23 February 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, affecting approximately 50 million people worldwide. Although a positive association between alcohol consumption and epilepsy has been demonstrated in previous meta-analyses of case-control studies, the results of several recently published large cohort studies are contradictory. Therefore, we conducted an updated meta-analysis that included more recent data to clarify the association between alcohol consumption and epilepsy.

METHODS: The search was performed on 25 January 2021 using the Embase and MEDLINE databases. Cohort or case-control studies were eligible for inclusion in this study. We used restricted cubic spline analysis to perform a dose-response meta-analysis.

RESULTS: A total of eight studies, including three cohort and five case-control studies, were included in our meta-analysis. The pooled risk of epilepsy was 1.70 (1.16-2.49) in alcohol users compared to non-drinkers. Subgroup analysis of 50 g units showed that the epilepsy risk increased as alcohol intake increased. The pooled risk of cohort studies was 1.00 (0.65-1.54), and the pooled risk of case-control studies was 2.61 (1.29-5.29). According to the dose-response analysis, the regression coefficient was 1.009 (1.004-1.014), indicating a significant positive dose-response relationship.

CONCLUSION: Unlike the case-control studies, the cohort studies did not reveal a significant association between alcohol consumption and epilepsy. Further large cohort studies for the general population are required to assert a definite causal relationship between alcohol consumption and epilepsy and to identify a potential threshold.

23 February 2022 In Cardiovascular System

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: A clear link between excessive alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been established, but no consensus exists on the effects of moderate alcohol consumption on CVD.

RECENT FINDINGS: A lower risk of coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction among moderate drinkers compared to abstainers has been consistently observed in epidemiological studies and meta-analyses of these studies. However, ambiguity remains on the effect of alcohol on other CVDs and all-cause mortality. Short-term randomized controlled trials (RCT) have identified potentially beneficial effects of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular risk factors, but studies investigating genetic polymorphisms that influence alcohol consumption (i.e., Mendelian randomization) have yielded inconclusive results.

To date, a long-term RCT providing causal evidence is lacking but urgently needed. Triangulation of evidence from different study designs, including long-term RCTs, pragmatic trials and the evaluation of policy measures, combined will lead to the best available evidence.

26 January 2022 In General Health

PURPOSE: To perform a systematic review on the association between alcohol consumption and risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) using a meta-analytical approach.

METHODS: Systematic literature research was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Both categorical and dose-response meta-analysis was performed separately for early and late AMD. A fixed-effect model was used to calculate pooled effect estimates with 95% confidence interval (CI).

RESULT: Seven studies were included in the analysis with 4,566 and 440 cases of early and late AMD, respectively. Compared to the nondrinkers or occasional drinkers, the pooled effect estimates for early AMD with moderate (1.19, 95% CI [1.03-1.37]) and heavy (1.24, [1.10-1.39]) alcohol consumption, but not light (0.95, [0.90-1.06]) alcohol consumption, were statistically significant. However, the pooled effect estimates for late AMD with light (1.03, [0.79-1.33]), moderate (1.13, [0.83-1.55]), and heavy (0.98, [0.63-1.53]) alcohol consumption were found to be insignificant. A linear dose-response relationship was established (P < .05) between alcohol consumption and risk of early AMD, and the pooled effect estimate for an increase in alcohol consumption of 10 g/day was 1.14 (1.08-1.21).

CONCLUSION: Moderate and heavy alcohol consumption could increase the risk of early AMD, but not late AMD, with a linear dose-response relationship.

26 January 2022 In Drinking Patterns

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the associations of status, amount, and frequency of alcohol consumption across different alcoholic beverages with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) risk and associated mortality.

MANDATE: This study included 473,957 subjects, 16,559 of whom tested positive for COVID-19. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate the associations of alcohol consumption with COVID-19 risk and associated mortality. The non-linearity association between the amount of alcohol consumption and COVID-19 risk was evaluated by a generalized additive model.

RESULTS: Subjects who consumed alcohol double above the guidelines had a higher risk of COVID-19 (1.12 [1.00, 1.25]). Consumption of red wine above or double above the guidelines played protective effects against the COVID-19. Consumption of beer and cider increased the COVID-19 risk, regardless of the frequency and amount of alcohol intake. Low-frequency of consumption of fortified wine (1-2 glasses/week) within guidelines had a protective effect against the COVID-19. High frequency of consumption of spirits (>/=5 glasses/week) within guidelines increased the COVID-19 risk, whereas the high frequency of consumption of white wine and champagne above the guidelines decreased the COVID-19 risk. The generalized additive model showed an increased risk of COVID-19 with a greater number of alcohol consumption. Alcohol drinker status, frequency, amount, and subtypes of alcoholic beverages were not associated with COVID-19 associated mortality.

CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 risk appears to vary across different alcoholic beverage subtypes, frequency, and amount. Red wine, white wine, and champagne have chances to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Consumption of beer and cider and spirits and heavy drinking are not recommended during the epidemics. Public health guidance should focus on reducing the risk of COVID-19 by advocating healthy lifestyle habits and preferential policies among consumers of beer and cider and spirits.

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