Minerva: February 2002
- By: Ceri Hughes, Gordon Irvine, R J Skyrme, D Mendonca, B Jenkins
Alcohol and medical students tend to go together. Despite much effort to educate the public, and even with the current crackdown on drinking and driving, it seems that few of these campaigns have reached medical undergraduates. A survey of medical stu. dents at one school in London found that nothing much has changed in the past 12 years. 28% of students drank more than the safe limit, and a shocking 52% came into the “problem drinker” category, as defined by well recognised assessment tools (Alcohol and Alcoholism 2001,36:540–3).
The “French paradox”—why people in France have a lower incidence of heart disease than those in Britain despite a diet similar in saturated fats—may be explained by the discovery that the potent polyphenols in red grape skins inhibit production of endothelin.1. This peptide causes vasoconstriction, which is believed to be a key component in the development of coronary arterial disease. White and