02 August 2016 In Liver Disease

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Studies assessing alcohol as a population-level risk factor for cirrhosis, typically focus on per capita consumption. However, clinical studies indicate that daily intake is a strong predictor of alcoholic cirrhosis. We aimed to identify the determinants of alcohol's contribution to the global cirrhosis burden and to evaluate the influence of daily drinking on a population level.

METHODS: We performed a comprehensive analysis of the WHO 2014 Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health. We categorized countries by heavy or moderate drinking based on daily consumption, using U.S. Department of Agriculture definitions of heavy drinking. Additional data on cirrhosis cofactors were also obtained. Uni- and multivariate models were fitted to identify independent predictors of the alcohol-attributable fraction of cirrhosis.

RESULTS: The WHO 2014 Report found that half of cirrhosis mortality worldwide is attributable to alcohol, approximating 60% in North America and Europe. In an integrative multivariate model, the designation of countries by moderate or heavy daily drinking had the strongest influence on the weight of alcohol in the cirrhosis burden. The relative contribution from alcohol increased by 11% with a transition from the moderate to heavy classification (p<0.001). Importantly, drinking patterns such as heavy episodic drinking and the type of alcohol did not independently predict the alcohol-attributable fraction of cirrhosis.

CONCLUSIONS: Heavy daily drinking on a population level significantly influences the weight of alcohol in the cirrhosis burden. Reducing heavy drinking should be considered as an important target for public health monitoring and policies.

LAY SUMMARY: We carried out an analysis of the WHO 2014 Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health, and categorized countries by their level of drinking (heavy or moderate). We found that half of the global cirrhosis cases, and 60% in both North America and Europe are associated with alcohol intake. We concluded that on a population level heavy daily drinking significantly influences the impact of alcohol on the cirrhosis burden.

21 April 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

To examine the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and adolescent alcoholic beverage preferences and the associated drinking patterns in China. The study used cross-sectional data collected from 136 junior or senior high schools, using a self-administered questionnaire. A total number of 7,075 subjects of drinking students were selected from three metropolises (Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou) via a two-stage stratified sampling method. Among the adolescent drinkers, 87.8% (95% CI: 86.5-89.0) reported that they drunk alcohol during the past years preceding the study, while 42.4% (95% CI: 40.4-44.4) of the subjects stated that they had drunk alcohol during the past 30 days. There were gradual increases in the usual quantity (>1 Standard Drink, SD) of alcoholic beverages with increasing SES, with highest rates reported by the high-level SES. Beer and grape wine were the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage, regardless of SES. Our findings suggest that high-level SES students have an increasing prevalence of drinking behaviour. Their confirmation by future studies which extend the sampling regions is required to further the prevention of adolescent alcohol abuse in China.

22 March 2016 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Habitual moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of acute myocardial infarction (MI), whereas heavy (binge) drinking is associated with higher cardiovascular risk. However, less is known about the immediate effects of alcohol consumption on the risk of acute MI and whether any association differs by beverage type or usual drinking patterns.

METHODS: We conducted a case-crossover analysis of 3869 participants from the Determinants of Myocardial Infarction Onset Study who were interviewed during hospitalization for acute MI in one of the 64 medical centers across the United States in 1989-1996. We compared the observed number of times that each participant consumed wine, beer, or liquor in the hour preceding MI symptom onset with the expected frequency based on each participant's control information, defined as the number of times the participant consumed alcohol in the past year.

RESULTS: Among 3869 participants, 2119 (55%) reported alcohol consumption in the past year, including 76 within 1 hour before acute MI onset. The incidence rate of acute MI onset was elevated 1.72-fold (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.37-2.16) within 1 hour after alcohol consumption. The association was stronger for liquor than for beer or wine. The higher rate was not apparent for daily drinkers. For the 24 hours after consumption, there was a 14% lower rate (relative risk = 0.86 [95% CI = 0.79-0.95]) of MI compared with periods with no alcohol consumption.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol consumption is associated with an acutely higher risk of MI in the subsequent hour among people who do not typically drink alcohol daily.

27 January 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND/AIMS: An appreciation of the drinking patterns of population subgroups may usefully inform tailored interventions. For this purpose, research has highlighted a need to better describe the drinking behaviour of UK women. This study aims to characterise the purchasing and consumption behaviour of female heavy, harmed, drinkers in contact with Scottish health services in two cities and to explore the factors that influence the link to harm.

METHODS: Mixed methods study involving cross-sectional survey questionnaires and one-to-one interviews (5). The questionnaires documented (1) demographic data (including derived deprivation score), last week's (or 'typical' weekly) consumption (type, brand, volume, price, place of purchase), self-reported illnesses, and (2) Alcohol-Related Problem Questionnaire score. A total of 181 patients with serious health problems linked to alcohol were recruited within National Health Service (NHS) hospital clinics (in- and outpatient settings), in two Scottish cities during 2012.

RESULTS: Median consumption was 157.6 UK units for the recorded week, with almost exclusive purchase from 'off-sale' retail outlets. Preferred drinks were white cider, vodka and white wine. Increasing problems was positively associated with drinking more in the week, being younger and belonging to Glasgow.

CONCLUSION: For Scottish women, the current definition of 'harmful' consumption likely captures a fourfold variation in alcohol intake, with gender differences less apparent. While current alcohol-related harm is positively associated with dose and being younger, there is clear evidence of an influence of the less tangible 'Glasgow effect'. Future harm concerns are warranted by data relating to pattern, alcohol dose and cigarette use.

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