AIM: The objective of this study is to assess the effects of Heavy Episodic Drinking (HED) on the incidence of alcohol-related injuries among university students in Spain, taking sex into consideration. METHODS: We carried out an open cohort study among college students in Spain (992 women and 371 men). HED and alcohol-related injuries were measured by question 3rd and 9th of Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test to every participant at the ages of 18, 20, 22, 24 and 27. For data analysis we used a Multilevel Logistic Regression for repeated measures adjusting for alcohol and cannabis use. RESULTS: The incidence rate of alcohol-related injuries was 0.028year-1 for females and 0.036year-1 for males. The multivariate analysis showed that among females a high frequency of HED and use of cannabis are risk factors for alcohol-related injuries (Odds Ratio [OR]=2.64 and OR=3.68), while being more than 23 is a protective factor (OR=0.34). For males, bivariate analysis also showed HED like risk factor (OR=4.69 and OR=2.51). Finally, the population attributable fraction for HED among females was 37.12%. CONCLUSIONS: HED leads to an increase of alcohol-related injuries in both sexes and being over 23 years old acts as a protective factor among women. Our results suggest that about one third of alcohol-related injuries among women could be avoided by removing HED
04 August 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Introduction: Adolescence and young adulthood are periods of continued biological and psychosocial maturation. Thus, there may be deleterious effects of consuming large quantities of alcohol on neural development and associated cognition during this time. The purpose of this mini review is to highlight neuroimaging research that has specifically examined the effects of binge and heavy drinking on adolescent and young adult brain structure and function.

Methods: We review cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of young binge and heavy drinkers that have examined brain structure (e.g., gray and white matter volume, cortical thickness, white matter microstructure) and investigated brain response using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Results: Binge and heavy-drinking adolescents and young adults have systematically thinner and lower volume in prefrontal cortex and cerebellar regions, and attenuated white matter development. They also show elevated brain activity in fronto-parietal regions during working memory, verbal learning, and inhibitory control tasks. In response to alcohol cues, relative to controls or light-drinking individuals, binge and heavy drinkers show increased neural response mainly in mesocorticolimbic regions, including the striatum, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), hippocampus, and amygdala. Mixed findings are present in risky decision-making tasks, which could be due to large variation in task design and analysis.

Conclusions: These findings suggest altered neural structure and activity in binge and heavy-drinking youth may be related to the neurotoxic effects of consuming alcohol in large quantities during a highly plastic neurodevelopmental period, which could result in neural reorganization, and increased risk for developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

04 August 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

The introduction of health warnings on labels to correct externalities associated with alcohol consumption is heavily debated and has been explored from different perspectives. The current paper aims to analyse the interest and attitudes of Italian university students regarding health warnings on alcoholic beverages and to verify the existence of segments that differ in terms of attitudes towards such warnings. Our results show that young consumers consider health warnings quite important, although the degree of perceived utility differs in relation to the type of warning. Cluster analysis shows the existence of three groups of young consumers with different degrees of attention and perceived utility of warnings on alcoholic beverages, but also in relation to drinking behaviour and awareness of social and health risks related to alcohol consumption. In brief, Italian young adults with moderate consumption behaviour view label warnings positively, while this attitude is weaker among younger adults and those with riskier consumption behaviours. Our findings, albeit limited and based on stated and not revealed data, support the need for appropriate tools to improve the availability of information among young adults on the risks of excessive alcohol consumption and increased awareness of the importance of moderate drinking.

04 August 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Falls are a major health problem in older adults, but their relationship with alcohol consumption in this population remains unclear. In a cohort with 2170 older adults followed up for 3.3 years, both moderate drinking and the Mediterranean drinking pattern were associated with a lower risk of falls and injurious falls.

INTRODUCTION: This study aims to examine the association between certain patterns of alcohol consumption, including the Mediterranean drinking pattern (MDP), and the risk of falls in older adults.

METHODS: A prospective cohort with 2170 community-dwelling individuals aged >/=60 years was recruited in Spain in 2008-2010 and followed up through 2012. At baseline, participants reported alcohol consumption and, at the end of follow-up, their falls during the previous year. The MDP was defined as moderate alcohol consumption (threshold between moderate and heavy intake was 40 g/day for men and 24 g/day for women) with preference for wine and drinking only with meals. Analyses were conducted with negative binomial or logistic regression, as appropriate, and adjusted for the main confounders.

RESULTS: Compared with never drinkers, the number of falls was lower in moderate drinkers (incidence rate ratio (95% confidence interval), 0.79 (0.63-0.99)) and drinkers with MDP (0.73 (0.56-0.96)). Also, moderate drinkers and those with MDP showed a lower risk of >/=2 falls (odds ratio (95% confidence interval), 0.58 (0.38-0.88) and 0.56 (0.34-0.93), respectively) and of falls requiring medical care (0.67 (0.46-0.96) and 0.61 (0.39-0.96), respectively).

CONCLUSION: Both moderate drinking and the MDP were associated with a lower risk of falls and injurious falls in older adults. However, sound advice on alcohol consumption should balance risks and benefits.

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