27 February 2017 In Cancer

It is not clear whether alcohol consumption is associated with lung cancer risk. The relationship is likely confounded by smoking, complicating the interpretation of previous studies. We examined the association of alcohol consumption and lung cancer risk in a large pooled international sample, minimizing potential confounding of tobacco consumption by restricting analyses to never smokers. Our study included 22 case-control and cohort studies with a total of 2548 never-smoking lung cancer patients and 9362 never-smoking controls from North America, Europe and Asia within the International Lung Cancer Consortium (ILCCO) and SYNERGY Consortium. Alcohol consumption was categorized into amounts consumed (grams per day) and also modelled as a continuous variable using restricted cubic splines for potential non-linearity. Analyses by histologic sub-type were included. Associations by type of alcohol consumed (wine, beer and liquor) were also investigated. Alcohol consumption was inversely associated with lung cancer risk with evidence most strongly supporting lower risk for light and moderate drinkers relative to non-drinkers (>0-4.9g per day: OR=0.80, 95% CI=0.70-0.90; 5-9.9g per day: OR=0.82, 95% CI=0.69-0.99; 10-19.9g per day: OR=0.79, 95% CI=0.65-0.96). Inverse associations were found for consumption of wine and liquor, but not beer. The results indicate that alcohol consumption is inversely associated with lung cancer risk, particularly among subjects with low to moderate consumption levels, and among wine and liquor drinkers, but not beer drinkers. Although our results should have no relevant bias from the confounding effect of smoking we cannot preclude that confounding by other factors contributed to the observed associations. Confounding in relation to the non-drinker reference category may be of particular importance.

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01 February 2017 In Pregnant Women

BACKGROUND: Although single-country studies indicate alcohol consumption among some pregnant European women, it is difficult to interpret European differences. Few multinational studies exist using the same methodology.

AIM: To estimate the proportion of women consuming alcohol during pregnancy in Europe, and to analyze whether between country variations could be explained by sociodemography and smoking.

METHODS: An anonymous online questionnaire was accessible for pregnant women and new mothers in 11 European countries during two months between October 2011 and February 2012 in each country. The questionnaire covered alcohol consumption, sociodemographic factors, and smoking habits during pregnancy. Descriptive analyses and logistic regression models were conducted.

FINDINGS: The study population consisted of 7905 women, 53.1% pregnant and 46.9% new mothers. On average, 15.8% reported alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The highest proportion of alcohol consumption during pregnancy was found in the UK (28.5%), Russia (26.5%), and Switzerland (20.9%) and the lowest in Norway (4.1%), Sweden (7.2%), and Poland (9.7%). When reporting alcohol consumption during pregnancy, 39% consumed at least one unit per month. In Italy, Switzerland, and the UK, over half consumed at least one alcohol unit per month. Higher education and smoking before pregnancy were predictors of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

CONCLUSIONS: Almost 16% of women resident in Europe consumed alcohol during pregnancy with large cross-country variations. Education and smoking prior to pregnancy could not fully explain the differences between the European countries. A united European strategy to prevent alcohol consumption during pregnancy is needed with focus on countries with the highest consumption.

21 September 2016 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To investigate cross-sectional associations between self-reported recent pain and alcohol use/abstinence, and previous-day pain and previous-week alcohol consumption in adults aged 50 + in six low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

METHODS: The WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) Wave 1 (2007-2010) in China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa is the data source. Prevalence of alcohol use/abstinence is reported by previous-day and previous-month pain. Multinomial logistic regressions (crude and adjusted for sex and country) tested associations between recent pain and alcohol use in the pooled multicountry sample.

RESULTS: Across the six SAGE countries, about one-third of respondents reported alcohol use, being highest in Russia (74%) and lowest in India (16%). Holding the effects of sex and country constant, compared with abstainers, people with previous-day pain were more likely to be previous-day or other users. With regard to the quantity and frequency of alcohol use, people with previous-day pain were more likely to be non-heavy drinkers.

CONCLUSION: Overall, we found that, in this population of older adults in six LMICs, recent pain was associated with moderate use of alcohol, although there were differences between countries. The findings provide a platform for country-specific research to better understand bi-directional associations between pain and alcohol in older adults.

17 May 2016 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Although alcohol consumption has long been considered as a risk factor for chronic disease, the relationship to cardiovascular disease (CVD) is complex and involves at least two dimensions: average volume of alcohol consumption and patterns of drinking. The objective of this contribution was to estimate the burden of CVD mortality caused by alcohol consumption.

METHODS RISK ASSESSMENT: modelling with alcohol-attributable CVD mortality as primary outcome. The mortality burden of ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and ischaemic stroke (IS) attributable to alcohol consumption was estimated using attributable-fraction methodology. Relative Risk (RR) data for IHD and IS were obtained from the most comprehensive meta-analyses (except for Russia and surrounding countries where alcohol RR data were obtained from a large cohort study). Age-group specific RRs were calculated, based on large studies. Data on mortality were obtained from the World Health Organization's Global Health Estimates and alcohol consumption data were obtained from the Global Information System on Alcohol and Health. Risk of former drinkers was modelled taking into account global differences in the prevalence of sick quitters among former drinkers. Alcohol-attributable mortality estimates for all other CVD causes except IHD and IS were obtained from the 2014 Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health.

RESULTS: An estimated 780,381 CVD deaths (441,893 and 338,490 CVD deaths among men and women respectively) were attributable to alcohol consumption globally in 2012, accounting for 1.4 % of all deaths and 26.6 % of all alcohol-attributable deaths. This is in contrast to the previously estimated 1,128,273 CVD deaths attributable to alcohol consumption globally, and represents a decrease of 30.8 % in alcohol-attributable CVD mortality and of 10.6 % in the global burden of all alcohol-attributable deaths.

CONCLUSIONS: When the most comprehensive and recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses are taken as bases, the net impact of alcohol consumption on CVD is lower than previously estimated.

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