18 May 2018 In General Health

OBJECTIVES: The primary goal was to examine the relationship between alcohol use and frailty, a variable characterizing late-life decline, in a national, longitudinal survey of older adults living in the United States.

METHODS: The sample drawn from the Health and Retirement Study included 9,499 stroke-free participants over age 65 in 2000. The sample was 59.1% female, and had a mean age of 74.25 years (SD = 6.99). Follow-up data was from 2004, 2008, and 2012. Frailty was defined phenotypically using the Paulson-Lichtenberg Frailty Index (PLFI). Alcohol use was measured via self-report. Control variables included age, race, education, socio-economic status (SES), depressive symptomatology, medical burden score, body mass index (BMI), and partner status. With abstinent participants as the reference group, logistic regressions were conducted to determine prevalent frailty at 2000, and Cox's proportional hazard models were utilized to determine time to incident frailty over a 12-year period.

RESULTS: Results revealed that age, depressive symptomatology, and medical burden score were significant positive correlates of prevalent and incident frailty (p < .05) for both males and females. Logistic regressions revealed that consumption of 1-7 alcoholic drinks per week was associated with reduced prevalent frailty (OR = .49, p < .001) for females. Survival analysis results reveal that compared with nondrinkers, males and females who reportedly consumed 1-7 drinks per week had a decreased probability of incident frailty (HR = .78-081, p < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that moderate alcohol use confers reduced frailty risk for both older men and women. Future research should examine the mechanism(s) relating alcohol consumption and frailty.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Findings support extant literature suggesting some healthcare benefits may be associated with moderate drinking.

18 May 2018 In Drinking Patterns

Binge drinking (BD) is a public health concern with serious implications for brain development. This review is the first in which neuropsychological studies of healthy young BDs are synthesized following PRISMA guidelines. We conducted a literature search in PsycINFO, Web of Science, and PubMed. Articles were screened using strict inclusion criteria. Two authors independently assessed the methodological quality. Of the 27 studies included, 14 (52%) were of intermediate quality, 7 (26%) of poor quality and 6 (22%) of high quality. BD is associated with deficits in verbal memory and executive functions, principally poor inhibitory control. Tentatively, BD may be related to deficits in cognitive flexibility and monitoring of information in working memory. Further studies are needed to determine potential impairments in prospective memory and decision-making. BDs do not seem to show difficulties in planning, short-term memory, attention, processing speed or visuospatial construction. The evidence does not seem to support greater vulnerability in females. Future longitudinal studies should identify the characteristics of extreme trajectories, explore recovery deficits and design intervention programs.

03 May 2018 In Pregnant Women
Women who drink light-to-moderately during pregnancy have been observed to have lower risk of unfavourable pregnancy outcomes than abstainers. This has been suggested to be a result of bias. In a pooled sample, including 193 747 live-born singletons from nine European cohorts, we examined the associations between light-to-moderate drinking and preterm birth, birth weight, and small-for-gestational age in term born children (term SGA). To address potential sources of bias, we compared the associations from the total sample with a sub-sample restricted to first-time pregnant women who conceived within six months of trying, and examined whether the associations varied across calendar time. In the total sample, drinking up to around six drinks per week as compared to abstaining was associated with lower risk of preterm birth, whereas no significant associations were found for birth weight or term SGA. Drinking six or more drinks per week was associated with lower birth weight and higher risk of term SGA, but no increased risk of preterm birth. The analyses restricted to women without reproductive experience revealed similar results. Before 2000 approximately half of pregnant women drank alcohol. This decreased to 39% in 2000-2004, and 14% in 2005-2011. Before 2000, every additional drink was associated with reduced mean birth weight, whereas in 2005-2011, the mean birth weight increased with increasing intake. The period-specific associations between low-to-moderate drinking and birth weight, which also were observed for term SGA, are indicative of bias. It is impossible to distinguish if the bias is attributable to unmeasured confounding, which change over time or cohort heterogeneity
03 May 2018 In General Health
BACKGROUND: Hazardous and harmful alcohol use and high blood pressure are central risk factors related to premature non-communicable disease (NCD) mortality worldwide. A reduction in the prevalence of both risk factors has been suggested as a route to reach the global NCD targets. This study aims to highlight that screening and interventions for hypertension and hazardous and harmful alcohol use in primary healthcare can contribute substantially to achieving the NCD targets. METHODS: A consensus conference based on systematic reviews, meta-analyses, clinical guidelines, experimental studies, and statistical modelling which had been presented and discussed in five preparatory meetings, was undertaken. Specifically, we modelled changes in blood pressure distributions and potential lives saved for the five largest European countries if screening and appropriate intervention rates in primary healthcare settings were increased. Recommendations to handle alcohol-induced hypertension in primary healthcare settings were derived at the conference, and their degree of evidence was graded. RESULTS: Screening and appropriate interventions for hazardous alcohol use and use disorders could lower blood pressure levels, but there is a lack in implementing these measures in European primary healthcare. Recommendations included (1) an increase in screening for hypertension (evidence grade: high), (2) an increase in screening and brief advice on hazardous and harmful drinking for people with newly detected hypertension by physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals (evidence grade: high), (3) the conduct of clinical management of less severe alcohol use disorders for incident people with hypertension in primary healthcare (evidence grade: moderate), and (4) screening for alcohol use in hypertension that is not well controlled (evidence grade: moderate). The first three measures were estimated to result in a decreased hypertension prevalence and hundreds of saved lives annually in the examined countries. CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of the outlined recommendations could contribute to reducing the burden associated with hypertension and hazardous and harmful alcohol use and thus to achievement of the NCD targets. Implementation should be conducted in controlled settings with evaluation, including, but not limited to, economic evaluation
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