24 January 2020 In Dementia

Long-term alcohol abuse is associated with poorer cognitive performance. However, the associations between light and moderate drinking and cognitive performance are less clear. We assessed this association via cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses in a sample of 702 Dutch students.

At baseline, alcohol consumption was assessed using questionnaires and ecological momentary assessment (EMA) across four weeks ('Wave 1'). Subsequently, cognitive performance, including memory, planning, and reasoning, was assessed at home using six standard cognition tests presented through an online platform. A year later, 436 students completed the four weeks of EMA and online cognitive testing ('Wave 2').

In both waves, there was no association between alcohol consumption and cognitive performance. Further, alcohol consumption during Wave 1 was not related to cognitive performance at Wave 2. In addition, EMA-data-based drinking patterns, which varied widely between persons but were relatively consistent over time within persons, were also not associated with cognitive performance.

Post-hoc analyses of cognitive performance revealed higher within-person variance scores (from Wave 1 to Wave 2) than between-person variance scores (both Wave 1 and Wave 2). In conclusion, no association was observed between alcohol consumption and cognitive performance in a large Dutch student sample. However, the online cognitive tests performed at home may not have been sensitive enough to pick up differences in cognitive performance associated with alcohol consumption.

24 October 2019 In Drinking Patterns

OBJECTIVES: To investigate how various alcohol-drinking behaviours are associated with sociodemographics, lifestyle factors and health status indicators in Brazil. STUDY DESIGN: This study is based on a household survey of 53,034 adults aged 18 + years from all 26 Brazilian capitals and the Federal District conducted in 2017.

METHODS: Sex-stratified relationships were modelled using logistic regressions and controlled for capital-specific effects. Main outcome measures included regular alcohol use, weekly alcohol use, heavy episodic drinking (HED), frequent HED and drinking and driving.

RESULTS: Overall (unadjusted) prevalence of regular alcohol consumption is 41%. Among drinkers, approximately 70% drink on a weekly basis, and 46% are heavy episodic drinkers. Among this latter group, close to 44% are frequent heavy episodic drinkers (i.e. at least four times in a month). Among regular drinkers who also are drivers, the prevalence of drinking and driving is 28%. These prevalences are considerably higher in men. The relationships investigated vary by drinking behaviour and sex, with some factors consistently associated with various behaviours, when present. Population (men or women) at greatest risk include (largely) younger individuals (up to 700% increase in odds) who are single or divorced, those who are less health conscious and watch television or use mobile devices during leisure time 4 + hours per day and do not have diabetes.

For drinking and driving, the additional risk factors include speeding behaviour, the use of mobile devices while driving and HED. Education, race/ethnicity and other health status indicators are differently associated with various drinking behaviours. For women, in particular, the results also show differences in odds of up to 360% and 1430% across cities for frequent HED and drinking and driving, respectively. Similarly, indigenous women are at greatest risk of weekly alcohol use and HED.

CONCLUSIONS: HED and drinking and driving are problematic, as the association with other factors suggests a clustering of risky behaviours that may exacerbate the consequences of drinking behaviours.

27 September 2019 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption in later life has increased in the past decade, and the relationship between alcohol consumption and mortality is controversial. Recent studies suggest little, if any, health benefit to alcohol. Yet most rely on single-time point consumption assessments and minimal confounder adjustments.

METHODS: We report on 16 years of follow-up from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) cohorts born 1931 to 1941 (N = 7,904, baseline mean age = 61, SD = 3.18). Respondents were queried about drinking frequency/quantity. Mortality was established via exit interviews and confirmed with the national death index. Time-varying confounders included but were not limited to household assets, smoking, body mass index, health/functioning, depression, chronic disease; time-invariant confounders included baseline age, education, sex, and race.

RESULTS: After adjustment, current abstainers had the highest risk of subsequent mortality, consistent with sick quitters, and moderate (men: HR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.60 to 0.91; women: HR = 0.82, 95% CI: 0.63 to 1.07) drinking was associated with a lower mortality rate compared with occasional drinking, though smokers and men evidenced less of an inverse association. Quantitative bias analyses indicated that omitted confounders would need to be associated with ~4-fold increases in mortality rates for men and ~9-fold increases for women to change the results.

CONCLUSIONS: There are consistent associations between moderate/occasional drinking and lower mortality, though residual confounding remains a threat to validity. Continued efforts to conduct large-scale observational studies of alcohol consumption and mortality are needed to characterize the changing patterns of consumption in older age.

09 August 2019 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: An investigation of the risk of high blood pressure (HBP) associated with heavy alcohol consumption in adolescence and early adulthood is lacking. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the association between binge drinking from adolescence to early adulthood and the risk of HBP in early adulthood.

METHODS: We applied logistic regression to publicly available, population-representative data from waves I (1994-1995; ages 12-18) and IV (2007-2008; ages 24-32) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (n=5114) to determine whether past 12-month binge drinking in adolescence (wave I) and early adulthood (wave IV) was associated with HBP in early adulthood after adjusting for covariates, including smoking and body mass index. HBP was defined according to both the former and new classifications.

RESULTS: HBP was significantly, positively associated with infrequent binge drinking (less than once a week) in adolescence based on the new classification (overall: OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.49; male: OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.81) and frequent binge drinking (heavy consumption) in adolescence based on the former classification (overall: OR= 1.64, 95% CI 1.22 to 2.22; male: OR= 1.79, 95% CI 1.23 to 2.60). The risk of HBP was high when participants engaged in frequent binge drinking in both adolescence and early adulthood, especially based on the former classification (overall: OR 2.43, 95% CI 1.13 to 5.20; female: OR 5.81, 95% CI 2.26 to 14.93).

CONCLUSION: Binge drinking in adolescence may increase risk of HBP in early adulthood. This association is independent of other important risk factors for HPB, such as smoking and obesity.

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