25 August 2020 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Even light to moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to increase cancer incidence. However, this association has not been well characterized in Japan.

METHODS: Based on a nationwide, hospital-based data set (2005-2016), a multicenter case-control study was conducted (63,232 cancer cases and 63,232 controls matched for sex, age, admission date, and admitting hospital). The total amount of lifetime alcohol consumption (drink-years) was recalled for each patient by multiplication of the daily amount of standardized alcohol use (drinks per day) and the duration of drinking (years). Odds ratios (ORs) were estimated for overall and specific cancer sites via conditional logistic regression with restricted cubic splines, with adjustments made for smoking, occupational class, and comorbidities. Lifetime abstainers served as the reference group.

RESULTS: Spline curves showed a dose-response association with overall cancer risk: the minimum risk was at 0 drink-years, and the OR at 10 drink-years was 1.05 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-1.06). In comparison with lifetime abstainers, the OR for >0 to 20 drink-years was 1.06 (95% CI, 1.01-1.11). Those who drank 2 drinks or fewer per day had elevated odds for overall cancer risk across all duration-of-drinking categories. The same patterns were observed at light to moderate levels of drinking for most gastrointestinal/aerodigestive cancers as well as breast and prostate cancers. Analyses stratified by sex, different drinking/smoking behaviors, and occupational class mostly showed the same patterns for overall cancer incidence associated with light to moderate levels of drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: In Japan, even light to moderate alcohol consumption appears to be associated with elevated cancer risks.

21 February 2020 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Problem drinking carries significant health burdens, including an increased risk of hypertension. The effect of chronic alcohol intake on blood pressure (BP) in women is understudied and poorly understood.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to examine the relationships between drinking habits and BP in hypertensive women. METHODS: We analyzed drinking habits in 113 women followed in the Brigham and Women's Hospital Hypertension Clinic for at least one year.

RESULTS: Among these women with well-controlled hypertension, baseline diastolic BP was significantly lower in moderate drinkers compared with women who rarely or never drank. Changes in both systolic and diastolic BP over 12 months showed a significant negative association with changes in percent drinking days. In contrast, there was a trend toward higher baseline systolic BP among those women who consumed more drinks per drinking day.

CONCLUSIONS: Among these women with controlled hypertension, our data failed to demonstrate an association between drinking beyond recommended limits and higher disease burden. These findings parallel the widely reported difference between drinking frequency, associated with a host of positive health outcomes, and drinking intensity, associated with negative outcomes. Novel to this report is an observed reduction in blood pressure over the one-year follow-up period accompanying an increased drinking frequency in treated hypertensive women. Cautions include the suggestion that a greater number of drinks per drinking day was associated with higher baseline pressure. These data imply that drinking within sensible limits has no negative impact on chronic hypertension. In fact, for women with well-controlled hypertension, such a habit may impart benefit

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

21 February 2020 In General Health

This article explores the contentious definition and communication of alcohol consumption limits and their relationship to ideas about risk through an analysis of the development of health education materials during the 1980s.

It argues that changing ideas about alcohol and risk, and their communication to the public, were a reflection of both specific developments in thinking about alcohol and the harm it could pose as well as broader shifts within public health policy, practice and outlook.

Risk was understood as something experienced by individuals and populations, a conceptual framing that suggested different approaches. To get to grips with these issues, the article focuses on: (1) the definition of alcohol consumption limits; (2) the communication of these limits; and (3) the limits to limits.

The problems experienced in defining and communicating limits suggests not only a ‘limit to limits’ but also to the entire notion of risk-based ‘sensible’ drinking as a strategy for health education.

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