27 September 2018 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Current research into alcohol consumption focuses predominantly on problematic drinkers and populations considered likely to engage in risky behaviours. Middle-aged drinkers are an under-researched group, despite emerging evidence that their regular drinking patterns may carry some risk.

METHODS: We searched Scopus, Ovid Medline, and Ovid PsycInfo for peer-reviewed, English-language publications appearing prior to 31 December 2015 and relating to the construction of alcohol consumption by middle-aged non-problematised drinkers. Thirteen papers were included in our thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Middle-aged non-problematised drinkers constructed their drinking practices by creating a narrative of normative drinking via discourses of gender, identity, play, and learning to drink. They also used drinking norms to construct their gender and identity. Health was not identified as a significant consideration for the population of interest when constructing alcohol consumption, except where drinking behaviours were likely to harm another.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that public health campaigns aimed at reducing alcohol consumption may be more effective if they focus on unacceptable drinking behaviours instead of personal health outcomes.

27 September 2018 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Studies examining the next-day cognitive effects of heavy alcohol consumption have produced mixed findings, which may reflect inconsistencies in definitions of 'hangover'. Recent consensus has defined hangover as 'mental and physical symptoms, experienced the day after a single episode of heavy drinking, starting when blood alcohol concentration (BAC) approaches zero'. In light of this, we aimed to review the literature systematically to evaluate and estimate mean effect sizes of the next-day effects of heavy alcohol consumption on cognition.

METHODS: Embase, PubMed and PsycNET databases were searched between December 2016 and May 2018 using terms based on 'alcohol' and 'hangover'. Studies of experimental designs which reported the next-day cognitive effects of heavy alcohol consumption in a 'hangover' group with BAC < 0.02% were reviewed. A total of 805 articles were identified. Thirty-nine full-text articles were screened by two independent reviewers and 19 included in the systematic review; 11 articles provided sufficient data to be included in the meta-analysis; 1163 participants across 19 studies conducted since 1970 were included in the analysis. Data for study design, hangover severity, BAC at testing and cognitive performance were extracted and effect estimates calculated.

RESULTS: The systematic review suggested that sustained attention and driving abilities were impaired during hangover. Mixed results were observed for: psychomotor skills, short- (STM) and long-term memory (LTM) and divided attention. The meta-analysis revealed evidence of impairments in STM [g = 0.64, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.15-1.13], LTM (Hedges' g = 0.59, 95% CI = 0.01-1.17) sustained attention (g = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.07-0.87) and psychomotor speed (Hedges' g = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.31-1.00) during alcohol hangover.

CONCLUSION: The research literature suggests that alcohol hangovers may involve impaired cognitive functions and performance of everyday tasks such as driving.

27 September 2018 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Recent trends in alcoholic liver disease, alcohol-related emergency room admissions, and alcohol use disorder prevalence as measured by general-population surveys have raised concerns about rising alcohol-related morbidity and mortality in the United States. In contrast, upward trends in per capita alcohol consumption have been comparatively modest.

METHODS: To resolve these discordant observations, we sought to examine trends in the prevalence of alcohol use and binge drinking from 6 regularly or periodically administered national surveys using a meta-analytic approach. Annual or periodic prevalence estimates for past-12-month or past-30-day alcohol use and binge drinking were estimated for available time points between the years 2000 and 2016. Estimates were combined in a random-effects regression model in which prevalence was modeled as a log-linear function of time to obtain meta-analytic trend estimates for the full population and by sex, race, age, and educational attainment.

RESULTS: Meta-analysis-derived estimates of average annual percentage increase in the prevalence of alcohol use and binge drinking were 0.30% per year (95% CI: 0.22%, 0.38%) and 0.72% per year (95% CI: 0.46%, 0.98%), respectively. There was substantial between-survey heterogeneity among trend estimates, although there was notable consistency in the degree to which trends have impacted various demographic groups. For example, most surveys found that the changes in prevalence for alcohol use and binge drinking were large and positive for ages 50 to 64 and 65 and up, and smaller, negative, or nonsignificant for ages 18 to 29.

CONCLUSIONS: Significant increases in the prevalence of alcohol use and of binge drinking over the past 10 to 15 years were observed, but not for all demographic groups. However, the increase in binge drinking among middle-aged and older adults is substantial and may be driving increasing rates of alcohol-related morbidity and mortality.

06 September 2018 In Pregnant Women

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Although prenatal alcohol and nicotine exposure are associated with reduced cognition in children, associations between consumption of alcohol during lactation and cognition have not been examined. We aimed to examine whether drinking or smoking while breastfeeding lowers children's cognitive scores. We hypothesized that increased drinking or smoking would be associated with dose-dependent cognitive reductions.

METHODS: Data were sourced from Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Participants were 5107 Australian infants recruited in 2004 and assessed every 2 years. Multivariable linear regression analyses assessed relationships between drinking and smoking habits of breastfeeding mothers and children's Matrix Reasoning, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition and Who Am I? scores at later waves.

RESULTS: Increased or riskier wave 1 maternal alcohol consumption was associated with reductions in Matrix Reasoning scores at age 6 to 7 years in children who had been breastfed (B = -0.11; SE = 0.03; 95% confidence interval: -0.18 to -0.04; P = .01). This relationship was not evident in infants who had never breastfed (B = -0.02; SE = 0.10; 95% confidence interval = -0.20 to 0.17; P = .87). Smoking during lactation was not associated with any outcome variable.

CONCLUSIONS: Exposing infants to alcohol through breastmilk may cause dose-dependent reductions in their cognitive abilities. This reduction was observed at age 6 to 7 years but was not sustained at age 10 to 11 years. Although the relationship is small, it may be clinically significant when mothers consume alcohol regularly or binge drink. Further analyses will assess relationships between alcohol consumption or tobacco smoking during lactation and academic, developmental, physical, and behavioral outcomes in children.

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