OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that postmenopausal women who increase their alcohol intake over a five year period have a higher risk of breast cancer and a lower risk of coronary heart disease compared with stable alcohol intake.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

SETTING: Denmark, 1993-2012.

PARTICIPANTS: 21?523 postmenopausal women who participated in the Diet, Cancer, and Health Study in two consecutive examinations in 1993-98 and 1999-2003. Information on alcohol intake was obtained from questionnaires completed by participants.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incidence of breast cancer, coronary heart disease, and all cause mortality during 11 years of follow-up. Information was obtained from the Danish Cancer Register, Danish Hospital Discharge Register, Danish Register of Causes of Death, and National Central Person Register. We estimated hazard ratios according to five year change in alcohol intake using Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS: During the study, 1054, 1750, and 2080 cases of breast cancer, coronary heart disease, and mortality occurred, respectively. Analyses modelling five year change in alcohol intake with cubic splines showed that women who increased their alcohol intake over the five year period had a higher risk of breast cancer and a lower risk of coronary heart disease than women with a stable alcohol intake. For instance, women who increased their alcohol intake by seven or 14 drinks per week (corresponding to one or two drinks more per day) had hazard ratios of breast cancer of 1.13 (95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.23) and 1.29 (1.07 to 1.55), respectively, compared to women with stable intake, and adjusted for age, education, body mass index, smoking, Mediterranean diet score, parity, number of births, and hormone replacement therapy. For coronary heart disease, corresponding hazard ratios were 0.89 (0.81 to 0.97) and 0.78 (0.64 to 0.95), respectively, adjusted for age, education, body mass index, Mediterranean diet score, smoking, physical activity, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes. Results among women who reduced their alcohol intake over the five year period were not significantly associated with risk of breast cancer or coronary heart disease. Analyses of all cause mortality showed that women who increased their alcohol intake from a high intake (=14 drinks per week) to an even higher intake had a higher mortality risk that women with a stable high intake.

CONCLUSION: In this study of postmenopausal women over a five year period, results support the hypotheses that alcohol intake is associated with increased risk of breast cancer and decreased risk of coronary heart disease.

Published in Cancer

AIM: Previous studies have reported that moderate alcohol consumption is protective against cardiovascular disease, but heavy alcohol consumption increases its risk. Endothelial dysfunction is hypothesized to contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. However, few population-based studies have examined a potential effect of alcohol consumption on endothelial function.

METHODS: This study included 404 men aged 30-79 years who were recruited from residents in 2 communities under the Circulatory Risk in Communities Study in 2013 and 2014. We asked the individuals about the frequency and volume of alcohol beverages and converted the data into grams of ethanol per day. Endothelial function was assessed by brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) measurements during reactive hyperemia. We performed cross-sectional analysis of alcohol consumption and %FMD by logistic regression analysis, adjusting for age, baseline brachial artery diameter, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, HbA1c, smoking, antihypertensive medication use, and community.

RESULTS: Individuals who drank >/= 46 g/day ethanol had a lower age-adjusted mean %FMD than non-drinkers (p0.01). Compared with non-drinkers, the age-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) (95% confidence interval) of low %FMD (5.3%) for former, light (23.0 g/day ethanol), moderate (23.0-45.9 g/day ethanol), and heavy (>/= 46.0 g/day ethanol) drinkers were 1.61 (0.67-3.89), 0.84 (0.43-1.66), 1.09 (0.52-2.25), and 2.99 (1.56-5.70), respectively. The corresponding multivariable-adjusted ORs were 1.76 (0.69-4.50), 0.86 (0.42-1.76), 0.98 (0.45-2.12), and 2.39 (1.15-4.95), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Heavy alcohol consumption may be an independent risk factor of endothelial dysfunction in Japanese men.

Published in Cardiovascular System

PURPOSE: Heavy episodic (i.e., "binge") drinking (i.e., >/=five drinks/occasion) is highly prevalent among young adults; those who binge do so four times per month on average, consuming nine drinks on average on each occasion. Although it is well established that chronic heavy drinking (>/=two alcoholic beverages per day) increases the risk of hypertension, the relationship between binge drinking and blood pressure is not well described. Our aim was to describe the relationship between frequency of binge drinking, both current (at age 24 years) and past (at age 20 years), and systolic blood pressure (SBP) at age 24 years.

METHODS: Participants (n = 756) from the longitudinal Nicotine Dependence in Teens study reported alcohol consumption at ages 20 and 24 years and had SBP measured at age 24 years. We examined the association between binge drinking and SBP using multiple linear regression, controlling for sex, race/ethnicity, education, monthly drinking in high school, cigarette smoking, and body mass index.

RESULTS: Compared to nonbinge drinkers, SBP at age 24 years was 2.61 [.41, 4.82] mm Hg higher among current monthly bingers and 4.03 [1.35, 6.70] mm Hg higher among current weekly bingers. SBP at age 24 years was 2.90 [.54, 5.25] mm Hg higher among monthly bingers at age 20 years and 3.64 [.93, 6.35] mm Hg higher among weekly bingers at age 20 years, compared to nonbinge drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: Frequent binge drinking at ages 20 and 24 years is associated with higher SBP at age 24 years and may be implicated in the development of hypertension.

Published in Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Although heavy drinking is known to lead to liver injury, some recent studies have reported that light alcohol consumption (LAC) may play a protective role against fatty liver in the general population, and may even play a protective role against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in males with metabolic syndrome (MS). However, the association between LAC and fatty liver with liver enzyme elevation in females with MS is unclear.

METHODS: Participants of this study were 20,853 females who underwent a regular health check-up between April 2008 and March 2012 at our hospital. Enrolled subjects were 1141 females with MS, who underwent all necessary tests and drank less than 20 g/day of alcohol. We investigated the presence of fatty liver with liver enzyme elevation, defined in this study as alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels >==31 IU/I, and the association between LAC and fatty liver with ALT elevation.

RESULTS: There was no significant difference in the prevalence of fatty liver and ALT between light drinkers and non-drinkers. The prevalence of individuals receiving a treatment for dyslipidemia and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) was significantly lower in light drinkers than in non-drinkers. Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), triglyceride (TG), uric acid (UA), IGT, and visceral fat type MS (V-type MS) were significant predictors of the prevalence of fatty liver with ALT elevation in logistic regression analysis. The odds ratio [OR] (95 % confidence interval [CI], p value) for fatty liver with ALT elevation were as follows: BMI, 2.181 (1.445-3.293, p <0.001); WC, 1.853 (1.280-2.684, p <0.01); DBP, 1.604 (1.120-2.298, p <0.05); TG, 2.202 (1.562-3.105, p <0.001); UA, 2.959 (1.537-5.698, p <0.01); IGT, 1.692 (1.143-2.506, p <0.01); and V-type MS, 3.708 (2.529-5.437, p <0.001). CONCLUSIONS: There was no significant difference in the prevalence of fatty liver with ALT elevation in females with MS between light drinkers and non-drinkers, suggesting that other factors such as BMI, WC, V-type MS, and lifestyle-related disease may be more important than LAC for the prevalence of fatty liver with ALT elevation.

Published in Liver Disease

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The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer.