25 January 2019 In Pregnant Women

OBJECTIVES: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is a worldwide problem. Maternal alcohol consumption is an important risk factor for FASD. It remains unknown which alcohol consumption patterns most strongly predict FASD. The objective of this study was to identify these.

DESIGN: Systematic literature review.

METHODS: We searched in PubMed, PsychINFO, PsycARTICLES, ERIC, CINAHL, Embase and MEDLINE up to August 2018. The query consisted of keywords and their synonyms related to FASD, pregnancy and behaviour. Studies were excluded when not published in English, were reviews or involved non-human subjects. Substantial heterogeneity precluded aggregation or meta-analysis of the data. Instead, data were qualitatively inspected.

RESULTS: In total, 21 studies were eligible for further data analysis. All studies that measured both maternal alcohol drinking behaviours and FASD reported retrospective data on maternal drinking patterns, employing both continuous and categorical measures and exhibiting substantial heterogeneity in measures of alcohol consumption (eg, timing of exposure, quantification of alcohol measure and definition of a standard drink). Study quality improved over time and appeared higher for studies based on active case ascertainment, especially when conducted in schools and when behaviour was assessed through interviews.

CONCLUSIONS: We aimed to identify specific maternal drinking behaviour(s) related to FASD. The state of the literature precludes such conclusions. Evidence-based preventive measures necessitate identifying which prenatal alcohol drinking behaviour(s) are most in need of intervention. Therefore, we formulate three recommendations for future research. First, future studies can optimise the value of the collected dataset through specifying measurements and reporting of maternal drinking behaviours and avoiding categorised measures (nominal or ordinal) whenever possible. Second, samples should not be selected based on FASD status, but instead, FASD status as well as maternal alcohol consumption should both be measured in a general population sample. Finally, we provide 10 reporting guidelines for FASD research.

27 July 2018 In Dementia

Background: The effect of alcohol consumption on cognitive decline is not clear. We aimed to study the association between alcohol consumption and cognitive functioning controlling for functional heath status.

Methods: A total of 1610 older adults with a score >/=26 on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) were followed to assess the change in scores at the 3-year follow-up. Information on alcohol consumption as well as socio-demographic, lifestyle, psychosocial and clinical factors, as well as health service use were assessed at baseline and 3-year follow-up interviews. Linear mixed models with repeated measures were used stratifying by functional status.

Results: Close to 73% reported consuming alcohol in the past 6 months, of which 11% were heavy drinkers (>/=11 and >/=16 drinks for women and men). A significant decrease in MMSE scores was observed in low functioning non-drinkers (-1.48; 95% CI: -2.06, -0.89) and light to moderate drinkers (-0.99; 95% CI: -1.54, -0.44) and high functioning non-drinkers (-0.51; 95% CI: -0.91, -0.10).

Conclusions: Alcohol consumption did not contribute to cognitive decline. Cognitive decline was greater in individuals reporting low functional status. Research should focus on the interaction between changing patterns of alcohol consumption and social participation in individuals with low and high functioning status.

22 June 2017 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the dose-risk relationship for alcohol consumption and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in the Ethnic/Racial Variations of Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ERICH) study.

METHODS: ERICH is a multicenter, prospective, case-control study, designed to recruit 1,000 non-Hispanic white patients, 1,000 non-Hispanic black patients, and 1,000 Hispanic patients with ICH. Cases were matched 1:1 to ICH-free controls by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and geographic area. Comprehensive interviews included questions regarding alcohol consumption. Patterns of alcohol consumption were categorized as none, rare (/=1 drink per month and 2 drinks per day and /=5 drinks per day). ICH risk was calculated using the no-alcohol use category as the reference group.

RESULTS: Multivariable analyses demonstrated an ordinal trend for alcohol consumption: rare (odds ratio [OR] 0.57, p < 0.0001), moderate (OR 0.65, p < 0.0001), intermediate (OR 0.82, p = 0.2666), and heavy alcohol consumption (OR 1.77, p = 0.0003). Subgroup analyses demonstrated an association of rare and moderate alcohol consumption with decreased risk of both lobar and nonlobar ICH. Heavy alcohol consumption demonstrated a strong association with increased nonlobar ICH risk (OR 2.04, p = 0.0003). Heavy alcohol consumption was associated with significant increase in nonlobar ICH risk in black (OR 2.34, p = 0.0140) and Hispanic participants (OR 12.32, p < 0.0001). A similar association was not found in white participants.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated potential protective effects of rare and moderate alcohol consumption on ICH risk. Heavy alcohol consumption was associated with increased ICH risk. Race/ethnicity was a significant factor in alcohol-associated ICH risk; heavy alcohol consumption in black and Hispanic participants poses significant nonlobar ICH risk.

27 February 2017 In Social and Cultural Aspects

BACKGROUND: Many countries use warnings in an attempt to regulate alcohol consumption. However, there is a lack of conclusive evidence in the research on alcohol warnings to support decision-making on effective health policies. This study explores the effectiveness of two mandatory warnings introduced in France in 1991 and 2007: the first ("Alcohol abuse is harmful") is displayed on advertisements; the second (a pictogram) on bottles. Given that advertising content regulations have been implemented in some countries to reduce the attractiveness of alcohol marketing (e.g., the Evin law in France), this research also aims to explore whether such regulations can improve the effectiveness of warnings.

METHOD: In-depth interviews were conducted with 26 French people aged 15-29. The effectiveness of health warnings was assessed in terms of recall, noticeability, credibility, comprehension, responsiveness and ability to encourage moderate drinking and abstinence during pregnancy. Participants were shown advertisements and bottles that either followed or challenged content regulations. The data was analysed using double manual coding and NVivo software.

RESULTS: While both warnings suffered from a lack of visibility and noticeability due to their size, location, outdatedness and because of competition from marketing design elements, the warning on the advertisement that followed content regulations was most visible. Both warnings were considered to be informationally vague, lacking in credibility and ineffective in terms of making participants feel concerned and influencing consumption habits.

CONCLUSION: Current French warnings are ineffective and require modification. Improvements are suggested regarding the design and content of warnings to help increase their effectiveness.

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