Category Archives: Alcoholism
Alcohol and Life Expectancy: Unraveling the Mystery of Why Nondrinkers Have Higher Risk of Premature Death
Patrick M. Krueger, PhD, is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program. He is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado-Denver in the departments of sociology and health and behavioral sciences, and research faculty at the University of Colorado-Boulder Population Program. He recently co-authored a study, published in Population Research and Policy Review, that examines the characteristics and mortality risks of nondrinker subgroups to explain why people who do not drink alcohol are at greater risk for death than light to moderate drinkers.
Prior research has documented that both heavy drinkers and nondrinkers have higher risks of premature death than their peers who drink in moderation. Heavy drinkers have elevated rates of death from accidents, suicides, homicides, liver disease, and some cancers. But the reason for the elevated rates of death among nondrinkers is less well understood. Some researchers* have advocated for national guidelines that discourage nondrinking and encourage moderate alcohol consumption. But physicians are reticent to suggest that their nondrinking patients drink more, because alcohol is a nonessential part of a person’s diet, is disallowed by many religions, and can have adverse consequences for health if consumed to excess.
I have worked with collaborators at the University of Colorado to understand the factors that explain the elevated risk of premature death among nondrinkers relative to their peers who drink in moderation. In particular, we use the stated reasons that people report for nondrinking to better understand why they have higher rates of premature death than their peers who drink in moderation.
Human Capital News Roundup: Mortality rates for non-drinkers, screening newborns for rare diseases, air conditioners’ impact on climate, and more.
Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:
Previous research has shown that non-drinkers have a slightly higher mortality risk than light drinkers, and a study co-authored by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus Patrick Krueger, PhD, is the first to examine the characteristics and mortality risks of non-drinker subgroups to explain the phenomenon. The study confirms that some, but not all, subgroups of non-drinkers have a higher mortality rate than light drinkers, and uncovers some of the reasons. Among the outlets to report on the findings: Health Canal, the Aspen Business Journal, Science Daily and the Denver Journal.
The research of Health & Society Scholars alumnus Andrew Papachristos, PhD, is informing a new technique used by the Austin Police District in Chicago to quell gang violence, the Chicago Tribune reports. Papachristos found that much of the violence on the West Side of Chicago involves a relatively small number of victims and offenders. The Austin District has put those people on a “heat list” and will begin visiting them individually to issue warnings to stop the violence.
States that have expanded family planning services under Medicaid have seen an increase in women receiving potentially life-saving Pap tests and breast exams, according to a study led by Health & Society Scholar Laura Wherry, PhD. Health Canal and Medical XPress are among the outlets to report on the findings.
Rather than becoming depressed or anxious, people who find out they have a gene that predisposes them to Alzheimer’s disease often take steps to reduce their risk, including exercise, healthier diets, and vitamins and medications, according to a study led by RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research Jason Karlawish, MD. GenomeWeb reports on the findings.