BACKGROUND: Alcohol is a possible risk factor for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), but evidence from individual studies is weak and inconsistent. Existing narrative reviews suggest the possibility of non-linear associations. The aim here was to quantify any association using a systematic literature review, followed by dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies.

METHODS: MEDLINE, Embase and Web of Science were searched systematically to January 2017 for relevant prospective studies of alcohol consumption and AAA risk. Summary estimates of highest versus lowest levels of consumption, and linear and non-linear dose-response curves were quantified using random-effects models.

RESULTS: Eleven relevant cohorts were identified describing results from 3580 individuals with among 473 092 participants. Data were extracted from ten cohorts for meta-analyses of high versus low levels of alcohol consumption (risk ratio for AAA 0.93, 95 per cent c.i. 0.78 to 1.11; P = 0.4, I2 = 47 per cent). The linear dose-response risk ratio for AAA, derived from 11 cohorts, was 1.00 (0.97 to 1.04) per 8 g alcohol per day (P = 0.9, I2 = 73 per cent). Non-linear dose-response results showed a tick-shaped curve with lower risk up to 2 units/day, but increasing risk beyond that (P = 0.05). The increase in risk beyond 2 units/day was stronger in men than in women.

CONCLUSION: Although the linear dose-response analysis revealed little evidence of an association between alcohol consumption and AAA risk, a tick-shaped trend in the association was observed. This non-linear dose-response analysis revealed reduced risks for alcohol consumption below 2 units/day, masking increased risks for 2 or more units/day.

Published in Cardiovascular System

Objective: To estimate the prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy among the general population of Latin America and the Caribbean, by country, in 2012.

Methods: Three steps were taken: a comprehensive, systematic literature search; meta-analyses, assuming a random-effects model for countries with published studies; and regression modelling (data prediction) for countries with either no published studies or too few to obtain an estimate.

Results: Based on 24 existing studies, the pooled prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy among the general population was estimated for Brazil (15.2%; 95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 10.4%-20.8%) and Mexico (1.2%; 95%CI: 0.0%-2.7%). The prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy among the general population was predicted for 31 countries and ranged from 4.8% (95%CI: 4.2%-5.4%) in Cuba to 23.3% (95%CI: 20.1%-26.5%) in Grenada.

Conclusions: Greater prevention efforts and measures are needed in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to prevent pregnant women from consuming alcohol during pregnancy and decrease the rates of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Additional high quality studies on the prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean are also needed.

Published in Pregnant Women

INTRODUCTION: Energy drinks are popular beverages that are supposed to counteract sleepiness, increase energy, maintain alertness and reduce symptoms of hangover. Cognitive enhancing seems to be related to many compounds such as caffeine, taurine and vitamins. Currently, users mostly combine psychostimulant effects of energy drinks to counteract sedative effects of alcohol. However, recent literature suggests that this combination conducts to feel less intoxicated but still impaired. The goal of the present article is to review cognitive impact and subjective awareness in case of caffeinated alcoholic beverage (CAB) intoxication.

METHOD: PubMed (January 1960 to March 2016) database was searched using the following terms: cognitive impairments, alcohol, energy drinks; cognition, alcohol, caffeine.

RESULTS: 99 papers were found but only 12 randomized controlled studies which explored cognitive disorders and subjective awareness associated with acute CAB or AED (alcohol associated with energy drinks) intoxication were included.

DISCUSSION: The present literature review confirmed that energy drinks might counteract some cognitive deficits and adverse effects of alcohol i.e. dry mouth, fatigue, headache, weakness, and perception of intoxication due to alcohol alone. This effect depends on alcohol limb but disappears when the complexity of the task increases, when driving for example. Moreover, studies clearly showed that CAB/AEDs increase impulsivity which conducts to an overconsumption of alcohol and enhanced motivation to drink compared to alcohol alone, potentiating the risk of developing addictive behaviors. This is a huge problem in adolescents with high impulsivity and immature decision making processes.

CONCLUSION: Although energy drinks counteract some cognitive deficits due to alcohol alone, their association promotes the risk of developing alcohol addiction. As a consequence, it is necessary to better understand the neurobiological mechanisms underlying these interactions in order to better prevent the development of alcohol dependence.

Published in General Health

Underage drinking is a significant problem in the US. It is responsible for several thousand mortalities and fatalities each year, both among minors and other members of society. Additionally, underage alcohol consumption produces a severe economic burden in the US. Introduction to alcohol in youth poses serious long-term risks for adolescents, including occupational, educational, and psychosocial impairments, and increases the risk for developing alcohol abuse disorders in adulthood. In order to address and mitigate this problem, the US has set a minimum age drinking law of 21 in all 50 states, and has implemented several supplementary laws limiting the possession and consumption of alcohol. Though these laws have successfully reduced underage drinking, several additional strategies are noteworthy, including preventative and intervention efforts incorporating environmental, individual, communal, and parental factors. The following literature review describes these concepts as they relate to underage drinking laws in the US. Directions for future research, interventions, and ongoing challenges related to the minimum drinking age in the US are also discussed.

Published in Drinking Patterns
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