DUNDEE, Scotland, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Death from liver cirrhosis may be linked more to drinking patterns than to social class, researchers in Scotland suggest.
Researchers at the University of Dundee in Scotland say their review of past studies on alcohol indicates a dramatic change during the 20th century in England and Wales. Death from liver cirrhosis -- more common among higher social classes in the early part of the century -- became much more common among the lower social classes by the end of the century.
However, the paper, published in Alcohol and Alcoholism, links the death rate from liver cirrhosis more to changes in drinking patterns than to drinking amounts. The researchers point out surveys indicate those in lower classes actually did not drink more than higher classes.
Also, the upper classes have been changing from a pattern of weekend drinking of beer and whisky to Mediterranean-style daily wine with meals while people in lower social classes have generally tended to binge drink, the researchers say.
"The main cause of change over time in the relation of social class with mortality from cirrhosis is probably an improvement of dietary behavior and lifestyle in the high social classes and often still unhealthy diet and lifestyle in the lower classes," the study authors say in a statement.