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.

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.

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