06 September 2018 In Dementia

OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between alcohol consumption and risk of dementia.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

SETTING: Civil service departments in London (Whitehall II study).

PARTICIPANTS: 9087 participants aged 35-55 years at study inception (1985/88).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incident dementia, identified through linkage to hospital, mental health services, and mortality registers until 2017. Measures of alcohol consumption were the mean from three assessments between 1985/88 and 1991/93 (midlife), categorised as abstinence, 1-14 units/week, and >14 units/week; 17 year trajectories of alcohol consumption based on five assessments of alcohol consumption between 1985/88 and 2002/04; CAGE questionnaire for alcohol dependence assessed in 1991/93; and hospital admission for alcohol related chronic diseases between 1991 and 2017.

RESULTS: 397 cases of dementia were recorded over a mean follow-up of 23 years. Abstinence in midlife was associated with a higher risk of dementia (hazard ratio 1.47, 95% confidence interval 1.15 to 1.89) compared with consumption of 1-14 units/week. Among those drinking >14 units/week, a 7 unit increase in alcohol consumption was associated with a 17% (95% confidence interval 4% to 32%) increase in risk of dementia. CAGE score >2 (hazard ratio 2.19, 1.29 to 3.71) and alcohol related hospital admission (4.28, 2.72 to 6.73) were also associated with an increased risk of dementia. Alcohol consumption trajectories from midlife to early old age showed long term abstinence (1.74, 1.31 to 2.30), decrease in consumption (1.55, 1.08 to 2.22), and long term consumption >14 units/week (1.40, 1.02 to 1.93) to be associated with a higher risk of dementia compared with long term consumption of 1-14 units/week. Analysis using multistate models suggested that the excess risk of dementia associated with abstinence in midlife was partly explained by cardiometabolic disease over the follow-up as the hazard ratio of dementia in abstainers without cardiometabolic disease was 1.33 (0.88 to 2.02) compared with 1.47 (1.15 to 1.89) in the entire population.

CONCLUSION: The risk of dementia was increased in people who abstained from alcohol in midlife or consumed >14 units/week. In several countries, guidelines define thresholds for harmful alcohol consumption much higher than 14 units/week. The present findings encourage the downward revision of such guidelines to promote cognitive health at older ages.

27 July 2018 In Social and Cultural Aspects

Young people frequently display alcohol-related posts ("alcoholposts") on social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Although evidence exists that such posts may be linked with increases in alcohol consumption, hardly any studies have focused on the content of such posts. This study addresses this gap by applying and extending the alcoholpost-typology previously proposed by Hendriks, Gebhardt, and van den Putte. A content analysis assessed the extent to which alcoholposts were displayed on Facebook and/or Instagram profiles of young participants (12-30 years; N = 192), and which type of alcoholpost these posts most strongly resembled. Moderate alcoholposts (e.g., in which alcohol was in the background) were most often posted. At times, textual alcoholposts and commercial alcoholposts were also displayed; however, extreme posts (e.g., about drunk people or drinking-games) were almost nonexistent. These findings confirm the previous results by Hendriks et al. that moderate posts are more frequently posted than extreme posts. This could imply that positive associations with alcohol consumption are more visible on social media than negative associations, potentially leading to an underestimation of alcohol-related risks.

27 July 2018 In General Health

Purpose: The placement of warning labels on alcoholic beverages is a policy area with renewed interest, yet a strong evidence base regarding the efficacy of text-based or pictorial warning labels has still to emerge. Increased interest by policymakers has spurred research into potential alcohol warning label designs and messages. The purpose of this article is to draw together recearch in the alcohol warnings literature.

Design/methodology/approach: The current study seeks to review research that has sought to examine the effectiveness of alcohol warning labels. Searches for English-language articles (since 2000) using the terms "alcohol" and "warning label*" were conducted in 2015 across four databases (Web of Science, PubMed, PsycInfo and Cochrane). Articles were included if they empirically assessed the effectiveness and/or design of alcohol warning labels. Only studies that addressed the targeted individual consumer (consistent with downstream social marketing) were included. A narrative analysis approach was used for the 15 articles identified.

Findings: Findings are reported on five themes covering the design of the warning, starting with the use of imagery or recommendations, followed by a focus on the warning messages and whether they are specific, use signal words and are based on qualitative or quantitative information.

Research limitations/implications: Overall, there was little consistency in approach and measures, with very limited research having explored the potential of pictorial warning labels. Numerous research gaps are identified; thus, much more research is needed in this area. The evidence base is weak and caution is needed by policymakers regarding the introduction and implementation of alcohol warning labels. Limitations are discussed.

Originality/value: The review provides a timely up-to-date evaluation of the alcohol warning labels literature that has seen a recent resurgence but has not been critically reviewed.

27 July 2018 In Diabetes

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: The progression of carotid-plaque volume in patients with type 2 diabetes is common. Previous observational studies showed an association between moderate alcohol and reduced risk of coronary disease. We examined whether consuming moderate wine affects the progression of carotid atherosclerosis.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: In the CASCADE (CArdiovaSCulAr Diabetes and Ethanol), a 2-year randomized controlled trial, we randomized abstainers with type 2 diabetes were to drink 150 ml of either red wine, white wine, or water, provided for 2 years. In addition, groups were guided to maintain a Mediterranean diet. We followed 2-year changes in carotid total plaque volume (carotid-TPV) and carotid vessel wall volume (carotid-VWV), using three-dimensional ultrasound.

RESULTS: Carotid images were available from 174 of the 224 CASCADE participants (67% men; age = 59 yr; HbA1C = 6.8%). Forty-five percent had detectable plaque at baseline. After 2 years, no significant progression in carotid-TPV was observed (water, -1.4 (17.0) mm(3), CI (-2.7, 5.5), white-wine, -1.2 (16.9) mm(3), CI (-3.8, 6.2), red wine, -1.3 (17.6) mm(3), CI (-3.4, 6.0; p = 0.9 between groups)). In post hoc analysis, we divided the 78 participants with detectable baseline carotid plaque into tertiles. Those with the higher baseline plaque burden, whom were assigned to drink wine, reduced their plaque volume significantly after 2 years, as compared to baseline. Two-year reductions in Apo(B)/Apo(A) ratio(s) were independently associated with regression in carotid-TPV (beta = 0.4; p < 0.001). Two-year decreases in systolic blood pressure were independently associated with regression in carotid-VWV (beta = 0.2; p = 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS: No progression in carotid-TPV was observed. In subgroup analyses, those with the greatest plaque burden assigned to drink wine may have had a small regression of plaque burden.

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