05 December 2018 In Liver Disease

BACKGROUND: Alcohol is a known cause of cirrhosis, but it is unclear if the associated risk varies by whether alcohol is drunk with meals, or by the frequency or type of alcohol consumed. Here we aim to investigate the associations between alcohol consumption with meals, daily frequency of consumption, and liver cirrhosis.

METHODS: The Million Women Study is a prospective study that includes one in every four UK women born between 1935 and 1950, recruited between 1996 and 2001. In 2001 (IQR 2000-03), the participants reported their alcohol intake, whether consumption was usually with meals, and number of days per week it was consumed. Cox regression analysis yielded adjusted relative risks (RRs) for incident cirrhosis, identified by follow-up through electronic linkage to routinely collected national hospital admission, and death databases.

FINDINGS: During a mean of 15 years (SD 3) of follow-up of 401 806 women with a mean age of 60 years (SD 5), without previous cirrhosis or hepatitis, and who reported drinking at least one alcoholic drink per week, 1560 had a hospital admission with cirrhosis (n=1518) or died from the disease (n=42). Cirrhosis incidence increased with amount of alcohol consumed (>/=15 drinks [mean 220 g of alcohol] vs one to two drinks [mean 30 g of alcohol] per week; RR 3.43, 95% CI 2.87-4.10; p<0.0001). About half of the participants (203 564 of 401 806) reported usually drinking with meals and, after adjusting for amount consumed, cirrhosis incidence was lower for usually drinking with meals than not (RR 0.69, 0.62-0.77; p<0.0001; wine-only drinkers RR 0.69, 0.56-0.85; all other drinkers RR 0.72, 0.63-0.82). Among 175 618 women who consumed seven or more drinks per week, cirrhosis incidence was greater for daily consumption than non-daily consumption (adjusted RR 1.61, 1.40-1.85; p<0.0001). Daily consumption, together with not drinking with meals, was associated with more than a doubling of cirrhosis incidence (adjusted RR 2.47, 1.96-3.11; p<0.0001).

INTERPRETATION: In middle-aged women, cirrhosis incidence increases with total alcohol intake, even at moderate levels of consumption. For a given weekly intake of alcohol, this excess incidence of cirrhosis is higher if consumption is usually without meals, or with daily drinking. FUNDING: UK Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK.

04 August 2017 In Cardiovascular System

Background: Hydroxytyrosol is a phenolic compound that is present in virgin olive oil (VOO) and wine. Hydroxytyrosol-related foods have been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Objective: We investigated the associations between hydroxytyrosol and its biological metabolite, 3-O-methyl-hydroxytyrosol, also known as homovanillyl alcohol (HVAL), with CVD and total mortality.

Design: We included 1851 men and women with a mean +/- SD age of 66.8 +/- 6 y at high risk of CVD from prospective cohort data. The primary endpoint was a composite of myocardial infarction, stroke, and death from cardiovascular causes; the secondary endpoint was all-cause mortality. Twenty-four-hour urinary hydroxytyrosol and HVAL and catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) rs4680 genotypes were measured.

Results: After multivariable adjustment, all biomarkers were associated, as a continuous variable, with lower CVD risk, but only HVAL showed a strong inverse association (HR: 0.44; 95% CI: 0.25, 0.80) for the comparison between quintiles. Only HVAL, as a continuous variable, was associated with total mortality (HR: 0.81; 95% CI: 0.70, 0.95). Individuals in the highest quintile of HVAL compared with the lowest had 9.2 (95% CI: 3.5, 20.8) and 6.3 (95% CI: 2.3, 12.1) additional years of life or years free of CVD, respectively, after 65 y. Individuals with the rs4680GG genotype had the highest HVAL concentrations (P = 0.05). There was no association between COMT genotypes and events or interaction between COMT genotypes and HVAL concentrations.

Conclusions: We report, for the first time to our knowledge, an independent association between high urinary HVAL concentrations and a lower risk of CVD and total mortality in elderly individuals. VOO and wine consumption and a high metabolic COMT capacity for methylation are key factors for high HVAL concentrations. The association that stems from our results reinforces the benefits of 2 key components of the Mediterranean diet (wine and VOO). This trial was registered at www.predimed.es as ISRCTN35739639

28 June 2017 In Cardiovascular System

Background: Hydroxytyrosol is a phenolic compound that is present in virgin olive oil (VOO) and wine. Hydroxytyrosol-related foods have been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Objective: We investigated the associations between hydroxytyrosol and its biological metabolite, 3-O-methyl-hydroxytyrosol, also known as homovanillyl alcohol (HVAL), with CVD and total mortality.

Design: We included 1851 men and women with a mean +/- SD age of 66.8 +/- 6 y at high risk of CVD from prospective cohort data. The primary endpoint was a composite of myocardial infarction, stroke, and death from cardiovascular causes; the secondary endpoint was all-cause mortality. Twenty-four-hour urinary hydroxytyrosol and HVAL and catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) rs4680 genotypes were measured.

Results: After multivariable adjustment, all biomarkers were associated, as a continuous variable, with lower CVD risk, but only HVAL showed a strong inverse association (HR: 0.44; 95% CI: 0.25, 0.80) for the comparison between quintiles. Only HVAL, as a continuous variable, was associated with total mortality (HR: 0.81; 95% CI: 0.70, 0.95). Individuals in the highest quintile of HVAL compared with the lowest had 9.2 (95% CI: 3.5, 20.8) and 6.3 (95% CI: 2.3, 12.1) additional years of life or years free of CVD, respectively, after 65 y. Individuals with the rs4680GG genotype had the highest HVAL concentrations (P = 0.05). There was no association between COMT genotypes and events or interaction between COMT genotypes and HVAL concentrations.

Conclusions: We report, for the first time to our knowledge, an independent association between high urinary HVAL concentrations and a lower risk of CVD and total mortality in elderly individuals. VOO and wine consumption and a high metabolic COMT capacity for methylation are key factors for high HVAL concentrations. The association that stems from our results reinforces the benefits of 2 key components of the Mediterranean diet (wine and VOO). This trial was registered at www.predimed.es as ISRCTN35739639.

28 June 2016 In General Health

AIMS: Increases in glass sizes and wine strength over the last 25 years in the UK are likely to have led to an underestimation of alcohol intake in population studies. We explore whether this probable misclassification affects the association between average alcohol intake and risk of mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

METHODS: Self-reported alcohol consumption in 1997-1999 among 7010 men and women in the Whitehall II cohort of British civil servants was linked to the risk of mortality until mid-2015. A conversion factor of 8 g of alcohol per wine glass (1 unit) was compared with a conversion of 16 g per wine glass (2 units).

RESULTS: When applying a higher alcohol content conversion for wine consumption, the proportion of heavy/very heavy drinkers increased from 28% to 41% for men and 15% to 28% for women. There was a significantly increased risk of very heavy drinking compared with moderate drinking for deaths from all causes and cancer before and after change in wine conversion; however, the hazard ratios were reduced when a higher wine conversion was used.

CONCLUSIONS: In this population-based study, assuming higher alcohol content in wine glasses changed the estimates of mortality risk. We propose that investigator-led cohorts need to revisit conversion factors based on more accurate estimates of alcohol content in wine glasses. Prospectively, researchers need to collect more detailed information on alcohol including serving sizes and strength.

SHORT SUMMARY: The alcohol content in a wine glass is likely to be underestimated in population surveys as wine strength and serving size have increased in recent years. We demonstrate that in a large cohort study, this underestimation affects estimates of mortality risk. Investigator-led cohorts need to revisit conversion factors based on more accurate estimates of alcohol content in wine glasses.

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