While it’s been noted for some time that a pint or two of beer per day is medically good for you, last week it was reported…
Drinking alcohol every day cuts the risk of heart disease in men by more than a third, a major study suggests.
The Spanish research involving more than 15,500 men and 26,000 women found large quantities of alcohol could be even more beneficial for men.
Female drinkers did not benefit to the same extent, the study in Heart found.
Experts are critical, warning heavy drinking can increase the risk of other diseases, with alcohol responsible for 1.8 million deaths globally per year.
The study was conducted in Spain, a country with relatively high rates of alcohol consumption and low rates of coronary heart disease.
The research involved men and women aged between 29 and 69, who were asked to document their lifetime drinking habits and followed for 10 years.
Crucially the research team claim to have eliminated the "sick abstainers" risk by differentiating between those who had never drunk and those whom ill-health had forced to quit. This has been used in the past to explain fewer heart-related deaths among drinkers on the basis that those who are unhealthy to start with are less likely to drink.
In contrast to those annoying happy types, miserable people are better at decision-making and less gullible, his experiments showed.
While cheerfulness fosters creativity, gloominess breeds attentiveness and careful thinking, Professor Joe Forgas told Australian Science Magazine.
The University of New South Wales researcher says a grumpy person can cope with more demanding situations than a happy one because of the way the brain "promotes information processing strategies".
He asked volunteers to watch different films and dwell on positive or negative events in their life, designed to put them in either a good or bad mood.
Next he asked them to take part in a series of tasks, including judging the truth of urban myths and providing eyewitness accounts of events.
Those in a bad mood outperformed those who were jolly - they made fewer mistakes and were better communicators.
Professor Forgas said: "Whereas positive mood seems to promote creativity, flexibility, co-operation and reliance on mental shortcuts, negative moods trigger more attentive, careful thinking, paying greater attention to the external world."
The study also found that sad people were better at stating their case through written arguments, which Forgas said showed that a "mildly negative mood may actually promote a more concrete, accommodative and ultimately more successful communication style".
His earlier work shows the weather has a similar impact on us - wet, dreary days sharpened memory, while bright sunny spells make people forgetful.
Dirt can be good for children, say scientists.Messy play should be encouraged, according to the hygiene hypothesis. Children should be allowed to get dirty, according to scientists who have found being too clean can impair the skin's ability to heal.
Normal bacteria living on the skin trigger a pathway that helps prevent inflammation when we get hurt, the US team discovered. The bugs dampen down overactive immune responses that can cause cuts and grazes to swell, they say.
Their work is published in the online edition of Nature Medicine Experts said the findings provided an explanation for the "hygiene hypothesis", which holds that exposure to germs during early childhood primes the body against allergies.
Many like myself believe our obsession with cleanliness is to blame for the recent boom in allergies in developed countries.
BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
"Across the Pond"