27 October 2022 In Cardiovascular System

Over the past several decades, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) has nearly doubled, and alcohol has played a major role in the incidence of much of it. Alcohol has also been attributed in deaths due to infectious diseases, intentional and unintentional injuries, digestive diseases, and several other non-communicable diseases, including cancer. The economic costs of alcohol-associated health outcomes are significant at the individual as well as the country level. Risks due to alcohol consumption increase for most cardiovascular diseases, including hypertensive heart disease, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation and flutter, and stroke. The widespread message for over 30 years has been to promote the myth that alcohol prolongs life, chiefly by reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Lack of universal advice and stringent policy measures have contributed towards increased uptake and easy availability of alcohol. The WHO has called for a 10% relative reduction in the harmful use of alcohol between 2013-2025. However, lack of investment in proven alcohol control strategies, as well as persistence of misinformation and industry interference, have hindered the efforts of public health professionals to make sufficient progress in reducing alcohol related harms and death.

22 September 2022 In Dementia

AIM: To synthesize international findings on the alcohol-dementia relationship, including representation from low- and middle-income countries.

METHODS: Individual participant data meta-analysis of 15 prospective epidemiological cohort studies from countries situated in six continents. Cox regression investigated the dementia risk associated with alcohol use in older adults aged over 60 years. Additional analyses assessed the alcohol-dementia relationship in the sample stratified by sex and by continent. Participants included 24 478 community dwelling individuals without a history of dementia at baseline and at least one follow-up dementia assessment. The main outcome measure was all-cause dementia as determined by clinical interview.

RESULTS: At baseline, the mean age across studies was 71.8 (standard deviation = 7.5, range = 60-102 years), 14 260 (58.3%) were female and 13 269 (54.2%) were current drinkers. During 151 636 person-years of follow-up, there were 2124 incident cases of dementia (14.0 per 1000 person-years). When compared with abstainers, the risk for dementia was lower in occasional [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.78; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.68-0.89], light-moderate (HR = 0.78; 95% CI = 0.70-0.87) and moderate-heavy drinkers (HR = 0.62; 95% CI = 0.51-0.77). There was no evidence of differences between life-time abstainers and former drinkers in terms of dementia risk (HR = 0.98; 95% CI = 0.81-1.18). In dose-response analyses, moderate drinking up to 40 g/day was associated with a lower risk of dementia when compared with lif-time abstaining. Among current drinkers, there was no consistent evidence for differences in terms of dementia risk. Results were similar when the sample was stratified by sex. When analysed at the continent level, there was considerable heterogeneity in the alcohol-dementia relationship.

CONCLUSIONS: Abstinence from alcohol appears to be associated with an increased risk for all-cause dementia. Among current drinkers, there appears to be no consistent evidence to suggest that the amount of alcohol consumed in later life is associated with dementia risk.

22 September 2022 In Cancer

Experimental evidence suggests that alcohol induces cutaneous carcinogenesis, yet epidemiological studies on the link between alcohol intake and skin cancer have been inconsistent. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) is a prospective cohort initiated in 1992 in 10 European countries. Alcohol intake at baseline and average lifetime alcohol intake were assessed using validated country-specific dietary and lifestyle questionnaires. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated in Cox models. A total of 14 037 skin cancer cases (melanoma: n = 2457; basal-cell carcinoma (BCC): n = 8711; squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC): n = 1928; unknown: n = 941) were identified among 450 112 participants (average follow-up: 15 years). Baseline alcohol intake was positively associated with SCC (>15 vs 0.1-4.9 g/day: HR = 1.44, 95% CI = 1.17-1.77; Ptrend = .001), BCC (HR = 1.12, 95% CI = 1.01-1.23; Ptrend = .04), and melanoma risks in men (HR = 1.17, 95% CI = 0.95-1.44; Ptrend = .17), while associations were more modest in women (SCC: HR = 1.09, 95% CI = 0.90-1.30; Ptrend = .13; BCC: HR = 1.08, 95% CI = 1.00-1.17, Ptrend = .03; melanoma: HR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.80-1.08, Ptrend = .13). Associations were similar for lifetime alcohol intake, with an attenuated linear trend. Lifetime liquor/spirit intake was positively associated with melanoma (fourth vs first quartile: HR = 1.47, 95% CI = 1.08-1.99; Ptrend = .0009) and BCC risks in men (HR = 1.17, 95% CI = 1.04-1.31; Ptrend = .14). Baseline and lifetime intakes of wine were associated with BCC risk (HR = 1.25 in men; HR = 1.11-1.12; in women). No statistically significant associations were found between beverage types and SCC risk. Intake of beer was not associated with skin cancer risk. Our study suggests positive relationships between alcohol intake and skin cancer risk, which may have important implications for the primary prevention of skin 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.

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