Tuesday, 06 May 2014 08:56

The puzzle of Italian drinking

During the recent decades, a significant process of change in alcohol consumption patterns is currently ongoing in Italy. This is especially obvious in the decreased wine consumption during the last 40 years, which parallels the decrease in deaths from liver cirrhosis. The drinking patterns of younger people have also changed during the last two decades, even if traditional values and practices are still retained. There is no evidence to suggest that planned public health policies had any substantial impact on these changes.

Published in Drinking Patterns

Although moderate alcohol drinkers have lower rates of incident coronary artery disease than abstainers, much less is known about the health effects of different patterns of alcohol use in women with established coronary artery disease. In the Determinants of Myocardial Infarction Onset Study, 1,253 women hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction (MI) at 64 centers nationwide from 1989 to 1996 were followed for mortality through December 31, 2007. Of the women, 761 (61%) reported abstention in the year before their MIs, 280 (22%) reported consumption of /=3 servings/week. Using Cox proportional-hazards models, the associations between total weekly volume of consumption, drinking days per week, drinks per drinking day, and beverage type with 10-year mortality were investigated, adjusting for clinical and socioeconomic potential confounders. Compared with abstention, adjusted hazard ratios were 0.66 (95% confidence interval 0.50 to 0.86) for /=3 servings/week (p for trend = 0.008). No differences were found by beverage type, and generally inverse associations of drinking frequency and quantity with mortality were found. In conclusion, in women who survive MI, moderate drinking is associated with a decreased risk for mortality, with no clear differences on the basis of pattern or beverage type. These results suggest that women who survive MI need not abstain from alcohol, but any derived benefit would appear to occur well below currently recommended limits in alcohol consumption.

Published in Cardiovascular System




BACKGROUND: There are controversies on the role of alcohol in lung cancer but no studies have examined the role of alcohol consumption patterns. We examined the association between binge drinking and lung cancer.

METHODS: Prospective population based study of 2267 middle aged men from Finland without a history of lung cancer at baseline.

RESULTS: There were 65 cases of lung cancer during an average follow-up of 16.7 years. The relative risk (RR) of lung cancer for binge drinkers was 1.89 (95% CI 1.10-3.20) after adjusting for age, examination year, family history of cancer, smoking, socio-economic status (SES), leisure-time physical activity and body mass index (BMI). No increased risk was observed among non-smoking binge drinkers, RR 1.48 (95% CI 0.89-2.47). Binge drinking smokers had increased risks of lung cancer in all categories of daily smoking compared with non-binge drinking smokers. The RR were 2.70 (95% CI 1.61-4.53), 2.35 (95% CI 1.38-3.96) and 2.24 (95% CI 1.29-3.80) for those who smoked 1-19, 20-29 and > or =30/day, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Binge drinking is not associated with an increased risk of lung cancer among non-smokers but among smokers, it is associated with an increased risk irrespective of the number of cigarettes smoked daily. Even though the number of lung cancer cases among non-smokers was relatively small, the fact that the increased risk was limited to only smokers means that residual confounding by smoking may play a role. Larger studies are needed to clarify this association.




Published in Cancer

Dietary ethanol (alcohol) is the most widely consumed drug worldwide. High levels of mortality, morbidity, and social malaise are associated with abuse of alcohol, and increasing numbers of women and youth are abusing alcohol. However, strong epidemiological data demonstrate a U- or J-shaped relationship between volume of alcohol consumed and all-cause mortality or disease burden. Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality and disease burden than are abstinence and immoderate drinking. A brief review of the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of ethanol is provided with a discussion of the impact of gender differences. Potential mechanisms by which ethanol, ethanol metabolites, and (or) phytochemicals, as associated with different types of ethanol-containing beverages, are discussed in regards to the beneficial and detrimental impacts they may have on physiological system functioning and mortality or disease burden. Per capita consumption of ethanol-containing beverages varies across geo-political regions worldwide. A more recent research focus is the impact of consumption patterns on consumption volumes as they relate to disease and mortality. Certain drinking patterns moderate overall volume of ethanol consumption. Thus, an emerging approach to the study of alcohol consumption in populations is to consider both the volume and pattern of consumption as they relate to mortality and disease burden. Alcohol consumption patterns among athletes are discussed; physiological implications of alcohol abuse in this population are outlined. Current guidelines for the consumption of alcohol are reviewed. Alcohol consumption guidelines reflect the current scientific understanding of both the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption and the detriments of immoderate alcohol consumption.


Published in Drinking & Driving

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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.