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Wednesday 24th August 2016
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Warning: you are all going to die

Posted by Nick Abbot on June 30, 2014 at 10:13AM


That is the front page headline of your favourite mid-market tabloid, on the days when it is not predicting a heatwave, or freeze, or drought, or flood. This only changes when an interim finding in a medical trial produces a mildly positive result. Then you get: Cancer Cured! (in twenty years), or Solution To Alzheimer's (may come eventually).

Usually the health stories in papers are written by journalists who have no knowledge of the field whatsoever. Last week they were taking notes in council meetings, today they are scanning a five hundred page medical report and highlighting the one phrase that could sell a newspaper: Alcohol Will Save Your Sight, for instance.

The Daily Telegraph reported just last week that the odd glass of wine could save your sight. To protect your eyes later in life, researchers from the University of Wisconsin advise that you drink more than nothing but less than one glass of alcohol a week. This is useful advice to everyone who can drink that amount, which is...let's see one.

Absolutely nobody in the history of alcohol consumption has ever had less than one drink a week, unless they are completely tee-total. How is it even possible to stop at less than one glass a week?

Do you fill your glass, take a few sips and then cover it with cling film and pop it into the fridge for next week?

Can you imagine the self control that would need? Can you imagine the tedium of living with someone as emotionally retentive? It would drive you to drink.

It would certainly drive to leave the house as often as possible, where, even in Britain, you may encounter the sun, which will kill you.