27 September 2019 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption in later life has increased in the past decade, and the relationship between alcohol consumption and mortality is controversial. Recent studies suggest little, if any, health benefit to alcohol. Yet most rely on single-time point consumption assessments and minimal confounder adjustments.

METHODS: We report on 16 years of follow-up from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) cohorts born 1931 to 1941 (N = 7,904, baseline mean age = 61, SD = 3.18). Respondents were queried about drinking frequency/quantity. Mortality was established via exit interviews and confirmed with the national death index. Time-varying confounders included but were not limited to household assets, smoking, body mass index, health/functioning, depression, chronic disease; time-invariant confounders included baseline age, education, sex, and race.

RESULTS: After adjustment, current abstainers had the highest risk of subsequent mortality, consistent with sick quitters, and moderate (men: HR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.60 to 0.91; women: HR = 0.82, 95% CI: 0.63 to 1.07) drinking was associated with a lower mortality rate compared with occasional drinking, though smokers and men evidenced less of an inverse association. Quantitative bias analyses indicated that omitted confounders would need to be associated with ~4-fold increases in mortality rates for men and ~9-fold increases for women to change the results.

CONCLUSIONS: There are consistent associations between moderate/occasional drinking and lower mortality, though residual confounding remains a threat to validity. Continued efforts to conduct large-scale observational studies of alcohol consumption and mortality are needed to characterize the changing patterns of consumption in older age.

27 September 2019 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk of breast cancer; however, its association with subsequent risk of breast cancer death is unclear.

METHODS: We followed 4523 women with complete information on relevant risk factors for mortality; these women were 35 to 64 years of age when diagnosed with incident invasive breast cancer between 1994 and 1998. During follow up (median, 8.6 years), 1055 women died; 824 died from breast cancer. The information on alcohol consumption before diagnosis was collected shortly after breast cancer diagnosis (average: 5.1 months) during an in-person interview which used a structured questionnaire. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models provided hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for breast cancer-specific mortality, mortality due to causes other than breast cancer, and all-cause mortality associated with alcohol consumption from age 15 years until breast cancer diagnosis and during recent periods of time prior to breast cancer diagnosis.

RESULTS: Average weekly alcohol consumption from age 15 years until breast cancer diagnosis was inversely associated with breast cancer-specific mortality (Ptrend = 0.01). Compared to non-drinkers, women in the highest average weekly alcohol consumption category (>/=7 drinks/week) had 25% lower risk of breast cancer-specific mortality (HR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.56-1.00). Breast cancer mortality risk was also reduced among women in the highest average weekly alcohol consumption category in two recent time periods (5-year period ending 2-years prior to breast cancer diagnosis, HR = 0.74, 95% CI = 0.57-0.95; 2-year period immediately prior to breast cancer diagnosis: HR = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.56-0.95). Furthermore, analyses of average weekly alcohol consumption by beverage type from age 15 years until breast cancer diagnosis suggested that wine consumption was inversely associated with breast cancer-specific mortality risk (wine Ptrend = 0.06, beer Ptrend = 0.24, liquor Ptrend = 0.74). No association with any of these alcohol consumption variables was observed for mortality risk due to causes other than breast cancer.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, we found no evidence that alcohol consumption before breast cancer diagnosis increases subsequent risk of death from breast cancer.

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.

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