24 October 2019 In Drinking Patterns

AIM: To present a comparison between the effects on health due to a reduction in binge drinking (BD) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), as a result of ALERTA ALCOHOL, an intervention aimed at reducing BD in Spanish adolescents.

METHODS: A two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted with an intervention and a control group, randomized at the school level, following individuals over four months. The study population consisted of Andalusian adolescents aged 15 to 19 years who were enrolled in urban public high schools (n=1247). Participants were assigned randomly to receive the intervention. The main outcomes studied were the number of occasions of BD in the last 30 days, which was directly obtained from the answers given by the adolescents, and HRQoL measured with the EQ-5D-5L questionnaire. The model of estimation was the generalized estimating equations (GEE) approach.

RESULTS: The program showed a BD reduction at the 4-month follow-up, although it was not shown to significantly increase the HRQoL in adolescents who reduced the number of occasions of BD and had received the intervention. However, it was shown that those who would predictably reduce the number of occasions of BD controlled by several sociodemographic variables perceived a higher HRQoL, as did those who had a greater adherence to the program.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher adherence to a web-based computer-tailored intervention to prevent BD in adolescents has a positive effect on decreasing the number of occasions of BD in adolescents as well as on increasing participants' HRQoL, although this second effect is very small, which could be due to the short follow-up time. This fact is quite important and should be assessed extensively to corroborate the results and translate into health policy.

24 October 2019 In Dementia
Importance: Substantial heterogeneity and uncertainty exist in the observed associations between alcohol consumption and dementia. Objective: To assess the association between alcohol consumption and dementia and the roles of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and apolipoprotein E epsilon4 (APOE E4) genotype in modifying this association. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study used data from the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study, conducted from 2000 to 2008 among US community-dwelling participants. This study analyzed 3021 participants aged 72 years and older who were free of dementia. Data analysis was performed from 2017 to 2018. Exposures: Self-reported alcohol consumption, drinking frequency, and quantity. Main Outcomes and Measures: Using multivariable proportional hazards regression and linear mixed models, the risk of dementia and the rate of change over time in the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination were estimated. Results: Among 3021 participants, the median (interquartile range) age was 78 (76-80) years; 1395 (46.2%) were female. During a median (interquartile range) follow-up of 6.0 (4.9-6.5) years, 512 cases of dementia occurred. For 7.1 to 14.0 drinks per week compared with less than 1.0 drink per week, the hazard ratios for dementia were 0.63 (95% CI, 0.38-1.06) among 2548 participants without MCI and 0.93 (95% CI, 0.47-1.84) among 473 participants with MCI. Among participants with MCI, the hazard ratio for dementia was 1.72 (95% CI, 0.87-3.40) for more than 14.0 drinks per week compared with less than 1.0 drink per week. The association of alcohol intake with dementia differed for participants with and without baseline MCI (P for interaction = .03). Among participants without MCI, daily low-quantity drinking was associated with lower dementia risk than infrequent higher-quantity drinking (hazard ratio, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.23-0.89; P = .02). Findings were consistent when stratified by sex, age, and APOE E4 genotype. Compared with drinking less than 1.0 drink per week, complete abstention (in participants without MCI) and the consumption of more than 14.0 drinks per week (in participants with MCI) were associated with lower Modified Mini-Mental State Examination scores (mean difference at follow-up compared with baseline, -0.46 point [95% CI, -0.87 to -0.04 point] and -3.51 points [95% CI, -5.75 to -1.27 points], respectively). Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, complete abstention and consuming more than 14.0 drinks per week (compared with drinking <1.0 drink per week) were associated with lower cognitive scores among participants aged 72 years and older. Particular caution is needed among individuals with MCI who continue to drink alcohol.
24 October 2019 In Pregnant Women

OBJECTIVE: Alcohol use during pregnancy can harm the developing fetus. The exact amount, pattern, and critical period of exposure necessary for harm to occur are unclear, although official guidance often emphasizes precautionary abstention. The impacts on fertility and breastfeeding are also unclear. Information on alcohol and pregnancy is disseminated by the alcohol industry-funded organizations, and there are emerging concerns about its accuracy, suggesting the need for detailed analysis.

METHOD: Information on alcohol consumption in relation to fertility, pregnancy, and breastfeeding was extracted from the websites of 23 alcohol industry-funded bodies (e.g., Drinkaware [United Kingdom] and DrinkWise [Australia]), and 19 public health organizations (e.g., Health.gov and NHS Choices). Comparative qualitative and quantitative analysis of the framing and completeness of this information was undertaken.

RESULTS: Alcohol industry-funded organizations were statistically significantly less likely than public health websites to provide information on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and less likely to advise that no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. They were significantly more likely to emphasize uncertainties and less likely to use direct language (e.g., "don't drink"). Some alcohol industry-funded (and no public health) websites appear to use "alternate causation" arguments, similar to those used by the tobacco industry, to argue for causes of alcohol harms in pregnancy other than alcohol.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol industry-funded websites omit and misrepresent the evidence on key risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. This may "nudge" women toward continuing to drink during pregnancy. These findings suggest that alcohol industry-funded bodies may increase risk to pregnant women by disseminating misinformation. The public should be made widely aware of the risks of obtaining health information from alcohol industry-funded sources.

24 October 2019 In General Health

AIMS: Alcohol use is associated with both positive and negative effects on individual cardiovascular risk factors, depending upon which risk factor is assessed. The present analysis uses a summative multisystem index of biologic risk, known as allostatic load (AL), to evaluate whether the overall balance of alcohol-associated positive and negative cardiovascular risk factors may be favorable or unfavorable.

METHODS: This analysis included 1255 adults from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) biomarker substudy. Participants, average age 54.5 (+/-11) years, were divided into 6 alcohol-use categories based on self-reported drinking habits. Current non-drinkers were classified as lifelong abstainers and former light drinkers, former moderate drinkers, or former heavy drinkers. Current alcohol users were classified as light, moderate, or heavy drinkers. A total AL score was calculated using 24 biomarkers grouped into 7 physiologic systems including cardiovascular, inflammation, glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Mixed-effects regression models were fit to determine the relationship between alcohol use categories and AL with controls for covariates that may influence the relationship between alcohol use and AL.

RESULTS: 468 (37.6%) individuals were current non-drinkers while 776 (62.4%) were current drinkers. In adjusted mixed-effects regression models, all 3 groups of current drinkers had significantly lower average AL scores than the lifelong abstainer/former light drinker group (light: -0.23, 95% CI -0.40, -0.07, p < 0.01; moderate: -0.20, 95% CI -0.38, -0.02, p < 0.05; heavy: -0.30, 95% CI -0.57, -0.04, p < 0.05), while the average AL scores of former moderate and former heavy drinkers did not differ from the lifelong abstainer/former light drinker group.

CONCLUSIONS: Current alcohol use is associated cross-sectionally with a favorable multisystem physiologic score known to be associated with better long-term health outcomes, providing evidence in support of long-term health benefits related to alcohol consumption.

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