04 December 2014 In Cardiovascular System

Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with increased morbidity and mortality as well as with labour and traffic accidents. However, current evidence suggests beneficial effects of moderate drinking on cardiovascular events including coronary heart disease, ischaemic stroke, peripheral arterial disease and congestive heart failure. The underlying mechanisms to explain these protective effects against coronary heart disease include an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and an increase in insulin sensitivity, and a decrease in platelet aggregation and circulating concentrations of fibrinogen. However, there are discrepancies regarding the specific effects of different types of beverages on the cardiovascular system, and also whether the possible protective effects of alcoholic beverages are due to their alcohol component (ethanol) or non-alcoholic products containing, mainly polyphenols. Recent randomised clinical trials have shown that wine, a polyphenol-rich alcoholic beverage, provides higher antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects than some spirits such as gin, a polyphenol-free alcoholic beverage. In addition, dealcoholized red wine decreases blood pressure through a nitric oxide mediated mechanism, suggesting a protective effect of polyphenols on vascular function. Other studies performed in women have observed that daily doses of 15-20 g of alcohol as red wine are sufficient to elicit protective effects similar to those observed in men who consumed higher doses of wine. In conclusion, moderate consumption of wine exerts a protective effect on biomarkers related to the progression and development of atherosclerosis due to its alcoholic (ethanol) and non-alcoholic (polyphenols) content. Women are more sensitive to the beneficial effects of wine.

30 October 2014 In Cancer

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the role of factors that modulate the association between alcohol and mortality, and to provide estimates of absolute risk of death.

DESIGN: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition (EPIC).

SETTING: 23 centres in 10 countries.

PARTICIPANTS: 380 395 men and women, free of cancer, diabetes, heart attack or stroke at enrolment, followed up for 12.6 years on average.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: 20 453 fatal events, of which 2053 alcohol-related cancers (ARC, including cancers of upper aerodigestive tract, liver, colorectal and female breast), 4187 cardiovascular diseases/coronary heart disease (CVD/CHD), 856 violent deaths and injuries. Lifetime alcohol use was assessed at recruitment.

RESULTS: HRs comparing extreme drinkers (>/=30 g/day in women and >/=60 g/day in men) to moderate drinkers (0.1-4.9 g/day) were 1.27 (95% CI 1.13 to 1.43) in women and 1.53 (1.39 to 1.68) in men. Strong associations were observed for ARC mortality, in men particularly, and for violent deaths and injuries, in men only. No associations were observed for CVD/CHD mortality among drinkers, whereby HRs were higher in never compared to moderate drinkers. Overall mortality seemed to be more strongly related to beer than wine use, particularly in men. The 10-year risks of overall death for women aged 60 years, drinking more than 30 g/day was 5% and 7%, for never and current smokers, respectively. Corresponding figures in men consuming more than 60 g/day were 11% and 18%, in never and current smokers, respectively. In competing risks analyses, mortality due to CVD/CHD was more pronounced than ARC in men, while CVD/CHD and ARC mortality were of similar magnitude in women.

CONCLUSIONS: In this large European cohort, alcohol use was positively associated with overall mortality, ARC and violent death and injuries, but marginally to CVD/CHD. Absolute risks of death observed in EPIC suggest that alcohol is an important determinant of total mortality.

15 October 2014 In Cardiovascular System

It has been repeatedly emphasized that alcohol provides the most plausible explanation for both the high rate of cardiovascular mortality rate and its dramatic fluctuations in Russia over recent decades, while other traditional risk factors identified in epidemiological studies have little predictive value. The aim of this study was to examine the relation between alcohol consumption and ischemic heart disease (IHD) mortality rates in Russia. A ge-standardized sex-specific male and female IHD mortality data for the period 1980-2005 and data on overall alcohol consumption were analyzed by means of ARIMA time series analysis. The results of the analysis showed that alcohol consumption was significantly associated with both male and female IHD mortality rates: a 1-liter increase in overall alcohol consumption would result in a 3.9% increase in the male IHD mortality rate and a 2.7% increase in the female IHD mortality rate. As a conclusion, the results of this study provide indirect support for the hypothesis that the drastic fluctuations in IHD mortality in Russia over recent decades are related to alcohol, as indicated by the close temporal association between number of deaths from IHD and overall alcohol consumption per capita.

15 October 2014 In Cancer

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the role of factors that modulate the association between alcohol and mortality, and to provide estimates of absolute risk of death.

DESIGN: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition (EPIC).

SETTING: 23 centres in 10 countries.

PARTICIPANTS: 380 395 men and women, free of cancer, diabetes, heart attack or stroke at enrolment, followed up for 12.6 years on average.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: 20 453 fatal events, of which 2053 alcohol-related cancers (ARC, including cancers of upper aerodigestive tract, liver, colorectal and female breast), 4187 cardiovascular diseases/coronary heart disease (CVD/CHD), 856 violent deaths and injuries. Lifetime alcohol use was assessed at recruitment.

RESULTS: HRs comparing extreme drinkers (>/=30 g/day in women and >/=60 g/day in men) to moderate drinkers (0.1-4.9 g/day) were 1.27 (95% CI 1.13 to 1.43) in women and 1.53 (1.39 to 1.68) in men. Strong associations were observed for ARC mortality, in men particularly, and for violent deaths and injuries, in men only. No associations were observed for CVD/CHD mortality among drinkers, whereby HRs were higher in never compared to moderate drinkers. Overall mortality seemed to be more strongly related to beer than wine use, particularly in men. The 10-year risks of overall death for women aged 60 years, drinking more than 30 g/day was 5% and 7%, for never and current smokers, respectively. Corresponding figures in men consuming more than 60 g/day were 11% and 18%, in never and current smokers, respectively. In competing risks analyses, mortality due to CVD/CHD was more pronounced than ARC in men, while CVD/CHD and ARC mortality were of similar magnitude in women.

CONCLUSIONS: In this large European cohort, alcohol use was positively associated with overall mortality, ARC and violent death and injuries, but marginally to CVD/CHD. Absolute risks of death observed in EPIC suggest that alcohol is an important determinant of total mortality.

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