02 August 2016 In Dementia

BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that moderate alcohol consumption may protect against cognitive decline and dementia. However, uncertainty remains over the patterns of drinking that are most beneficial.

OBJECTIVE: To examine associations between amount and frequency of alcohol consumption with multiple domains of cognitive function in a well-characterized cohort of older community-dwelling adults in southern California.

DESIGN: Observational, cross-sectional cohort study.

SETTING: A research visit between 1988-1992 in Rancho Bernardo, California.

PARTICIPANTS: 1624 participants of the Rancho Bernardo Study (mean age +/- SD = 73.2 +/- 9.3 years). Measurements: Participants completed a neuropsychological test battery, self-administered questionnaires on alcohol consumption and lifestyle, and a clinical health evaluation. We classified participants according to average amount of alcohol intake into never, former, moderate, heavy and excessive drinkers, and according to frequency of alcohol intake, into non-drinkers, rare, infrequent, frequent and daily drinkers. We examined the association between alcohol intake and cognitive function, controlling for age, sex, education, exercise, smoking, waist-hip ratio, hypertension and self-assessed health.

RESULTS: Amount and frequency of alcohol intake were significantly associated with cognitive function, even after controlling for potentially related health and lifestyle variables. Global and executive function showed positive linear associations with amount and frequency of alcohol intake, whereas visual memory showed an inverted U-shaped association with alcohol intake, with better performance for moderate and infrequent drinkers than for non-drinkers, excessive drinkers or daily drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: In several cognitive domains, moderate, regular alcohol intake was associated with better cognitive function relative to not drinking or drinking less frequently. This suggests that beneficial cognitive effects of alcohol intake may be achieved with low levels of drinking that are unlikely to be associated with adverse effects in an aging population.

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 General Health
OBJECTIVES: We conducted a prospective analysis of 145,886 participants in the multiethnic cohort to examine the relationship of alcohol drinking and smoking with pancreatitis. METHODS: Pancreatitis cases were categorized as gallstone-related acute pancreatitis (GSAP) (N = 1,065), non-GSAP (N = 1,222), and recurrent acute (RAP)/chronic pancreatitis (CP) (N = 523). We used the baseline questionnaire to identify alcohol intake and smoking history. Associations were estimated by hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using Cox models. RESULTS: Cigarette smoking was associated with non-GSAP and RAP/CP. Moderate alcohol intake was inversely associated with all types of pancreatitis in women (HRs, 0.66 to 0.81 for

A substantial economics literature documents that tighter alcohol controls reduce alcohol-related harms, but far less is known about mechanisms. We use the universe of Canadian mortality records to document that Canada's Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) significantly reduces mortality rates of young men but has much smaller effects on women. Using drinking data that are far more detailed than in prior work, we document that the MLDA substantially reduces 'extreme' drinking among men but not women. Our results suggest that alcohol control efforts targeting young adults should focus on reducing extreme drinking behavior.

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