26 November 2015 In Social and Cultural Aspects

AIMS: To examine the association of alcohol-brand social networking pages and Facebook users' drinking attitudes and behaviours.

METHODS: Cross-sectional, self-report data were obtained from a convenience sample of 283 Australian Facebook users aged 16-24 years via an online survey.

RESULTS: More than half of the respondents reported using Facebook for more than an hour daily. While only 20% had actively interacted with an alcohol brand on Facebook, we found a significant association between this active interaction and alcohol consumption, and a strong association between engagement with alcohol brands on Facebook and problematic drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study demonstrate the need for further research into the complex interaction between social networking and alcohol consumption, and add support to calls for effective regulation of alcohol marketing on social network platforms.

16 October 2015 In Cancer

AIMS: Cancers of female breast, upper aero-digestive tract (UADT) (oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus) and colorectum are causally related to alcohol consumption. Although alcohol consumption is likely to vary during life, the few studies that have explicitly measured lifetime consumption or intake over time have not been summarised. We therefore conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis.

METHODS: Studies were identified by searching the Medline, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) and Scopus databases through January 2015 using broad search criteria. Studies reporting relative risks (RR) for quantitatively defined categories of alcohol consumption over time for breast, UADT or colorectal cancer were eligible. A two-stage random-effects meta-analysis was used to estimate a dose-response relationship between alcohol intake and each cancer site. RRs were also calculated for the highest relative to the lowest intake category.

RESULTS: Sixteen articles for breast, 16 for UADT and 7 for colorectal cancer met the eligibility criteria. We observed a weak non-linear dose-response relationship for breast cancer and positive linear dose-response relationships for UADT and colorectal cancer. The pooled RRs were 1.28 (95% confidence interval, CI: 1.07, 1.52) for breast, 2.83 (95% CI: 1.73, 4.62) for UADT, 4.84 (95% CI: 2.51, 9.32) for oral cavity and pharynx, 2.25 (95% CI: 1.49, 3.42) for larynx, 6.71 (95% CI: 4.21, 10.70) for oesophageal and 1.49 (95% CI: 1.27, 1.74) for colorectal cancer.

CONCLUSION: Our findings confirm dose-dependent associations between long-term alcohol intake and breast, UADT and colorectal cancer.

16 October 2015 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Breast cancer aetiology may differ by estrogen receptor (ER) status. Associations of alcohol and folate intakes with risk of breast cancer defined by ER status were examined in pooled analyses of the primary data from 20 cohorts.

METHODS: During a maximum of 6-18 years of follow-up of 1 089 273 women, 21 624 ER+ and 5113 ER- breast cancers were identified. Study-specific multivariable relative risks (RRs) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards regression models and then combined using a random-effects model.

RESULTS: Alcohol consumption was positively associated with risk of ER+ and ER- breast cancer. The pooled multivariable RRs (95% confidence intervals) comparing >/= 30 g/d with 0 g/day of alcohol consumption were 1.35 (1.23-1.48) for ER+ and 1.28 (1.10-1.49) for ER- breast cancer (Ptrend /= 0.26). Dietary (from foods only) and total folate intakes were not associated with risk of overall, ER+ and ER- breast cancer; pooled multivariable RRs ranged from 0.98 to 1.02 comparing extreme quintiles. Following-up US studies through only the period before mandatory folic acid fortification did not change the results. The alcohol and folate associations did not vary by tumour subtypes defined by progesterone receptor status.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol consumption was positively associated with risk of both ER+ and ER- breast cancer, even among women with high folate intake. Folate intake was not associated with breast cancer risk.

17 September 2015 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Results from several cohort and case-control studies suggest a protective association between current alcohol intake and risk of thyroid carcinoma, but the epidemiological evidence is not completely consistent and several questions remain unanswered.

METHODS: The association between alcohol consumption at recruitment and over the lifetime and risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma was examined in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Among 477 263 eligible participants (70% women), 556 (90% women) were diagnosed with differentiated thyroid carcinoma over a mean follow-up of 11 years. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS: Compared with participants consuming 0.1-4.9 g of alcohol per day at recruitment, participants consuming 15 or more grams (approximately 1-1.5 drinks) had a 23% lower risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma (HR=0.77; 95% CI=0.60-0.98). These findings did not differ greatly when analyses were conducted for lifetime alcohol consumption, although the risk estimates were attenuated and not statistically significant anymore. Similar results were observed by type of alcoholic beverage, by differentiated thyroid carcinoma histology or according to age, sex, smoking status, body mass index and diabetes.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides some support to the hypothesis that moderate alcohol consumption may be associated with a lower risk of papillary and follicular thyroid carcinomas.

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