05 June 2020 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Many addictive substances, such as tobacco and alcohol, influence atherosclerosis development. Whether or not tobacco's pro-atherosclerotic effect is influenced by alcohol consumption is unknown. We aimed to estimate the impact of alcohol intake on the presence of subclinical atherosclerosis in femoral arteries in smoking and non-smoking middle-aged men.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional analysis of a subset of the Aragon Workers Health Study (AWHS), comprising 2099 men with mean age 50.9 years without previous cardiovascular disease.

MEASUREMENTS: The presence of plaques in femoral arteries was assessed by high-resolution sonography. Self-reported alcohol consumption over the previous year was measured with a food frequency questionnaire. The sample was divided into four groups according to their daily grams of alcohol consumption /= 2 to < 30, >/= 30 to < 60 and >/= 60 g/day. Participants were divided on ever-smoking (current and former) versus never-smoking strata in the main analysis.

FINDINGS: We did not find a significant association between the different levels of alcohol intake and the likelihood of developing femoral artery atherosclerosis in never-smokers. Ever-smoking was positively associated with femoral atherosclerosis overall [odds ratio (OR) = 3.00; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.40, 3.74; P < 0.001] and within each level of alcohol consumption. Atherosclerosis was lower in ever-smokers who consumed 2 g/day or more but less than 30 g/day with respect to those ever-smokers who were abstainers (OR = 0.70; 95% CI = 0.49, 0.99; P < 0.05). However, among these ever-smokers, atherosclerosis prevalence was still higher than among never-smokers who consumed alcohol in the same amount (2 g/day or more but less than 30 g/day) (OR = 2.73; 95% CI = 2.07, 3.61; P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Among middle-aged men, moderate alcohol consumption appears to be associated with lower prevalence of femoral artery subclinical atherosclerosis compared with alcohol abstinence only in ever-smokers.

04 May 2020 In Liver Disease

Background/Aims: Multiple meta-analyses and observational studies have reported that alcohol is a risk factor for liver cancer. However, whether there is a safe level of alcohol consumption remains unclear. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the correlation between low-level alcohol consumption and the risk of liver cancer.

Methods: Nested case-control studies and cohort studies involving the general population published prior to July 2019 were searched. In total, 28 publications (31 cohorts) with 4,899 incident cases and 10,859 liver cancer-related deaths were included. The pooled odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.

Results: Compared with those with low levels of alcohol consumption, moderate and heavy drinkers (>/=1 drink/day for females and >/=2 drinks/day for males) had pooled ORs of 1.418 (95% CI, 1.192 to 1.687; p<0.001) for liver cancer incidence and 1.167 (95% CI, 1.056 to 1.290; p=0.003) for liver cancer mortality. The pooled OR for liver disease-related mortality for those with more than low levels of alcohol consumption was 3.220 (95% CI, 2.116 to 4.898; p<0.001) and that for all-cause mortality was 1.166 (95% CI, 1.065 to 1.278; p=0.001). The sensitivity analysis showed that none of the studies had a strong effect on the pooled OR. The Egger test, Begg rank correlation test, and the funnel plot showed no overt indication of publication bias.

Conclusions: Continuous consumption of more than a low-level of alcohol (>/=1 drink/day for females and >/=2 drinks/day for males) is related to a higher risk of liver cancer.

04 May 2020 In General Health

Cancer is a major contributing cause of morbidity and mortality in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The aim of the current study was to estimate the cancer burden attributable to major lifestyle and environmental risk factors.

We used age-, sex- and site-specific incidence estimates for 2012 from IARC's GLOBOCAN, and assessed the following risk factors: smoking, alcohol, high body mass index, insufficient physical activity, diet, suboptimal breastfeeding, infections and air pollution. The prevalence of exposure to these risk factors came from different sources including peer-reviewed international literature, the World Health Organization, noncommunicable disease Risk Factor Collaboration, and the Food and Agriculture Organization. Sex-specific population-attributable fraction was estimated in the 22 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region based on the prevalence of the selected risk factors and the relative risks obtained from meta-analyses. We estimated that approximately 33% (or 165,000 cases) of all new cancer cases in adults aged 30 years and older in 2012 were attributable to all selected risk factors combined.

Infections and smoking accounted for more than half of the total attributable cases among men, while insufficient physical activity and exposure to infections accounted for more than two-thirds of the total attributable cases among women. A reduction in exposure to major lifestyle and environmental risk factors could prevent a substantial number of cancer cases in the Eastern Mediterranean. Population-based programs preventing infections and smoking (particularly among men) and promoting physical activity (particularly among women) in the population are needed to effectively decrease the regional cancer burden.

21 February 2020 In General Health

The primary aim of this systematic review was to establish the prevalence, character, and risk factors of peripheral neuropathy amongst chronic alcohol abusers and to identify the most appropriate management strategies.

In this review, possible pathogenetic mechanisms are also discussed. A systematic, computer-based search was conducted using the PubMed database. Data regarding the above parameters were extracted. 87 articles were included in this review, 29 case-control studies, 52 prospective/retrospective cohort studies and 2 randomised control trials, 1 cross sectional study, and 3 population-based studies.

The prevalence of peripheral neuropathy amongst chronic alcohol abusers is 46.3% (CI 35.7- 57.3%) when confirmed via nerve conduction studies. Alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy generally presents as a progressive, predominantly sensory axonal length-dependent neuropathy.

The most important risk factor for alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy is the total lifetime dose of ethanol, although other risk factors have been identified including genetic, male gender, and type of alcohol consumed. At present, it is unclear what the pathogenetic mechanisms for the development of neuropathy amongst those who chronically abuse alcohol are, and therefore, it is unknown whether it is attributed to the direct toxic effects of ethanol or another currently unidentified factor.

There is presently sparse data to support a particular management strategy in alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy, but the limited data available appears to support the use of vitamin supplementation, particularly of B-vitamin regimens inclusive of thiamine

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