26 June 2020 In Cancer

Introduction: Alcohol is a carcinogen for human cancer. This contribution summarizes the relationships between alcohol use and gastrointestinal cancers, and implications for prevention.

Methods: Comparative risk assessment and narrative literature review.

Results: The following gastrointestinal cancer sites were found to be causally impacted by alcohol use: lip and oral cavity, pharynx other than nasopharynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, and liver. Globally, 368,000 deaths (304,000 men and 64,000 women) and more than 10 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost (10.1 million; 8.4 million men and 1.6 million women) in 2016 were attributable to alcohol use, making up about 10% of all deaths and DALYs lost due to these cancers, respectively.

There are effective and cost-effective alcohol control policies available to reduce this burden, namely the best buys of increasing taxation, reducing availability, and banning advertisement. In addition, public knowledge about the alcohol-cancer link should be increased. Discussion: There are a number of assumptions underlying these estimates, but overall all of them seem to be conservative.

04 May 2020 In Cardiovascular System

AIMS: To investigate associations of life-time hazardous and binge drinking with biomarkers of cardiometabolic health, liver function, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study with median follow-up time to CVD incidence of 4.5 years.

SETTING: London, UK: civil servants within the Whitehall II Study.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 4820 drinkers aged 59-83 years with biological measurements during the 2011-12 survey.

MEASUREMENTS: Hazardous drinking was defined as having an AUDIT-C score >/= 5 calculated at each decade of life, forming the following groups: never hazardous drinker, former early (stopping before age 50), former later (stopping after age 50), current hazardous drinker and consistent hazardous drinker (hazardous drinker at each decade of life).

FINDINGS: More than half the sample had been hazardous drinkers at some point during their life-time, comprising former early (< age 50) (19%), former later (>/= age 50) (11%), current (21%) and consistent hazardous drinker (AUDIT-C >/= 5 across life (5%). After adjusting for covariates, waist circumference was larger with more persistent hazardous drinking (e.g. compared with never hazardous drinkers, former early had increased waist circumference by 1.17 cm [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.25-2.08]; former later by 1.88 cm (CI = 0.77-2.98); current by 2.44 cm (CI = 1.50-3.34) and consistent hazardous drinker by 3.85 cm (CI = 2.23-5.47). Current hazardous drinkers had higher systolic blood pressure (2.44 mmHg, CI = 1.19-3.68) and fatty liver index scores (4.05 mmHg, CI = 2.92-5.18) than never hazardous drinkers. Current hazardous drinkers [hazard ratio (HR) = 2.75, CI = 1.44-5.22) had an elevated risk of stroke, and former later hazardous drinkers had an elevated risk of non-CVD mortality (HR = 1.93, CI = 1.19-3.14) than never hazardous drinkers. Life-time binge drinking was associated with larger waist circumferences and poorer liver function compared with never binge drinkers.

CONCLUSION: Hazardous drinking may increase cardiometabolic risk factors; this is made worse by persistent hazardous drinking throughout life, particularly in relation to weight gain, suggesting benefits of early intervention.

21 February 2020 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Excessive alcohol use is the third leading cause of mortality in the United States, where alcohol use consistently increased over the last decades. This trend is currently maintained, despite regulatory policies aimed to counteract it. While the increased health risks resulting from alcohol use are evident, some open questions regarding alcohol use and its consequences in the US population remain.

OBJECTIVES: The current work aims to evaluate the relation between alcohol consumption trends over a period of 15 y with all-cause and cause-specific mortality. In addition, we evaluate the adequacy of the current alcohol recommended limits according to the 2015-2020 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans (USDGA).

METHODS: This was a prospective population-based study defined by the NHANES conducted over the period 1999-2014 linked to US mortality registry in 2015.

RESULTS: The sample, composed of 34,672 participants, was observed for a median period of 7.8 y, totaling 282,855 person-years. In the present sample, 4,303 deaths were observed. Alcohol use increased during the period 1999-2014. Alcohol use above the current US recommendations was associated with increased all-cause and cause-specific mortality risk, ranging from 39% to 126%. A proportion of these deaths, ranging from 19% to 26%, could be theoretically prevented if US citizens followed current guidelines, and 13% of all-cause deaths in men could be avoided if the current US guidelines for women (1 standard drink/d) were applied to them.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study provides evidence in support of limiting alcohol intake in adherence to the USDGA recommendations.

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.

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