25 October 2016 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: The association between alcohol intake and breast cancer recurrence or development of second primary breast cancer in the survivor population is unclear. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the existing evidence to assess the extent to which alcohol consumption is associated with breast cancer recurrence and second primary breast cancer.

METHODS: Six databases (Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science) were searched using the following search phrase: (breast cancer OR breast adenocarcinoma OR breast neoplasm OR breast tumour) AND (alcohol * OR alcohol intake OR alcohol consumption OR ethanol) AND (recurrence OR second primary). A narrative synthesis was conducted on studies meeting the inclusion criteria.

RESULTS: After screening, 16 studies met the inclusion criteria, of which 11 assessed breast cancer recurrence and 5 assessed second primary breast cancer. Considerable clinical and methodological heterogeneity was observed between studies. Approximately half of the included studies observed a modest, but significant, association between alcohol consumption and increased risk of breast cancer recurrence or development of a second primary breast cancer, with some studies observing associations from as little as six grams of alcohol intake per day. Two studies suggest this association was stronger in postmenopausal women.

CONCLUSION: There is some evidence that alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer recurrence, particularly in postmenopausal women. The association between alcohol and development of a second primary breast cancer is less clear. Inconsistencies in methodology and results across studies complicate attempts to develop a cohesive interpretation of findings.

21 September 2016 In Social and Cultural Aspects

AIMS: To conduct a systematic review of studies exploring the relationship between exposure to Internet-based alcohol-related content and alcohol use among young people.

METHODS: Searches of electronic databases and reference lists of relevant articles were conducted to retrieve studies of relevance up until December 2015. Full texts of the studies that met the inclusion criteria were read, appraised for quality using the Kmet forms and guidelines, and included in this review.

RESULTS: Fifteen relevant studies were identified. The included studies were a mix of cross-sectional, longitudinal, experimental and qualitative studies conducted in the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The age range of the participants involved in these studies was 12-25 years. Included studies employed a variety of study designs and a range of different exposure variables and outcome measures. Studies demonstrated significant associations between exposure to Internet-based alcohol-related content and intentions to drink and positive attitudes towards alcohol drinking among young people.

CONCLUSION: Exposure to alcohol-related content on the Internet might predispose young people to patterns of alcohol use by promoting alcohol as a natural and vital part of life. However, the research exploring the influence of this novel form of advertising on young people's alcohol use is emergent, and comprised primarily of cross-sectional studies. To evaluate the direction of the association between exposure to online alcohol-related content and alcohol use, we call for further research based on longitudinal designs.

SHORT SUMMARY: From 15 relevant studies identified, this review reports significant associations between exposure to Internet-based alcohol-related content and intentions to drink and positive attitudes towards alcohol drinking among young people, with different influences found at different stages of alcohol use.

21 September 2016 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To examine whether physical activity (PA) moderates the association between alcohol intake and all-cause mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) mortality.

DESIGN: Prospective study using 8 British population-based surveys, each linked to cause-specific mortality: Health Survey for England (1994, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2006) and Scottish Health Survey (1998 and 2003).

PARTICIPANTS: 36 370 men and women aged 40 years and over were included with a corresponding 5735 deaths and a mean of 353 049 person-years of follow-up.

EXPOSURES: 6 sex-specific categories of alcohol intake (UK units/week) were defined: (1) never drunk; (2) ex-drinkers; (3) occasional drinkers; (4) within guidelines (35 (women) >49 (men)). PA was categorised as inactive (7.5 MET-hour/week) and upper (>15 MET-hour/week) of recommended levels.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Cox proportional-hazard models were used to examine associations between alcohol consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD mortality risk after adjusting for several confounders. Stratified analyses were performed to evaluate mortality risks within each PA stratum.

RESULTS: We found a direct association between alcohol consumption and cancer mortality risk starting from drinking within guidelines (HR (95% CI) hazardous drinking: 1.40 (1.11 to 1.78)). Stratified analyses showed that the association between alcohol intake and mortality risk was attenuated (all-cause) or nearly nullified (cancer) among individuals who met the PA recommendations.

CONCLUSIONS: Meeting the current PA public health recommendations offsets some of the cancer and all-cause mortality risk associated with alcohol drinking.

21 September 2016 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To investigate cross-sectional associations between self-reported recent pain and alcohol use/abstinence, and previous-day pain and previous-week alcohol consumption in adults aged 50 + in six low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

METHODS: The WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) Wave 1 (2007-2010) in China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa is the data source. Prevalence of alcohol use/abstinence is reported by previous-day and previous-month pain. Multinomial logistic regressions (crude and adjusted for sex and country) tested associations between recent pain and alcohol use in the pooled multicountry sample.

RESULTS: Across the six SAGE countries, about one-third of respondents reported alcohol use, being highest in Russia (74%) and lowest in India (16%). Holding the effects of sex and country constant, compared with abstainers, people with previous-day pain were more likely to be previous-day or other users. With regard to the quantity and frequency of alcohol use, people with previous-day pain were more likely to be non-heavy drinkers.

CONCLUSION: Overall, we found that, in this population of older adults in six LMICs, recent pain was associated with moderate use of alcohol, although there were differences between countries. The findings provide a platform for country-specific research to better understand bi-directional associations between pain and alcohol in older adults.

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