The moderation-better-than-dry theory is built on a fallacious interpretation of statistics (Drinking can be good for the heart – but only in moderation, 23 March). A significant proportion of those over 30 who are absolute abstainers are former alcoholics – many having quit drinking on the basis of urgent medical advice. Though “former and occasional drinkers” were separated from the non-drinkers in the study, the dead former drinkers are notably absent from it. The drinks industry will no doubt be delighted with the apparent results.
• Ian Mitchell’s GP doesn’t need to read the Guardian (Letters, 25 March). If he is like most doctors, he routinely upwardly adjusts patient-reported alcohol consumption by a factor of two, or three, or four.
Dr George Rylance
Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex
• Colin Dexter was apparently of the opinion that had he moved to Rotherham, rather than Oxford, he would never have become a writer (Obituary, 23 March). This may well be true. But, if like Anthony Trollope, he had married a woman from Rotherham, he might have been still more prolific.
• Not only has “anent” (Letters, 24 March) survived in Scotland: it has undergone mutation. Some years ago in the Scottish Office I was asked to clear a draft beginning “I have received your comments on my letter of … , and note your comments thereanent”.
• Re the letters about encouraging new cartoonists (15 March and 24 March), before this all goes any further can I just say how much I enjoy the Doonesbury classic cartoons? New cartoonists, yes, but please not at the expense of what seems like an old friend rejuvenated.
• I can’t understand why the Scandinavian and Nordic nations are so happy, given the price of their beer (Report, 21 March).
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