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.

24 October 2019 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between potentially serious alcohol-medication interactions (POSAMINO criteria), hypothesised to increase the risk of falls in older adults, and falls in community-dwelling older adults at two and 4 years follow-up.

DESIGN: A prospective cohort study. SETTING: The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing.

SUBJECTS: A total of 1,457 community-dwelling older adults aged >/=65 years, with a complete alcohol and regular medication data to allow for the application of the POSAMINO criteria.

OUTCOMES: Self-reported falls at 2 and 4 years follow-up, any falls (yes/no), injurious falls (yes/no) and number of falls (count variable).

RESULTS: The number of participants who reported falling since their baseline interview at 2 and 4 years were 357 (24%) and 608 (41.8%), respectively; 145 (10%) reported an injurious fall at 2 years and 268 (18%) at 4 years. Median (IQR) number of falls was 1 (1-2) at 2 years and 2 (1-3) at 4 years. Exposure to CNS POSAMINO criteria, hypothesised to increase the risk of falls due primarily to increased sedation, was associated with a significantly increased risk for falling (adjusted relative risk (RR) 1.50, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.21-1.88) and for injurious falls (adjusted RR 1.62, 95% CI: 1.03-2.55) at 4 years. These equate to an absolute risk of 19% for falling (95% CI: 5-33%) and 8% for injurious falls (95% CI, 4-20%) at 4 years.

CONCLUSIONS: Assessment and management strategies to prevent falls in community-dwelling older adults should consider patients' alcohol consumption alongside their assessment of patient medications, particularly among those receiving CNS agents.

24 October 2019 In General Health
The effect of alcohol intake on varicose veins (VV) has not been determined by its consumption level. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between alcohol intake and VV in an elderly general population. Using a cross-sectional approach, the Shimane CoHRE Study data, comprising a total of 1060 participants, were analyzed. By multivariate regression analysis adjusted with basic characteristics, past work history, lifestyle-related factors and medical history, compared with non-drinkers, mild drinkers (
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