25 October 2016 In Liver Disease

BACKGROUND AND AIM: Moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with a lower risk of disease severity in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). It is unclear if this reflects current or lifetime drinking, or can be attributed to confounders such as diet and exercise. We evaluated the impact of lifetime alcohol consumption on fibrosis severity in NAFLD.

METHODS: We prospectively enrolled 120 subjects with biopsy-proven NAFLD and through detailed questionnaires examined lifetime alcohol consumption, diet and physical activity. Main outcome measures were odds ratios (OR) for fibrosis stage, calculated through ordinal regression after adjustment for body mass index, diabetes mellitus type 2, smoking and age at biopsy. A biomarker for recent alcohol consumption, phosphatidyl ethanol (PEth) was sampled.

RESULTS: An increase in median weekly alcohol consumption to a maximum of 13 drinks per week was associated with lower fibrosis stage (adjusted OR for each incremental unit, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.76-0.97; p = .017). The lowest risk for fibrosis was found with the lowes`t odds seen in the top quartile of alcohol consumption (aOR 0.23; 95% CI 0.08-0.66; p = .006). Adding soft drink and coffee consumptions, and physical activity to the model did not change the estimates. Subjects with PEth >/=0.3 mumol/L had higher ORs for a higher fibrosis stage (aOR 2.77; 95% CI 1.01-7.59; p = .047).

CONCLUSION: Lifetime alcohol consumption with up to 13 units per week is associated with lower fibrosis stage in NAFLD. Elevated PEth is associated with higher stages of fibrosis.

25 October 2016 In General Health

Drinking within recommended limits is highly prevalent in much of the world, and strong epidemiological associations exist between moderate alcohol consumption and risk of several major chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer. In many cases, plausible biological mediators for these associations have been identified in randomized trials, but gold standard evidence that moderate drinking causes or prevents any chronic disease remains elusive and important concerns about available evidence have been raised. Although long-term randomized trials to test the observed associations have been termed impossible, clinical investigators have now successfully completed randomized trials of complex nutritional interventions in a variety of settings, along with trials of alcohol consumption itself of up to 2 years duration. The successful completion of these trials suggests that objections to the execution of a full-scale, long-term clinical trial of moderate drinking on chronic disease are increasingly untenable. We present potential lessons learned for such a trial and discuss key features to maximize its feasibility and value.

21 September 2016 In Diabetes

BACKGROUND: People with diabetes are told that drinking alcohol may increase their risk of hypoglycaemia. AIMS: To report the effects of alcohol consumption on glycaemic control in people with diabetes mellitus.

METHODS: Medline, EMBASE and the Cochrane library databases were searched in 2015 to identify randomized trials that compared alcohol consumption with no alcohol use, reporting glycaemic control in people with diabetes. Data on blood glucose, HbA1c and numbers of hypoglycaemic episodes were pooled using random effects meta-analysis.

RESULTS: Pooled data from nine short-term studies showed no difference in blood glucose concentrations between those who drank alcohol in doses of 16-80 g (median 20g, 2.5 units) compared with those who did not drink alcohol at 0.5, 2, 4 and 24 h after alcohol consumption. Pooled data from five medium-term studies showed that there was no difference in blood glucose or HbA1c concentrations at the end of the study between those who drank 11-18 g alcohol/day (median 13g/day, 1.5 units/day) for 4-104 weeks and those who did not. We found no evidence of a difference in number of hypoglycaemic episodes or in withdrawal rates between randomized groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Studies to date have not provided evidence that drinking light to moderate amounts of alcohol, with or without a meal, affects any measure of glycaemic control in people with Type 2 diabetes. These results suggest that current advice that people with diabetes do not need to refrain from drinking moderate quantities of alcohol does not need to be changed; risks to those with Type 1 diabetes remain uncertain. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

02 August 2016 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND & AIMS: The ingestion of small to moderate alcohol consumption amounts has been associated to cardiovascular protection. This study aimed to evaluate the association between alcohol consumption and coronary artery disease severity.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Cross-sectional Study with patients undergoing coronary angiography. Age, cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, systemic arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes) and alcohol drinking habit were investigated. Alcohol consumption was divided in three categories: nondrinker, moderate alcohol consumption (less than 15 g ethanol/day for women or 30 g ethanol/day for men) and heavy alcohol consumption. Coronary artery disease severity was assessed through the Friesinger Score (FS) in the coronary angiography, by interventional cardiologists blinded to alcohol consumption.

RESULTS: The final sample included 363 adults; of those, 228 were men (62.81%). Mean age was 60.5 +/- 10.9 y. Unadjusted analyses identified sex, age, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia and alcohol consumption as the main covariates associated with the Friesinger score. Lower Friesinger scores were also observed in moderate alcohol consumption when comparing to those who do not drink (RR 0.86; 95% CI 0.79-0.95).

CONCLUSION: Among patients with suspected coronary artery disease undergoing coronary angiography, moderate alcohol consumption is associated to a lower coronary artery disease severity than heavy drinking.

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