26 April 2017 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the association between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease at higher resolution by examining the initial lifetime presentation of 12 cardiac, cerebrovascular, abdominal, or peripheral vascular diseases among five categories of consumption.

DESIGN: Population based cohort study of linked electronic health records covering primary care, hospital admissions, and mortality in 1997-2010 (median follow-up six years).

SETTING: CALIBER (ClinicAl research using LInked Bespoke studies and Electronic health Records).

PARTICIPANTS: 1 937 360 adults (51% women), aged >/=30 who were free from cardiovascular disease at baseline.

MAIN OUTCOME: measures 12 common symptomatic manifestations of cardiovascular disease, including chronic stable angina, unstable angina, acute myocardial infarction, unheralded coronary heart disease death, heart failure, sudden coronary death/cardiac arrest, transient ischaemic attack, ischaemic stroke, intracerebral and subarachnoid haemorrhage, peripheral arterial disease, and abdominal aortic aneurysm.

RESULTS: 114 859 individuals received an incident cardiovascular diagnosis during follow-up. Non-drinking was associated with an increased risk of unstable angina (hazard ratio 1.33, 95% confidence interval 1.21 to 1.45), myocardial infarction (1.32, 1.24 to1.41), unheralded coronary death (1.56, 1.38 to 1.76), heart failure (1.24, 1.11 to 1.38), ischaemic stroke (1.12, 1.01 to 1.24), peripheral arterial disease (1.22, 1.13 to 1.32), and abdominal aortic aneurysm (1.32, 1.17 to 1.49) compared with moderate drinking (consumption within contemporaneous UK weekly/daily guidelines of 21/3 and 14/2 units for men and women, respectively). Heavy drinking (exceeding guidelines) conferred an increased risk of presenting with unheralded coronary death (1.21, 1.08 to 1.35), heart failure (1.22, 1.08 to 1.37), cardiac arrest (1.50, 1.26 to 1.77), transient ischaemic attack (1.11, 1.02 to 1.37), ischaemic stroke (1.33, 1.09 to 1.63), intracerebral haemorrhage (1.37, 1.16 to 1.62), and peripheral arterial disease (1.35; 1.23 to 1.48), but a lower risk of myocardial infarction (0.88, 0.79 to 1.00) or stable angina (0.93, 0.86 to 1.00).

CONCLUSIONS: Heterogeneous associations exist between level of alcohol consumption and the initial presentation of cardiovascular diseases. This has implications for counselling patients, public health communication, and clinical research, suggesting a more nuanced approach to the role of alcohol in prevention of cardiovascular disease is necessary.

Registration clinicaltrails.gov (NCT01864031)

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.

28 June 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

The relation between alcohol consumption and mortality is a J-shaped curve in most of the many studies published on this topic. The Copenhagen Prospective Population Studies demonstrated in the year 2000 that wine intake may have a beneficial effect on all cause mortality that is additive to that of alcohol. Wine contains various poliphenolic substances which may be beneficial for health and in particular flavonols (such as myricetin and quercetin), catechin and epicatechin, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, various phenolic acids and the stilbene resveratrol. In particular, resveratrol seems to play a positive effect on longevity because it increases the expression level of Sirt1, besides its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties. Moderate wine drinking is part of the Mediterranean diet, together with abundant and variable plant foods, high consumption of cereals, olive oil as the main (added) fat and a low intake of (red) meat. This healthy diet pattern involves a "Mediterranean way of drinking," that is a regular, moderate wine consumption mainly with food (up to two glasses a day for men and one glass for women). Moderate wine drinking increases longevity, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and does not appreciably influence the overall risk of cancer.

17 May 2016 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To update previous meta-analyses of cohort studies that investigated the association between the Mediterranean diet and health status and to utilize data coming from all of the cohort studies for proposing a literature-based adherence score to the Mediterranean diet.

DESIGN: We conducted a comprehensive literature search through all electronic databases up to June 2013.

SETTING: Cohort prospective studies investigating adherence to the Mediterranean diet and health outcomes. Cut-off values of food groups used to compute the adherence score were obtained.

SUBJECTS: The updated search was performed in an overall population of 4 172 412 subjects, with eighteen recent studies that were not present in the previous meta-analyses.

RESULTS: A 2-point increase in adherence score to the Mediterranean diet was reported to determine an 8 % reduction of overall mortality (relative risk = 0.92; 95 % CI 0.91, 0.93), a 10 % reduced risk of CVD (relative risk = 0.90; 95 % CI 0.87, 0.92) and a 4 % reduction of neoplastic disease (relative risk = 0.96; 95 % CI 0.95, 0.97). We utilized data coming from all cohort studies available in the literature for proposing a literature-based adherence score. Such a score ranges from 0 (minimal adherence) to 18 (maximal adherence) points and includes three different categories of consumption for each food group composing the Mediterranean diet.

CONCLUSIONS: The Mediterranean diet was found to be a healthy dietary pattern in terms of morbidity and mortality. By using data from the cohort studies we proposed a literature-based adherence score that can represent an easy tool for the estimation of adherence to the Mediterranean diet also at the individual level.

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