Women who drink light-to-moderately during pregnancy have been observed to have lower risk of unfavourable pregnancy outcomes than abstainers. This has been suggested to be a result of bias. In a pooled sample, including 193 747 live-born singletons from nine European cohorts, we examined the associations between light-to-moderate drinking and preterm birth, birth weight, and small-for-gestational age in term born children (term SGA). To address potential sources of bias, we compared the associations from the total sample with a sub-sample restricted to first-time pregnant women who conceived within six months of trying, and examined whether the associations varied across calendar time. In the total sample, drinking up to around six drinks per week as compared to abstaining was associated with lower risk of preterm birth, whereas no significant associations were found for birth weight or term SGA. Drinking six or more drinks per week was associated with lower birth weight and higher risk of term SGA, but no increased risk of preterm birth. The analyses restricted to women without reproductive experience revealed similar results. Before 2000 approximately half of pregnant women drank alcohol. This decreased to 39% in 2000-2004, and 14% in 2005-2011. Before 2000, every additional drink was associated with reduced mean birth weight, whereas in 2005-2011, the mean birth weight increased with increasing intake. The period-specific associations between low-to-moderate drinking and birth weight, which also were observed for term SGA, are indicative of bias. It is impossible to distinguish if the bias is attributable to unmeasured confounding, which change over time or cohort heterogeneity.

Published in Pregnant Women

BACKGROUND: Several studies have investigated the predictors of alcohol consumption behavior among adolescents and young adults. However, the body of evidence about the relationship between in particular psychological factors and alcohol consumption among individuals in the second half of life is still limited. Hence, we aimed at identifying factors associated with alcohol consumption among individuals aged 40 and above, especially focusing on psychological correlates.

METHODS: Data were derived from a population-based sample of community-dwelling individuals aged 40 to 95 years (n = 7820) in Germany. Alcohol consumption was rated as 'never' (never drinkers), 'rarer than once a month', 'one to three times a month', 'once a week', 'several times a week' (occasional drinkers), and 'daily' (daily drinkers). Socio-economic factors, the illness level and physical activity were considered as possible determinants of alcohol consumption. In addition, positive and negative affect, life satisfaction, optimism, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-regulation were included as psychological factors. Multinomial regressions were used to identify factors associated with drinking behavior.

RESULTS: 12.0% of the individuals were daily drinkers, 76.5% were occasional drinkers, and 11.5% of the individuals never drank alcohol. After adjusting for various potential confounders, multinomial logistic regressions revealed that, compared with never drinking, occasional and daily drinking were positively associated with a decreased loneliness, a higher life satisfaction, a higher positive affect, a higher optimism, a higher self-efficacy (occasional drinkers), a higher self-esteem, and less perceived stress. In addition, occasional and daily drinking were positively associated with less physical illnesses, male gender, and income as compared with never drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: The current study extends the existing literature on alcohol consumption behavior by new insights of correlates of drinking behavior among individuals in the second half of life. Since interventions are available to address this risk factor, this might help to identify individuals with increased alcohol consumption.

Published in Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Although the incidence of small intestinal adenocarcinoma (SIA) is low, rates are increasing and little information regarding modifiable lifestyle risk factors is available. AIM: To provide a systematic review of lifestyle factors and SIA risk.

METHODS: Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of science were searched from inception to week 1 October 2013. Nine publications that reported on SIA risk in relation to alcohol intake (n=6), tobacco smoking (n=6), diet (n=5), body mass (n=3), physical activity (n=1), hormone use (n=1) and/or socio-economic status (n=3) were retrieved. Results for alcohol, smoking and SIA risk were pooled using random-effects meta-analyses to produce relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

RESULTS: The summary RR for individuals consuming the highest versus lowest category of alcohol intake was 1.51 (95% CI 0.83-2.75; n=5 studies) with significant increased risks emerging in sensitivity analysis with reduced heterogeneity (RR: 1.82, 95% CI: 1.05-3.15; n=4 studies). The pooled SIA RR for individuals in the highest versus lowest category of smoking was 1.24 (95% CI 0.71-2.17; n=5 studies). In relation to dietary factors, high fibre intakes and normal body weight may be protective, while high intakes of red/processed meat and sugary drinks may increase SIA risk. Evidence on socio-economic status and SIA risk was equivocal. Data on other factors were too sparse to draw any conclusions.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol may be associated with an increased risk of SIA. Further investigation of lifestyle factors, particularly alcohol, smoking and diet, in the aetiology of this cancer is warranted in large consortial studies.

Published in Cancer

Background: Alcohol is a risk factor for cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, oesophagus, colorectum, liver, larynx and female breast, whereas its impact on other cancers remains controversial.

Methods: We investigated the effect of alcohol on 23 cancer types through a meta-analytic approach. We used dose-response meta-regression models and investigated potential sources of heterogeneity.

Results: A total of 572 studies, including 486 538 cancer cases, were identified. Relative risks (RRs) for heavy drinkers compared with nondrinkers and occasional drinkers were 5.13 for oral and pharyngeal cancer, 4.95 for oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma, 1.44 for colorectal, 2.65 for laryngeal and 1.61 for breast cancer; for those neoplasms there was a clear dose-risk relationship. Heavy drinkers also had a significantly higher risk of cancer of the stomach (RR 1.21), liver (2.07), gallbladder (2.64), pancreas (1.19) and lung (1.15). There was indication of a positive association between alcohol consumption and risk of melanoma and prostate cancer. Alcohol consumption and risk of Hodgkin's and Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas were inversely associated.

Conclusions: Alcohol increases risk of cancer of oral cavity and pharynx, oesophagus, colorectum, liver, larynx and female breast. There is accumulating evidence that alcohol drinking is associated with some other cancers such as pancreas and prostate cancer and melanoma.

Published in Cancer
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