04 August 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Falls are a major health problem in older adults, but their relationship with alcohol consumption in this population remains unclear. In a cohort with 2170 older adults followed up for 3.3 years, both moderate drinking and the Mediterranean drinking pattern were associated with a lower risk of falls and injurious falls.

INTRODUCTION: This study aims to examine the association between certain patterns of alcohol consumption, including the Mediterranean drinking pattern (MDP), and the risk of falls in older adults.

METHODS: A prospective cohort with 2170 community-dwelling individuals aged >/=60 years was recruited in Spain in 2008-2010 and followed up through 2012. At baseline, participants reported alcohol consumption and, at the end of follow-up, their falls during the previous year. The MDP was defined as moderate alcohol consumption (threshold between moderate and heavy intake was 40 g/day for men and 24 g/day for women) with preference for wine and drinking only with meals. Analyses were conducted with negative binomial or logistic regression, as appropriate, and adjusted for the main confounders.

RESULTS: Compared with never drinkers, the number of falls was lower in moderate drinkers (incidence rate ratio (95% confidence interval), 0.79 (0.63-0.99)) and drinkers with MDP (0.73 (0.56-0.96)). Also, moderate drinkers and those with MDP showed a lower risk of >/=2 falls (odds ratio (95% confidence interval), 0.58 (0.38-0.88) and 0.56 (0.34-0.93), respectively) and of falls requiring medical care (0.67 (0.46-0.96) and 0.61 (0.39-0.96), respectively).

CONCLUSION: Both moderate drinking and the MDP were associated with a lower risk of falls and injurious falls in older adults. However, sound advice on alcohol consumption should balance risks and benefits.

26 April 2017 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the association between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease at higher resolution by examining the initial lifetime presentation of 12 cardiac, cerebrovascular, abdominal, or peripheral vascular diseases among five categories of consumption.

DESIGN: Population based cohort study of linked electronic health records covering primary care, hospital admissions, and mortality in 1997-2010 (median follow-up six years).

SETTING: CALIBER (ClinicAl research using LInked Bespoke studies and Electronic health Records).

PARTICIPANTS: 1 937 360 adults (51% women), aged >/=30 who were free from cardiovascular disease at baseline.

MAIN OUTCOME: measures 12 common symptomatic manifestations of cardiovascular disease, including chronic stable angina, unstable angina, acute myocardial infarction, unheralded coronary heart disease death, heart failure, sudden coronary death/cardiac arrest, transient ischaemic attack, ischaemic stroke, intracerebral and subarachnoid haemorrhage, peripheral arterial disease, and abdominal aortic aneurysm.

RESULTS: 114 859 individuals received an incident cardiovascular diagnosis during follow-up. Non-drinking was associated with an increased risk of unstable angina (hazard ratio 1.33, 95% confidence interval 1.21 to 1.45), myocardial infarction (1.32, 1.24 to1.41), unheralded coronary death (1.56, 1.38 to 1.76), heart failure (1.24, 1.11 to 1.38), ischaemic stroke (1.12, 1.01 to 1.24), peripheral arterial disease (1.22, 1.13 to 1.32), and abdominal aortic aneurysm (1.32, 1.17 to 1.49) compared with moderate drinking (consumption within contemporaneous UK weekly/daily guidelines of 21/3 and 14/2 units for men and women, respectively). Heavy drinking (exceeding guidelines) conferred an increased risk of presenting with unheralded coronary death (1.21, 1.08 to 1.35), heart failure (1.22, 1.08 to 1.37), cardiac arrest (1.50, 1.26 to 1.77), transient ischaemic attack (1.11, 1.02 to 1.37), ischaemic stroke (1.33, 1.09 to 1.63), intracerebral haemorrhage (1.37, 1.16 to 1.62), and peripheral arterial disease (1.35; 1.23 to 1.48), but a lower risk of myocardial infarction (0.88, 0.79 to 1.00) or stable angina (0.93, 0.86 to 1.00).

CONCLUSIONS: Heterogeneous associations exist between level of alcohol consumption and the initial presentation of cardiovascular diseases. This has implications for counselling patients, public health communication, and clinical research, suggesting a more nuanced approach to the role of alcohol in prevention of cardiovascular disease is necessary.

Registration clinicaltrails.gov (NCT01864031)

27 February 2017 In Social and Cultural Aspects

BACKGROUND: Many countries use warnings in an attempt to regulate alcohol consumption. However, there is a lack of conclusive evidence in the research on alcohol warnings to support decision-making on effective health policies. This study explores the effectiveness of two mandatory warnings introduced in France in 1991 and 2007: the first ("Alcohol abuse is harmful") is displayed on advertisements; the second (a pictogram) on bottles. Given that advertising content regulations have been implemented in some countries to reduce the attractiveness of alcohol marketing (e.g., the Evin law in France), this research also aims to explore whether such regulations can improve the effectiveness of warnings.

METHOD: In-depth interviews were conducted with 26 French people aged 15-29. The effectiveness of health warnings was assessed in terms of recall, noticeability, credibility, comprehension, responsiveness and ability to encourage moderate drinking and abstinence during pregnancy. Participants were shown advertisements and bottles that either followed or challenged content regulations. The data was analysed using double manual coding and NVivo software.

RESULTS: While both warnings suffered from a lack of visibility and noticeability due to their size, location, outdatedness and because of competition from marketing design elements, the warning on the advertisement that followed content regulations was most visible. Both warnings were considered to be informationally vague, lacking in credibility and ineffective in terms of making participants feel concerned and influencing consumption habits.

CONCLUSION: Current French warnings are ineffective and require modification. Improvements are suggested regarding the design and content of warnings to help increase their effectiveness.

01 February 2017 In Liver Disease

BACKGROUND: Liver damage is a serious and sometimes fatal consequence of long-term alcohol intake, which progresses from early-stage fatty liver (steatosis) to later-stage steatohepatitis with inflammation and fibrosis/necrosis. However, very little is known about earlier stages of liver disruption that may occur in problem drinkers, those who drink excessively but are not dependent on alcohol.

METHODS: We examined how repeated binge-like alcohol drinking in C57BL/6 mice altered liver function, as compared with a single binge-intake session and with repeated moderate alcohol consumption. We measured a number of markers associated with early- and later-stage liver disruption, including liver steatosis, measures of liver cytochrome P4502E1 (CYP2E1) and alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), alcohol metabolism, expression of cytokine mRNA, accumulation of 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) as an indicator of oxidative stress, and alanine transaminase/aspartate transaminase as a measure of hepatocyte injury.

RESULTS: Importantly, repeated binge-like alcohol drinking increased triglyceride levels in the liver and plasma, and increased lipid droplets in the liver, indicators of steatosis. In contrast, a single binge-intake session or repeated moderate alcohol consumption did not alter triglyceride levels. In addition, alcohol exposure can increase rates of alcohol metabolism through CYP2E1 and ADH, which can potentially increase oxidative stress and liver dysfunction. Intermittent, excessive alcohol intake increased liver CYP2E1 mRNA, protein, and activity, as well as ADH mRNA and activity. Furthermore, repeated, binge-like drinking, but not a single binge or moderate drinking, increased alcohol metabolism. Finally, repeated, excessive intake transiently elevated mRNA for the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1B and 4-HNE levels, but did not alter markers of later-stage liver hepatocyte injury.

CONCLUSIONS: Together, we provide data suggesting that even relatively limited binge-like alcohol drinking can lead to disruptions in liver function, which might facilitate the transition to more severe forms of liver damage.

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