29 October 2018 In Liver Disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) comprises more than two thirds of patients with chronic liver disease in the United States. The effect of alcohol consumption on survival in patients with NAFLD is not clear. We gathered data on National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey participants from 1988 to 2010, and linked them to the National Death Index for follow-up of their survival. We diagnosed NAFLD based on a previously validated biochemical model (Hepatic Steatosis Index). We built multivariate Cox proportional hazards models to evaluate the effect of alcohol consumption on survival of patients with NAFLD. After excluding participants with significant alcohol use, viral hepatitis, or increased transferrin saturation, 4,568 participants with NAFLD were included in the analysis. In a Cox model adjusted for age, sex, and smoking history, drinking 0.5-1.5 drinks per day decreased the risk of overall mortality by 41% (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.59, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.40-0.85, P = 0.005) compared with not drinking. Drinking >/=1.5 drinks per day showed a trend toward harm (HR = 1.16, 95% CI 0.99-1.36, P = 0.119). After further adjustment for race, physical activity, education level, diabetes, and fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acid intake, drinking 0.5-1.5 drinks per day continued to show a significant protective effect (HR = 0.64, 95% CI 0.42-0.97, P = 0.035), and drinking >/=1.5 drinks per day showed a significant harmful effect on mortality (HR = 1.45, 95% CI 1.01-2.10, P = 0.047). Among patients with NAFLD, modest alcohol consumption is associated with a significant decrease in all-cause mortality, whereas drinking >/=1.5 drinks per day is associated with an increase in mortality. These results help to inform the discussion of potential risks and benefits of alcohol use in patients with NAFLD.

29 October 2018 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Lower strength alcohol products may help reduce alcohol consumption and associated harms. This study assessed the impact of labeling wine and beer with different verbal descriptors denoting lower strength, with and without percent alcohol by volume (%ABV), on product appeal and understanding of strength. Three thousand three hundred ninety adult survey-panel members were randomized to 1 of 18 groups with 1 of 3 levels of verbal descriptor (Low vs. Super Low vs. No verbal descriptor) and 6 levels of %ABV (5 levels varying for wine and beer, and no level given). Products with verbal descriptors denoting lower strength (Low and Super Low) had lower appeal than Regular strength products. Appeal decreased as %ABV decreased. Understanding of strength was generally high across the various drinks with majority of participants correctly identifying or erring on the side of caution when estimating the units and calories in a given drink, appropriateness for consumption by children, and drinking within the driving limit. We discuss the theoretical and policy implications of these findings for public health. (PsycINFO Database Record).

29 October 2018 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Alcohol-induced cardiotoxicity is incompletely understood. Specifically, the long-term impact of alcohol use on ventricular remodeling or dysfunction, its modulators, and effect thresholds among young adults remain controversial.

OBJECTIVES: The authors sought to evaluate a potential relationship between alcohol intake and cardiac remodeling, assessed by echocardiography, over 20 years of follow-up.

METHODS: Among the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) study cohort, the authors studied all subjects without baseline heart disorders who provided adequate information on their drinking habits and underwent echocardiographic evaluation at years 5 and 25 of the study. The echocardiographic outcomes were left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction, indexed LV end-diastolic volume and LV mass, and left atrial diameter. Participants were grouped according to their weighted-average weekly drinking habits. An additional analysis used the estimated cumulative alcohol consumption. Regression models and multivariable fractional polynomials were used to evaluate the association between alcohol consumption and the outcomes.

RESULTS: Among the 2,368 participants, alcohol consumption was an independent predictor of higher indexed LV mass (p = 0.014) and indexed LV end-diastolic volume (p = 0.037), regardless of sex. No significant relationship between alcohol intake and LV ejection fraction was found. Drinking predominantly wine was associated with less cardiac remodeling and there was a nonsignificant trend for a harmful effect of binge drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: After 20 years of follow-up, alcohol intake was associated with adverse cardiac remodeling, although it was not related with LV systolic dysfunction in this initially healthy young cohort. Our results also suggest that drinking predominantly wine associates with less deleterious findings in cardiac structure.

29 October 2018 In Cancer

Epidemiological studies have been used to show associations between modifiable lifestyle habits and the incidence of breast cancer. Among such factors, a history of alcohol use has been reported in multiple studies and meta-analyses over the past decades. However, associative epidemiological studies that were interpreted as evidence that even moderate alcohol consumption increases breast cancer incidence have been controversial. In this review, we consider the literature on the relationship between moderate or heavy alcohol use, both in possible biological mechanisms and in variations in susceptibility due to genetic or epigenetic factors. We argue that there is a need to incorporate additional approaches to move beyond the associations that are reported in traditional epidemiological analyses and incorporate information on molecular pathologic signatures as a requirement to posit causal inferences. In particular, we point to the efforts of the transdisciplinary field of molecular pathological epidemiology (MPE) to evaluate possible causal relationships, if any, of alcohol consumption and breast cancer. A wider application of the principles of MPE to this field would constitute a giant step that could enhance our understanding of breast cancer and multiple modifiable risk factors, a step that would be particularly suited to the era of "personalized medicine".

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