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Biggest Study Ever Aims to Create Women's-health Blueprint

Yet another bummer study has come close to confirming that alcohol consumption by women ups their risk of breast cancer by a lot. That's what the headlines have focused on, anyway, but the massive study by Oxford University has implications far larger than keeping ladies away from their daily glass (or three) of pinot.For starters, it's the largest women's-health study ever conducted, anywhere, by anyone. Over 1.3 million women have been surveyed, and Oxford's aims are to answer, for once and for all, what the heck women are supposed to do to take care of themselves. To go on the pill or not? Is drinking a glass of wine a day bad or good? Is hormone replacement therapy a life-saver or a silent killer? Etc.Unless you live under a rock, you're subjected to a constant barrage of mixed messages, so why take this one seriously? Well, the findings so far aren't easy to dismiss. The sheer scale of the study, and the amount of data amassed, makes it the most comprehensive so far. Of course, it's not all terribly uplifting information: According to data so far, pill's OK when you're young, hormone replacement therapy is a no-no, and women pretty much just shouldn't drink alcohol at all.Meanwhile, there is so much more to come. The surveys asked predictable health-focused questions as well as more nuanced ones about lifestyle, stress and faith: Do you cook with olive oil or butter? Do you like to paint and listen to music? Are you a member of a church or religious group? And on.The upshot, according to the study, is that aside from radiation (?!), none of these health and lifestyle factors continue to endanger your health once you stop them. So get it all out of your system while you're young, ladies. You've got a long, sober, vegetable-filled life ahead of you.

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