26 April 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

PURPOSE: The aims of the study were to: a) examine the prevalence of energy drink (ED) and alcohol mixed with energy drink (AmED) consumption; b) investigate the relationships between ED and AmED with alcohol, binge drinking and drugs accounting for at risk behaviors among a representative sample of Italian adolescents.

METHODS: A representative sample of 30,588 Italian high school students, aged 15-19years, was studied. Binary and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to determine the independent association of the potential predictors' characteristics with the ED and AmED drinking during the last year.

RESULTS: Respectively 41.4% and 23.2% of respondents reported drinking EDs and AmEDs in the last year. Multivariate analysis revealed that consumption of EDs and AmEDs during the last year were significantly associated with daily smoking, binge drinking, use of cannabis and other psychotropic drugs. Among life habits and risky behaviors the following were positively associated: going out with friends for fun, participating in sports, experiencing physical fights/accidents or injury, engaging in sexual intercourse without protection and being involved in accidents while driving.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the popularity of ED and AmED consumption among the Italian school population aged 15-19 years old: 4 out of 10 students consumed EDs in the last year and 2 out of 10 AmED. Multivariate analysis highlighted the association with illicit drug consumption and harming behaviors, confirming that consumption of EDs and AmEDs is a compelling issue especially during adolescence, as it can effect health as well as risk taking behaviors.

26 April 2017 In Cancer

The occurrence of more than 200 diseases, including cancer, can be attributed to alcohol drinking. The global cancer deaths attributed to alcohol-consumption rose from 243,000 in 1990 to 337,400 in 2010. In 2010, cancer deaths due to alcohol consumption accounted for 4.2% of all cancer deaths. Strong epidemiological evidence has established the causal role of alcohol in the development of various cancers, including esophageal cancer, head and neck cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. The evidence for the association between alcohol and other cancers is inconclusive. Because of the high prevalence of ALDH2*2 allele among East Asian populations, East Asians may be more susceptible to the carcinogenic effect of alcohol, with most evidence coming from studies of esophageal cancer and head and neck cancer, while data for other cancers are more limited. The high prevalence of ALDH2*2 allele in East Asian populations may have important public health implications and may be utilized to reduce the occurrence of alcohol-related cancers among East Asians, including: 1) Identification of individuals at high risk of developing alcohol-related cancers by screening for ALDH2 polymorphism; 2) Incorporation of ALDH2 polymorphism screening into behavioral intervention program for promoting alcohol abstinence or reducing alcohol consumption; 3) Using ALDH2 polymorphism as a prognostic indicator for alcohol-related cancers; 4) Targeting ALDH2 for chemoprevention; and 5) Setting guidelines for alcohol consumption among ALDH2 deficient individuals. Future studies should evaluate whether these strategies are effective for preventing the occurrence of alcohol-related cancers.

01 February 2017 In Pregnant Women

BACKGROUND: Alcohol use during pregnancy is the direct cause of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). We aimed to estimate the prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy and FAS in the general population and, by linking these two indicators, estimate the number of pregnant women that consumed alcohol during pregnancy per one case of FAS.

METHODS: We began by doing two independent comprehensive systematic literature searches using multiple electronic databases for original quantitative studies that reported the prevalence in the general population of the respective country of alcohol use during pregnancy published from Jan 1, 1984, to June 30, 2014, or the prevalence of FAS published from Nov 1, 1973, to June 30, 2015, in a peer-reviewed journal or scholarly report. Each study on the prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy was critically appraised using a checklist for observational studies, and each study on the prevalence of FAS was critically appraised by use of a method specifically designed for systematic reviews addressing questions of prevalence. Studies on the prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy and/or FAS were omitted if they used a sample population not generalisable to the general population of the respective country, reported a pooled estimate by combining several studies, or were published in iteration. Studies that excluded abstainers were also omitted for the prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy. We then did country-specific random-effects meta-analyses to estimate the pooled prevalence of these indicators. For countries with one or no empirical studies, we predicted prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy using fractional response regression modelling and prevalence of FAS using a quotient of the average number of women who consumed alcohol during pregnancy per one case of FAS. We used Monte Carlo simulations to derive confidence intervals for the country-specific point estimates of the prevalence of FAS. We estimated WHO regional and global averages of the prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy and FAS, weighted by the number of livebirths per country. The review protocols for the prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy (CRD42016033835) and FAS (CRD42016033837) are available on PROSPERO.

FINDINGS: Of 23 470 studies identified for the prevalence of alcohol use, 328 studies were retained for systematic review and meta-analysis; the search strategy for the prevalence of FAS yielded 11 110 studies, of which 62 were used in our analysis. The global prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy was estimated to be 9.8% (95% CI 8.9-11.1) and the estimated prevalence of FAS in the general population was 14.6 per 10 000 people (95% CI 9.4-23.3). We also estimated that one in every 67 women who consumed alcohol during pregnancy would deliver a child with FAS, which translates to about 119 000 children born with FAS in the world every year.

INTERPRETATION: Alcohol use during pregnancy is common in many countries and as such, FAS is a relatively prevalent alcohol-related birth defect. More effective prevention strategies targeting alcohol use during pregnancy and surveillance of FAS are urgently needed.

FUNDING: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (no external funding was sought).

01 February 2017 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To describe the volume and patterns of alcohol consumption up to and including 2012, and to estimate the burden of disease attributable to alcohol consumption as measured in deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost in the Americas in 2012.

METHODS: Measures of alcohol consumption were obtained from the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Information System on Alcohol and Health (GISAH). The burden of alcohol consumption was estimated in both deaths and DALYs lost based on mortality data obtained from WHO, using alcohol-attributable fractions. Regional groupings for the Americas were based on the WHO classifications for 2004 (according to child and adult mortality).

RESULTS: Regional variations were observed in the overall volume of alcohol consumed, the proportion of the alcohol market attributable to unrecorded alcohol consumption, drinking patterns, prevalence of drinking, and prevalence of heavy episodic drinking, with inhabitants of the Americas consuming more alcohol (8.4 L of pure alcohol per adult in 2012) compared to the world average. The Americas also experienced a high burden of disease attributable to alcohol consumption (4.7% of all deaths and 6.7% of all DALYs lost), especially in terms of injuries attributable to alcohol consumption.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol is consumed in a harmful manner in the Americas, leading to a high burden of disease, especially in terms of injuries. New cost-effective alcohol policies, such as increasing alcohol taxation, increasing the minimum legal age to purchase alcohol, and decreasing the maximum legal blood alcohol content while driving, should be implemented to decrease the harmful consumption of alcohol and the resulting burden of disease.

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