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When Drinking Helps

Sorting out for whom a nip might prove therapeutic

Downing a cocktail or other alcoholic drink at least three to four times a week appears to substantially cut a man's risk of heart attack, Boston-area researchers reported in early January. Less than a week later, a U.S.-Canadian team of epidemiologists focusing on African Americans announced it had found no clear benefit to people drinking the same amount of alcohol per week. These reports joined other seemingly conflicting studies on the health impacts of alcohol that have emerged in the past few years.

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