06 May 2014 In Pregnant Women

BACKGROUND: The safety of small amounts of alcohol drinking and occasional binge-level drinking during pregnancy remains unsettled. We examined the association of maternal average alcohol intake and binge drinking (>or=5 drinks per sitting) with infant mortality, both in the neonatal and postneonatal period.

METHODS: Participants were 79,216 mothers who were enrolled in the Danish National Birth Cohort in 1996-2002, gave birth to a live-born singleton, and provided information while they were pregnant on alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Information on infant mortality and causes of death was obtained from national registries and medical records.

RESULTS: During the first year of life, 279 children (0.35%) died, 204 during the neonatal period. Infant mortality was not associated with alcohol drinking, even at a consumption level of either 4+ drinks per week or 3+ occasions of binge drinking. Postneonatal mortality was associated with an intake of 4+ drinks per week (hazard ratio = 3.56 [95% confidence interval = 1.15-8.43]) and with 3+ binge episodes (2.69 [1.27-5.69]). When restricting analyses to term births, both infant mortality and postneonatal mortality were associated with a weekly average intake of 4+ drinks or 3+ binge episodes.

CONCLUSIONS: Among term infants, intake of at least 4 drinks of alcohol per week or binging on 3 or more occasions during pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of infant mortality, especially during the postneonatal period.

06 May 2014 In General Health
OBJECTIVE: To assess alcohol intake as a risk factor for adverse events among patients with incident atrial fibrillation (AF). DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING: Population based cohort study and nationwide Danish registries. PATIENTS: The Danish Diet, Cancer and Health study included 57 053 participants (27 178 men and 29 875 women) aged between 50 and 64 years. The study population for this study included the 3107 participants (1999 men, 1108 women) who developed incident AF after inclusion. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: A composite of thromboembolism or death. RESULTS: During a median follow-up of 4.9 years 608 deaths and 211 thromboembolic events occurred. Of those who developed AF, 690 (35%) men and 233 (21%) women had a high intake of alcohol (>20 drinks/week for men and >13 drinks/week for women). After adjustment for use of oral anticoagulation and components of the CHA2DS2-VASc score, men with an intake of >27 drinks/week had a higher risk for thromboembolism or death (hazard ratio (HR) 1.33, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.63) than men with an intake of 20 drinks/week also had a higher risk (HR 1.23, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.96) than women in the low intake category. The higher risk among men was primarily driven by mortality (HR 1.51, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.89), whereas the risk found among women was driven by thromboembolism (HR 1.71, 95% CI 0.81 to 3.60). CONCLUSIONS: High alcohol intake predicts thromboembolism or death, even after adjustment for established clinical risk factors, and may help identify high risk AF patients who could be targeted for stroke and cardiovascular prevention strategies
06 May 2014 In Diabetes

BACKGROUND: Facial flushing responses to drinking, because of intolerance to alcohol, are observed in some people, especially Asians. This study examined the role of flushing responses in the relationship between alcohol consumption and insulin resistance (IR).

METHODS: Participants in this cross-sectional analysis included 624 Korean men (80 nondrinkers, 306 nonflushing drinkers, and 238 flushing drinkers) who were free of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Data on the flushing response to drinking and alcohol consumption were collected from medical records. IR was estimated using the Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA(IR) ). On the basis of comparisons with nondrinkers, the risk of IR according to the quantity of alcohol consumed per week was analyzed among nonflushers and flushers.

RESULTS: After adjusting for age, exercise status, smoking status, BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides using a logistic regression model, we found a low risk of IR among nonflushers who consumed 20 drinks per week (OR = 3.5). On the other hand, only a higher risk of IR was associated with flushers who consumed >12 drinks per week (>12 to 20 drinks: OR = 4.7; >20 drinks: OR = 3.5).

CONCLUSIONS: The amount of drinking associated with the development of IR in flushers was lower than in nonflushers. Additionally, no positive effect of moderate drinking on IR was observed in flushers. The findings support acetaldehyde-derived mechanisms in the development of alcohol-related IR.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVE: Recent studies suggest a lower risk for overweight/obesity in moderate alcohol drinkers. However, the validity of this relationship and its impact on the putative benefits of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk has not been well evaluated.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We assessed the impact of BMI on the relationship between alcohol consumption and CVD risk factors (blood pressure, lipid panel, and glucose and insulin concentrations) in 27,030 healthy Korean men with no major comorbidities or medication intake seen in a large urban Korean hospital.

RESULTS: BMI and overweight prevalence increased linearly with alcohol intake (P < 0.001). Alcohol intake was also positively associated with blood pressure and triglyceride, HDL, and fasting glucose concentrations (P < 0.001) and negatively associated with LDL and insulin concentrations (P < 0.001). With nondrinkers as the reference group, the odds ratio for having insulin in the top quartile also declined linearly when adjusted for age, BMI, smoking, and exercise, with the heaviest drinkers (>40 g/day) having an odds ratio of 0.71 (95% CI 0.62-0.82) (P < 0.001). The relationship between alcohol and CVD risk factors was similar in normal-weight and overweight individuals.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol intake is associated with increasing BMI and several metabolic abnormalities, including higher fasting glucose. Paradoxically, it is also associated with lower insulin concentrations. The clinical significance of these findings needs further investigation.

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