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Wine & Heart Health Summit to Open on Feb. 14 at Napa

An international gathering of distinguished heart health experts, who will include Serge Reynaud, the father of the French Paradox, and R. Curtis Ellison, the professor who coined the term on 60 Minutes , will gather in Napa Valley next year to revisit the contentious theory, reports Sourish Bhattacharyya

The fourth edition of the International Wine and Heart Health Summit is being organised by The Desert Heart Foundation, The Renaud Society, and the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in conjunction with Wine Spectator at the Silverado Resort Hotel, Napa Valley , California , on February 14 to 27, 2007.

The summit faculty will include Serge Reynaud, the University of Bordeaux professor to whom we owe the French Paradox theory, and R. Curtis Ellison, Professor & Chairman, Public Health and Epidemiology, Boston University, who was part of the American TV network CBS' programme, 60 Minutes , that reported the phenomenon in 1992 and then helped coin the term.

In 2003, Indian Wine Academy President Subhash Arora attended this bi-annual event, which brings together experts from around the world to Napa to discuss the latest trends in wine and health. An expected 300 health professionals will attend these meetings, as a pre-conference media release puts it, to expand their knowledge on the science of wine and health, wine biology, wine appreciation and wine culture. A mix of keen academic and eclectic social events will be included in the four days of the conference.

The programme will be chaired by Tedd Goldfinger, President, Desert Heart Foundation, and Director, Wine & Heart Health Research Initiative. Goldfinger is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona , and Senior Cardiologist at Desert Cardiology of Tucson Heart Center. Justin Ardill, MBBS, an interventional cardiologist and faculty at Flinders University Medical Center , Adelaide , South Australia , will be the International Co-Chairman. Ardill is owner and winemaker for Reilly's Cottage Wines, Clare Valley, Australia, and the founding member of the Renaud Society Australia.

Tom Shelton, President and CEO of Joseph Phelps Winery, Napa , will be the Honorary Co-Chairman and host to the visiting delegates. Julio Palmaz, inventor of the coronary stent, from the University of Texas , San Antonio, and Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator's Editor-at-Large, will also serve on the summit faculty.

It may be relevant here to reproduce the summary of the interesting paper that Goldfinger had presented at the third summit in 2005. In his scholarly paper, ' Beyond the French Paradox: The Impact of Moderate Beverage Alcohol and Wine Consumption in the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease', Goldfinger had concluded:

"Alcohol beverages, particularly red wine, when consumed in moderation reduce the risk of acute CVD and death. Important questions and issues, however, still remain, including the role of beverage type, pattern of drinking, and the risk that moderate drinking can lead to problem drinking.

"The mechanism for alcohol beverage benefit is complex and includes an independent benefit of ethyl alcohol. The multiplicity of effects identified for the non-alcohol components of red wine play a role in improved endothelial physiology and

enhance vascular homeostasis.

"CAD begins in early life and it progresses over decades. As the complexity of vascular pathology changes with time, so may the healthful effects of alcohol and non-alcohol wine components also vary. Prospective studies of alcohol or wine consumption in the young, middle, and older aged persons would be interesting, but they are laden with obvious sociologic complexities.

"Meanwhile, it is prudent for physicians to discuss the harmful effects of alcohol with their patients, while at the same time, not discourage a potentially healthy practice of wine in moderation (eg, with meals). The current literature is consistent in that heavy drinkers would be better off to reduce drinking or abstain, and abstainers or light drinkers, should be advised to avoid heavy drinking.

"Whether moderate alcohol consumption can be characterised as a pharmacologic intervention or a dietary intercession may be a matter of opinion. I would rather like to believe that the growing scientific interest in wine and better health is a part of adopting a healthy lifestyle that connects our society with nature, to sustain and enhance human life." (For more information on the event, go to )


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