28 August 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

This study uses data from a nationally representative household survey (the 2013 National Health Survey, n = 62,986) to describe patterns of alcohol consumption and related behaviors among Brazilian adults. Analyses include descriptive and multivariable Poisson regression for self-reports in the past 30 days of: drinking any alcohol, binge drinking, binge drinking 4 or more times, and driving after drinking (DD); as well as age of alcohol consumption initiation. Results show that current drinking prevalence was 26%, with an average age of initiation of 18.7 years. Binge drinking was reported by 51% of drinkers, 43% of whom reported binge drinking 4 or more times. Drinking and driving was reported by nearly one quarter of those who drive a car/motorcycle. Current drinking was more likely among males, ages 25-34, single, urban, and those with more education. Binge drinking was more likely among males, older age groups, and people who started drinking before 18. Drinking and driving was higher among males, those with more education, and rural residents. Those who binge-drink were nearly 70% more likely to report DD. All behaviors varied significantly among Brazilian states. Given their potential health consequences, the levels of injurious alcohol behaviors observed here warrant increased attention from Brazilian policymakers and civil society.

15 June 2015 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with cardiomyopathy, but the influence of moderate alcohol use on cardiac structure and function is largely unknown.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We studied 4466 participants from visit 5 of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study (76+/-5 years and 60% women) who underwent transthoracic echocardiography, excluding former drinkers and those with significant valvular disease. Participants were classified into 4 categories based on self-reported alcohol intake: nondrinkers, drinkers of /=7 to 14, and >/=14 drinks per week. We related alcohol intake to measures of cardiac structure and function, stratified by sex, and fully adjusted for covariates. In both genders, increasing alcohol intake was associated with larger left ventricular diastolic and systolic diameters and larger left atrial diameter (P<0.05). In men, increasing alcohol intake was associated with greater left ventricular mass (8.2+/-3.8 g per consumption category; P=0.029) and higher E/E' ratio (0.82+/-0.33 per consumption category; P=0.014). In women, increasing alcohol intake was associated with lower left ventricular ejection fraction (-1.9+/-0.6% per consumption category; P=0.002) and a tendency for worse left ventricular global longitudinal strain (0.45+/-0.25% per consumption category; P=0.07).

CONCLUSIONS: In an elderly community-based population, increasing alcohol intake is associated with subtle alterations in cardiac structure and function, with women appearing more susceptible than men to the cardiotoxic effects of alcohol.

23 January 2015 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have already substantiated alcohol's causal role in injuries. Yet the role that alcoholic beverage preferences and the drinking context play in the risk for injury is still under-investigated. In this study, a cross-national comparison of the association between alcohol and injury focusing on beverage type preference and the drinking context is reported.

METHODS: Emergency department (ED) injured patients were interviewed in eight countries from the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region. Data on the type of alcoholic beverage, total alcohol volume, and the place where the injury occurred were obtained from patients who reported any alcohol consumption within 6h prior to being injured. Patients who did not drink prior to injury were also asked about their typical drinking pattern and the injury place. Differences within- and between-groups were evaluated regarding patients' typical drinking and drinking before injury.

RESULTS: Beer was the most prevalent beverage type usually consumed among injured patients across countries, however, patients who drank before injury had a higher typical consumption of spirits than those not drinking prior to injury. The total alcohol volume typically consumed and drinking in public settings were also found to be positively associated with alcohol-related injury.

CONCLUSIONS: A similar beverage-specific association with alcohol-related injury was found across LAC countries, mainly attributed to beer consumption, and spirits drinkers seem to have a greater chance of becoming involved in injury events. Future prevention strategies should inform the public about harms from drinking associated with the context in which drinking takes place.

23 January 2015 In Cancer

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the role of factors that modulate the association between alcohol and mortality, and to provide estimates of absolute risk of death. DESIGN: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition (EPIC).

SETTING: 23 centres in 10 countries.

PARTICIPANTS: 380 395 men and women, free of cancer, diabetes, heart attack or stroke at enrolment, followed up for 12.6 years on average.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: 20 453 fatal events, of which 2053 alcohol-related cancers (ARC, including cancers of upper aerodigestive tract, liver, colorectal and female breast), 4187 cardiovascular diseases/coronary heart disease (CVD/CHD), 856 violent deaths and injuries. Lifetime alcohol use was assessed at recruitment.

RESULTS: HRs comparing extreme drinkers (>/=30 g/day in women and >/=60 g/day in men) to moderate drinkers (0.1-4.9 g/day) were 1.27 (95% CI 1.13 to 1.43) in women and 1.53 (1.39 to 1.68) in men. Strong associations were observed for ARC mortality, in men particularly, and for violent deaths and injuries, in men only. No associations were observed for CVD/CHD mortality among drinkers, whereby HRs were higher in never compared to moderate drinkers. Overall mortality seemed to be more strongly related to beer than wine use, particularly in men. The 10-year risks of overall death for women aged 60 years, drinking more than 30 g/day was 5% and 7%, for never and current smokers, respectively. Corresponding figures in men consuming more than 60 g/day were 11% and 18%, in never and current smokers, respectively. In competing risks analyses, mortality due to CVD/CHD was more pronounced than ARC in men, while CVD/CHD and ARC mortality were of similar magnitude in women.

CONCLUSIONS: In this large European cohort, alcohol use was positively associated with overall mortality, ARC and violent death and injuries, but marginally to CVD/CHD. Absolute risks of death observed in EPIC suggest that alcohol is an important determinant of total mortality.

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