26 February 2019 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Low-risk thresholds for alcohol use differ across various national guidelines. To assess the novel WHO risk drinking levels in light of alcohol-sensitive common laboratory tests, we analysed biomarkers of liver status, inflammation and lipid profiles from a population-based survey of individuals classified to abstainers and different WHO risk drinking levels defined in terms of mean alcohol consumption per day. The study included 22,327 participants aged 25-74 years from the National FINRISK Study. Data on alcohol use, health status, diet, body weight and lifestyle (smoking, coffee consumption and physical activity) were recorded from structured interviews. Alcohol data from self-reports covering the past 12 months were used to categorize the participants into subgroups of abstainers and WHO risk drinking categories representing low, moderate, high and very high risk drinkers. Serum liver enzymes (GGT, ALT), C-reactive protein (CRP) and lipid profiles were measured using standard laboratory techniques. Alcohol risk category was roughly linearly related with the occurrence of elevated values for GGT, ALT and CRP. Alcohol drinking also significantly influenced the incidence of abnormalities in serum lipids. Significantly higher odds for abnormal GGT, ALT and altered lipid profiles remained in alcohol drinkers even after adjustment for age, waist circumference, physical inactivity, smoking and coffee consumption. A more systematic use of laboratory tests during treatment of individuals classified to WHO risk drinking categories may improve the assessment of alcohol-related health risks. Follow-ups of biomarker responses may also prove to be useful in health interventions aimed at reducing alcohol consumption.

25 January 2019 In General Health

This study investigated the potential effect of therapeutic doses of acetaminophen (APAP) in combination with light-moderate amounts of alcohol on kidney functions controlling for factors such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity that may predispose the kidney to APAP and/or alcohol toxicity. Secondary analysis of the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data was performed using SAS 9.4. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) comparing the likelihood that individuals who ingested therapeutic doses of APAP and light-moderate amount of alcohol, compared to those who did not, would have kidney dysfunction were generated from multiple logistics regression models by further controlling for potential predisposing factors namely hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Kidney dysfunction was defined based on self-reports and laboratory examination of serum creatinine (SCr), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and albumin creatinine ratio (ABCR). Statistically significant increased odds of renal dysfunction were noted among respondents who reported use of therapeutic doses of APAP and light-moderate amount of alcohol [OR(95% CI)=1.64(1.28-2.10) self-report, 2.18(1.81-2.63) SCr, 4.60(3.03-7.00) BUN, 3.14(2.42-4.07) GFR, and 1.71(1.36-2.14) ALBCR)] even after adjusting for hypertension, diabetes and obesity [Adjusted OR (95% CI)=1.78 (1.22-2.58) self-report, 2.05 (1.07-3.92) GFR]. The toxic effects of APAP and alcohol on the kidney were hypothesized. The threshold doses at which these effects begin to occur are unknown. The findings of this study suggest that even therapeutic doses of APAP and light-moderate amount of alcohol could be health problematic if consumed concomitantly.

06 September 2018 In General Health
The scarce research on the effects of moderate alcohol consumption on mental health among older adults suggests a protective effect against depression. We prospectively examined the association between patterns of moderate alcohol consumption, depression and psychological distress, using information from 5,299 community-dwelling older adults from the ELSA and Seniors-ENRICA cohorts. A Mediterranean drinking pattern (MDP) was defined as moderate alcohol intake (
27 July 2018 In Social and Cultural Aspects

Despite the pervasive use of social media by young adults, there is comparatively little known about whether, and how, engagement in social media influences this group's drinking patterns and risk of alcohol-related problems. We examined the relations between young adults' alcohol-related social media engagement (defined as the posting, liking, commenting, and viewing of alcohol-related social media content) and their drinking behavior and problems. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies evaluating the association of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems with alcohol-related social media engagement. Summary baseline variables regarding the social media platform used (e.g., Facebook and Twitter), social media measures assessed (e.g., number of alcohol photographs posted), alcohol measures (e.g., Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test and Timeline Follow back Interview), and the number of time points at which data were collected were extracted from each published study. We used the Q statistic to examine heterogeneity in the correlations between alcohol-related social media engagement and both drinking behavior and alcohol-related problems. Because there was significant heterogeneity, we used a random-effects model to evaluate the difference from zero of the weighted aggregate correlations. We used metaregression with study characteristics as moderators to test for moderators of the observed heterogeneity. Following screening, 19 articles met inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis. The primary findings indicated a statistically significant relationship and moderate effect sizes between alcohol-related social media engagement and both alcohol consumption (r = 0.36, 95% CI: 0.29 to 0.44, p < 0.001) and alcohol-related problems (r = 0.37, 95% CI: 0.21 to 0.51, p < 0.001). There was significant heterogeneity among studies. Two significant predictors of heterogeneity were (i) whether there was joint measurement of alcohol-related social media engagement and drinking behavior or these were measured on different occasions and (ii) whether measurements were taken by self-report or observation of social media engagement. We found moderate-sized effects across the 19 studies: Greater alcohol-related social media engagement was correlated with both greater self-reported drinking and alcohol-related problems. Further research to determine the causal direction of these associations could provide opportunities for social media-based interventions with young drinkers aimed at reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol-related adverse consequences.

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