04 December 2014 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.

04 December 2014 In Cardiovascular System

Observational studies suggest there are clinical benefits to moderate red wine (RW) consumption. However, the effects on coronary vasculature and overall lifestyle are unclear. We investigated whether a lifestyle of regular long-term RW consumption is associated with changes in coronary plaque burden, calcium score, carotid intima/media thickness, endothelial function, and metabolic variables, compared with alcohol abstinence. Healthy volunteers were evaluated by coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) as well as carotid and brachial artery ultrasound. Nutritional status, psychological status, and metabolic variables were assessed. The study included 101 drinkers [aged 58.9 +/- 7.3 years (means +/- SD)], from wine brotherhoods, and 104 abstainers, from Anglican, Evangelical and Catholic churches both in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. No significant differences in demographics were noted. Lesion prevalence per patient assessed by coronary CTA and classified as absent (0), 1-25, 26-49, and >/= 50% stenosis was similar between groups. When analyzed by individual arteries, i.e., left anterior descending, circumflex, and right coronary, prevalence was also not different. On the other hand, calcium scores were higher among drinkers than abstainers (144.4 +/- 362.2 vs 122.0 +/- 370.3; P<0.01). However, drinkers reported less history of diabetes and exercised more. RW drinkers consumed 2127.9 +/- 387.7 kcal/day while abstainers consumed 1836.0 +/- 305.0 (P<0.0001). HDL cholesterol was significantly higher among drinkers compared to abstainers (46.9 +/- 10.9 vs 39.5 +/- 9.0 mg/dL; P<0.001), while fasting plasma glucose was lower (97.6 +/- 18.2 vs 118.4 +/- 29.6 mg/dL; P<0.02). Liver enzymes were normal in both groups. In conclusion, long-term wine drinkers displayed a similar plaque burden but greater calcium score than abstainers, despite a more atherogenic diet, and the mechanisms for the increased calcium scores in the former remain speculative.

04 December 2014 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.

30 October 2014 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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