Alcohol consumption is a complex trait determined by both genetic and environmental factors, and is correlated with the risk of alcohol use disorders. Although a small number of genetic loci have been reported to be associated with variation in alcohol consumption, genetic factors are estimated to explain about half of the variance in alcohol consumption, suggesting that additional loci remain to be discovered. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of alcohol consumption in the large Genetic Epidemiology Research in Adult Health and Aging (GERA) cohort, in four race/ethnicity groups: non-Hispanic whites, Hispanic/Latinos, East Asians and African Americans. We examined two statistically independent phenotypes reflecting subjects' alcohol consumption during the past year, based on self-reported information: any alcohol intake (drinker/non-drinker status) and the regular quantity of drinks consumed per week (drinks/week) among drinkers. We assessed these two alcohol consumption phenotypes in each race/ethnicity group, and in a combined trans-ethnic meta-analysis comprising a total of 86 627 individuals. We observed the strongest association between the previously reported single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs671 in ALDH2 and alcohol drinker status (odd ratio (OR)=0.40, P=2.28 x 10-72) in East Asians, and also an effect on drinks/week (beta=-0.17, P=5.42 x 10-4) in the same group. We also observed a genome-wide significant association in non-Hispanic whites between the previously reported SNP rs1229984 in ADH1B and both alcohol consumption phenotypes (OR=0.79, P=2.47 x 10-20 for drinker status and beta=-0.19, P=1.91 x 10-35 for drinks/week), which replicated in Hispanic/Latinos (OR=0.72, P=4.35 x 10-7 and beta=-0.21, P=2.58 x 10-6, respectively). Although prior studies reported effects of ADH1B and ALDH2 on lifetime measures, such as risk of alcohol dependence, our study adds further evidence of the effect of the same genes on a cross-sectional measure of average drinking. Our trans-ethnic meta-analysis confirmed recent findings implicating the KLB and GCKR loci in alcohol consumption, with strongest associations observed for rs7686419 (beta=-0.04, P=3.41 x 10-10 for drinks/week and OR=0.96, P=4.08 x 10-5 for drinker status), and rs4665985 (beta=0.04, P=2.26 x 10-8 for drinks/week and OR=1.04, P=5 x 10-4 for drinker status), respectively. Finally, we also obtained confirmatory results extending previous findings implicating AUTS2, SGOL1 and SERPINC1 genes in alcohol consumption traits in non-Hispanic whites.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 9 May 2017; doi:10.1038/mp.2017.101

Published in General Health

BACKGROUND: We aimed to describe gender and region differences in the prevalence of binge drinking and in the association between binge drinking and well-being, among older adult Europeans. This is a cross-sectional study using the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) wave 4, conducted between 2011 and 2012, including 58 489 individuals aged 50 years or older. Sixteen European countries were grouped in four drinking culture regions: South, Central, North and East. We categorized drinking patterns as: never, former, no-binge and binge drinkers. We used the CASP-12 questionnaire to measure well-being. To assess the association between binge drinking and well-being, we fitted two-level mixed effects linear models. The highest percentage of binge drinkers was found in Central Europe (17.25% in men and 5.05% in women) and the lowest in Southern Europe (9.74% in men and 2.34% in women). Former, never and binge drinkers had a significant negative association with well-being as compared with no-binge drinkers. There was a significant interaction in this association by gender and region. Overall, associations were generally stronger in women and in Southern and Eastern Europe. The negative association of binge drinking with well-being was especially strong in Southern European women ( beta = -3.80, 95% CI: -5.16 to - 2.44, P value <0.001). In Southern and Eastern European countries the association between binge drinking and well-being is stronger, especially in women, compared with Northern and Central Europe. Cultural factors (such as tolerance to drunkenness) should be further explored.

Published in Drinking Patterns

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the dose-risk relationship for alcohol consumption and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in the Ethnic/Racial Variations of Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ERICH) study.

METHODS: ERICH is a multicenter, prospective, case-control study, designed to recruit 1,000 non-Hispanic white patients, 1,000 non-Hispanic black patients, and 1,000 Hispanic patients with ICH. Cases were matched 1:1 to ICH-free controls by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and geographic area. Comprehensive interviews included questions regarding alcohol consumption. Patterns of alcohol consumption were categorized as none, rare (/=1 drink per month and 2 drinks per day and /=5 drinks per day). ICH risk was calculated using the no-alcohol use category as the reference group.

RESULTS: Multivariable analyses demonstrated an ordinal trend for alcohol consumption: rare (odds ratio [OR] 0.57, p < 0.0001), moderate (OR 0.65, p < 0.0001), intermediate (OR 0.82, p = 0.2666), and heavy alcohol consumption (OR 1.77, p = 0.0003). Subgroup analyses demonstrated an association of rare and moderate alcohol consumption with decreased risk of both lobar and nonlobar ICH. Heavy alcohol consumption demonstrated a strong association with increased nonlobar ICH risk (OR 2.04, p = 0.0003). Heavy alcohol consumption was associated with significant increase in nonlobar ICH risk in black (OR 2.34, p = 0.0140) and Hispanic participants (OR 12.32, p < 0.0001). A similar association was not found in white participants.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated potential protective effects of rare and moderate alcohol consumption on ICH risk. Heavy alcohol consumption was associated with increased ICH risk. Race/ethnicity was a significant factor in alcohol-associated ICH risk; heavy alcohol consumption in black and Hispanic participants poses significant nonlobar ICH risk.

Published in Cardiovascular System

Aims: Epidemiological evidence indicates a protective effect of light to moderate alcohol consumption compared to non-drinking and heavy drinking. Although several mechanisms have been suggested, the effect of alcohol on atherosclerotic changes in vessel walls is unclear. Therefore, we explored the relationship between alcohol consumption and common carotid intima media thickness, a marker of early atherosclerosis in the general population.

Methods: Individual participant data from eight cohorts, involving 37,494 individuals from the USE-IMT collaboration were used. Multilevel age and sex adjusted linear regression models were applied to estimate mean differences in common carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) with alcohol consumption.

Results: The mean age was 57.9 years (SD 8.6) and the mean CIMT was 0.75 mm (SD 0.177). About, 40.5% reported no alcohol consumed, and among those who drank, mean consumption was 13.3 g per day (SD 16.4). Those consuming no alcohol or a very small amount (10 g per day, after adjusting for a range of confounding factors. Conclusion: In this large CIMT consortium, we did not find evidence to support a protective effect of alcohol on CIMT.

Published in Cardiovascular System
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