24 January 2020 In Drinking Patterns

This review provides the first systematic and quantitative synthesis of the literature examining the relationship between binge drinking, cognition, brain structure and function in youth aged 10 to 24 years. PubMed, EMBASE, Medline, PsychINFO and ProQuest were searched for neuroimaging, neurophysiological, and neuropsychological studies.

A total of 58 studies (21 neuroimaging, 16 neurophysiological, 21 neuropsychological) met the eligibility criteria and were included in the review. Overall, abnormal or delayed development of key frontal executive-control regions may predispose youth to binge drink.

These abnormalities appear to be further exacerbated by the uptake of binge drinking, in addition to alcohol-related neural aberrations in reward-seeking and incentive salience regions, indexed by cognitive deficits and maladaptive alcohol associations.

A meta-analysis of neuropsychological correlates identified that binge drinking in youth was associated with a small overall neurocognitive deficit (g = -0.26) and specific deficits in decision-making (g = -1.70), and inhibition (g = -0.39). Using the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) Evidence Profile, the certainty in outcomes ranged from very low to low.

Future prospective longitudinal studies should address concomitant factors, exposure thresholds, and age-related vulnerabilities of binge drinking, as well as the degree of recovery following discontinuation of use.

26 November 2019 In Drinking Patterns

Most epidemiological research on alcohol as a risk factor is based on the assumption that outcomes are linked to pattern and level of alcohol exposure, where different beverages are converted into grams of ethanol. This review examines this basic assumption, that alcohol has the same impact, independent of beverage type.

We conducted a systematic search on comparative research of beverage-specific alcohol exposure and consequences. Research was divided by methodology (survey, case-control, cohort, time-series analyses, interventional research). Overall, many studies showed higher risks for spirits compared to beer or wine; however, most research was not controlled adequately for confounders such as patterns of drinking. While there is no conclusive evidence for spirits being associated with more harm, given the same pattern and level of alcohol exposure, some evidence supports for certain outcomes such as injuries and poisonings, a potential excess risk with spirits consumption due to rapid ethanol intake and intoxication.

Accordingly, encouraging people to opt for beverages with lower alcohol content via taxation strategies has the potential to reduce alcohol-attributable harm. This does not necessarily involve switching beverage type, but also can achieved within the same beverage category, by shifting from higher to lower concentration beverages.

24 October 2019 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Several studies have suggested a link between the type of alcoholic beverage consumption and body weight. However, results from longitudinal studies have been inconsistent, and the association between adolescent alcohol consumption long-term weight gain has generally not been examined.

METHODS: The study was based on data from 720 Danish adolescents aged between 15 to 19 years at baseline from the Danish Youth and Sports Study (YSS). Self-reported alcohol use, height, weight, smoking, social economic status (SES) and physical activity levels were assessed in baseline surveys conducted in 1983 and 1985, and in the follow up survey which was conducted in 2005. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to examine the association between alcohol consumption in adolescence and subsequent weight gain later in midlife.

RESULTS: There was no significant association between total alcohol consumption during adolescence and change in BMI into midlife (P = 0.079) (beta - 0.14; 95% CI -0.28, 0.005). Wine consumption was found to be inversely associated to subsequent BMI gain (P = 0.001) (beta - 0.46; 95% CI -0.82, - 0.09) while the results were not significant for beer and spirit. The relationship did not differ by gender, but smoking status was found to modify the relationship, and the inverse association between alcohol and BMI gain was seen only among non-smokers (P = 0.01) (beta - 0.24; 95% CI -0.41, - 0.06) while no association was found among smokers. Neither adolescent nor attained socioeconomic status in adulthood modified the relationship between alcohol intake and subsequent BMI gain.

CONCLUSION: Among non-smoking adolescents, consumption of alcohol, and in particular wine, seems to be associated with less weight gain until midlife.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The YSS cohort was retrospectively registered on August 2017. (Study ID number: NCT03244150 ).

24 October 2019 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Adolescent drinking has declined across many developed countries from the turn of the century. The aim of this review is to explore existing evidence examining possible reasons for this decline.

METHODS: We conducted systematic searches across five databases: Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Informit Health and Scopus. Studies were included if association between declining alcohol consumption and potential explanatory factors were measured over time. Narrative synthesis was undertaken due to substantial methodological heterogeneity in these studies.

RESULTS: 17 studies met the inclusion criteria. Five studies found moderate evidence for changes in parental practices as a potential cause for the decline. Five studies that examined whether alcohol policy changes influenced the decline found weak evidence of association. Three studies explored whether alcohol use has been substituted by illicit substances but no evidence was found. Two studies examined the effect of a weaker economy; both identified increase in adolescent alcohol use during times of economic crisis. One study indicated that changes in exposure to alcohol advertising were positively associated with the decline and another examined the role of immigration of non-drinking populations but found no evidence of association. One study tested participation in organised sports and party lifestyle as a potential cause but did not use robust analytical methods and therefore did not provide strong evidence of association for the decline.

CONCLUSIONS: The most robust and consistent evidence was identified for shifts in parental practices. Further research is required using robust analytical methods such as ARIMA modelling techniques and utilising cross-national data.

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