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Vive La France! - but go easy on the wine.

"Long live France! may be the Frenchman's patriotic cry, but his wine drinking may not make him as long-lived as "60 Minutes" suggested some time ago.

The so-called French Paradox that CBS publicized may have given heart to wine lovers elsewhere, but in France, the government is taking major steps to discourage its populace from drinking so much. The seeming paradox is the finding that some regions of France have lower heart disease rates than the United States, in spite of similar levels of fat consumption.

Although red wine may protect the French from heart attacks, the rate of alcoholism in that country has prompted the government to legislate sharply against advertising alcoholic beverages. By next January, beer, wine, and liquor advertising in movie theaters and on television will be prohibited, as will sponsorship of sporting events by the makers of such beverages.

American consumption of red wine is said to have skyrocketed after the "60 Minutes" broadcast.

BITS AND PIECES

* In our January issue, we stated that only two drugs (corticosteroids and sulfasalazine) are effective against ulcerative colitis. We should have added "in its acute stage." A more experimental drug, cyclospofine, has also effectively shortened acute attacks. However, doctors seldom use it because of its toxicity.

* U.S. residents can now call 1-800-LEAD-FYI for information about lead poisoning and its prevention.

* Various studies have found that asthmatics who overuse inhaled medication increase their risk of dying. Therefore, the National Asthma Education Program, an offshoot of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, urges pharmacists to inform physicians when a patient is using too much inhalant. Although not toxic, such inhaled medications as albuterol can mask the onset of a more serious stage of the disease-- thus causing patients to delay treatment. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta recently reported that the national rate of asthma deaths rose 46 percent during the 1980s; hospitalizations during the past 20 years increased twofold for adult asthmatics and five times for children.
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Title Annotation:drinking wine for health reasons
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Mar 1, 1993
Words:333
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