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July 22, 1974

Alcohol and the Liver

Author Affiliations

University of California School of Medicine San Francisco

JAMA. 1974;229(4):391. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230420013003

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To the Editor.—  I wish to comment on the article, "Liquor Hurts Livers, Regardless of Diet" (228:449, 1974), which deals with the work of Charles S. Lieber and Emanuel Rubin on the effect of alcohol on 26 baboons, 13 of which were fed the equivalent of a fifth of liquor daily for up to four years.It appears from the article that Dr. Rubin does not differentiate between social drinking and alcoholic excess. By no stretch of the imagination would three martinis at lunch, a whiskey after work, a martini before dinner, a glass of wine with dinner, a brandy after dinner, and a whiskey for a nightcap constitute "social drinking." The three martinis at lunch alone would incapacitate any normal social drinker for the rest of the afternoon and possibly the evening.Drs. Rubin and Lieber reported that a fifth of liquor daily, after four years' time, produced cirrhosis