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Editor's Correspondence
February 11, 2002

Hope for Hops?

Arch Intern Med. 2002;162(3):364. doi:

We would like to congratulate Dr Mortensen and colleagues1 on their interesting and timely study that incorporates the use of personality and intelligence quotient (IQ) testing into an investigation of adult beverage consumption. We find this a refreshing and insightful approach to studying health and psychological and social functioning levels.

However, we believe that the conclusions reached by the authors are overstated. The authors state, "Our results suggest that wine drinking is associated with optimal social, intellectual, and personality functioning, while beer drinking is associated with suboptimal characteristics." They found differences in IQ and personality measures between the wine and beer drinkers, and concluded that these differences may illustrate the health benefits of wine. These conclusions do not seem to be supported by Table 4. Specifically, Table 4 lists a third column, "Beer and Wine," that consistently lists IQ values greater than for beer consumption alone for men and women. In addition, the women consumers of beer and wine had higher verbal, performance, and full-scale IQ scores (106.1, 103.2, and 105.5, respectively) than women consuming wine alone (105.1,101.2, and 103.7). Also in Table 4, under "Personality Scales," the overriding majority of values measuring mean differences are statistically nonsignificant.

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