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

OBJECTIVE: Using a national sample of young adults, this study identified latent classes of alcohol use including high-intensity drinking (10+ drinks) from ages 18 to 25/26, and explored associations between time-invariant covariates measured at age 18 and class membership.

METHOD: Longitudinal data from the national Monitoring the Future study were available for 1078 individuals (51% female) first surveyed as 12th grade students in 2005-2008, and followed through modal age 25/26. Repeated measures latent class analysis was used to identify latent classes based on self-reported alcohol use: no past 30-day drinking, 1-9 drinks per occasion in the past 2weeks, and 10+ drinks per occasion.

RESULTS: Four latent classes of alcohol use from ages 18 to 25/26 were identified: (1) Non-Drinkers (21%); (2) Legal Non-High-Intensity Drinkers (23%); (3) Persistent Non-High-Intensity Drinkers (40%); and (4) High-Intensity Drinkers (16%). Membership in the High-Intensity Drinkers class was characterized by higher than average probabilities of high-intensity drinking at all ages, with the probability of high-intensity drinking increasing between ages 18 and 21/22. Both gender and race/ethnicity significantly differentiated class membership, whereas neither parental education (a proxy for socioeconomic status) nor college plans at 12th grade showed significant associations.

CONCLUSIONS: More than one in seven individuals who were seniors in high school experienced a long-term pattern of high-intensity drinking lasting into middle young adulthood. Young adult high-intensity drinking is often preceded by high-intensity drinking in high school, suggesting the importance of screening and prevention for high-intensity drinking during adolescence.

Published in Drinking Patterns

Alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy are among the strongest and most preventable risk factors for adverse neonatal health outcomes, but few developmentally sensitive, population-based studies of this phenomenon have been conducted. To address this gap, the present study examined the prevalence and correlates of alcohol and tobacco use among pregnant adolescents (aged 12-17) and adults (aged 18-44) in the United States. Data were derived from the population-based National Survey of Drug Use and Health (80,498 adolescent and 152,043 adult women) between 2005 and 2014. Findings show disconcerting levels of past-month use among pregnant women with 11.5% of adolescent and 8.7% of adult women using alcohol, and 23.0% of adolescent and 14.9% of adult women using tobacco. Compared to their non-pregnant counterparts, pregnant adolescents were less likely to report past 30-day alcohol use (AOR=0.52, 95% CI=0.36-0.76), but more likely to report past 30-day tobacco use (AOR=2.20, 95% CI=1.53-3.18). Compared to their non-pregnant adult counterparts, pregnant adults were less likely to report using alcohol (AOR=0.06, 95% CI=0.05-0.07) and tobacco (AOR=0.47, 95% CI=0.43-0.52). Compared to pregnant abstainers, pregnant women reporting alcohol/tobacco use were more likely to have had a major depressive episode in the past 12 months, report criminal justice system involvement, and endorse comorbid alcohol/tobacco use. Given alcohol and tobacco's deleterious consequences during pregnancy, increased attention to reducing use is critical. Findings suggest that tobacco use is especially problematic for both adolescents and adults and is strongly linked with depression and criminal justice involvement, especially among adults.

Published in Pregnant Women

BACKGROUND: In cross-sectional studies and short-term clinical trials, it has been suggested that there is a positive dose-response relation between alcohol consumption and HDL concentrations. However, prospective data have been limited.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine the association between total alcohol intake, the type of alcohol-containing beverage, and the 6-y (2006-2012) longitudinal change in HDL-cholesterol concentrations in a community-based cohort.

DESIGN: A total of 71,379 Chinese adults (mean age: 50 y) who were free of cardiovascular diseases and cancer and did not use cholesterol-lowering agents during follow-up were included in the study. Alcohol intake was assessed via a questionnaire in 2006 (baseline), and participants were classified into the following categories of alcohol consumption: never, past, light (women: 0-0.4 servings/d; men: 0-0.9 servings/d), moderate (women: 0.5-1.0 servings/d; men: 1-2 servings/d), and heavy (women: >1.0 servings/d; men: >2 servings/d). HDL-cholesterol concentrations were measured in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. We used generalized estimating equation models to examine the associations between baseline alcohol intake and the change in HDL-cholesterol concentrations with adjustment for age, sex, smoking, physical activity, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, liver function, and C-reactive protein concentrations.

RESULTS: An umbrella-shaped association was observed between total alcohol consumption and changes in HDL-cholesterol concentrations. Compared with never drinkers, past, light, moderate, and heavy drinkers experienced slower decreases in HDL cholesterol of 0.012 mmol . L-1 . y-1 (95% CI: 0.008, 0.016 mmol . L-1 . y-1), 0.013 mmol . L-1 . y-1 (95% CI: 0.010, 0.016 mmol . L-1 . y-1), 0.017 mmol . L-1 . y-1 (95% CI: 0.009, 0.025 mmol . L-1 . y-1), and 0.008 mmol . L-1 . y-1 (95% CI: 0.005, 0.011 mmol . L-1 . y-1), respectively (P < 0.0001 for all), after adjustment for potential confounders. Moderate alcohol consumption was associated with the slowest increase in total-cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol and triglyceride: HDL-cholesterol ratios. We observed a similar association between hard-liquor consumption and the HDL-cholesterol change. In contrast, greater beer consumption was associated with slower HDL-cholesterol decreases in a dose-response manner.

CONCLUSION: Moderate alcohol consumption was associated with slower HDL-cholesterol decreases; however, the type of alcoholic beverage had differential effects on the change in the HDL-cholesterol concentration.

Published in General Health
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