26 February 2019 In Cancer

Background and aims: Cancer has emerged as the leading cause of death in human populations. The contribution of alcohol has been highly suspected. The purpose of this paper was to analyze the time trend of digestive cancers in Romania, in terms of mortality rates (1955-2012), and incidence rates (2008-2012), and the alcohol consumption data (1961-2010), aiming to find out if there is any association.

Methods: The data on six more common digestive cancers mortality rates (1955-2012) and incidence rates (2008-2012) were obtained from the historical and recent country statistics and publications of International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)/World Health Organisation (WHO), as age-standardized rate expressed per 100,000 population (ASRw). Data on alcohol consumption were obtained from the statistics and publications of WHO and United European Gastroenterology (UEG), as liters of pure alcohol/year. Results: Between 1955-2012, the ASRw of mortality registered an increase of the cancers of the esophagus in M (from 2.03 to 3.90), and of colorectal cancer in both sexes (from 4.65 to 18.20 in M, and from 4.57 to 9.70 in F). Between 1980-2012, an increasing trend of mortality was registered, in both sexes, for the cancers of the pancreas (from 5.50 to 9.30 in M and from 2.92 to 5.10 in F) and liver (from 1.77 to 11.00, in M, and from 0.83 to 4.20 in F). In terms of incidence, between 2008-20012, an increasing trend of ASRw was registered for the cancers of the esophagus in M (from 3.90 to 4.30), gastric cancer in M (from 15.90 to 16.30), colorectal cancer in both sexes (from 27.60 to 34.50 in M and from 19.00 to 20.20 in F), pancreatic cancer in F (form 5.20 to 5.90), and liver cancer in M (from 8.10 to 9.20). Alcohol consumption per capita (liters pure alcohol/year) increased in the same period, from an average of 5 in 1961, to 12.8 in 2003-2005, and to 14.4 in 2008-2010.

Conclusions: Given the parallel increase of some digestive cancers and alcohol consumption registered in our area, alcohol could represent more than a coincidence.

22 February 2019 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Background and aims: Cancer has emerged as the leading cause of death in human populations. The contribution of alcohol has been highly suspected. The purpose of this paper was to analyze the time trend of digestive cancers in Romania, in terms of mortality rates (1955-2012), and incidence rates (2008-2012), and the alcohol consumption data (1961-2010), aiming to find out if there is any association.

Methods: The data on six more common digestive cancers mortality rates (1955-2012) and incidence rates (2008-2012) were obtained from the historical and recent country statistics and publications of International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)/World Health Organisation (WHO), as age-standardized rate expressed per 100,000 population (ASRw). Data on alcohol consumption were obtained from the statistics and publications of WHO and United European Gastroenterology (UEG), as liters of pure alcohol/year. Results: Between 1955-2012, the ASRw of mortality registered an increase of the cancers of the esophagus in M (from 2.03 to 3.90), and of colorectal cancer in both sexes (from 4.65 to 18.20 in M, and from 4.57 to 9.70 in F). Between 1980-2012, an increasing trend of mortality was registered, in both sexes, for the cancers of the pancreas (from 5.50 to 9.30 in M and from 2.92 to 5.10 in F) and liver (from 1.77 to 11.00, in M, and from 0.83 to 4.20 in F). In terms of incidence, between 2008-20012, an increasing trend of ASRw was registered for the cancers of the esophagus in M (from 3.90 to 4.30), gastric cancer in M (from 15.90 to 16.30), colorectal cancer in both sexes (from 27.60 to 34.50 in M and from 19.00 to 20.20 in F), pancreatic cancer in F (form 5.20 to 5.90), and liver cancer in M (from 8.10 to 9.20). Alcohol consumption per capita (liters pure alcohol/year) increased in the same period, from an average of 5 in 1961, to 12.8 in 2003-2005, and to 14.4 in 2008-2010.

Conclusions: Given the parallel increase of some digestive cancers and alcohol consumption registered in our area, alcohol could represent more than a coincidence.

22 February 2019 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Unhealthy alcohol use (UAU) is one of the major causes of preventable morbidity, mortality, and associated behavioral risks worldwide. Although mobile health (mHealth) interventions can provide consumers with an effective means for self-control of UAU in a timely, ubiquitous, and cost-effective manner, to date, there is a lack of understanding about different health outcomes brought by such interventions. The core components of these interventions are also unclear.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to systematically review and synthesize the research evidence about the efficacy of mHealth interventions on various health outcomes for consumer self-control of UAU and to identify the core components to achieve these outcomes.

METHODS: We systematically searched 7 electronic interdisciplinary databases: Scopus, PubMed, PubMed Central, CINAHL Plus with full text, MEDLINE with full text, PsycINFO, and PsycARTICLES. Search terms and Medical Subject Headings "mHealth," "text message," "SMS," "App," "IVR," "self-control," "self-regulation," "alcohol*," and "intervention" were used individually or in combination to identify peer-reviewed publications in English from 2008 to 2017. We screened titles and abstracts and assessed full-text papers as per inclusion and exclusion criteria. Data were extracted from the included papers according to the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials-EHEALTH checklist (V 1.6.1) by 2 authors independently. Data quality was assessed by the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Data synthesis and analyses were conducted following the procedures for qualitative content analysis. Statistical testing was also conducted to test differences among groups of studies. RESULTS: In total, 19 studies were included in the review. Of these 19 studies, 12 (63%) mHealth interventions brought significant positive outcomes in improving participants' health as measured by behavioral (n=11), physiological (n=1), and cognitive indicators (n=1). No significant health outcome was reported in 6 studies (6/19, 32%). Surprisingly, a significant negative outcome was reported for the male participants in the intervention arm in 1 study (1/19, 5%), but no change was found for the female participants. In total, 5 core components reported in the mHealth interventions for consumer self-control of UAU were context, theoretical base, delivery mode, content, and implementation procedure. However, sound evidence is yet to be generated about the role of each component for mHealth success. The health outcomes were similar regardless of types of UAU, deployment setting, with or without nonmobile cointervention, and with or without theory.

CONCLUSIONS: Most studies reported mHealth interventions for self-control of UAU appeared to be improving behavior, especially the ones delivered by short message service and interactive voice response systems. Further studies are needed to gather sound evidence about the effects of mHealth interventions on improving physiological and cognitive outcomes as well as the optimal design of these interventions, their implementation, and effects in supporting self-control of UAU.

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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