21 April 2021 In General Health

PURPOSE: To examine the association of alcohol consumption and type of alcoholic beverage with incident cataract surgery in 2 large cohorts.

DESIGN: Longitudinal, observational study.

PARTICIPANTS: We included 469 387 participants of UK Biobank with a mean age of 56 years and 23 162 participants of European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk with a mean age of 59 years.

METHODS: Self-reported alcohol consumption at baseline was ascertained by a touchscreen questionnaire in UK Biobank and a food-frequency questionnaire in EPIC-Norfolk. Cases were defined as participants undergoing cataract surgery in either eye as ascertained via data linkage to National Health Service procedure statistics. We excluded participants with cataract surgery up to 1 year after the baseline assessment visit or those with self-reported cataract at baseline. Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine the associations of alcohol consumption with incident cataract surgery, adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, Townsend deprivation index, body mass index (BMI), smoking, and diabetes status.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incident cataract surgery.

RESULTS: There were 19 011 (mean cohort follow-up of 95 months) and 4573 (mean cohort follow-up of 193 months) incident cases of cataract surgery in UK Biobank and EPIC-Norfolk, respectively. Compared with nondrinkers, drinkers were less likely to undergo cataract surgery in UK Biobank (hazard ratio [HR], 0.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.85-0.93) and EPIC-Norfolk (HR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.84-0.97) after adjusting for covariables. Among alcohol consumers, greater alcohol consumption was associated with a reduced risk of undergoing cataract surgery in EPIC-Norfolk (P < 0.001), whereas a U-shaped association was observed in the UK Biobank. Compared with nondrinkers, subgroup analysis by type of alcohol beverage showed the strongest protective association with wine consumption; the risk of incident cataract surgery was 23% and 14% lower among those in the highest category of wine consumption in EPIC-Norfolk and UK Biobank, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest a lower risk of undergoing cataract surgery with low to moderate alcohol consumption. The association was particularly apparent with wine consumption. We cannot exclude the possibility of residual confounding, and further studies are required to determine whether this association is causal in nature.

21 April 2021 In General Health

Previous studies on the association between alcohol intake and risk of fracture have reached conflicting findings. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies was to summarize earlier studies on the association of alcohol intake with risk of fracture. A systematic search of PubMed, Scopus, and ISI Web of Science was conducted up to November 2020.

Prospective cohort studies that had considered alcohol consumption as the exposure variable and fracture as the main outcome or as one of the outcome variables were included in this systematic review. Publications in which odds ratios (ORs), rate or risk ratios (RRs), or hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were reported, were included in the meta-analysis. In total, 40 prospective cohort studies including 5,084,303 participants and 170,916 subjects with fracture were included in this systematic review; of them 38 studies with a total sample size of 5,053,117 participants and 169,560 cases of fracture were included in the meta-analysis.

Using a random-effects meta-analysis, we found a significant positive association between alcohol consumption and risk of total fractures (RR: 1.35; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.81) and any fractures (RR: 1.24; 95% CI: 1.11, 1.38). However, no significant association was observed between alcohol intake and risk of hip fractures (RR: 1.19; 95% CI: 0.96, 1.48), osteoporotic fractures (RR: 2.01; 95% CI: 0.76, 5.34), vertebral fractures (RR: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.68, 1.40), and wrist fractures (RR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.85, 1.16).

In conclusion, we found that alcohol consumption was positively associated with risk of total fractures and any fractures. However, we did not observe any significant association between alcohol consumption and risk of hip, osteoporotic, vertebral, and wrist fractures.

21 April 2021 In General Health

There is conflicting evidence for the association between alcohol consumption and common joint conditions such as Osteoarthritis (OA), which affects millions of people. We sought to determine the true association between alcohol intake and OA. We conducted a PRISMA systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies that reported associations between alcohol consumption and OA.

Pooled estimates of association were represented through odds ratios (ORs). Publication bias was assessed with Funnel and Galbraith plots, and risk of bias was assessed with the Newcastle Ottawa Scale. We included 29 studies and 25,192 subjects with OA and reported an OR between any alcohol consumption and OA of 0.79 (0.68-0.93), suggesting a protective effect. OR of weekly or more frequent use was 0.79 (0.65-0.97). When grouped by covariates, alcohol consumption was negatively associated with radiographic (0.83, 0.70-0.98), hand (0.80, 0.66-0.95) and knee OA (0.85, 0.72-0.99), North American ethnicity and female gender.

Subgroup analysis of unadjusted data resulted in an OR of 0.70 (0.55-0.89) but this disappeared upon analysis of studies with data adjusted for any covariate (0.93, 0.78-1.10). Whilst our pooled analysis suggest that weekly or more frequent alcohol consumption was negatively associated with OA, this was not observed when adjusted for confounding factors. Reasons for this include selection bias and lack of longitudinal exposure and adjustment for confounding variables.

Therefore, this meta-analysis provides evidence to dispel notions that alcohol use may be protective against OA.

21 April 2021 In General Health

Alcohol consumption is associated with multiple diseases and might contribute to vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2 infection. It can also catalyze exacerbations of mental and organic illnesses and predispose to behaviors with an increased risk of infection, severity of disease but also independently of sociopathic behavior and violence.

Globally, millions of premature deaths from excessive alcohol consumption occur each year. This paper discusses the effects of increased alcohol consumption and the most important consequences on the health of the population during the social isolation and lockdown during current COVID-19 pandemic.

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