27 September 2018 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: A systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the magnitude of the association between alcohol consumption and the risk of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in adults was undertaken.

DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

METHODS: Comprehensive searches of Medline, Embase and Web of Science were carried out to identify comparative studies of the association between alcohol intake and CAP between 1985 and 2017. Reference lists were also screened. A random-effects meta-analysis was used to estimate pooled effect sizes. A dose-response meta-analysis was also performed.

RESULTS: We found 17 papers eligible for inclusion in the review, of which 14 provided results which could be pooled. Meta-analysis of these 14 studies identified an 83% increased risk of CAP among people who consumed alcohol or in higher amounts, relative to those who consumed no or lower amounts of alcohol, respectively (relative risk=1.83, 95% CI 1.30 to 2.57). There was substantial between-study heterogeneity, which was attributable in part to differences in study continent, adjustment for confounders and pneumonia diagnosis (clinical vs death). Dose-response analysis found that for every 10-20 g higher alcohol intake per day, there was an 8% increase in the risk of CAP.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that alcohol consumption increases the risk of CAP. Therefore, strengthening policies to reduce alcohol intake would be likely to reduce the incidence of CAP.

27 September 2018 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Current research into alcohol consumption focuses predominantly on problematic drinkers and populations considered likely to engage in risky behaviours. Middle-aged drinkers are an under-researched group, despite emerging evidence that their regular drinking patterns may carry some risk.

METHODS: We searched Scopus, Ovid Medline, and Ovid PsycInfo for peer-reviewed, English-language publications appearing prior to 31 December 2015 and relating to the construction of alcohol consumption by middle-aged non-problematised drinkers. Thirteen papers were included in our thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Middle-aged non-problematised drinkers constructed their drinking practices by creating a narrative of normative drinking via discourses of gender, identity, play, and learning to drink. They also used drinking norms to construct their gender and identity. Health was not identified as a significant consideration for the population of interest when constructing alcohol consumption, except where drinking behaviours were likely to harm another.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that public health campaigns aimed at reducing alcohol consumption may be more effective if they focus on unacceptable drinking behaviours instead of personal health outcomes.

27 September 2018 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Studies examining the next-day cognitive effects of heavy alcohol consumption have produced mixed findings, which may reflect inconsistencies in definitions of 'hangover'. Recent consensus has defined hangover as 'mental and physical symptoms, experienced the day after a single episode of heavy drinking, starting when blood alcohol concentration (BAC) approaches zero'. In light of this, we aimed to review the literature systematically to evaluate and estimate mean effect sizes of the next-day effects of heavy alcohol consumption on cognition.

METHODS: Embase, PubMed and PsycNET databases were searched between December 2016 and May 2018 using terms based on 'alcohol' and 'hangover'. Studies of experimental designs which reported the next-day cognitive effects of heavy alcohol consumption in a 'hangover' group with BAC < 0.02% were reviewed. A total of 805 articles were identified. Thirty-nine full-text articles were screened by two independent reviewers and 19 included in the systematic review; 11 articles provided sufficient data to be included in the meta-analysis; 1163 participants across 19 studies conducted since 1970 were included in the analysis. Data for study design, hangover severity, BAC at testing and cognitive performance were extracted and effect estimates calculated.

RESULTS: The systematic review suggested that sustained attention and driving abilities were impaired during hangover. Mixed results were observed for: psychomotor skills, short- (STM) and long-term memory (LTM) and divided attention. The meta-analysis revealed evidence of impairments in STM [g = 0.64, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.15-1.13], LTM (Hedges' g = 0.59, 95% CI = 0.01-1.17) sustained attention (g = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.07-0.87) and psychomotor speed (Hedges' g = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.31-1.00) during alcohol hangover.

CONCLUSION: The research literature suggests that alcohol hangovers may involve impaired cognitive functions and performance of everyday tasks such as driving.

06 September 2018 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a very common disorder worldwide which carries an important economic burden. We conducted a systematic review and a meta-analysis to assess the role of alcohol in the occurrence of PMS.

METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, the five regional bibliographic databases of the WHO, the Proceedings database and the Open Access Thesis and Dissertations (OATD) from inception to May 2017. We also reviewed the references of every article retrieved and established personal contact with researchers to trace further publications or reports. We did not include any language limitations. Studies were included if: (1) they presented original data from cohort, case-control or cross-sectional studies, (2) PMS was clearly defined as the outcome of interest, (3) one of the exposure factors was alcohol consumption, (4) they provided estimates of odds ratios, relative risks, or any other effect measure and their confidence intervals, or enough data to calculate them.

RESULTS: We identified 39 studies of which 19 were eligible. Intake of alcohol was associated with a moderate increase in the risk of PMS (OR=1.45, 95% CI: 1.17 to 1.79). Heavy drinking yielded a larger increase in the risk than any drinking (OR=1.79, 95% CI: 1.39 to 2.32).

DISCUSSION: Our results suggest that alcohol intake presents a moderate association with PMS risk. Future studies should avoid cross-sectional designs and focus on determining whether there is a threshold of alcohol intake under which the harmful effect on PMS is non-existent.

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