Was James Bond a binge drinker with an alcoholic tremor?

ASSOCIATED PRESS - Too good to be true? Excessive drinking might have dulled the sexual performance of 007.

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British doctors who carefully read Ian Fleming’s series of James Bond novels say the celebrated spy regularly drank more than four times the recommended limit of alcohol per week. Their research was published in a lighthearted Christmas edition of the medical journal BMJ.

Patrick Davies and colleagues at Nottingham University Hospital analyzed 14 James Bond books and documented every drink Bond had. They also noted days when he was unable to drink, such as when he was hospitalized, in rehab or imprisoned.

The academics found that the spy also known as 007 drank about 92 units of alcohol a week, more than four times the safe amount recommended by the British government. One unit is about eight grams of pure alcohol. A pint of beer has three units of alcohol, about the same as a large glass of wine.

Bond’s drinking habits — “four times the advisable maximum alcohol consumption for an adult male” — put him at high risk for numerous alcohol-related diseases and an early alcohol-related death, the authors write. “The level of functioning as displayed in the books is inconsistent with the physical, mental and indeed sexual functioning expected from someone drinking this much alcohol,” the authors conclude.

Davies and colleagues also suspect that Bond’s trademark order that his martinis be “shaken, not stirred” may have been based on an alcohol-induced tremor that left him unable to stir his drinks. They also noted that his high alcohol consumption can cause impotence, which would make it difficult to be the sort of ladies’ man portrayed in the novels.

They noted his biggest daily drinking binge was in “From Russia with Love,” when he downed nearly 50 units of alcohol. They also suspected alcohol may have been a factor in “Casino Royale,” when he knocked back 39 units before getting into a high-speed car chase, lost control and crashed the car.

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