07 February 2023 In Liver Disease

Alcohol use and metabolic syndrome are highly prevalent in the population and frequently co-exist. Both are implicated in a large range of health problems, including chronic liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver-related outcomes (i.e. decompensation or liver transplantation). Studies have yielded mixed results regarding the effects of mild-moderate alcohol consumption on the risk of metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease, possibly due to methodological differences.

The few available prospective studies have indicated that mild-moderate alcohol use is associated with an increase in liver-related outcomes.

This conclusion was substantiated by systems biology analyses suggesting that alcohol and metabolic syndrome may play a similar role in fatty liver disease, potentiating an already existing dysregulation of common vital homeostatic pathways. Alcohol and metabolic factors are independently and jointly associated with liver-related outcomes. Indeed, metabolic syndrome increases the risk of liver-related outcomes, regardless of alcohol intake. Moreover, the components of metabolic syndrome appear to have additive effects when it comes to the risk of liver-related outcomes. A number of population studies have implied that measures of central/abdominal obesity, such as the waist-to-hip ratio, can predict liver-related outcomes more accurately than BMI, including in individuals who consume harmful quantities of alcohol.

Many studies even point to synergistic interactions between harmful alcohol use and many metabolic components. This accumulating evidence showing independent, combined, and modifying effects of alcohol and metabolic factors on the onset and progression of chronic liver disease highlights the multifactorial background of liver disease in the population. The available evidence suggests that more holistic approaches could be useful for risk prediction, diagnostics and treatment planning.

07 February 2023 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Most of the available epidemiological evidence on alcohol and chronic disease agrees on recommending alcohol abstention to young people, but some controversy exists about the most appropriate recommendation for alcohol abstention for people of older ages. A growing body of evidence suggests that the pattern of alcohol consumption is likely to be a strong effect modifier. The Mediterranean Alcohol Drinking Pattern (MADP) represents a score integrating several dimensions of drinking patterns (moderation, preference for red wine, drinking with meals, and avoiding binge drinking). Our aim was to clarify this issue and provide more precise recommendations on alcohol consumption.

METHODS: We prospectively followed-up 2226 participants (men older than 50 years and women older than 55 years at baseline) in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) cohort. We classified participants into three categories of adherence to the MADP score (low, moderate, and high), and we added a fourth category for abstainers. Cox regression models estimated multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HR) of all-cause death and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using low MADP adherence as the reference category. RESULTS: The strongest reduction in risk of mortality was observed for those with high adherence to the MADP, with an HR of 0.54 (95% CI: 0.37-0.80). The moderate adherence group (HR = 0.65, 95% CI: 0.44-0.96) and the abstention group (HR = 0.60, 95% CI: 0.36-0.98) also exhibited lower risks of mortality than the low MADP adherence group.

CONCLUSIONS: based on the available evidence, a public health message can be provided to people older than 50 years as follows: among those who drink alcohol, high adherence to the MADP score could substantially reduce their risk of all-cause mortality.

07 February 2023 In Drinking Patterns

Alcohol drinking patterns may determine the risk of hypertension and may also modify the detrimental effect of high alcohol intake. We prospectively evaluated the effect of the Mediterranean alcohol-drinking pattern and its interaction with the amount of alcohol consumed on the incidence of arterial hypertension. In the "Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra" (SUN) cohort, we followed-up 13,805 participants, all of them initially free of hypertension, during a maximum period of 16 years.

Information about diet, chronic diseases, lifestyle and newly diagnosed hypertension was collected using validated questionnaires. We used a 7-item score (0 to 9 points) that jointly considered moderate alcohol consumption, distributed over the week, with meals, and a preference for red wine and avoidance of binge-drinking.

During 142,404 person-years of follow-up, 1443 incident cases of hypertension were identified. Low adherence (score < 2) to the Mediterranean alcohol-drinking pattern was significantly associated with a higher incidence of hypertension (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio 1.81, 95% confidence interval 1.09-2.99) as compared to the high-adherence (score > 7) category. Among alcohol consumers, a high adherence to the MADP is associated with a lower incidence of hypertension. Compared with abstinence, a high adherence did not seem to differ regarding its effect on hypertension risk.

23 November 2022 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Studies evaluating alcohol consumption and cardiovascular diseases have shown inconsistent results. METHODS: We performed a systematic review of peer-reviewed publications from an extensive query of Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Ovid Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Scopus, and Web of Science from database inception to March 2022 for all studies that reported the association between alcohol consumption in terms of quantity (daily or weekly amounts) and type of beverage (wine, beer or spirit) and cardiovascular disease events.

RESULTS: The study population included a total of 1,579,435 individuals based on 56 cohorts from several countries. We found that moderate wine consumption defined as 1-4 drinks per week was associated with a reduction in risk for cardiovascular mortality when compared with beer or spirits. However, higher risk for cardiovascular disease mortality was typically seen with heavier daily or weekly alcohol consumption across all types of beverages.

CONCLUSIONS: It is possible that the observational studies may overestimate the benefits of alcohol for cardiovascular disease outcomes. Although moderate wine consumption is probably associated with low cardiovascular disease events, there are many confounding factors, in particular, lifestyle, genetic, and socioeconomic associations with wine drinking, which likely explain much of the association with wine and reduced cardiovascular disease events. Further prospective study of alcohol and all-cause mortality, including cancer, is needed.

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