01 February 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Mixing alcohol with diet beverages, as compared to mixing the same amount of alcohol with a regular beverage, is associated with greater intoxication. This may occur because diet mixers increase alcohol absorption rates. Thus, it is plausible that the use of diet mixers may increase the risk of alcohol-related harms. The current study sought to (1) determine the rate/frequency of use in among college students, (2) examine the relationship between mixing alcohol with diet beverages and alcohol-related problems, above typical alcohol use and sensation seeking, and (3) explore key traits (gender, restricting food while drinking, and body mass index [BMI]) that may characterize users. Participants were 686 (73% female) undergraduate students who completed self-reports of alcohol use (including diet mixer use), alcohol-related problems, eating behaviors while drinking, sensation seeking, and demographic information. Results revealed that about 36% of the sample reported consuming alcohol with diet mixers, and users typically consumed this beverage at least once a month. Students who reported mixing alcohol with diet beverages experienced more alcohol-related problems. And, the more frequently one consumed this beverage, the more problems were reported. These associations were found after controlling for typical level of alcohol use and sensation seeking. No differences were observed between user-status on gender, eating behaviors while drinking, and BMI. Our findings suggest that mixing alcohol with diet beverages could be a risk factor for experiencing more alcohol-related harms. Further research is needed to understand this relationship, as it may help guide intervening efforts aimed to reduce alcohol-related risks.

01 February 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

This study aims (1) to describe the context of drinking among adolescents with acute alcohol intoxication (AAI) by gender, (2) to explore temporal changes in the context of drinking and (3) to analyse the association between the context of drinking and blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A retrospective chart review of 12- to 17-year-old inpatients with AAI (n = 1441) of the years 2000 to 2006 has been conducted in five participating hospitals in Germany. Gender differences in the context of drinking were tested with t test and chi2 test. Differences over time were analysed using logistic regressions. Multivariate linear regression was used to predict BAC. Girls and boys differed in admission time, drinking situation, drinking occasion and admission context. No temporal changes in drinking situation and in admission to hospital from public locations or places were found. Higher BAC coincided with male gender and age. Moreover, BAC was higher among patients admitted to hospital from public places and lower among patients who drank for coping. CONCLUSION: The results suggest gender differences in the context of drinking. The context of drinking needs to be considered in the development and implementation of target group-specific prevention and intervention measures. What is known: * The context of drinking, e.g. when, where, why and with whom is associated with episodic heavy drinking among adolescents. What is new: * Male and female inpatients with acute alcohol intoxication differ with regards to the context of drinking, i.e. in admission time, drinking situation, drinking occasion and admission context. * Being admitted to hospital from public places is associated with higher blood alcohol concentration.

01 February 2017 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: We examined whether alcohol flushing could be used as an instrumental variable (IV) and investigated the effect of alcohol consumption on coronary calcification using alcohol flushing status as an IV.

METHODS: We analysed cross-sectional data from 24 681 Korean adults (20 696 men and 3985 women) who had been administered a questionnaire assessing alcohol consumption and alcohol flushing, as well as a coronary artery calcium (CAC) measurement. The associations of alcohol flushing status with potential confounders and alcohol consumption were examined. We employed two-stage predictor substitution methodology for the IV analysis.

RESULTS: The prevalence of alcohol flushing did not differ depending on gender, education, household income, cigarette smoking or physical activity. Balanced levels of confounders were observed between alcohol flushers and non-flushers. Alcohol flushing was closely related to alcohol consumption and levels of liver enzymes. In men, a doubling in alcohol consumption was associated with increased odds of coronary calcification in both the IV analysis [odds ratio (OR) of CAC scores of 1 or over = 1.11; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.03-1.20) and the multivariable regression analysis (OR = 1.04; 95% CI = 1.01-1.07). For cardiovascular risk factors, the IV analysis showed a positive association between alcohol consumption and blood pressure and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol flushing can be used as an IV in studies evaluating the health impact of alcohol consumption, especially in East Asian countries. Through such an analysis, we found that increased alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis.

15 December 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

PURPOSE: We seek answers to three questions about adolescent risk of starting to drink alcoholic beverages: (1) in new United States (US) data, can we reproduce a recently discovered female excess risk? (2) has a female excess risk emerged in European countries? and (3) might the size of country-level female-male differences (FMD) be influenced by macro-level gender equality and development processes?

METHODS: Estimates are from US and European surveys of adolescents, 2010-2014. For US estimates, newly incident drinking refers to consuming the first full drink during the 12-month interval just prior to assessment. For all countries, lifetime cumulative incidence of drinking refers to any drinking before assessment of the sampled 15-16 years.

RESULTS: Cumulative meta-analysis summary estimates from the US show a highly reproducible female excess in newly incident drinking among 12-17 years (final estimated female-male difference in risk, FMD = 2.1%; 95% confidence interval = 1.5%, 2.7%). Several European countries show female excess risk, estimated as lifetime cumulative incidence of drinking onsets before age 17 years. At the country level, the observed magnitude of FMD in risk is positively associated with the Gender Development Index (especially facets related to education and life expectancy of females relative to males), and with residence in a higher income European country.

CONCLUSIONS: New FMD estimates support reproducibility of a female excess risk in the US. In Europe, evidence of a female excess is modest. Educational attainment, life expectancies, and income merit attention in future FMD research on suspected macro-level processes that influence drinking onsets.

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