05 December 2018 In Liver Disease

BACKGROUND: Alcohol is a known cause of cirrhosis, but it is unclear if the associated risk varies by whether alcohol is drunk with meals, or by the frequency or type of alcohol consumed. Here we aim to investigate the associations between alcohol consumption with meals, daily frequency of consumption, and liver cirrhosis.

METHODS: The Million Women Study is a prospective study that includes one in every four UK women born between 1935 and 1950, recruited between 1996 and 2001. In 2001 (IQR 2000-03), the participants reported their alcohol intake, whether consumption was usually with meals, and number of days per week it was consumed. Cox regression analysis yielded adjusted relative risks (RRs) for incident cirrhosis, identified by follow-up through electronic linkage to routinely collected national hospital admission, and death databases.

FINDINGS: During a mean of 15 years (SD 3) of follow-up of 401 806 women with a mean age of 60 years (SD 5), without previous cirrhosis or hepatitis, and who reported drinking at least one alcoholic drink per week, 1560 had a hospital admission with cirrhosis (n=1518) or died from the disease (n=42). Cirrhosis incidence increased with amount of alcohol consumed (>/=15 drinks [mean 220 g of alcohol] vs one to two drinks [mean 30 g of alcohol] per week; RR 3.43, 95% CI 2.87-4.10; p<0.0001). About half of the participants (203 564 of 401 806) reported usually drinking with meals and, after adjusting for amount consumed, cirrhosis incidence was lower for usually drinking with meals than not (RR 0.69, 0.62-0.77; p<0.0001; wine-only drinkers RR 0.69, 0.56-0.85; all other drinkers RR 0.72, 0.63-0.82). Among 175 618 women who consumed seven or more drinks per week, cirrhosis incidence was greater for daily consumption than non-daily consumption (adjusted RR 1.61, 1.40-1.85; p<0.0001). Daily consumption, together with not drinking with meals, was associated with more than a doubling of cirrhosis incidence (adjusted RR 2.47, 1.96-3.11; p<0.0001).

INTERPRETATION: In middle-aged women, cirrhosis incidence increases with total alcohol intake, even at moderate levels of consumption. For a given weekly intake of alcohol, this excess incidence of cirrhosis is higher if consumption is usually without meals, or with daily drinking. FUNDING: UK Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK.

29 October 2018 In Cancer

Epidemiological studies have been used to show associations between modifiable lifestyle habits and the incidence of breast cancer. Among such factors, a history of alcohol use has been reported in multiple studies and meta-analyses over the past decades. However, associative epidemiological studies that were interpreted as evidence that even moderate alcohol consumption increases breast cancer incidence have been controversial. In this review, we consider the literature on the relationship between moderate or heavy alcohol use, both in possible biological mechanisms and in variations in susceptibility due to genetic or epigenetic factors. We argue that there is a need to incorporate additional approaches to move beyond the associations that are reported in traditional epidemiological analyses and incorporate information on molecular pathologic signatures as a requirement to posit causal inferences. In particular, we point to the efforts of the transdisciplinary field of molecular pathological epidemiology (MPE) to evaluate possible causal relationships, if any, of alcohol consumption and breast cancer. A wider application of the principles of MPE to this field would constitute a giant step that could enhance our understanding of breast cancer and multiple modifiable risk factors, a step that would be particularly suited to the era of "personalized medicine".

27 September 2018 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: A systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the magnitude of the association between alcohol consumption and the risk of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in adults was undertaken.

DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

METHODS: Comprehensive searches of Medline, Embase and Web of Science were carried out to identify comparative studies of the association between alcohol intake and CAP between 1985 and 2017. Reference lists were also screened. A random-effects meta-analysis was used to estimate pooled effect sizes. A dose-response meta-analysis was also performed.

RESULTS: We found 17 papers eligible for inclusion in the review, of which 14 provided results which could be pooled. Meta-analysis of these 14 studies identified an 83% increased risk of CAP among people who consumed alcohol or in higher amounts, relative to those who consumed no or lower amounts of alcohol, respectively (relative risk=1.83, 95% CI 1.30 to 2.57). There was substantial between-study heterogeneity, which was attributable in part to differences in study continent, adjustment for confounders and pneumonia diagnosis (clinical vs death). Dose-response analysis found that for every 10-20 g higher alcohol intake per day, there was an 8% increase in the risk of CAP.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that alcohol consumption increases the risk of CAP. Therefore, strengthening policies to reduce alcohol intake would be likely to reduce the incidence of CAP.

27 September 2018 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Low/moderate alcohol consumption seems to be protective against cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study aimed to investigate the association of wine/beer consumption with the 10-year CVD incidence.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: During 2001-2002, 3042 CVD-free adults consented to participate in the ATTICA study; of them 2583 completed the 10-year follow-up (85% participation rate), but precise information about fatal/nonfatal CVD incidence (myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, cardiac ischemia, heart failure, chronic arrhythmias, and stroke) was available in 2020 participants (overall retention rate 66%). Alcohol/ethanol intake and the alcoholic beverages consumed were assessed; participants were categorized into three groups (no use; 1 glass/week).

RESULTS: Alcohol drinking was reported by 56% of the participants who did not develop a CVD event and 49% of those who had (p = 0.04); whereas ethanol intake was 14 +/- 16 g among those who did not had an event vs. 21 +/- 18 g among those who had a CVD event (p < 0.001). A strong inverse and similar association between low wine/beer intake (20 g/day had CVD-risk HRs (95% CI) of 0.60 (0.40-0.98), 1.22 (0.60-1.14), and 1.81 (0.70-4.61), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: This study revealed similar results of low wine/beer consumption against CVD incidence, mainly due to its implication on low-grade chronic inflammation.

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