27 July 2018 In General Health

AIMS: To estimate differences in the strength and shape of associations between alcohol use and diagnosis-specific sickness absence.

DESIGN: A multi-cohort study. Participants (n = 47 520) responded to a survey on alcohol use at two time-points, and were linked to records of sickness absence. Diagnosis-specific sickness absence was followed for 4-7 years from the latter survey.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: From Finland, we had population cohort survey data from 1998 and 2003 and employee cohort survey data from 2000-02 and 2004. From France and the United Kingdom, we had employee cohort survey data from 1993 and 1997, and 1985-88 and 1991-94, respectively.

MEASUREMENTS: We used standard questionnaires to assess alcohol intake categorized into 0, 1-11 and > 11 units per week in women and 0, 1-34 and > 34 units per week in men. We identified groups with stable and changing alcohol use over time. We linked participants to records from sickness absence registers. Diagnoses of sickness absence were coded according to the International Classification of Diseases. Estimates were adjusted for sex, age, socio-economic status, smoking and body mass index.

FINDINGS: Women who reported drinking 1-11 units and men who reported drinking 1-34 units of alcohol per week in both surveys were the reference group. Compared with them, women and men who reported no alcohol use in either survey had a higher risk of sickness absence due to mental disorders [rate ratio = 1.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.22-1.88], musculoskeletal disorders (1.22, 95% CI = 1.06-1.41), diseases of the digestive system (1.35, 95% CI = 1.02-1.77) and diseases of the respiratory system (1.49, 95% CI = 1.29-1.72). Women who reported alcohol consumption of > 11 weekly units and men who reported alcohol consumption of > 34 units per week in both surveys were at increased risk of absence due to injury or poisoning (1.44, 95% CI = 1.13-1.83).

CONCLUSIONS: In Finland, France and the United Kingdom, people who report not drinking any alcohol on two occasions several years apart appear to have a higher prevalence of sickness absence from work with chronic somatic and mental illness diagnoses than those drinking below a risk threshold of 11 units per week for women and 34 units per week for men. Persistent at-risk drinking in Finland, France and the United Kingdom appears to be related to increased absence due to injury or poisoning.

27 July 2018 In Diabetes

AIMS: We investigate (a) alcohol consumption in association with type 2 diabetes, taking heavy episodic drinking (HED), socioeconomic, health and lifestyle, and psychosocial factors into account, and (b) whether a seemingly protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption on type 2 diabetes persists when stratified by occupational position.

METHODS: This population-based longitudinal cohort study comprises 16,223 Swedes aged 18-84 years who answered questionnaires about lifestyle, including alcohol consumption in 2002, and who were followed-up for self-reported or register-based diabetes in 2003-2011. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated in a multivariable-adjusted logistic regression model for all participants and stratified by high and low occupational position. We adjusted for HED, socioeconomic (occupational position, cohabiting status and unemployment), health and lifestyle (body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, smoking, physical inactivity, poor general health, anxiety/depression and psychosocial (low job control and poor social support) characteristics one by one, and the sets of these factors.

RESULTS: Moderate consumption was inversely associated with type 2 diabetes after controlling for health and lifestyle (OR=0.47; 95% CI: 0.29-0.79) and psychosocial factors (OR=0.40; 95% CI: 0.22-0.79) when compared to non-drinkers. When adjusting for socioeconomic factors, there was still an inverse but non-significant association (OR=0.59; 95% CI: 0.35-1.00). In those with high occupational position, there was no significant association between moderate consumption and type 2 diabetes after adjusting for socioeconomic (OR=0.67; 95% CI: 0.3-1.52), health and lifestyle (OR=0.70; 95% CI: 0.32-1.5), and psychosocial factors (OR=0.75; 95% CI: 0.23-2.46). On the contrary, in those with low occupational position, ORs decreased from 0.55 (95% CI: 0.28-1.1) to 0.35 (95% CI: 0.15-0.82) when adjusting for psychosocial factors, a decrease that was solely due to low job control. HED did not influence any of these associations.

CONCLUSIONS: Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, after adjusting for HED, health and lifestyle, and psychosocial characteristics. The association was inverse but non-significant after adjusting for socioeconomic factors. When stratified by occupational position, there was an inverse association only in those with low occupational position and after adjusting for low job control.

27 July 2018 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between alcohol consumption (at baseline and over lifetime) and non-fatal and fatal coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke.

DESIGN: Multicentre case-cohort study.

SETTING: A study of cardiovascular disease (CVD) determinants within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition cohort (EPIC-CVD) from eight European countries.

PARTICIPANTS: 32 549 participants without baseline CVD, comprised of incident CVD cases and a subcohort for comparison.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Non-fatal and fatal CHD and stroke (including ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke).

RESULTS: There were 9307 non-fatal CHD events, 1699 fatal CHD, 5855 non-fatal stroke, and 733 fatal stroke. Baseline alcohol intake was inversely associated with non-fatal CHD, with a hazard ratio of 0.94 (95% confidence interval 0.92 to 0.96) per 12 g/day higher intake. There was a J shaped association between baseline alcohol intake and risk of fatal CHD. The hazard ratios were 0.83 (0.70 to 0.98), 0.65 (0.53 to 0.81), and 0.82 (0.65 to 1.03) for categories 5.0-14.9 g/day, 15.0-29.9 g/day, and 30.0-59.9 g/day of total alcohol intake, respectively, compared with 0.1-4.9 g/day. In contrast, hazard ratios for non-fatal and fatal stroke risk were 1.04 (1.02 to 1.07), and 1.05 (0.98 to 1.13) per 12 g/day increase in baseline alcohol intake, respectively, including broadly similar findings for ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke. Associations with cardiovascular outcomes were broadly similar with average lifetime alcohol consumption as for baseline alcohol intake, and across the eight countries studied. There was no strong evidence for interactions of alcohol consumption with smoking status on the risk of CVD events.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol intake was inversely associated with non-fatal CHD risk but positively associated with the risk of different stroke subtypes. This highlights the opposing associations of alcohol intake with different CVD types and strengthens the evidence for policies to reduce alcohol consumption.

27 July 2018 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Individual participant data pooled analyses allow access to non-published data and statistical reanalyses based on more homogeneous criteria than meta-analyses based on systematic reviews. We quantified the impact of publication-related biases and heterogeneity in data analysis and presentation in summary estimates of the association between alcohol drinking and gastric cancer.

METHODS: We compared estimates obtained from conventional meta-analyses, using only data available in published reports from studies that take part in the Stomach Cancer Pooling (StoP) Project, with individual participant data pooled analyses including the same studies.

RESULTS: A total of 22 studies from the StoP Project assessed the relation between alcohol intake and gastric cancer, 19 had specific data for levels of consumption and 18 according to cancer location; published reports addressing these associations were available from 18, 5 and 5 studies, respectively. The summary odds ratios [OR, (95%CI)] estimate obtained with published data for drinkers vs. non-drinkers was 10% higher than the one obtained with individual StoP data [18 vs. 22 studies: 1.21 (1.07-1.36) vs. 1.10 (0.99-1.23)] and more heterogeneous (I(2): 63.6% vs 54.4%). In general, published data yielded less precise summary estimates (standard errors up to 2.6 times higher). Funnel plot analysis suggested publication bias.

CONCLUSION: Meta-analyses of the association between alcohol drinking and gastric cancer tended to overestimate the magnitude of the effects, possibly due to publication bias. Additionally, individual participant data pooled analyses yielded more precise estimates for different levels of exposure or cancer subtypes.

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