06 May 2014 In Cancer
Background:It has been suggested that the apparent protective effect of alcohol intake on renal cell carcinoma may be due to the diluting effect of carcinogens by a high total fluid intake. We assessed the association between intakes of total fluids and of specific beverages on the risk of renal cell carcinoma in a large prospective cohort of UK women.Methods:Information on beverage consumption was obtained from a questionnaire sent approximately 3 years after recruitment into the Million Women Study. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for renal cell carcinoma associated with beverage consumption adjusted for age, region of residence, socioeconomic status, smoking, and body mass index.Results:After an average of 5.2 years of follow-up, 588 cases of renal cell carcinoma were identified among 779 369 women. While alcohol intake was associated with a reduced risk of renal cell carcinoma (RR for >/=2 vs <1 drink per day: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.61-0.96; P for trend=0.02), there was no association with total fluid intake (RR for >/=12 vs <7 drinks per day: 1.15; 95% CI: 0.91-1.45; P for trend=0.3) or with intakes of specific beverages.Conclusions:The apparent protective effect of alcohol on the risk of renal cell carcinoma is unlikely to be related to a high fluid intake
14 November 2012 In Osteoporosis

OBJECTIVE: Epidemiological studies indicate that higher bone mass is associated with moderate alcohol consumption in postmenopausal women. However, the underlying cellular mechanisms responsible for the putative beneficial effects of alcohol on bone are unknown. Excessive bone turnover, combined with an imbalance whereby bone resorption exceeds bone formation, is the principal cause of postmenopausal bone loss. This study investigated the hypothesis that moderate alcohol intake attenuates bone turnover after menopause.

METHODS: Bone mineral density was determined by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry in 40 healthy postmenopausal women (mean +/- SE age, 56.3 +/- 0.5 y) who consumed alcohol at 19 +/- 1 g/day. Serum levels of the bone formation marker osteocalcin and the resorption marker C-terminal telopeptide (CTx) were measured by immunoassay at baseline (day 0) and after alcohol withdrawal for 14 days. Participants then consumed alcohol and were assayed on the following morning.

RESULTS: Bone mineral density at the trochanter and total hip were positively correlated to the level of alcohol consumption. Serum osteocalcin and CTx increased after abstinence (4.1 +/- 1.6%, P = 0.01 and 5.8 +/- 2.6%, P = 0.02 compared with baseline, respectively). Osteocalcin and CTx decreased after alcohol readministration, compared with the previous day (-3.4 +/- 1.4%, P = 0.01 and -3.5 +/- 2.1%, P = 0.05, respectively), to values that did not differ from baseline (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Abstinence from alcohol results in increased markers of bone turnover, whereas resumption of alcohol reduces bone turnover markers. These results suggest a cellular mechanism for the increased bone density observed in postmenopausal moderate alcohol consumers. Specifically, the inhibitory effect of alcohol on bone turnover attenuates the detrimental skeletal consequences of excessive bone turnover associated with menopause.

14 November 2012 In Drinking & Driving

AIM: The aim of this study was to investigate the utility of a short, practical pouring exercise as a means of illustrating the details of the UK 'Sensible Drinking' guidelines.

METHODS: Participants (N = 297, 53% male) recruited at four Edinburgh employment sites, each completed a short non-standardized questionnaire and poured their 'usual measure of wine or spirit' into a glass (purchased from four 'high street' outlets). The actual and estimated unit content of their poured drinks and reactions to feedback were noted. Participants were informed of their daily limit of consumption in terms of this drink.

RESULTS: On average, drinks contained 2.05 UK units. Only 27% (N = 79) of respondents estimated the unit content of their drink within 10% of the true value. Of drinkers, 20.5% (N = 61) indicated that the results of the pouring test would influence their future pouring (70% of these were women). When informed of daily limits of consumption in terms of personal drink measure, 46% (N = 132) of drinkers indicated they would usually exceed this.

CONCLUSION: A practical demonstration of health guidelines presented in terms of personal drinking habits may contribute to dissemination of responsible drinking messages. Preliminary evidence suggests women may be particularly open to this approach. The utility of this intervention is underscored by recent figures highlighting the increasing preference for home drinking.

14 November 2012 In Drinking & Driving

Dietary ethanol (alcohol) is the most widely consumed drug worldwide. High levels of mortality, morbidity, and social malaise are associated with abuse of alcohol, and increasing numbers of women and youth are abusing alcohol. However, strong epidemiological data demonstrate a U- or J-shaped relationship between volume of alcohol consumed and all-cause mortality or disease burden. Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality and disease burden than are abstinence and immoderate drinking. A brief review of the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of ethanol is provided with a discussion of the impact of gender differences. Potential mechanisms by which ethanol, ethanol metabolites, and (or) phytochemicals, as associated with different types of ethanol-containing beverages, are discussed in regards to the beneficial and detrimental impacts they may have on physiological system functioning and mortality or disease burden. Per capita consumption of ethanol-containing beverages varies across geo-political regions worldwide. A more recent research focus is the impact of consumption patterns on consumption volumes as they relate to disease and mortality. Certain drinking patterns moderate overall volume of ethanol consumption. Thus, an emerging approach to the study of alcohol consumption in populations is to consider both the volume and pattern of consumption as they relate to mortality and disease burden. Alcohol consumption patterns among athletes are discussed; physiological implications of alcohol abuse in this population are outlined. Current guidelines for the consumption of alcohol are reviewed. Alcohol consumption guidelines reflect the current scientific understanding of both the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption and the detriments of immoderate alcohol consumption.


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