24 January 2020 In Cancer

The Mediterranean Diet (MD) has been associated with reduced mortality and risk of cardiovascular diseases, but there is only limited evidence on cancer. We investigated the relationship between adherence to MD and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer (and estrogen/progesterone receptor subtypes, ER/PR).

In the Netherlands Cohort Study, 62,573 women aged 55-69 years provided information on dietary and lifestyle habits in 1986. Follow-up for cancer incidence until 2007 (20.3 years) consisted of record linkages with the Netherlands Cancer Registry and the Dutch Pathology Registry PALGA. Adherence to MD was estimated through the alternate Mediterranean Diet Score excluding alcohol.

Multivariate case-cohort analyses were based on 2,321 incident breast cancer cases and 1,665 subcohort members with complete data on diet and potential confounders. We also conducted meta-analyses of our results with those of other published cohort studies.

We found a statistically significant inverse association between MD adherence and risk of ER negative (ER-) breast cancer, with a hazard ratio of 0.60 (95% Confidence Interval, 0.39-0.93) for high versus low MD adherence (ptrend = 0.032). MD adherence showed only nonsignificant weak inverse associations with ER positive (ER+) or total breast cancer risk.

In meta-analyses, summary HRs for high versus low MD adherence were 0.94 for total postmenopausal breast cancer, 0.98 for ER+, 0.73 for ER- and 0.77 for ER - PR- breast cancer. Our findings support an inverse association between MD adherence and, particularly, receptor negative breast cancer. This may have important implications for prevention because of the poorer prognosis of these breast cancer subtypes.

24 June 2019 In Diabetes

BACKGROUND: Previous studies identified conflicting results about the effects of wine intake on glucose parameters and the risk of cardiovascular diseases in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The present study further investigated the association between wine digestion and these outcomes in T2DM patients.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A search of PubMed, Embase, and Scopus databases (up to November 2018) was performed for randomized interventional trials which evaluated the effect of wine on blood pressure (BP), glucose parameters and lipid profiles in T2DM people. We used a variety of tests: fixed and random effects models, Q Cochrane test and I index, Egger and Begg tests, forest plots, and sensitivity analysis in our study.

RESULTS: A total of 9 randomized interventional studies were included in this meta-analysis. Overall, significant association between wine intake with diastolic BP (weighted mean difference [WMD] = 0.10; 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: -0.01 to 0.20, P = .03 I = 13%) and total cholesterol (TC) (WMD = 0.16, 95% CI: 0.02-0.31, P = .03, I = 6%), whereas no noticeable differences in glucose parameters, systolic BP, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC), triglyceride (TG) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC) were identified between wine and controls groups (fasting glucose [FG],WMD = -0.00, 95% CI: -0.58 to 0.58; fasting insulin [FI], -0.22, -2.09 to 1.65; HbAc1%, -0.16, -0.40 to 0.07; systolic blood pressure, 0.12, -0.05 to 0.28; LDLC, -0.02, -0.25 to 0.21; TG, -0.34, -1.31 to 0.64; HDLC, 0.22, -0.08 to 0.53].

CONCLUSION: This meta-analysis revealed that moderate wine consumption among T2DM patients could reduce the level of diastolic blood pressure and TC, but not glucose parameters and other cardiovascular risk factors.

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 Drinking & Driving

BACKGROUND: Drink driving is an important risk factor for road traffic accidents (RTAs), which cause high levels of morbidity and mortality globally. Lowering the permitted blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for drivers is a common public health intervention that is enacted in countries and jurisdictions across the world. In Scotland, on Dec 5, 2014, the BAC limit for drivers was reduced from 0.08 g/dL to 0.05 g/dL. We therefore aimed to evaluate the effects of this change on RTAs and alcohol consumption.

METHODS: In this natural experiment, we used an observational, comparative interrupted time-series design by use of data on RTAs and alcohol consumption in Scotland (the interventional group) and England and Wales (the control group). We obtained weekly counts of RTAs from police accident records and we estimated weekly off-trade (eg, in supermarkets and convenience stores) and 4-weekly on-trade (eg, in bars and restaurants) alcohol consumption from market research data. We also used data from automated traffic counters as denominators to calculate RTA rates. We estimated the effect of the intervention on RTAs by use of negative binomial panel regression and on alcohol consumption outcomes by use of seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average models. Our primary outcome was weekly rates of RTAs in Scotland, England, and Wales. This study is registered with ISRCTN, number ISRCTN38602189.

FINDINGS: We assessed the weekly rate of RTAs and alcohol consumption between Jan 1, 2013, and Dec 31, 2016, before and after the BAC limit came into effect on Dec 5, 2014. After the reduction in BAC limits for drivers in Scotland, we found no significant change in weekly RTA rates after adjustment for seasonality and underlying temporal trend (rate ratio 1.01, 95% CI 0.94-1.08; p=0.77) or after adjustment for seasonality, the underlying temporal trend, and the driver characteristics of age, sex, and socioeconomic deprivation (1.00, 0.96-1.06; p=0.73). Relative to RTAs in England and Wales, where the reduction in BAC limit for drivers did not occur, we found a 7% increase in weekly RTA rates in Scotland after this reduction in BAC limit for drivers (1.07, 1.02-1.13; p=0.007 in the fully-adjusted model). Similar findings were observed for serious or fatal RTAs and single-vehicle night-time RTAs. The change in legislation in Scotland was associated with no change in alcohol consumption, measured by per-capita off-trade sales (-0.3%, -1.7 to 1.1; p=0.71), but a 0.7% decrease in alcohol consumption measured by per-capita on-trade sales (-0.7%, -0.8 to -0.5; p<0.0001).

INTERPRETATION: Lowering the driving BAC limit to 0.05 g/dL from 0.08 g/dL in Scotland was not associated with a reduction in RTAs, but this change was associated with a small reduction in per-capita alcohol consumption from on-trade alcohol sales. One plausible explanation is that the legislative change was not suitably enforced-for example with random breath testing measures. Our findings suggest that changing the legal BAC limit for drivers in isolation does not improve RTA outcomes. These findings have significant policy implications internationally as several countries and jurisdictions consider a similar reduction in the BAC limit for drivers.

FUNDING: National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research Programme.

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