HERE’S SOME good news/bad news for the wine and beer lover camps. People who drink wine are less likely to suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee – but beer-drinkers are more prone to arthritis, a new study shows. Nottingham University researchers looked at the drinking habits of 2OOO men and women aged 45 to 86 with knee or hip arthritis, and compared them with those of 1OOO healthy people. Compared with non-beer-drinkers, those who drank 2O or more units a week of ale were 93 percent more likely to have arthritis of the knee. They were also twice as likely to suffer from hip problems. In contrast, those who consumed four to six glasses of wine a week had a 44 percent lower risk of knee arthritis, while those who drank at least seven glasses a week more than halved their risk. The exact reasons are unclear. One theory is that antioxidants in wine (polyphenols) may have a protective effect, while uric acid levels, associated with beer consumption, could have a damaging impact.