21 September 2016 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To investigate cross-sectional associations between self-reported recent pain and alcohol use/abstinence, and previous-day pain and previous-week alcohol consumption in adults aged 50 + in six low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

METHODS: The WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) Wave 1 (2007-2010) in China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa is the data source. Prevalence of alcohol use/abstinence is reported by previous-day and previous-month pain. Multinomial logistic regressions (crude and adjusted for sex and country) tested associations between recent pain and alcohol use in the pooled multicountry sample.

RESULTS: Across the six SAGE countries, about one-third of respondents reported alcohol use, being highest in Russia (74%) and lowest in India (16%). Holding the effects of sex and country constant, compared with abstainers, people with previous-day pain were more likely to be previous-day or other users. With regard to the quantity and frequency of alcohol use, people with previous-day pain were more likely to be non-heavy drinkers.

CONCLUSION: Overall, we found that, in this population of older adults in six LMICs, recent pain was associated with moderate use of alcohol, although there were differences between countries. The findings provide a platform for country-specific research to better understand bi-directional associations between pain and alcohol in older adults.

21 September 2016 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To investigate to what extent alcohol consumption affects female fecundability. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

SETTING: Denmark, 1 June 2007 to 5 January 2016.

PARTICIPANTS: 6120 female Danish residents, aged 21-45 years, in a stable relationship with a male partner, who were trying to conceive and not receiving fertility treatment.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Alcohol consumption was self reported as beer (330 mL bottles), red or white wine (120 mL glasses), dessert wine (50 mL glasses), and spirits (20 mL) and categorized in standard servings per week (none, 1-3, 4-7, 8-13, and >/=14). Participants contributed menstrual cycles at risk until the report of pregnancy, start of fertility treatment, loss to follow-up, or end of observation (maximum 12 menstrual cycles). A proportional probability regression model was used to estimate fecundability ratios (cycle specific probability of conception among exposed women divided by that among unexposed women).

RESULTS: 4210 (69%) participants achieved a pregnancy during follow-up. Median alcohol intake was 2.0 (interquartile range 0-3.5) servings per week. Compared with no alcohol consumption, the adjusted fecundability ratios for alcohol consumption of 1-3, 4-7, 8-13, and 14 or more servings per week were 0.97 (95% confidence interval 0.91 to 1.03), 1.01 (0.93 to 1.10), 1.01 (0.87 to 1.16) and 0.82 (0.60 to 1.12), respectively. Compared with no alcohol intake, the adjusted fecundability ratios for women who consumed only wine (>/=3 servings), beer (>/=3 servings), or spirits (>/=2 servings) were 1.05 (0.91 to1.21), 0.92 (0.65 to 1.29), and 0.85 (0.61 to 1.17), respectively. The data did not distinguish between regular and binge drinking, which may be important if large amounts of alcohol are consumed during the fertile window.

CONCLUSION: Consumption of less than 14 servings of alcohol per week seemed to have no discernible effect on fertility. No appreciable difference in fecundability was observed by level of consumption of beer and wine.

21 September 2016 In General Health

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to describe the cross-sectional and longitudinal association between alcohol intake and gait parameters in older persons.

METHODS: Community-dwelling persons aged 65-70 years (N = 807). Information on health, functional status, and alcohol use was self-reported at baseline and at 3-year follow-up, whereas gait speed and stride-to-stride variability were measured while walking only (single task) and under dual tasking (counting backwards).

RESULTS: Compared to light-to-moderate drinking, heavy drinking was associated with slower gait speed in single task (adj. coeff.: -.040, 95% CI: -.0.78 to -.002, p = .035). No significant association was observed between heavy drinking and gait speed variability. Nondrinkers walked significantly slower than light-to-moderate drinkers in dual task and had significantly higher gait speed variability in both single and dual task, but these associations disappeared after adjustment for comorbidity. At follow-up, 35.2% and 34.1% of the participants walked significantly slower in single and dual task, respectively. This proportion varied a little across drinking categories.

CONCLUSION: At baseline, heavy alcohol consumption was significantly associated with slower gait speed in single task. Selective survival of the fittest heavy drinkers probably explains why this association faded in longitudinal analyses. The trend of poorer gait performance in nondrinkers disappeared after adjustment for comorbidity, suggesting confounding by a worse health status.

21 September 2016 In General Health

BACKGROUND: High alcohol consumption is a major cause of morbidity, yet alcohol is associated with both favourable and adverse effects on cardiometabolic risk markers. We aimed to characterize the associations of usual alcohol consumption with a comprehensive systemic metabolite profile in young adults.

METHODS: Cross-sectional associations of alcohol intake with 86 metabolic measures were assessed for 9778 individuals from three population-based cohorts from Finland (age 24-45 years, 52% women). Metabolic changes associated with change in alcohol intake during 6-year follow-up were further examined for 1466 individuals. Alcohol intake was assessed by questionnaires. Circulating lipids, fatty acids and metabolites were quantified by high-throughput nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics and biochemical assays.

RESULTS: Increased alcohol intake was associated with cardiometabolic risk markers across multiple metabolic pathways, including higher lipid concentrations in HDL subclasses and smaller LDL particle size, increased proportions of monounsaturated fatty acids and decreased proportion of omega-6 fatty acids, lower concentrations of glutamine and citrate (P < 0.001 for 56 metabolic measures). Many metabolic biomarkers displayed U-shaped associations with alcohol consumption. Results were coherent for men and women, consistent across the three cohorts and similar if adjusting for body mass index, smoking and physical activity. The metabolic changes accompanying change in alcohol intake during follow-up resembled the cross-sectional association pattern (R2 = 0.83, slope = 0.72 +/- 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol consumption is associated with a complex metabolic signature, including aberrations in multiple biomarkers for elevated cardiometabolic risk. The metabolic signature tracks with long-term changes in alcohol consumption. These results elucidate the double-edged effects of alcohol on cardiovascular risk.

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