27 July 2018 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between alcohol consumption (at baseline and over lifetime) and non-fatal and fatal coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke.

DESIGN: Multicentre case-cohort study.

SETTING: A study of cardiovascular disease (CVD) determinants within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition cohort (EPIC-CVD) from eight European countries.

PARTICIPANTS: 32 549 participants without baseline CVD, comprised of incident CVD cases and a subcohort for comparison.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Non-fatal and fatal CHD and stroke (including ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke).

RESULTS: There were 9307 non-fatal CHD events, 1699 fatal CHD, 5855 non-fatal stroke, and 733 fatal stroke. Baseline alcohol intake was inversely associated with non-fatal CHD, with a hazard ratio of 0.94 (95% confidence interval 0.92 to 0.96) per 12 g/day higher intake. There was a J shaped association between baseline alcohol intake and risk of fatal CHD. The hazard ratios were 0.83 (0.70 to 0.98), 0.65 (0.53 to 0.81), and 0.82 (0.65 to 1.03) for categories 5.0-14.9 g/day, 15.0-29.9 g/day, and 30.0-59.9 g/day of total alcohol intake, respectively, compared with 0.1-4.9 g/day. In contrast, hazard ratios for non-fatal and fatal stroke risk were 1.04 (1.02 to 1.07), and 1.05 (0.98 to 1.13) per 12 g/day increase in baseline alcohol intake, respectively, including broadly similar findings for ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke. Associations with cardiovascular outcomes were broadly similar with average lifetime alcohol consumption as for baseline alcohol intake, and across the eight countries studied. There was no strong evidence for interactions of alcohol consumption with smoking status on the risk of CVD events.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol intake was inversely associated with non-fatal CHD risk but positively associated with the risk of different stroke subtypes. This highlights the opposing associations of alcohol intake with different CVD types and strengthens the evidence for policies to reduce alcohol consumption.

03 May 2018 In General Health
BACKGROUND: Hazardous and harmful alcohol use and high blood pressure are central risk factors related to premature non-communicable disease (NCD) mortality worldwide. A reduction in the prevalence of both risk factors has been suggested as a route to reach the global NCD targets. This study aims to highlight that screening and interventions for hypertension and hazardous and harmful alcohol use in primary healthcare can contribute substantially to achieving the NCD targets. METHODS: A consensus conference based on systematic reviews, meta-analyses, clinical guidelines, experimental studies, and statistical modelling which had been presented and discussed in five preparatory meetings, was undertaken. Specifically, we modelled changes in blood pressure distributions and potential lives saved for the five largest European countries if screening and appropriate intervention rates in primary healthcare settings were increased. Recommendations to handle alcohol-induced hypertension in primary healthcare settings were derived at the conference, and their degree of evidence was graded. RESULTS: Screening and appropriate interventions for hazardous alcohol use and use disorders could lower blood pressure levels, but there is a lack in implementing these measures in European primary healthcare. Recommendations included (1) an increase in screening for hypertension (evidence grade: high), (2) an increase in screening and brief advice on hazardous and harmful drinking for people with newly detected hypertension by physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals (evidence grade: high), (3) the conduct of clinical management of less severe alcohol use disorders for incident people with hypertension in primary healthcare (evidence grade: moderate), and (4) screening for alcohol use in hypertension that is not well controlled (evidence grade: moderate). The first three measures were estimated to result in a decreased hypertension prevalence and hundreds of saved lives annually in the examined countries. CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of the outlined recommendations could contribute to reducing the burden associated with hypertension and hazardous and harmful alcohol use and thus to achievement of the NCD targets. Implementation should be conducted in controlled settings with evaluation, including, but not limited to, economic evaluation
02 August 2016 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer even at moderate levels of intake. However, the relationship between alcohol consumption and mortality among breast cancer patients is less clear.

METHODS: This study included women from the Women's Health Initiative observational study and randomized trial diagnosed with breast cancer (n = 7,835). Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate adjusted HRs and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for overall and breast cancer-specific (BCS) mortality associated with drinking alcohol before or after a breast cancer diagnosis. We also assessed whether changes in drinking habits after diagnosis are related to mortality.

RESULTS: Women who were consuming alcohol prior to their breast cancer diagnosis had a nonstatistically significant 24% (95% CI, 0.56-1.04) reduced risk of BCS mortality and a 26% (95% CI, 0.61-0.89) reduced risk of all-cause mortality. Some variation was observed by estrogen receptor (ER) status as alcohol consumption was associated with a 49% (95% CI, 0.31-0.83) reduced risk of BCS mortality among ER- patients with no change in risk observed among ER+ patients (HR = 0.97; 95% CI, 0.31-1.54), though the difference between these risks was not statistically significant (P for interaction = 0.39). Postdiagnosis alcohol consumption, and change in consumption patterns after diagnosis, did not appear to be associated with all-cause or BCS mortality.

CONCLUSION: In this large study, consumption of alcohol before or after breast cancer diagnosis did not increase risks of overall or cause-specific mortality.

IMPACT: Coupled with existing evidence, alcohol consumption is unlikely to have a substantial impact on mortality among breast cancer patients. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 1-6. (c)2016 AACR.

28 June 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: National estimates on per capita alcohol consumption are provided regularly by various sources and may have validity problems, so corrections are needed for monitoring and assessment purposes. Our objectives were to compare different alcohol availability estimates for Spain, to build the best estimate (actual consumption), characterize its time trend during 2001-2011, and quantify the extent to which other estimates (coverage) approximated actual consumption.

METHODS: Estimates were: alcohol availability from the Spanish Tax Agency (Tax Agency availability), World Health Organization (WHO availability) and other international agencies, self-reported purchases from the Spanish Food Consumption Panel, and self-reported consumption from population surveys. Analyses included calculating: between-agency discrepancy in availability, multisource availability (correcting Tax Agency availability by underestimation of wine and cider), actual consumption (adjusting multisource availability by unrecorded alcohol consumption/purchases and alcohol losses), and coverage of selected estimates. Sensitivity analyses were undertaken. Time trends were characterized by joinpoint regression.

RESULTS: Between-agency discrepancy in alcohol availability remained high in 2011, mainly because of wine and spirits, although some decrease was observed during the study period. The actual consumption was 9.5 l of pure alcohol/person-year in 2011, decreasing 2.3 % annually, mainly due to wine and spirits. 2011 coverage of WHO availability, Tax Agency availability, self-reported purchases, and self-reported consumption was 99.5, 99.5, 66.3, and 28.0 %, respectively, generally with downward trends (last three estimates, especially self-reported consumption). The multisource availability overestimated actual consumption by 12.3 %, mainly due to tourism imbalance.

CONCLUSIONS: Spanish estimates of per capita alcohol consumption show considerable weaknesses. Using uncorrected estimates, especially self-reported consumption, for monitoring or other purposes is misleading. To obtain conservative estimates of alcohol-attributable disease burden or heavy drinking prevalence, self-reported consumption should be shifted upwards by more than 85 % (91 % in 2011) of Tax Agency or WHO availability figures. The weaknesses identified can probably also be found worldwide, thus much empirical work remains to be done to improve estimates of per capita alcohol consumption.

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