26 August 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) levels in the blood can be a sensitive marker of liver injury but the extent to which they give insight into risk across multiple outcomes in a clinically useful way remains uncertain.

METHODS: Using data from 293,667 UK Biobank participants, the relationship of GGT concentrations to self-reported alcohol intake and adiposity markers were investigated. We next investigated whether GGT predicted liver-related, cardiovascular (CV) or all-cause mortality, and potentially improved CV risk prediction.

FINDINGS: Higher alcohol intake and greater waist circumference (WC) were associated with higher GGT; the association was stronger for alcohol with evidence of a synergistic effect of WC. Higher GGT concentrations were associated with multiple outcomes. Compared to a GGT of 14.5 U/L (lowest decile), values of 48 U/L for women and 60 U/L for men (common upper limits of 'normal') had hazard ratios (HRs) for liver-related mortality of 1.83 (95% CI 1.60-2.11) and 3.25 (95% CI 2.38-4.42) respectively, for CV mortality of 1.21 (95% CI 1.14-1.28) and 1.43 (95% CI 1.27-1.60) and for all-cause mortality of 1.15 (95% CI 1.12-1.18) and 1.31 (95% CI 1.24-1.38). Adding GGT to a risk algorithm for CV mortality reclassified an additional 1.24% (95% CI 0.14-2.34) of participants across a binary 5% 10-year risk threshold.

INTERPRETATION: Our study suggests that a modest elevation in GGT levels should trigger a discussion with the individual to review diet and lifestyle including alcohol intake and consideration of formal liver disease and CV risk assessment if not previously done.

FUNDING: British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence Grant (grant number RE/18/6/34217), NHS Research Scotland (grant number SCAF/15/02), the Medical Research Council (grant number MC_UU_00022/2); and the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (grant number SPHSU17).

28 April 2022 In Dementia

BACKGROUND: Dementia indicates a significant disease burden worldwide with increased population aging. This study aimed to investigate the impact of alcohol consumption on the risk of cognitive impairment in older adults.

METHODS: Participants >/= 60 years were administered the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) to evaluate cognitive function in National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) cycles from 1999 to 2002 and 2011 to 2014 for enrollment in the present study. Participants were categorized into non-drinker, drinker, and heavy drinker groups. Logistic regression analyses were performed to explore associations between cognitive impairment and alcohol consumption.

RESULTS: Multivariate analysis showed that older adults, men, people from minority races, persons with lower education or income levels, social difficulties, hypertension, or chronic kidney disease were significantly associated with a higher risk of cognitive impairment (all p < 0.05). In the young old (60-69 years), heavy amount of alcohol drinking was significantly associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment compared with drinkers [adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 0.280, 95% Confidence interval (CI) 0.095-0.826]. But in the middle old persons (>/= 70 years), heavy alcohol drinking was associated with higher risk of cognitive impairment (aOR: 2.929, 95% CI 0.624-13.74).

CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated that light to heavy drinking was associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment in participants aged between 60 and 69 years, but caution is needed in the middle old people with heavy alcohol drinking.

25 August 2020 In General Health

BACKGROUND:AIMS: Gallstone disease (GSD) is a common gastrointestinal disorder. Clinical epidemiological studies revealed that alcohol consumption has a preventive effect on the development of GSD. This study aimed to evaluate the relative risks of drinking for GSD development and investigate the dose-response relationships.

METHODS: A systematic search of the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases for studies published up to 2018 was performed. All studies that satisfied the following eligibility criteria were included: patients with GSD with or without cholecystitis; and cohort or case-control studies investigating the association between alcohol consumption and GSD development.

RESULTS: Sixteen case-control studies including 24,401 gallstone cases and 76,185 controls, and eight cohort studies with 14,693 GSD cases among 2,432,471 person-years were enrolled. Alcohol consumption presented a decreased overall risk of GSD (pooled relative ratio [RR], 0.84; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 to 0.89; p=0.02). Subgroup analyses according to drinking levels indicated a gradual risk reduction for GSD compared to nondrinkers (light: RR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.94 to 0.99; p=0.75; moderate: RR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.75 to 0.85; p=0.27; high: RR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.56 to 0.79; p0.01). A nonlinear risk reduction was observed in a dose-response meta-analysis of all the studies (n=14, p0.01 for nonlinearity).

CONCLUSIONS: In this systematic review with meta-analysis, alcohol consumption could decrease the risk of GSD, and the dose-response analysis revealed a dose-dependent linear risk reduction and a weakened linear trend between alcohol consumption levels less than and greater than 28 g/day.

26 June 2020 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: The causal role of alcohol consumption for cardiovascular disease remains unclear. We used Mendelian randomization (MR) to predict the effect of alcohol consumption on 8 cardiovascular diseases.

METHODS: Up to 94 single-nucleotide polymorphisms were used as instrumental variables for alcohol consumption. Genetic association estimates for cardiovascular diseases were obtained from large-scale consortia and UK Biobank. Analyses were conducted using the inverse variance-weighted, weighted median, MR-PRESSO, MR-Egger, and multivariable MR methods.

RESULTS: Genetically predicted alcohol consumption was consistently associated with stroke and peripheral artery disease across the different analyses. The odds ratios (ORs) per 1-SD increase of log-transformed alcoholic drinks per week were 1.27 ([95% CI, 1.12-1.45] P=2.87x10(-4)) for stroke and 3.05 ([95% CI, 1.92-4.85] P=2.30x10(-6)) for peripheral artery disease in the inverse variance-weighted analysis. There was some evidence for positive associations of genetically predicted alcohol consumption with coronary artery disease (OR, 1.16 [95% CI, 1.00-1.36]; P=0.052), atrial fibrillation (OR, 1.17 [95% CI, 1.00-1.37]; P=0.050), and abdominal aortic aneurysm (OR, 2.60 [95% CI, 1.15-5.89]; P=0.022) in the inverse variance-weighted analysis. These associations were somewhat attenuated in multivariable MR analysis adjusted for smoking initiation. There was no evidence of associations of genetically predicted alcohol consumption with heart failure (OR, 1.00 [95% CI, 0.68-1.47]; P=0.996), venous thromboembolism (OR, 1.04 [95% CI, 0.77-1.39]; P=0.810), and aortic valve stenosis (OR, 1.03 [95% CI, 0.56-1.90]; P=0.926).

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence of a causal relationship between higher alcohol consumption and increased risk of stroke and peripheral artery disease. The causal role of alcohol consumption for other cardiovascular diseases requires further research.

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