25 January 2019 In Pregnant Women

AIM: This paper systematically reviews the literature on the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on early child development from birth to 5 years with the aim to synthesize the developmental outcomes associated with prenatal alcohol exposure, and inform further research to improve our knowledge of the manifestations of prenatal alcohol exposure.

METHODS: Electronic databases (MEDLINE, Psych INFO, and Psych ARTICLES) were searched to find papers on the developmental outcomes of prenatal alcohol exposure in neonates, infants and toddlers and pre-school aged children. Studies were selected based on participants self-reporting alcohol consumption during pregnancy (either prospectively or retrospectively) and/or children being diagnosed with FASD based on a standardized assessment that includes a dysmorphology examination. The search was limited to peer-reviewed, English language studies involving human subjects, up to 5.5 years old.

RESULTS: Out of the 1,684 titles screened, a total of 71 papers were identified as relevant and included in this review. The majority of studies were prospective longitudinal studies. A range of assessment modalities (or tools) was used to determine neurodevelopmental outcomes of prenatal exposure to alcohol in the age group under review, the most frequently described being the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (BSID) (n = 19). Studies varied in terms of the dose, frequency, and timing of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and methodology used to assess alcohol consumption. Findings demonstrate extensive evidence for poor global developmental outcomes in children prenatally exposed to alcohol, particularly with moderate to severe levels of prenatal alcohol exposure.

CONCLUSION: The outcomes related to lower levels of prenatal alcohol exposure as well as outcomes in specific developmental domains, are poorly understood. Further research should aim to clarify the more subtle or less easily measurable manifestations of prenatal alcohol exposure on early development when the potential for greatest impact of interventions is highest.

27 July 2018 In General Health

AIMS: To estimate differences in the strength and shape of associations between alcohol use and diagnosis-specific sickness absence.

DESIGN: A multi-cohort study. Participants (n = 47 520) responded to a survey on alcohol use at two time-points, and were linked to records of sickness absence. Diagnosis-specific sickness absence was followed for 4-7 years from the latter survey.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: From Finland, we had population cohort survey data from 1998 and 2003 and employee cohort survey data from 2000-02 and 2004. From France and the United Kingdom, we had employee cohort survey data from 1993 and 1997, and 1985-88 and 1991-94, respectively.

MEASUREMENTS: We used standard questionnaires to assess alcohol intake categorized into 0, 1-11 and > 11 units per week in women and 0, 1-34 and > 34 units per week in men. We identified groups with stable and changing alcohol use over time. We linked participants to records from sickness absence registers. Diagnoses of sickness absence were coded according to the International Classification of Diseases. Estimates were adjusted for sex, age, socio-economic status, smoking and body mass index.

FINDINGS: Women who reported drinking 1-11 units and men who reported drinking 1-34 units of alcohol per week in both surveys were the reference group. Compared with them, women and men who reported no alcohol use in either survey had a higher risk of sickness absence due to mental disorders [rate ratio = 1.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.22-1.88], musculoskeletal disorders (1.22, 95% CI = 1.06-1.41), diseases of the digestive system (1.35, 95% CI = 1.02-1.77) and diseases of the respiratory system (1.49, 95% CI = 1.29-1.72). Women who reported alcohol consumption of > 11 weekly units and men who reported alcohol consumption of > 34 units per week in both surveys were at increased risk of absence due to injury or poisoning (1.44, 95% CI = 1.13-1.83).

CONCLUSIONS: In Finland, France and the United Kingdom, people who report not drinking any alcohol on two occasions several years apart appear to have a higher prevalence of sickness absence from work with chronic somatic and mental illness diagnoses than those drinking below a risk threshold of 11 units per week for women and 34 units per week for men. Persistent at-risk drinking in Finland, France and the United Kingdom appears to be related to increased absence due to injury or poisoning.

23 July 2015 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of alcoholism, alcohol consumption amount, and alcohol consumption pattern on mortality in a general population sample.

METHOD: This study used a 1970 prospective population sample (double-phase random sample) of 2,300 individuals ages 18-65 years in Stockholm County, which was also linked to mortality registers. A total of 1,895 individuals participated in a semi-structured, baseline psychiatric interview with a psychiatrist and social worker. Alcoholism and other mental disorders were recorded according to the eighth revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-8). Information on the usual amount and frequency of alcohol consumption was collected at the psychiatric interview. Mortality up to year 2011 was assessed with Cox proportional hazard regression models.

RESULTS: At baseline, there were 65 men and 21 women diagnosed with alcoholism. During followup, there were 873 deaths in the study population of 1,895. Alcoholism was associated with increased mortality rate. Former drinkers, but not never-drinkers, also had increased risk for mortality compared with moderate drinkers. We found no associations between heavy consumption and mortality. Frequent heavy episodic drinking was uncommon but related to mortality before, but not after, adjusting for an alcoholism diagnosis.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrated that alcoholism-but not a reported high consumption of alcohol or frequent heavy episodic drinking-predicted a long-term risk of death.

BACKGROUND: Few studies have analyzed the frequency of alcohol use across time from adolescence to young adulthood and its outcome in young adulthood. A Swiss longitudinal multilevel assessment project using various measures of psychopathology and psychosocial variables allowed for the study of the frequency and correlates of alcohol use so that this developmental trajectory may be better understood.

METHOD: Alcohol use was studied by a questionnaire in a cohort of N = 593 subjects who had been assessed at three times between adolescence and young adulthood within the Zurich Psychology and Psychopathology Study (ZAPPS). Other assessment included questionnaire data measuring emotional and behavioural problems, life events, coping style, self-related cognitions, perceived parenting style and school environment, and size and efficiency of the social network.

RESULTS: The increase of alcohol use from early adolescence to young adulthood showed only a few sex-specific differences in terms of the amount of alcohol consumption and the motives to drink. In late adolescence and young adulthood, males had a higher amount of alcohol consumption and were more frequently looking for drunkenness and feeling high. Males also experienced more negative consequences of alcohol use. A subgroup of heavy or problem drinkers showed a large range of emotional and behavioural problems and further indicators of impaired psychosocial functioning both in late adolescence and young adulthood.

CONCLUSION: This Swiss community survey documents that alcohol use is problematic in a sizeable proportion of youth and goes hand in hand with a large number of psychosocial problems.

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