06 September 2018 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Studies have shown that alcohol intake trajectories differ in their associations with biomarkers of cardiovascular functioning, but it remains unclear if they also differ in their relationship to actual coronary heart disease (CHD) incidence. Using multiple longitudinal cohort studies, we evaluated the association between long-term alcohol consumption trajectories and CHD.

METHODS: Data were drawn from six cohorts (five British and one French). The combined analytic sample comprised 35,132 individuals (62.1% male; individual cohorts ranging from 869 to 14,247 participants) of whom 4.9% experienced an incident (fatal or non-fatal) CHD event. Alcohol intake across three assessment periods of each cohort was used to determine participants' intake trajectories over approximately 10 years. Time to onset for (i) incident CHD and (ii) fatal CHD was established using surveys and linked medical record data. A meta-analysis of individual participant data was employed to estimate the intake trajectories' association with CHD onset, adjusting for demographic and clinical characteristics.

RESULTS: Compared to consistently moderate drinkers (males: 1-168 g ethanol/week; females: 1-112 g ethanol/week), inconsistently moderate drinkers had a significantly greater risk of incident CHD [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.18, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.02-1.37]. An elevated risk of incident CHD was also found for former drinkers (HR = 1.31, 95% CI = 1.13-1.52) and consistent non-drinkers (HR = 1.47, 95% CI = 1.21-1.78), although, after sex stratification, the latter effect was only evident for females. When examining fatal CHD outcomes alone, only former drinkers had a significantly elevated risk, though hazard ratios for consistent non-drinkers were near identical. No evidence of elevated CHD risk was found for consistently heavy drinkers, and a weak association with fatal CHD for inconsistently heavy drinkers was attenuated following adjustment for confounding factors.

CONCLUSIONS: Using prospectively recorded alcohol data, this study has shown how instability in drinking behaviours over time is associated with risk of CHD. As well as individuals who abstain from drinking (long term or more recently), those who are inconsistently moderate in their alcohol intake have a higher risk of experiencing CHD. This finding suggests that policies and interventions specifically encouraging consistency in adherence to lower-risk drinking guidelines could have public health benefits in reducing the population burden of CHD. The absence of an effect amongst heavy drinkers should be interpreted with caution given the known wider health risks associated with such intake.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03133689

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.

27 July 2018 In Social and Cultural Aspects

Young people frequently display alcohol-related posts ("alcoholposts") on social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Although evidence exists that such posts may be linked with increases in alcohol consumption, hardly any studies have focused on the content of such posts. This study addresses this gap by applying and extending the alcoholpost-typology previously proposed by Hendriks, Gebhardt, and van den Putte. A content analysis assessed the extent to which alcoholposts were displayed on Facebook and/or Instagram profiles of young participants (12-30 years; N = 192), and which type of alcoholpost these posts most strongly resembled. Moderate alcoholposts (e.g., in which alcohol was in the background) were most often posted. At times, textual alcoholposts and commercial alcoholposts were also displayed; however, extreme posts (e.g., about drunk people or drinking-games) were almost nonexistent. These findings confirm the previous results by Hendriks et al. that moderate posts are more frequently posted than extreme posts. This could imply that positive associations with alcohol consumption are more visible on social media than negative associations, potentially leading to an underestimation of alcohol-related risks.

27 July 2018 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Heavy drinkers of alcohol are reported to use hospitals more than non-drinkers, but it is unclear whether light-to-moderate drinkers use hospitals more than non-drinkers.

OBJECTIVE: We examined the relationship between alcohol consumption in 10,883 men and 12,857 women aged 40-79 years in the general population and subsequent admissions to hospital and time spent in hospital.

METHODS: Participants from the EPIC-Norfolk prospective population-based study were followed for ten years (1999-2009) using record linkage.

RESULTS: Compared to current non-drinkers, men who reported any alcohol drinking had a lower risk of spending more than twenty days in hospital multivariable adjusted OR 0.80 (95%CI 0.68-0.94) after adjusting for age, smoking status, education, social class, body mass index and prevalent diseases. Women who were current drinkers were less likely to have any hospital admissions multivariable adjusted OR 0.84 (95%CI 0.74-0.95), seven or more admissions OR 0.77 (95% CI 0.66-0.88) or more than twenty hospital days OR 0.70 (95%CI 0.62-0.80). However, compared to lifelong abstainers, men who were former drinkers had higher risk of any hospital admissions multivariable adjusted OR 2.22 (95%CI 1.51-3.28) and women former drinkers had higher risk of seven or more admissions OR 1.30 (95%CI 1.01-1.67).

CONCLUSION: Current alcohol consumption was associated with lower risk of future hospital usage compared with non-drinkers in this middle aged and older population. In men, this association may in part be due to whether former drinkers are included in the non-drinker reference group but in women, the association was consistent irrespective of the choice of reference group. In addition, there were few participants in this cohort with very high current alcohol intake. The measurement of past drinking, the separation of non-drinkers into former drinkers and lifelong abstainers and the choice of reference group are all influential in interpreting the risk of alcohol consumption on future hospitalisation.

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