26 February 2019 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: We aimed to understand the factors shaping alcohol consumption patterns in middle-aged women (45-64), and to identify participant-driven population- and policy-level strategies that may be used to addresses alcohol consumption and reduce breast cancer risk.

METHODS: Semi-structured interviews (n = 35) were conducted with 'middle-aged' women conversant in English and living in South Australia with no history of breast cancer diagnosis. Data were deductively coded using a co-developed framework including variables relevant to our study objectives. Women were asked about their current level of awareness of the association between alcohol and breast cancer risk, and their personal recommendations for how to decrease consumption in middle-aged Australian women.

RESULTS: Women discussed their previous efforts to decrease consumption, which we drew on to identify preliminary recommendations for consumption reduction. We identified a low level of awareness of alcohol and breast cancer risk, and confusion related to alcohol as a risk for breast cancer, but not always causing breast cancer. Participants suggested that education and awareness, through various means, may help to reduce consumption.

CONCLUSIONS: Participants' description of strategies used to reduce their own consumption lead us to suggest that campaigns might focus on the more salient and immediate effects of alcohol (e.g. on physical appearance and mental health) rather than longer-term consequences. Critical considerations for messaging include addressing the personal, physical and social pleasures that alcohol provides, and how these may differ across socio-demographics.

22 February 2019 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: We aimed to understand the factors shaping alcohol consumption patterns in middle-aged women (45-64), and to identify participant-driven population- and policy-level strategies that may be used to addresses alcohol consumption and reduce breast cancer risk.

METHODS: Semi-structured interviews (n = 35) were conducted with 'middle-aged' women conversant in English and living in South Australia with no history of breast cancer diagnosis. Data were deductively coded using a co-developed framework including variables relevant to our study objectives. Women were asked about their current level of awareness of the association between alcohol and breast cancer risk, and their personal recommendations for how to decrease consumption in middle-aged Australian women.

RESULTS: Women discussed their previous efforts to decrease consumption, which we drew on to identify preliminary recommendations for consumption reduction. We identified a low level of awareness of alcohol and breast cancer risk, and confusion related to alcohol as a risk for breast cancer, but not always causing breast cancer. Participants suggested that education and awareness, through various means, may help to reduce consumption.

CONCLUSIONS: Participants' description of strategies used to reduce their own consumption lead us to suggest that campaigns might focus on the more salient and immediate effects of alcohol (e.g. on physical appearance and mental health) rather than longer-term consequences. Critical considerations for messaging include addressing the personal, physical and social pleasures that alcohol provides, and how these may differ across socio-demographics.

25 January 2019 In Dementia

BACKGROUND: Alcohol use has been identified as a risk factor for dementia and cognitive decline. However, some patterns of drinking have been associated with beneficial effects.

METHODS AND RESULTS: To clarify the relationship between alcohol use and dementia, we conducted a scoping review based on a systematic search of systematic reviews published from January 2000 to October 2017 by using Medline, Embase, and PsycINFO. Overall, 28 systematic reviews were identified: 20 on the associations between the level of alcohol use and the incidence of cognitive impairment/dementia, six on the associations between dimensions of alcohol use and specific brain functions, and two on induced dementias. Although causality could not be established, light to moderate alcohol use in middle to late adulthood was associated with a decreased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Heavy alcohol use was associated with changes in brain structures, cognitive impairments, and an increased risk of all types of dementia.

CONCLUSION: Reducing heavy alcohol use may be an effective dementia prevention strategy.

25 January 2019 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

INTRODUCTION: Age of first drink is a key risk factor for adolescent high-risk alcohol use. The current study examined whether speed of escalation from first drink to first intoxication is an additional risk factor, and whether these two factors are associated with binge and high-intensity drinking among adolescents.

METHODS: Data collected in 2005-2017 from a nationally-representative sample of 11,100 U.S. 12th grade students participating in the Monitoring the Future study were coded to indicate grade of first drink, grade of first intoxication, and speed of escalation from first drink to first intoxication. Logistic regression models estimated bivariate and multivariable odds of past 2-week binge (5+ drinks in a row) and high-intensity (10+ drinks in a row) drinking in 12th grade.

RESULTS: Of those who reported intoxication by 12th grade, almost 60% reported first drunkenness in the same grade in which they first drank. The likelihoods of 12th grade binge and high-intensity drinking were significantly associated with both grade of first drink and speed of escalation to intoxication. Past two-week high-intensity drinking prevalence was 17.4% among those with immediate (same-grade) escalation from first drink to first intoxication; 15.8% among those with a 1-grade delay, and 12.6% among those with a 2+ grade delay to intoxication.

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of students escalate quickly from having their first drink to being intoxicated for the first time. Both earlier age of first drink and a faster escalation from first drink to first intoxication are important indicators of binge and high-intensity drinking risk among adolescents.

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