Wine, Women and Song 

Catchy title. I wonder who thought of that?

So what’s this blog about; why did I use this old cliché? Well, a piece about the beneficial effects of wine on the heart physiology of women (and by inference, of course, on us guys). Plus a surprise research item, showing that nearly 80% of certain genre of pop songs contain explicit references to drugs and substance abuse.

These are ink-still-wet scientific reports (dated Nov 7th, 2007).

Let’s go with the wine and women first: In a report from Spain, researchers at the University of Barcelona evaluated the effects of moderate consumption of red and white wine (2 glasses a day) in 35 non-smoking Spanish women, average age 38.

The study was done like any other controlled medical trial, with each woman drinking the recommended "dose" of either white or red wine for four-week periods, with a four-week dry period separating each round of study.

The results may be surprising to some, not to others: consumption of both red and white wines increased blood HDL cholesterol (often called ‘good’ cholesterol), which suggests a heart-protection effect. Furthermore, wine consumption significantly reduced serum concentrations of interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein (both markers of chronic inflammation). Inflammation, we now believe, is the number one mechanism of furring up arteries and causing aging and heart attacks. So now the Spanish join the French in the famous and indulgent position of showing that tippling a little wine is actually quite good for you!

Prof’s comment: this was women. Men could be allowed, I think, up to 3 glasses daily.

Do I need to tell you that excessive drinking is harmful? I’m sure you are too intelligent to need the usual trite caveats added by doctors and scientists who just REFUSE to believe that a little alcohol can be good for you.

SOURCE: November 2007 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Next up a rather unusual study: Researchers who looked at the bestselling songs in several genres from the year 2005 and found that 37 percent of top country songs featured references to drugs or alcohol, compared to just 14 percent of rock songs.

That’s funny. I always thought that the rock boys were bad and country was as wholesome as Mom’s apple pie (a bit mournful on the whole but, hey, divorce and getting jilted is never cheerful!)

But far worse was rap music, which referred to substance use in a whopping 77 percent of songs.

Now the social psychologists can get to work and squabble over whether pop songs influence the behavior of kids. Meantime, if I were you, I’d do everything possible to ban rap! It sounds racist but not all rap singers are black, of course. Eminem, with his infamous matricide lyrics is to me outstanding as the repulsive face of “entertainment”. Of course lyric(al) is a real  misnomer in this context: B*S* might be a better technical term.

The rest? Just 9 percent of pop songs and 20 percent of R&B/hip-hop songs mentioned substance abuse.

But let’s not us grown-ups get snooty. We all know that the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," refers to LSD, although the Fab Four denied this. Then there was “Mr Tambourine Man”, written by Bob Dylan and recorded by several 60s artists, which I’m told on good authority was the nickname for a pusher.

Never took any weird chemical stuff myself. Just the chardonnay, which has the advantage of tasting delicious and you can do it in broad daylight, in public!!

SOURCE: Nov. 7, 2007, presentation, American Public Health Association annual meeting, Washington, D.C.

Be well, The Prof

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