28 April 2022 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: It is unclear if cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are associated with thyroid cancer risk. Our aim was to explore for any associations between cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption with thyroid cancer, after adjusting for potential confounders.

METHODS: Using data from the Korean National Health Insurance database, we retrospectively identified individuals aged ≥20 years who participated in the 2009 health screening program and were followed until 2017. We estimated the adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) for the risk of thyroid cancer using a Cox proportional hazard model, adjusted for age, sex, regular exercise, monthly income, body mass index, diabetes mellitus, and dyslipidemia.

RESULTS: During a mean follow-up period of 8.33 ± 0.57 years, of 9,699,104 participants, 89,527 (0.9%) were diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Compared with those who never smoked, current smokers had a lower risk of thyroid cancer (aHR: 0.74, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.72-0.76), while ex-smokers did not (aHR: 0.98, 95% CI: 0.96-1.01). There was no significant dose-response relationship with regard to daily amount smoked, duration of smoking, or pack-years. A reduced risk of thyroid cancer was observed in subjects who reported the following categories of alcohol intake (compared with none): mild (aHR: 0.92, 95% CI: 0.90-0.93), moderate (aHR: 0.86, 95% CI: 0.84-0.89), and heavy (aHR: 0.86, 95% CI: 0.82-0.89). Inverse associations with thyroid cancer risk were observed regarding the number of drinking episodes per week and the number of drinks per occasion. A submultiplicative effect of smoking and alcohol consumption was observed (p-interaction <0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: We observed that thyroid cancer risk was inversely associated with smoking and alcohol consumption, with a significant interaction between these variables.

22 March 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: The relationship between modifiable risk factors, such as diet and lifestyle, and glaucoma remains controversial. We analyse the effect of the Mediterranean lifestyle (ML) on glaucoma incidence in the "Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra" (SUN) Project.

METHODS: The SUN Healthy Lifestyle Score (SHLS) includes 10 healthy habits: never having smoked, moderate to high physical activity, Mediterranean diet adherence, moderate alcohol consumption, low television exposure, no binge drinking, short afternoon napping, meeting up with friends, working at least 40 h/wk, and low body mass index. The information was collected biennially through self-reported questionnaires. The relationship between new glaucoma cases and the SHLS was assessed by Cox regression using hazard ratios. Crude, multi-adjusted, and sensitivity analyses were performed.

RESULTS: During a median of 12 years of follow-up, 261 (1.42%) new cases of glaucoma were identified among 18,420 participants. After adjusting for potential confounders, participants in the healthiest SHLS category showed a significantly reduced risk of glaucoma compared to those in the lowest SHLS category (adjusted HR = 0.51, 95% CI = 0.28-0.93). For each point added to the SHLS, the risk of glaucoma relatively dropped 5%.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher adherence to a ML, measured by the SHLS, was significantly associated with a lower risk of developing glaucoma. Based on our study, the ML is a protective factor for glaucoma incidence.

22 March 2022 In Cardiovascular System

The relationship between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease risk is complex. Low-to-moderate daily alcohol consumption (1-2 drinks/day) is associated with reduced risk, whereas greater amounts of alcohol consumption and a "binge" pattern of drinking are associated with increased cardiovascular risk and mortality. Arterial stiffness may help explain the complex relationship.

This integrated review summarizes data from studies examining the associations between alcohol consumption and pulse wave velocity, a gold standard measure of arterial stiffness. We also briefly review the concept and methodology of pulse wave velocity measurement as well as the mechanisms of alcohol-induced arterial stiffening.

Findings among the different studies reviewed were inconsistent with methodological challenges related to alcohol use assessment. While making specific conclusions regarding this relationship is tenuous; the data suggest that excessive alcohol consumption or a binge drinking pattern is associated with increased arterial stiffness.

23 February 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Research has long found 'J-shaped' relationships between alcohol consumption and certain health outcomes, indicating a protective effect of moderate consumption. However, methodological limitations in most studies hinder causal inference. This review aimed to identify all observational studies employing improved approaches to mitigate confounding in characterizing alcohol-long-term health relationships, and to qualitatively synthesize their findings.

METHODS: Eligible studies met the above description, were longitudinal (with pre-defined exceptions), discretized alcohol consumption, and were conducted with human populations. MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Embase and SCOPUS were searched in May 2020, yielding 16 published manuscripts reporting on cancer, diabetes, dementia, mental health, cardiovascular health, mortality, HIV seroconversion, and musculoskeletal health. Risk of bias of cohort studies was evaluated using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale, and a recently developed tool was used for Mendelian Randomization studies.

RESULTS: A variety of functional forms were found, including reverse J/J-shaped relationships for prostate cancer and related mortality, dementia risk, mental health, and certain lipids. However, most outcomes were only evaluated by a single study, and few studies provided information on the role of alcohol consumption pattern. CONCLUSIONS: More research employing enhanced causal inference methods is urgently required to accurately characterize alcohol-long-term health relationships. Those studies that have been conducted find a variety of linear and non-linear functional forms, with results tending to be discrepant even within specific health outcomes.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO registration number CRD42020185861.

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