24 January 2020 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Alcohol-related harm has been found to be higher in disadvantaged groups, despite similar alcohol consumption to advantaged groups. This is known as the alcohol harm paradox. Beverage type is reportedly socioeconomically patterned but has not been included in longitudinal studies investigating record-linked alcohol consumption and harm. We aimed to investigate whether and to what extent consumption by beverage type, BMI, smoking and other factors explain inequalities in alcohol-related harm.

METHODS: 11,038 respondents to the Welsh Health Survey answered questions on their health and lifestyle. Responses were record-linked to wholly attributable alcohol-related hospital admissions (ARHA) eight years before the survey month and until the end of 2016 within the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank. We used survival analysis, specifically multi-level and multi-failure Cox mixed effects models, to calculate the hazard ratios of ARHA. In adjusted models we included the number of units consumed by beverage type and other factors, censoring for death or moving out of Wales.

RESULTS: People living in more deprived areas had a higher risk of admission (HR 1.75; 95% CI 1.23-2.48) compared to less deprived. Adjustment for the number of units by type of alcohol consumed only reduced the risk of ARHA for more deprived areas by 4% (HR 1.72; 95% CI 1.21-2.44), whilst adding smoking and BMI reduced these inequalities by 35.7% (HR 1.48; 95% CI 1.01-2.17). These social patterns were similar for individual-level social class, employment, housing tenure and highest qualification. Inequalities were further reduced by including either health status (16.6%) or mental health condition (5%). Unit increases of spirits drunk were positively associated with increasing risk of ARHA (HR 1.06; 95% CI 1.01-1.12), higher than for other drink types.

CONCLUSIONS: Although consumption by beverage type was socioeconomically patterned, it did not help explain inequalities in alcohol-related harm. Smoking and BMI explained around a third of inequalities, but lower socioeconomic groups had a persistently higher risk of (multiple) ARHA. Comorbidities also explained a further proportion of inequalities and need further investigation, including the contribution of specific conditions. The increased harms from consumption of stronger alcoholic beverages may inform public health policy.

24 January 2020 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Alcohol intake may be associated with a lower risk of Parkinson's disease (PD), but findings from previous studies have been inconclusive.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the association between alcohol intake and PD risk in the Million Women Study, a large, prospective study of women in the UK.

METHODS: Between 1996 and 2001, approximately 1.3 million women in the UK, mean age 56 (standard deviation, 5) years, were recruited into the Million Women Study. Information on alcohol intake, lifestyle factors, and medical history was collected at recruitment by questionnaire. Information on incident cases of PD was ascertained by record linkage to national hospital admission records and death registrations. We estimated multivariable-adjusted relative risks and corresponding 95% confidence intervals using Cox proportional hazards models according to categories of alcohol intake.

RESULTS: During an average of 17.9 years of follow-up, 11,009 women had a new record of PD among 1,309,267 women. In drinkers, the multivariable-adjusted relative risk comparing women who drank more than 14 drinks of alcohol per week with women who drank 1 to 2 drinks of alcohol per week was 0.99 (95% confidence interval: 0.90, 1.10). Results did not materially change after excluding the first 10 years of follow-up (relative riskadjusted = 1.01; 95% confidence interval: 0.90, 1.13). There were no significant trends in alcohol-related PD risk among never smokers. Additionally, examining this association by type of alcohol intake also yielded null findings.

CONCLUSION: These results do not support an association between alcohol intake and PD risk in women. (c) 2019 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

24 January 2020 In Drinking Patterns

This review provides the first systematic and quantitative synthesis of the literature examining the relationship between binge drinking, cognition, brain structure and function in youth aged 10 to 24 years. PubMed, EMBASE, Medline, PsychINFO and ProQuest were searched for neuroimaging, neurophysiological, and neuropsychological studies.

A total of 58 studies (21 neuroimaging, 16 neurophysiological, 21 neuropsychological) met the eligibility criteria and were included in the review. Overall, abnormal or delayed development of key frontal executive-control regions may predispose youth to binge drink.

These abnormalities appear to be further exacerbated by the uptake of binge drinking, in addition to alcohol-related neural aberrations in reward-seeking and incentive salience regions, indexed by cognitive deficits and maladaptive alcohol associations.

A meta-analysis of neuropsychological correlates identified that binge drinking in youth was associated with a small overall neurocognitive deficit (g = -0.26) and specific deficits in decision-making (g = -1.70), and inhibition (g = -0.39). Using the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) Evidence Profile, the certainty in outcomes ranged from very low to low.

Future prospective longitudinal studies should address concomitant factors, exposure thresholds, and age-related vulnerabilities of binge drinking, as well as the degree of recovery following discontinuation of use.

24 January 2020 In Cardiovascular System

Alcohol has a hormetic physiological behavior that results in either increased or decreased cardiovascular risk depending on the amount consumed, drinking frequency, pattern of consumption, and the outcomes under study or even the type of alcoholic beverage consumed.

However, the vast majority of studies elucidating the role of alcohol in cardiovascular and in the global burden of disease relies on epidemiological studies of associative nature which carry several limitations. This is why the cardiovascular benefits of low-moderate alcohol consumption are being questioned and perhaps might have been overestimated.

Thus, the aim of this review was to critically discuss the current knowledge on the relationship between alcohol intake and cardiovascular disease. Besides new evidence associating low and moderate alcohol consumption with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, several questions remain unanswered related to the concrete amount of safe consumption, the type of alcoholic beverage, and the age-, sex-, and genetic/ethnical-specific differences in alcohol consumption.

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