06 May 2014 In General Health




PURPOSE: To assess whether alcohol consumption is associated with the long-term incidence of cataract or cataract surgery. DESIGN: Population-based prospective cohort study. METHODS: A total of 3654 persons aged 49+ years were examined at baseline and 2564 were re-examined after 5 and/or 10 years. Lens photographs were taken at each visit and assessed using the Wisconsin Cataract Grading System by masked graders. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on alcohol consumption. RESULTS: No significant associations were observed between alcohol consumption and long-term risk of nuclear, cortical, and posterior subcapsular cataract. However, after adjusting for age, gender, smoking, diabetes, myopia, socioeconomic status, and steroid use, total alcohol consumption of over 2 standard drinks per day was associated with a significantly increased likelihood of cataract surgery, when compared to total daily alcohol consumption of 1 to 2 standard drinks (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.10, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.16-3.81). Abstinence from alcohol was also associated with increased likelihood of cataract surgery when compared to a total alcohol consumption of 1 to 2 standard drinks per day (adjusted OR 2.36, 95% CI 1.25-4.46). CONCLUSION: A U-shaped association of alcohol consumption with the long-term risk of cataract surgery was found in this older cohort: moderate consumption was associated with 50% lower cataract surgery incidence, compared either to abstinence or heavy alcohol consumption.




AIM: To examine the longitudinal associations between moral disengagement, alcohol related expectancies, perceived self-regulatory efficacy and alcohol use amongst adolescents.

DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: A total of 367 students (mean age=13.1, SD=0.51; 65% male) from five schools across Sydney, Australia took part in this longitudinal study. Participants completed a self-report questionnaire at four time points across an 18month period which assessed their alcohol use, levels of moral disengagement, alcohol related expectancies and perceived self-regulatory efficacy to resist peer pressure to engage in transgressive behaviours.

RESULTS: Over time, rates of binge drinking in the past three months significantly increased, but rates of drinking any alcohol in the past three months remained stable. As hypothesised, all three cognitions were independently and consistently associated with adolescent alcohol use and binge drinking over time, with the exception of perceived self-regulatory efficacy which was not associated with an increased risk of drinking any alcohol in the past three months when controlling for moral disengagement, alcohol expectancies, gender and age.

CONCLUSIONS: The current study is the first study to longitudinally map three distinct cognitive factors associated with adolescent alcohol use. Considering the alarming number of adolescents drinking at levels that place them at risk of significant harm, this study has provided important implications about cognitive factors that can be targeted to increase the accuracy of assessment and efficacy of prevention for alcohol misuse amongst adolescents.

BACKGROUND: Studies of episodic drinking typically use a measure based on the frequency of drinking five or more standard drinks (a definition which itself varies based on the standard units being used). While this threshold clearly defines drinking behaviour with a range of risks and negative consequences, there has been limited research outside of US college-based studies to determine the appropriateness of this definition. This study examines fifteen different risky-drinking thresholds to assess which definitions of risky drinking best predict negative outcomes.

METHODS: This paper presents an analysis of a national survey sample of 19,757 drinkers. The appropriateness of each threshold is assessed using basic risk-curves, specificity and sensitivity analyses and the performance of each threshold definition in multivariate logistic regression models. Risky drinking was defined in fifteen ways (based on frequency and volume) and tested against a series of self-reported negative outcomes and risky behaviours.

RESULTS: The study finds that the most appropriate risky drinking threshold for these data varies based on the mode of analysis and on the type of outcome being considered. Across all approaches used, risky drinking thresholds of seven or fewer drinks performed better than higher thresholds.

CONCLUSIONS: While individual level risks peak at higher levels of consumption, these findings support the continuing use of relatively low thresholds for defining risky-drinking, as risk across the total population is highest at these levels.

Introduction and Aims: In response to increasing concerns about excessive drinking among young people the Australian alcohol industry announced that it will introduce more visible standard drink labels. This study sought to examine whether young people use this information in a way that decreases, or increases, alcohol-related harms.

Design and Methods: Six focus groups with students enrolled in an undergraduate university course in a large regional city in New South Wales, recruited by direct approach on the university grounds and via an online message posted on the university bulletin board.

Results: The majority of the participants reported that they are aware of the existence of standard drink labelling; notice standard drink labels; and take these into account when choosing what to purchase. However, this was predominantly to help them choose the strongest drinks for the lowest cost.

Discussion and Conclusions: This study provides initial evidence to support the view that standard drink labelling, in isolation of other modifications to product packaging and marketing, is likely to serve to further increase heavy drinking among young people.

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