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Published:  23 July, 2008

A US survey has claimed that beer drinkers are far more likely to suffer from gout than wine drinkers and teetotallers - while a second survey revealed that less than 10% of 1,000 polled believe that alcohol is bad for them. Some 47,000 men were studied by Dr Hyon Choi and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital during the 12-year survey. It showed that people who drink a can of beer a day are 30% more likely to suffer from gout than non-beer drinkers. Spirits drinkers were at slightly less risk than beer consumers, but those who drink wine were at no extra risk at all. Dr Choi said: While there had been some suggestion that beer might have a greater contribution to risk, we were surprised to see such a strong difference.' Mintel carried out the second survey, and of the 1,000 respondents, 26% believed that alcohol is good for their health, while less than 10% thought alcohol is harmful. And 21% of men and 14% of women said they thought alcohol was a good stress reliever. Meanwhile, researchers in the US are working on a patch' to curb the desire to drink and smoke. A team based at Duke University, North Carolina, includes Dr Jed Rose, a co-inventor of the nicotine patch. The patches are likely to contain nicotine, to help smokers kick the habit, and mecamyline, which cuts down on a person's desire to drink and smoke.