Booze, Science and Our Health

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(polack/Big Stock)

(polack/Big Stock)

We all know that drinking a lot of alcohol is bad for your health. It’s tied to heart disease, heightened risk for some cancers, addiction, and accidents. But there is a long-held belief that moderate drinking is fine — even good for your health. So what does science actually say about the health impact of drinking? On this episode, we dig into the complicated relationship between alcohol and our health, and discover a tangled web of industry funding, thwarted research studies, and frustrated scientists. We also hear stories about how the pandemic has affected our drinking habits, and a new substance that promises to deliver the buzz of booze without the hangover.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • New York Times reporter Roni Rabin recounts her investigation into a massive study that was supposed to shed light on how moderate drinking impacts health. Instead, she broke open a story that raised questions about money and integrity in alcohol research.
  • Vivian Gonzalez, a professor of psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage, discusses the impact of alcohol on Native American communities, and the widespread “firewater myth.”
  • Key West, Florida is a hard-drinking town — but like everywhere, COVID-19 has closed down bars and limited social gatherings. Will the pandemic change this party town forever? Reporter Nancy Klingener takes a look at the party town’s history — and its future.
  • Getting — and staying — sober is a daily commitment for many people… one that the pandemic’s made a lot harder. KUT reporter Claire McInerny tells this story about recovery in the time of COVID-19.

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