22 September 2022 In Cancer

IMPORTANCE: Although numerous studies have shown an association between alcohol consumption and cancer, how changes in drinking behavior increase or decrease the incidence of cancer is not well understood.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between the reduction, cessation, or increase of alcohol consumption and the development of alcohol-related cancers and all cancers.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This population-based cohort study analyzed adult beneficiaries in the Korean National Health Insurance Service. Participants (aged >/=40 years) included those who underwent a national health screening in both 2009 and 2011 and had available data on their drinking status. Data were analyzed from April 16 to July 6, 2020. Exposures: Alcohol consumption level, which was self-reported by participants in health screening questionnaires, was categorized into none (0 g/d), mild (/=30 g/d) drinking. Based on changes in alcohol consumption level from 2009 to 2011, participants were categorized into the following groups: nondrinker, sustainer, increaser, quitter, and reducer.

MAINS OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was newly diagnosed alcohol-related cancers (including cancers of the head and neck, esophagus, colorectum, liver, larynx, and female breast), and the secondary outcome was all newly diagnosed cancers (except for thyroid cancer).

RESULTS: Among the 4513746 participants (mean [SD] age, 53.6 [9.6] years; 2324172 [51.5%] men), the incidence rate of cancer was 7.7 per 1000 person-years during a median (IQR) follow-up of 6.4 (6.1-6.6) years. Compared with the sustainer groups at each drinking level, the increaser groups had a higher risk of alcohol-related cancers and all cancers. The increased alcohol-related cancer incidence was associated with dose; those who changed from nondrinking to mild (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.03; 95% CI, 1.00-1.06), moderate (aHR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.02-1.18), or heavy (aHR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.23-1.45) drinking levels had an associated higher risk than those who did not drink. Those with mild drinking levels who quit drinking had a lower risk of alcohol-related cancer (aHR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.92-0.99) than those who sustained their drinking levels. Those with moderate (aHR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.03-1.12) or heavy (aHR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.02-1.12) drinking levels who quit drinking had a higher all cancer incidence than those who sustained their levels, but when quitting was sustained, this increase in risk disappeared. Compared with sustained heavy drinking, reduced heavy drinking levels to moderate levels (alcohol-related cancer: aHR, 0.91 [95% CI, 0.86-0.97]; all cancers: aHR, 0.96 [95% CI, 0.92-0.99]) or mild levels (alcohol-related cancer: aHR, 0.92 [95% CI, 0.86-0.98]; all cancers: aHR, 0.92 [95% CI, 0.89-0.96]) were associated with decreased cancer risk.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Results of this study showed that increased alcohol consumption was associated with higher risks for alcohol-related and all cancers, whereas sustained quitting and reduced drinking were associated with lower risks of alcohol-related and all cancers. Alcohol cessation and reduction should be reinforced for the prevention of cancer.

26 August 2022 In Liver Disease

BACKGROUND: The prevalence of fatty liver disease is potentially increasing in adolescents and young adults (AYAs) due to the obesity and alcohol pandemics. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of alcohol-associated fatty liver disease (ALD) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in a representative U.S. cohort utilizing transient elastography to directly measure hepatic steatosis and suspected fibrosis.

METHODS: AYAs (age 15-39 years) with valid FibroScan((R)) measurements in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) database (2017-2018) were included in the analyses. Those with viral hepatitis, pregnancy, or ALT/AST > 500 U/L were excluded. The population was divided into those with excessive alcohol consumption (ALQ130) and those without. Controlled attenuation parameter (CAP) score >/= 248 dB/m was used to identify suspected ALD and NAFLD. In those with evidence of ALD, the following cutoffs of liver stiffness measurement (LSM) were used for suspected fibrosis: F >/= F2 at LSM >/= 7.5 kPa and F >/= F3 at >/= 9.5 kPa, respectively. In those with suspected NAFLD, the following LSM cutoffs were used: F >/= F2 at 6.1 and F >/= F3 at >/= 7.1, respectively. Cutoffs were chosen based on published literature to maximize sensitivity.

RESULTS: Comparing to those without, subjects with excessive alcohol consumption tended to be older (29.8 vs 28.5 years), have a higher BMI (29.3 vs 28.9 kg/m2), and be from a White ethnicity (65.3% vs. 55.4%). In subjects with excessive alcohol consumption, suspected ALD was present in 56.59% (95% CI 41.57-70.49). In those with suspected ALD, suspected significant fibrosis (F >/= F2) was present in 12.3% (95% CI 4.74-28.34) and advanced fibrosis (F >/= F3) was present in 6.31% (95% CI 0.69-39.55). Similarly, in subjects without excessive alcohol consumption, suspected NAFLD was present in 40.04% (36.64-43.54). In those with suspected NAFLD, suspected significant fibrosis (F >/= F2) was present in 31.07% (27.25-35.16) and suspected advanced fibrosis (F >/= F3) was present in 20.15% (16.05-24.99).

CONCLUSION: A significant percentage of AYAs are at risk for ALD and NAFLD and a subset of these subjects is at risk for significant fibrosis. Efforts should focus on increasing awareness of the prevalence of ALD and NAFLD in this population and to mitigate modifiable risk factors.

26 August 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: The health risks associated with moderate alcohol consumption continue to be debated. Small amounts of alcohol might lower the risk of some health outcomes but increase the risk of others, suggesting that the overall risk depends, in part, on background disease rates, which vary by region, age, sex, and year.

METHODS: For this analysis, we constructed burden-weighted dose-response relative risk curves across 22 health outcomes to estimate the theoretical minimum risk exposure level (TMREL) and non-drinker equivalence (NDE), the consumption level at which the health risk is equivalent to that of a non-drinker, using disease rates from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2020 for 21 regions, including 204 countries and territories, by 5-year age group, sex, and year for individuals aged 15-95 years and older from 1990 to 2020. Based on the NDE, we quantified the population consuming harmful amounts of alcohol.

FINDINGS: The burden-weighted relative risk curves for alcohol use varied by region and age. Among individuals aged 15-39 years in 2020, the TMREL varied between 0 (95% uncertainty interval 0-0) and 0·603 (0·400-1·00) standard drinks per day, and the NDE varied between 0·002 (0-0) and 1·75 (0·698-4·30) standard drinks per day. Among individuals aged 40 years and older, the burden-weighted relative risk curve was J-shaped for all regions, with a 2020 TMREL that ranged from 0·114 (0-0·403) to 1·87 (0·500-3·30) standard drinks per day and an NDE that ranged between 0·193 (0-0·900) and 6·94 (3·40-8·30) standard drinks per day. Among individuals consuming harmful amounts of alcohol in 2020, 59·1% (54·3-65·4) were aged 15-39 years and 76·9% (73·0-81·3) were male.

INTERPRETATION: There is strong evidence to support recommendations on alcohol consumption varying by age and location. Stronger interventions, particularly those tailored towards younger individuals, are needed to reduce the substantial global health loss attributable to alcohol. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

26 August 2022 In Drinking Patterns

INTRODUCTION: A significant amount of binge drinking among adults escapes public health scrutiny because it occurs among individuals who drink at a moderate average level. This observational study examined the role of a binge pattern of drinking in predicting alcohol problems among moderate drinkers in a U.S. national sample of adults.

METHODS: Participants were 1,229 current drinkers aged >/=30 years from 2 waves of the study of Midlife Development in the United States, with a 9-year time lag (2004-2015) (analyzed in 20212022). Negative binomial regression analyses were used to examine the number of alcohol problems, and binary logistic regression analyses were used to examine multiple (>/=2) alcohol problems.

RESULTS: Independent of the average level of drinking, binge drinking was linked with an almost 3 times increase in the number of concurrent alcohol problems and a 40% increase in the number of alcohol problems prospectively 9 years later. Moderate average level drinkers accounted for most cases of binge drinking and multiple alcohol problems. Among moderate drinkers, binge drinking was linked with a close to 5 times increase in concurrent multiple alcohol problems and a >2 times increase in multiple alcohol problems prospectively 9 years later.

CONCLUSIONS: These results substantially broaden an increasing recognition that binge drinking is a public health concern among adults. Moderate average-level drinkers should be included in efforts to reduce alcohol problems in adults. These findings are applicable to primary and secondary prevention of alcohol problems with the potential to advance population health.

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