Some studies have suggested that moderate alcohol consumption extends life and protects the heart, while others have negated these benefits, arguing that the former studies are flawed and that there is no such thing as safe alcohol consumption. Moderate drinking — sometimes defined as 2–7 glasses of wine per week — may also keep depression at bay, according to some research, although the same study showed that heavy drinking increased depression risk. When it comes to the cardiovascular benefits of alcohol, the results are mixed. Some suggest that moderate consumption of wine and beer, but not spirits, protects against cardiovascular disease, while other results point to protective benefits of drinking vodka as well as wine. now, the results of a new, large-scale study are in. The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is "one of the largest and most rigorous" studies on alcohol consumption and death risk in the United States, and a new report has presented the findings of a 16-year follow-up period. The analysis revealed that moderate and occasional drinkers had lower death rates than abstainers. Current abstainers had the highest mortality rates. However, the researchers explain, this could result from reverse causation — that is, people may have stopped drinking when their health became poor. Also, importantly, moderate and occasional female drinkers were less likely to die prematurely than lifetime abstainers.