It's no wonder James Bond prefers his martinis "shaken, not stirred." The man has such a severe drinking problem that he probably suffers from hand tremors that make stirring a cocktail -- if not shooting a gun -- impossible, say doctors who studied the fictional spy's drinking habits.

Bond also is at high risk for sexual dysfunction, liver damage, car crashes, stroke and early death, according to an annual compendium of quirky medical studies published Thursday in the British journal BMJ.

It was done largely in fun, researchers say, but has a serious message: Heavy drinking and a life of international espionage, womanizing and stunt driving don't mix.

They say Bond, as depicted in 14 Ian Fleming novels, drinks 92 units of alcohol a week, more than four times the limit recommended for British men. (One unit equals 8 grams of pure alcohol.) "There are people capable of drinking this amount," says co-author Patrick Davies, a physician at Nottingham University Hospitals. "But they are not capable of drinking that and still being able to defuse a nuclear bomb."

Bond likes vodka martinis; he also drinks Champagne, red wine and sake, and seems to drink almost constantly when not imprisoned or otherwise indisposed. Someone who really drank that much would be "a significant alcoholic," Davies says.

And his symptoms likely would include a tremor that "would be catastrophic for his marksmanship."

The classic Bond books, from the 1950s and 1960s, and ongoing movies (which the study didn't scrutinize) have lots of pop culture company in glamorizing alcohol "without showing the consequences in the real world," says Caroline Knorr, of the group Common Sense Media.

Ian Fleming died at 56 of heart disease after a life of heavy drinking and smoking; "Bond might have a similar life expectancy," Davies says.

Kim Painter

Special for USA TODAY

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