My longtime collaborator, Jim Beattie, and I will be taking our roadshow to Cleveland, Ohio, for the Midwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association’s Annual Conference. Our four-hour workshop (sounds long, goes fast) provides a practical introduction to evidence-based medicine (EBM). The material is adapted from courses that we teach at University of Minnesota and prior MLA conference presentations. This blog post serves as our “course website.”
I was recently recognized by Minnesota Monthly as a “Top Doctor” in the specialty of addiction medicine. I’ve appeared in its annual listing every year since 2014. The directory can be found in the October print issue and online.
How much alcohol is too much? For years, we’ve been using numbers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). It defines low-risk drinking as:
Women No more than 3 drinks per day; and No more than 7 drinks per week
Men No more than 4 drinks per day; and No more than 14 drinks per week
where 1 drink = 14 grams of absolute or “pure” alcohol. This corresponds to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of table wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (e.g., vodka).
All that is about to change. A new study involving about 600,000 people found that drinking targets should be a lot lower—probably no more than 100 grams of alcohol per week. This corresponds to just 7 standard drinks.
The study found that people who consume more than 100 grams of alcohol per week had a higher risk of dying. They also had more heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases.
Here’s the flip side: drinking less appears to add years to your life. For example, 40-year-olds increase their life expectancy by at least 1 year when they reduce alcohol intake from NIAAA’s current upper limits to no more than 100 grams per week.
I’ve loaded these data into my longest running PowerPoint slide deck (Slides 14–16) and am encouraging my students to change the advice they give to patients. Please pitch in and start spreading the word!
I’m honored to be the keynote speaker at the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians’ Spring Refresher. Here’s a fairly final version of my PowerPoint.
The bulk of my presentation will be devoted to the systematic management of major depressive disorder. The STAR*D Study, which has only become more relevant over time, will provide the overall framework.
I’ll also be discussing suicide assessment and how to monitor various psychotropic medications.