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Fact Check #4: Reducing alcohol intake helps mental health

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Medical News Today is owned and operated by Healthline Media UK Ltd., a leading healthcare publishing company. The websites content is targeted to an educated audience of both healthcare professionals and consumers alike. The editorial team provides news from evidence-based, peer-reviewed studies, along with accurate, unbiased, and informative content from governmental organisations. According to Wikipedia, Medical News Today is a website that concentrates on providing readers news pertaining to the medical field.  In an article published by Media News Today titled, “Giving up alcohol may significantly boost mental health,” presents information from a study done at the University of Hong Kong that found that adults, especially women, who completely give up drinking alcohol have shown improvements in mental well-being.

After reading the article, I noticed that it had already been fact-checked by Gianna D’Emilio, which meant that the study had been reviewed and gave as much accurate information as possible. However, I decided to analyze and research why the study took place and identify if reducing your alcohol in- take improves your mental well being. 

A study conducted by the Canadian Medical Association Journal titled, “Change in moderate alcohol consumption and quality of life: evidence from 2 population-based cohort,” demonstrates their methods, their results, and interpretations. According to Wikipedia, the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) is a peer-reviewed general medical journal that publishes original clinical research, commentaries, analyses, and reviews of clinical topics, clinical practice updates and thought-provoking editorials. CMAJ has an impact factor of 6.8 (2015) and has substantial impact on health care and the practice of medicine in Canada and around the world.  

 The experiment consisted of the relationship between alcohol drinking patterns across 2 waves from 2009–2013 between quitters, initiators, persistent drinkers, persistent former drinkers and lifetime abstainers and changes in physical and mental well-being. The researchers define moderate drinking as having 14 drinks (196 grams of pure alcohol) or fewer per week for men and 7 drinks (98 grams of pure alcohol) or fewer per week for women. Within the participants, the average age was 49 years old, and women made up 56% of the cohort. For the men, close to 64% were nondrinkers (no alcohol), and similarly for the women 88% qualified as non drinkers. 

After conducting the experiment, the researchers analyzed the data that had been collected from 10,386 participants through the FAMILY Cohort study at the University of Hong Kong. In the FAMILY Cohort, the change in mental well-being was more favourable in female quitters than in lifetime abstainers. In CMAJ’s interpretation of the experiment, they claim that a change in mental well-being was more favourable to female quitters, approaching the level of mental well-being of lifetime abstainers within 4 years of quitting in both Chinese and American populations. Similarly, MNT mentions the claim made by CMAJ’s interpretation – demonstrating it was confirmed by the study. 

In conclusion, the information presented by NMT’s article are proven accurate because of the research presented throughout the study by CMAJ. CMAJ demonstrates legitimate data found from the study done in University of Hong Kong.  The objective of the experiment was to examine the association between alcohol drinking patterns and mental well-being. The NMT article did accurately incorporate the main objectives of the study. 


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