25 August 2020 In Cardiovascular System
Epidemiological studies of middle-aged populations generally find the relationship between alcohol intake and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke to be either U- or J-shaped. This review describes the extent that these relationships are likely to be causal, and the extent that they may be due to specific methodological weaknesses in epidemiological studies. The consistency in the vascular benefit associated with moderate drinking (compared with non-drinking) observed across different studies, together with the existence of credible biological pathways, strongly suggests that at least some of this benefit is real. However, because of biases introduced by: choice of reference categories; reverse causality bias; variations in alcohol intake over time; and confounding, some of it is likely to be an artefact. For heavy drinking, different study biases have the potential to act in opposing directions, and as such, the true effects of heavy drinking on vascular risk are uncertain. However, because of the known harmful effects of heavy drinking on non-vascular mortality, the problem is an academic one. Studies of the effects of alcohol consumption on health outcomes should recognise the methodological biases they are likely to face, and design, analyse and interpret their studies accordingly. While regular moderate alcohol consumption during middle-age probably does reduce vascular risk, care should be taken when making general recommendations about safe levels of alcohol intake. In particular, it is likely that any promotion of alcohol for health reasons would do substantially more harm than good.
25 August 2020 In Cardiovascular System
BACKGROUND: This study investigated the dose-response relationship between alcohol consumption and CVD incidence, conducting a meta-analysis of studies focusing on residents from local communities. Further, we examined whether light to moderate alcohol consumption had a protective effect on CVD incidence through a sub-group analysis. METHODS: This study conducted a meta-analysis of the relationship between alcohol consumption and CVD incidence, selecting journals published up to December 2017. The alcohol consumption level was classified into non-consumers, light (0.01-10.0 g/day), light to moderate (10.1-20.0 g/day), moderate (20.1-40.0 g/day), moderate to high (40.1-60.0 g/day), and high (> 60.0 g/day) groups. The sub-group analysis was conducted according to the number of comorbidities and age. RESULTS: Seven articles were selected in total for the meta-analysis. The mean Newcastle-Ottawa scale score was 8.14 points, suggesting studies were of high quality. There was a J-shaped dose-response relationship between alcohol consumption level and CVD incidence only in men. In general, light to moderate and moderate consumption lowered CVD incidence (Relative risk (RR) [95% confidence interval (CI)] was 0.68 [0.57-0.81] and 0.72 [0.58-0.90], respectively). In men with 3-4 comorbidities, there were no protective effects of light to moderate and moderate consumption on CVD incidence. In either groups of only men or men and women there were protective effects of light to moderate and moderate consumption on CVD incidence only in those aged between 41 and 65. DISCUSSION: We found that light to moderate and moderate alcohol consumption had a protective effect on CVD incidence, there was no protective effect either in those with at least three comorbidities or people aged 40 or younger. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that not all local community residents experience a protective effect of light to moderate consumption on CVD incidence. As such, it is necessary to recommend a moderate amount of drinking or less for each individual.
25 August 2020 In Cardiovascular System
BACKGROUND: Although it is well established that heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of hypertension, little is known about the effect of a reduction of alcohol intake on blood pressure. We aimed to assess the effect of a reduction in alcohol consumption on change in blood pressure stratified by initial amount of alcohol consumption and sex in adults. METHODS: In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched MedLine, Embase, CENTRAL, and ClinicalTrials.gov from database inception up to July 13, 2016, for trials investigating the effect of a change of alcohol consumption on blood pressure in adults using keywords and MeSH terms related to alcohol consumption, blood pressure, and clinical trials, with no language restrictions. We also searched reference lists of identified articles and published meta-analyses and reviews. We included full-text articles with original human trial data for the effect of a change of alcohol consumption on blood pressure in adults, which reported a quantifiable change in average alcohol consumption that lasted at least 7 days and a corresponding change in blood pressure. We extracted data from published reports. We did random-effects meta-analyses stratified by amount of alcohol intake at baseline. All meta-analyses were done with Stata (version 14.1). For the UK, we modelled the effect of a reduction of alcohol consumption for 50% of the population drinking more than two standard drinks per day (ie, 12 g pure alcohol per drink). FINDINGS: 36 trials with 2865 participants (2464 men and 401 women) were included. In people who drank two or fewer drinks per day, a reduction in alcohol was not associated with a significant reduction in blood pressure; however, in people who drank more than two drinks per day, a reduction in alcohol intake was associated with increased blood pressure reduction. Reduction in systolic blood pressure (mean difference -5.50 mm Hg, 95% CI -6.70 to -4.30) and diastolic blood pressure (-3.97, -4.70 to -3.25) was strongest in participants who drank six or more drinks per day if they reduced their intake by about 50%. For the UK, the results would translate into more than 7000 inpatient hospitalisations and 678 cardiovascular deaths prevented every year. INTERPRETATION: Reducing alcohol intake lowers blood pressure in a dose-dependent manner with an apparent threshold effect. Implementation of effective alcohol interventions in people who drink more than two drinks per day would reduce the disease burden from both alcohol consumption and hypertension, and should be prioritised in countries with substantial alcohol-attributable risk. FUNDING: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
25 August 2020 In Cardiovascular System
The National Institutes of Health stopped the worldwide Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health (MACH) trial in 2018 because of institutional failings that led to the biased design of this major study. Drawing on e-mail correspondence among officials, researchers, and alcohol companies, we provide the first, to our knowledge, detailed analysis of alcohol industry involvement in the MACH trial.Alcohol companies agreed to fund the MACH trial to advance their commercial interests rather than to help answer a major scientific question. Alcohol industry executives seized opportunities presented by discussions of the MACH trial to try to influence this study and wider public health, research, and policy decision-making.The process of soliciting research funding from corporations, which included convincing alcohol companies that the study design supported their commercial interests, was intrinsically biased. Thus, the three parties-research funding officials, researchers, and industry executives-coproduced the biased trial design. A detailed understanding of this episode will be helpful in advancing efforts to protect public health research from biases associated with corporate donations.
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