22 June 2017 In Cardiovascular System

Aims: Epidemiological evidence indicates a protective effect of light to moderate alcohol consumption compared to non-drinking and heavy drinking. Although several mechanisms have been suggested, the effect of alcohol on atherosclerotic changes in vessel walls is unclear. Therefore, we explored the relationship between alcohol consumption and common carotid intima media thickness, a marker of early atherosclerosis in the general population.

Methods: Individual participant data from eight cohorts, involving 37,494 individuals from the USE-IMT collaboration were used. Multilevel age and sex adjusted linear regression models were applied to estimate mean differences in common carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) with alcohol consumption.

Results: The mean age was 57.9 years (SD 8.6) and the mean CIMT was 0.75 mm (SD 0.177). About, 40.5% reported no alcohol consumed, and among those who drank, mean consumption was 13.3 g per day (SD 16.4). Those consuming no alcohol or a very small amount (10 g per day, after adjusting for a range of confounding factors. Conclusion: In this large CIMT consortium, we did not find evidence to support a protective effect of alcohol on CIMT.

26 April 2017 In General Health

The relation of alcohol consumption with disease burden remains debated partly due to opposite associations with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. The relation of alcohol consumption with disease burden expressed in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) summarizes opposing associations of alcohol consumption on chronic diseases. This study aimed to investigate the association of alcohol consumption with chronic disease burden expressed in DALYs based on individual-participant data. The study was a prospective study among 33,066 men and women from the EPIC-NL cohort. At baseline, alcohol consumption was assessed with a validated food-frequency questionnaire. Participants were followed for occurrence of and mortality from chronic diseases and DALYs were calculated. After 12.4 years follow-up, 6647 disease incidences and 1482 deaths were documented, resulting in 68,225 healthy years of life lost (6225 DALYs). Moderate drinkers (women 5-14.9 g/day, men 5-29.9 g/day) had a lower chronic disease burden (mean DALYs -0.27; 95% CI -0.43; -0.11) than light drinkers (0-4.9 g/day), driven by a lower disease burden due to CVD (-0.18: -0.29; -0.06) but not cancer (-0.05: -0.16; 0.06). The associations were most pronounced among older participants (>/=50 years; -0.32; -0.53; -0.10) and not observed among younger women (-0.08; -0.43; 0.35), albeit non-significant (pinteraction > 0.14). Substantial drinking (women 15-29.9 g/day, men 30-59.9 g/day) compared to light drinking was not associated with chronic disease burden. Our results show that moderate compared to light alcohol consumption was associated with living approximately 3 months longer in good health. These results were mainly observed among older participants and not seen among younger women.

26 April 2017 In Pregnant Women

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: The practice and adverse consequences of pre-drinking have been documented within a dozen countries, but little remains known about the differences between countries or the country-specific determinants of pre-drinking. This study aims to estimate the percentage of pre-drinkers in different countries and the impact of country-level indicators such as the price of alcohol and the prevalence of drinkers and of heavy drinkers.

DESIGN AND METHODS: Using data from the Global Drug Survey, the percentage of pre-drinkers was estimated for 25 countries from 65 126 respondents. Bivariate and multivariate multilevel models were used to model the impact of the on-premise/off-premise drinks price ratio, the prevalence of current drinkers and of heavy drinkers on the percentage of pre-drinkers.

RESULTS: The estimated percentage of pre-drinkers per country ranged from 17.7% (Greece) to 85.4% (Ireland). Across all countries, the higher the prevalence of current drinkers, the higher the percentage of pre-drinkers. In addition, an interaction between the prevalence of heavy drinkers and the price ratio was found. In countries with a low price ratio, the higher the prevalence of heavy drinkers, the higher the percentage of pre-drinkers. The opposite effect was observed in countries with high price ratios.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Pre-drinking appears to be a worldwide phenomenon. The significant effects of all three indicators demonstrate the role of country-level determinants underpinning the prevalence of pre-drinking across countries. Policy makers could use the reported findings for initiating campaigns to reduce pre-drinking behaviour.

[Labhart F, Ferris J, Winstock A, Kuntsche E. The country-level effects of drinking, heavy drinking and drink prices on pre-drinking: An international comparison of 25 countries. Drug Alcohol Rev 2017;00:000-000]

26 April 2017 In General Health

PURPOSE: Endothelial dysfunction and low-grade inflammation are key phenomena in the pathobiology of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Their dietary modification might explain the observed reduction in CVD that has been associated with a healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish, low in dairy products and with moderate alcohol and red wine consumption. We investigated the associations between the above food groups and endothelial dysfunction and low-grade inflammation in a population-based cohort of Dutch elderly individuals.

METHODS: Diet was measured by food frequency questionnaire (n = 801; women = 399; age 68.5 +/- 7.2 years). Endothelial dysfunction was determined (1) by combining von Willebrand factor, and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, endothelial selectin and thrombomodulin, using Z-scores, into a biomarker score and (2) by flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD), and low-grade inflammation by combining C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A, interleukin 6, interleukin 8, tumour necrosis factor alpha and sICAM-1 into a biomarker score, with smaller FMD and higher scores representing more dysfunction and inflammation, respectively. We used linear regression analyses to adjust associations for sex, age, energy, glucose metabolism, body mass index, smoking, prior CVD, educational level, physical activity and each of the other food groups.

RESULTS: Moderate [beta (95% CI) -0.13 (-0.33; 0.07)] and high [-0.22 (-0.45; -0.003)] alcohol consumption, and red wine [-0.16 (-0.30; -0.01)] consumption, but none of the other food groups, were associated with a lower endothelial dysfunction biomarker score and a greater FMD. The associations for FMD were, however, not statistically significant. Only red wine consumption was associated with a lower low-grade inflammation biomarker score [-0.18 (-0.33; -0.04)].

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol and red wine consumption may favourably influence processes involved in atherothrombosis.

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