29 October 2018 In Liver Disease

INTRODUCTION: It is unclear whether low levels of alcohol are harmful in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We aimed to determine whether quantity, binge pattern consumption, or type of alcohol was associated with liver fibrosis in patients with NAFLD.

METHODS: Previous and current alcohol consumption was assessed in NAFLD patients undergoing liver biopsy. All subjects currently consumed /=4 standard drinks (female) or >/=5 standard drinks (male) in one sitting. Liver biopsies were scored according to the NASH CRN system with F3/4 fibrosis defined as advanced.

RESULTS: Among 187 patients (24% with advanced fibrosis), the median weekly alcohol consumption was 20 (2.3-60) g over an average of 18 years. Modest consumption (1-70 g per week) was associated with lower mean fibrosis stage compared to lifetime abstainers (p < 0.05) and a decreased risk of advanced fibrosis (OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.14-0.78, p = 0.01). The association with reduced fibrosis was not seen in subjects drinking in a binge-type fashion. Exclusive wine drinkers but not exclusive beer drinkers, had lower mean fibrosis stage and lower odds of advanced fibrosis (OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.06-0.69, p = 0.01), compared to lifetime abstinent subjects. No interaction between gender and alcohol quantity, type, or binge consumption on fibrosis was observed.

DISCUSSION: Modest (1-70 g per week) alcohol consumption, particularly wine in a non-binge pattern, is associated with lower fibrosis in patients with NAFLD. Prospective longitudinal studies into fibrosis progression, cardiovascular outcomes, and mortality are required before clinical recommendations can be made.

27 September 2018 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Current research into alcohol consumption focuses predominantly on problematic drinkers and populations considered likely to engage in risky behaviours. Middle-aged drinkers are an under-researched group, despite emerging evidence that their regular drinking patterns may carry some risk.

METHODS: We searched Scopus, Ovid Medline, and Ovid PsycInfo for peer-reviewed, English-language publications appearing prior to 31 December 2015 and relating to the construction of alcohol consumption by middle-aged non-problematised drinkers. Thirteen papers were included in our thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Middle-aged non-problematised drinkers constructed their drinking practices by creating a narrative of normative drinking via discourses of gender, identity, play, and learning to drink. They also used drinking norms to construct their gender and identity. Health was not identified as a significant consideration for the population of interest when constructing alcohol consumption, except where drinking behaviours were likely to harm another.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that public health campaigns aimed at reducing alcohol consumption may be more effective if they focus on unacceptable drinking behaviours instead of personal health outcomes.

27 July 2018 In General Health

The association between alcohol consumption and hip fracture differed by gender: Men aged 30-59 years drinking frequently or 14+ gl/week had higher risk than moderate drinkers. No significant association was seen in older men. Women not drinking alcohol had higher risk than those drinking moderately both regarding frequency and amount.

INTRODUCTION: We aimed to examine alcohol consumption and risk of hip fracture according to age and gender in the population-based Cohort of Norway (1994-2003).

METHODS: Socio-demographics, lifestyle, and health were self-reported and weight and height were measured in 70,568 men and 71,357 women >/= 30 years. Information on subsequent hip fractures was retrieved from hospitals' electronic patient registries during 1994-2013. Frequency of alcohol consumption was categorized: never/seldom, moderate (/= 4 times/week), and amount as number of glasses per week: 0, 1-6, 7-13, 14-27, and 28+. Type of alcohol (wine vs. beer/hard liquor) was also examined. Cox's proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) stratified on gender and baseline age < 60 and >/= 60 years.

RESULTS: During median 15-year follow-up, 1558 men and 2511 women suffered a hip fracture. Using moderate drinkers as reference, men < 60 years drinking frequently had multivariable adjusted HR = 1.73 (CI 1.02-2.96) for hip fracture and more than 2.5 times higher risk if they consumed 14+ glasses compared to 1-6 glasses per week. In other groups of age and gender, no statistically significant increased risk was found in those consuming the highest levels of alcohol. Compared to women with moderate or frequent alcohol use, never/seldom-drinking women had the highest fracture risk. In women, use of wine was associated with lower fracture risk than other types of alcohol.

CONCLUSIONS: Risk of hip fracture was highest in men < 60 years with the highest frequency and amount of alcohol consumption and in non-drinking women.

27 July 2018 In Cardiovascular System

Moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with a lower risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) in the general population but has not been well studied in US veterans. We obtained self-reported alcohol consumption from Million Veteran Program participants. Using electronic health records, CAD events were defined as 1 inpatient or 2 outpatient diagnosis codes for CAD, or 1 code for a coronary procedure. We excluded participants with prevalent CAD (n = 69,995) or incomplete alcohol information (n = 8,449). We used a Cox proportional hazards model to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for CAD, adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, race, smoking, education, and exercise. Among 156,728 participants, the mean age was 65.3 years (standard deviation = 12.1) and 91% were men. There were 6,153 CAD events during a mean follow-up of 2.9 years. Adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for CAD were 1.00 (reference), 1.02 (0.92 to 1.13), 0.83 (0.74 to 0.93), 0.77 (0.67 to 0.87), 0.71 (0.62 to 0.81), 0.62 (0.51 to 0.76), 0.58 (0.46 to 0.74), and 0.95 (0.85 to 1.06) for categories of never drinker; former drinker; current drinkers of 0.5 to 1 drink/day, >1 to 2 drinks/day, >2 to 3 drinks/day, and >3 to 4 drinks/day; and heavy drinkers (>4 drinks/day) or alcohol use disorder, respectively. For a fixed amount of ethanol, intake at >/=3 days/week was associated with lower CAD risk compared with </=1 day/week. Beverage preference (beer, wine, or liquor) did not influence the alcohol-CAD relation. Our data show a lower risk of CAD with light-to-moderate alcohol consumption among US veterans, and drinking frequency may provide a further reduction in risk.

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