24 June 2019 In Cardiovascular System

PURPOSE: To provide evidence of the relationship of Mediterranean diet (MD) on incidence/mortality for cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary/ischemic heart disease (CHD)/acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and stroke (ischemic/hemorrhagic) by sex, geographic region, study design and type of MD score (MDS).

METHODS: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Pooled relative risks (RRs) were calculated using random-effects models.

RESULTS: We identified 29 articles. The RR for the highest versus the lowest category of the MDS was 0.81 (95% CI 0.74-0.88) for the 11 studies that considered unspecified CVD, consistent across all strata. The corresponding pooled RR for CHD/AMI risk was 0.70 (95% CI 0.62-0.80), based on 11 studies. The inverse relationship was consistent across strata of study design, end point (incidence and mortality), sex, geographic area, and the MDS used. The overall RR for the six studies that considered unspecified stroke was 0.73 (95% CI 0.59-0.91) for the highest versus the lowest category of the MDS. The corresponding values were 0.82 (95% CI 0.73-0.92) for ischemic (five studies) and 1.01 (95% CI 0.74-1.37) for hemorrhagic stroke (four studies).

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate and further quantify that MD exerts a protective effect on the risk of CVD. This inverse association includes CHD and ischemic stroke, but apparently not hemorrhagic stroke.

24 June 2019 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: In addition to its established harmful effects on the liver and other organs, heavy alcohol use confers deleterious effects on the cardiovascular (CV) system, as well. However, data have emerged that light/moderate alcohol consumption (1 drink/day for women and 1-2 drinks/day for men) may be protective against CV disease.

OBJECTIVE/METHODS: English articles regarding the CV effects of alcohol/ethanol were reviewed by search in Medline, Scopus, and Google Scholar.

RESULTS: A J-shaped curve has been proposed to illustrate a differential effect of alcohol on the CV system with the lowest point on the curve (light/moderate drinking) corresponding to optimal exposure to alcohol, which may confer cardioprotection, the rather neutral effect of non-drinking, and the highest risk of heavy and/or binge drinking reflecting the consequence of harmful exposure. However, staying at the nadir of this J-shaped curve appears difficult. Furthermore, concern and distrust have also been raised about the quality of evidence for such "cardioprotection", emphasizing the need for further randomized controlled trials. Another concern relates to the risk of moderate drinking leading to problem drinking, since alcohol is the most common addictive substance.

CONCLUSION: Optimal exposure to alcohol (light/moderate use) means that one needs to stay at the nadir of the J-shaped curve for alcohol use to avail oneself of possible cardioprotection, and this may not be an easy thing to accomplish and/or adhere to, especially if one "likes" alcohol drinking. However, the evidence of "cardioprotection" conferred by alcohol has also been refuted, due to lack of randomized controlled trials.

24 June 2019 In Cancer

Alcohol consumption is associated with higher risk of breast cancer (BC); however, the biological mechanisms underlying this association are not fully elucidated, particularly the extent to which this relationship is mediated by sex hormone levels. Circulating concentrations of estradiol, testosterone, their free fractions and sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), were examined in 430 incident BC cases and 645 matched controls among alcohol-consuming postmenopausal women nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Mediation analysis was applied to assess whether individual hormone levels mediated the relationship between alcohol intake and BC risk. An alcohol-related hormonal signature, obtained by partial least square (PLS) regression, was evaluated as a potential mediator. Total (TE), natural direct and natural indirect effects (NIE) were estimated. Alcohol intake was positively associated with overall BC risk and specifically with estrogen receptor-positive tumors with respectively TE = 1.17(95%CI: 1.01,1.35) and 1.36(1.08,1.70) for a 1-standard deviation (1-SD) increase of intake. There was no evidence of mediation by sex steroids or SHBG separately except for a weak indirect effect through free estradiol where NIE = 1.03(1.00,1.06). However, an alcohol-related hormonal signature negatively associated with SHBG and positively with estradiol and testosterone was associated with BC risk (odds ratio [OR] = 1.25 [1.07,1.47]) for a 1-SD higher PLS score, and had a statistically significant NIE accounting for a mediated proportion of 24%. There was limited evidence of mediation of the alcohol-BC association by individual sex hormones. However, a hormonal signature, reflecting lower levels of SHBG and higher levels of sex steroids, mediated a substantial proportion of the association.

24 June 2019 In Cancer

Alcohol consumption is an established risk factor for colorectal cancer (CRC). However, while studies have consistently reported elevated risk of CRC among heavy drinkers, associations at moderate levels of alcohol consumption are less clear. We conducted a combined analysis of 16 studies of CRC to examine the shape of the alcohol-CRC association, investigate potential effect modifiers of the association, and examine differential effects of alcohol consumption by cancer anatomic site and stage. We collected information on alcohol consumption for 14,276 CRC cases and 15,802 controls from 5 case-control and 11 nested case-control studies of CRC. We compared adjusted logistic regression models with linear and restricted cubic splines to select a model that best fit the association between alcohol consumption and CRC. Study-specific results were pooled using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Compared to non-/occasional drinking (</=1 g/day), light/moderate drinking (up to 2 drinks/day) was associated with a decreased risk of CRC (odds ratio [OR]: 0.92, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.88-0.98, p = 0.005), heavy drinking (2-3 drinks/day) was not significantly associated with CRC risk (OR: 1.11, 95% CI: 0.99-1.24, p = 0.08) and very heavy drinking (more than 3 drinks/day) was associated with a significant increased risk (OR: 1.25, 95% CI: 1.11-1.40, p < 0.001). We observed no evidence of interactions with lifestyle risk factors or of differences by cancer site or stage. These results provide further evidence that there is a J-shaped association between alcohol consumption and CRC risk. This overall pattern was not significantly modified by other CRC risk factors and there was no effect heterogeneity by tumor site or stage.

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