BACKGROUND: Results from several cohort and case-control studies suggest a protective association between current alcohol intake and risk of thyroid carcinoma, but the epidemiological evidence is not completely consistent and several questions remain unanswered.

METHODS: The association between alcohol consumption at recruitment and over the lifetime and risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma was examined in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Among 477 263 eligible participants (70% women), 556 (90% women) were diagnosed with differentiated thyroid carcinoma over a mean follow-up of 11 years. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS: Compared with participants consuming 0.1-4.9 g of alcohol per day at recruitment, participants consuming 15 or more grams (approximately 1-1.5 drinks) had a 23% lower risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma (HR=0.77; 95% CI=0.60-0.98). These findings did not differ greatly when analyses were conducted for lifetime alcohol consumption, although the risk estimates were attenuated and not statistically significant anymore. Similar results were observed by type of alcoholic beverage, by differentiated thyroid carcinoma histology or according to age, sex, smoking status, body mass index and diabetes.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides some support to the hypothesis that moderate alcohol consumption may be associated with a lower risk of papillary and follicular thyroid carcinomas.

Published in Cancer

OBJECTIVES: Habitual alcohol drinking has been shown to reduce the risk for diabetes by recent meta-analysis studies. However, it remains to be clarified whether the relationship between alcohol and diabetes is influenced by adiposity. The purpose of this study was to determine whether glycemic status is influenced by alcohol drinking in women.

METHODS: The subjects were 18 352 Japanese women, 35 to 60 years of age, who underwent health check-up examinations. The subjects were divided into 4 groups: nondrinkers, occasional drinkers, regular light drinkers (/=22 g ethanol/day). The relationship between alcohol consumption and glycated hemoglobin (A1C) levels was investigated by using analysis of covariance and logistic regression analysis with adjustment for age and histories of smoking and regular exercise.

RESULTS: A1C levels were significantly lower in occasional, regular light and regular heavy drinkers than in nondrinkers and was significantly lower in regular light and heavy drinkers than in occasional drinkers. These inverse associations were not altered by adiposity status as evaluated by body mass index and waist-to-height ratios. Odds ratios versus nondrinkers for hyperglycemia were significantly lower (p<0.01) than the reference level of 1.00 in occasional drinkers (0.82 [95% confidence interval 0.73 to 0.92]); regular light drinkers (0.61 [95% CI: 0.44 to 0.85]) and regular heavy drinkers (0.66 [95% CI: 0.50 to 0.88]).

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that glycemic status is inversely associated with alcohol drinking independent of adiposity status in Japanese women. This may be related to the known lower risk for cardiovascular disease in female drinkers.

Published in Diabetes

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Although excess alcohol consumption has been believed to cause liver injury, light alcohol consumption (LAC) has been reported to play a protective role against fatty liver in recent studies. However, the association between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and LAC in men with metabolic syndrome (MS) is unclear. The aim of this study was to examine the association between NAFLD and LAC in men with MS.

METHODS: Subjects were 1055 men with MS who underwent a regular health check-up and drank less 20 g/day of alcohol. A distinction was made between non-drinkers and light drinkers and the association between NAFLD and LAC in men with MS was elucidated. NAFLD was referred as fatty liver with alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels >==31 IU/L in this study.

RESULTS: Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and the prevalence of NAFLD were significantly lower in light drinkers than in non-drinkers. Logistic regression analysis showed body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), uric acid (UA), haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), visceral fat type MS and LAC (odds ratios: 0.654; 95% confidence intervals: 0.473-0.906; <0.05) were significant predictors of the prevalence of NAFLD.

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of NAFLD in light drinkers was significantly lower than in non-drinkers, and supporting previous reports studying the general population, LAC is one of the significant predictors of a decreased prevalence of NAFLD in men with MS.

Published in Liver Disease

AIMS: This study investigated the relationship between alcohol drinking habits and the onset of high medical expenditure in a Japanese male population.

METHODS: The cohort comprised 94,307 male beneficiaries 40-69 years of age of the Japanese medical insurance system, who had daily alcohol drinking habits. The likelihood of incurring high medical expenditure, defined as the >/=90th percentile of the medical expenditure distribution in the study population 1 year after baseline, as well as the likelihood of undergoing hospitalization that year were compared among the participants grouped according to their alcohol consumption amount (<2, 2-3.9, 4-5.9, >/=6 drinks/day).

RESULTS: Participants who ranked in the top 10% medical expenditure group within the 1 year after baseline each incurred at least 2152 euros/year. The top 10% medical expenditure group accounted for 61.1% of the total medical expenditure in the study population. The odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for ranking in the top 10% group during the 1-year period, compared with the /=6 drinks/day after adjustment for age, body mass index, and smoking and exercise habits. The adjusted odds ratios for undergoing hospitalization were 1.11 (1.04-1.19), 1.14 (1.06-1.24) and 1.39 (1.24-1.56), respectively.

CONCLUSION: The likelihood of incurring high medical expenditure and undergoing hospitalization increased with daily alcohol consumption amount.

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