25 January 2019 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), with moderate drinkers having decreased CVD risk compared to non- and heavy drinkers. However, whether alcohol consumption is associated with ideal cardiovascular health (CVH), assessed by the American Heart Association's (AHA) Life's Simple 7 (LS7) metrics, and whether associations differ by sex, is uncertain.

HYPOTHESIS: Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with worse CVH.

METHODS: We explored associations between alcohol consumption and CVH in a multi-ethnic population including 6506 participants free of CVD, aged 45 to 84 years. Each LS7 metric was scored 0 to 2 points. Total score was categorized as inadequate (0-8), average (9-10) and optimal (11-14). Participants were classified as never, former or current drinkers. Current drinkers were categorized as 2 (heavy) drinks/day. Multinomial logistic regression models assessed associations between alcohol and CVH, adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, income, and health insurance.

RESULTS: Mean (SD) age was 62 (10) years, 53% were women. Compared to never drinkers, those with >2 drinks/day were less likely to have average [0.61 (0.43-0.87)] and optimal CVH [0.29 (0.17-0.49)]. Binge drinking was also associated with unfavorable CVH. Overall, there was no independent association for light or moderate drinking with CVH. However, women with 1 to 2 drinks/day were more likely to have optimal CVH [1.85 (1.19-2.88)] compared to non-drinking women, which was not seen in men.

CONCLUSION: Heavy alcohol consumption was associated with unfavorable CVH. Although light or moderate drinking may be associated with a more favorable CVH in women, overall, the association was not strong.

25 January 2019 In Drinking Patterns

INTRODUCTION: Age of first drink is a key risk factor for adolescent high-risk alcohol use. The current study examined whether speed of escalation from first drink to first intoxication is an additional risk factor, and whether these two factors are associated with binge and high-intensity drinking among adolescents.

METHODS: Data collected in 2005-2017 from a nationally-representative sample of 11,100 U.S. 12th grade students participating in the Monitoring the Future study were coded to indicate grade of first drink, grade of first intoxication, and speed of escalation from first drink to first intoxication. Logistic regression models estimated bivariate and multivariable odds of past 2-week binge (5+ drinks in a row) and high-intensity (10+ drinks in a row) drinking in 12th grade.

RESULTS: Of those who reported intoxication by 12th grade, almost 60% reported first drunkenness in the same grade in which they first drank. The likelihoods of 12th grade binge and high-intensity drinking were significantly associated with both grade of first drink and speed of escalation to intoxication. Past two-week high-intensity drinking prevalence was 17.4% among those with immediate (same-grade) escalation from first drink to first intoxication; 15.8% among those with a 1-grade delay, and 12.6% among those with a 2+ grade delay to intoxication.

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of students escalate quickly from having their first drink to being intoxicated for the first time. Both earlier age of first drink and a faster escalation from first drink to first intoxication are important indicators of binge and high-intensity drinking risk among adolescents.

29 October 2018 In Cancer

Epidemiological studies have been used to show associations between modifiable lifestyle habits and the incidence of breast cancer. Among such factors, a history of alcohol use has been reported in multiple studies and meta-analyses over the past decades. However, associative epidemiological studies that were interpreted as evidence that even moderate alcohol consumption increases breast cancer incidence have been controversial. In this review, we consider the literature on the relationship between moderate or heavy alcohol use, both in possible biological mechanisms and in variations in susceptibility due to genetic or epigenetic factors. We argue that there is a need to incorporate additional approaches to move beyond the associations that are reported in traditional epidemiological analyses and incorporate information on molecular pathologic signatures as a requirement to posit causal inferences. In particular, we point to the efforts of the transdisciplinary field of molecular pathological epidemiology (MPE) to evaluate possible causal relationships, if any, of alcohol consumption and breast cancer. A wider application of the principles of MPE to this field would constitute a giant step that could enhance our understanding of breast cancer and multiple modifiable risk factors, a step that would be particularly suited to the era of "personalized medicine".

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