinkers lived longer than those who didn’t drink at all.

The hidden costs of a hangover

The hidden costs of a hangover

If you drink alcohol, it’s likely you’re familiar with some of the effects of a hangover. Headaches, nausea and fatigue are just some of the unpleasant but common experiences of the morning after the night before. But have you ever wondered how a hangover may influence your thoughts and behaviour?

Must we deprive ourselves of all pleasure to stay healthy?

Must we deprive ourselves of all pleasure to stay healthy?

In 2018, I’ll quit smoking, really. And I’ll stop drinking alcohol, at least for a while… The first month of the year is traditionally a time for healthy resolutions. Many in the United Kingdom start off with “Dry January”, the idea being to foreswear alcohol completely in the month following the festive season. (Whether there are health benefits or not is another question)

A glass of whisky could help you get your head around deep time

A glass of whisky could help you get your head around deep time

The Scottish geologist James Hutton made a proposal in 1788 that, at the time, was extraordinarily controversial. He described Earth as a “beautiful machine”, constantly subjected to long-term decay and regeneration, that could only be understood over many millions of years. This may not sound that contentious, but the challenge this posed to humanity’s sense of time was substantial. Popular contemporary estimates of Earth’s age, such as Bishop Ussher’s calculation that it was created in 4,004 BC, were dwarfed by the magnitude of what Hutton described.

Different types of alcohol correspond with different emotional responses

Different types of alcohol correspond with different emotional responses

If a glass of wine puts you to sleep, but harder drinks out with friends pump you up, you’re not alone. Drawing on data from the Global Drug Survey, researchers analysed how 30,000 young adults from 21 countries responded to questions about how they feel after drinking alcohol. Respondents reported different reactions depending on the type of alcohol consumed. Study author Mark Bellis, a researcher at Public Health Wales, tells us more.

Booze in space: how the universe is absolutely drowning in the hard stuff

Booze in space: how the universe is absolutely drowning in the hard stuff

A cold beer on a hot day or a whisky nightcap beside a coal fire. A well earned glass can loosen your thinking until you feel able to pierce the mysteries of life, death, love and identity. In moments like these, alcohol and the cosmic can seem intimately entwined.