BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Several studies have reported a significant inverse association of light to moderate alcohol consumption with coronary heart disease (CHD). However, studies assessing the relationship between alcohol consumption and atherosclerosis have reported inconsistent results. The current study was conducted to determine the relationship between alcohol consumption and aortic calcification.

METHODS: We addressed the research question using data from the population-based ERA-JUMP Study, comprising of 1006 healthy men aged 40-49 years, without clinical cardiovascular diseases, from four race/ethnicities: 301 Whites, 103 African American, 292 Japanese American, and 310 Japanese in Japan. Aortic calcification was assessed by electron-beam computed tomography and quantified using the Agatston method. Alcohol consumption was categorized into four groups: 0 (non-drinkers), 1 to 3 drinks per day (heavy drinkers) (1 drink = 12.5 g of ethanol). Tobit conditional regression and ordinal logistic regression were used to investigate the association of alcohol consumption with aortic calcification after adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors and potential confounders.

RESULTS: The study participants consisted of 25.6% nondrinkers, 35.3% light drinkers, 23.5% moderate drinkers, and 15.6% heavy drinkers. Heavy drinkers [Tobit ratio (95% CI) = 2.34 (1.10, 4.97); odds ratio (95% CI) = 1.67 (1.11, 2.52)] had significantly higher expected aortic calcification score compared to nondrinkers, after adjusting for socio-demographic and confounding variables. There was no significant interaction between alcohol consumption and race/ethnicity on aortic calcification.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that heavy alcohol consumption may be an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis.

Published in Cardiovascular System

There have been conflicting reports on the association of alcohol use and diverticular disease. We aimed to determine the odds of developing diverticular disease and diverticular bleeding in patients who consumed alcohol on a regular basis compared with those who did not. MEDLINE and PUBMED were searched up until February 2017 on observational trials, which investigated the effect of alcohol use on two outcomes of diverticular disease: diverticulosis and diverticular bleeding. Quantitative estimates (odds ratios [OR] and confidence intervals [CI]) from included studies were pooled by using a random-effects model. Heterogeneity across studies was assessed by the I2 statistic. In 6 studies including 53,644 subjects and 6 studies including 3,404 subjects, alcohol consumption on a regular basis was not associated with either diverticulosis (OR=1.99; 95% CI 0.99-4.03, I2=99%) or diverticular bleeding (OR=1.39; 95% CI 0.84-2.32, I2=45%) compared to subjects who did not consume alcohol on a regular basis, respectively. Increased odds of diverticulosis or diverticular bleeding among individuals who consume alcohol on a regular basis were not observed in these meta-analyses.

Published in General Health

AIM: The objective of this study is to assess the effects of Heavy Episodic Drinking (HED) on the incidence of alcohol-related injuries among university students in Spain, taking sex into consideration.

METHODS: We carried out an open cohort study among college students in Spain (992 women and 371 men). HED and alcohol-related injuries were measured by question 3rd and 9th of Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test to every participant at the ages of 18, 20, 22, 24 and 27. For data analysis we used a Multilevel Logistic Regression for repeated measures adjusting for alcohol and cannabis use.

RESULTS: The incidence rate of alcohol-related injuries was 0.028year-1 for females and 0.036year-1 for males. The multivariate analysis showed that among females a high frequency of HED and use of cannabis are risk factors for alcohol-related injuries (Odds Ratio [OR]=2.64 and OR=3.68), while being more than 23 is a protective factor (OR=0.34). For males, bivariate analysis also showed HED like risk factor (OR=4.69 and OR=2.51). Finally, the population attributable fraction for HED among females was 37.12%.

CONCLUSIONS: HED leads to an increase of alcohol-related injuries in both sexes and being over 23 years old acts as a protective factor among women. Our results suggest that about one third of alcohol-related injuries among women could be avoided by removing HED.

Published in Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Observational studies show moderate alcohol use negatively associated with ischemic heart disease (IHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, healthier attributes among moderate users compared to never users may confound the apparent association. A potentially less biased way to examine the association is Mendelian randomization, using alcohol metabolizing genes which influence alcohol use.

METHODS: We used instrumental variable analysis with aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) genotypes (AA/GA/GG) as instrumental variables for alcohol use to examine the association of alcohol use (10 g ethanol/day) with CVD risk factors (blood pressure, lipids and glucose) and morbidity (self-reported IHD and CVD) among men in the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study.

RESULTS: ALDH2 genotypes were a credible instrument for alcohol use (F-statistic 74.6). Alcohol was positively associated with HDL-cholesterol (0.05 mmol/L per alcohol unit, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.02 to 0.08) and diastolic blood pressure (1.15 mmHg, 95% CI 0.23 to 2.07) but not with systolic blood pressure (1.00 mmHg, 95% CI -0.74 to 2.74), LDL-cholesterol (0.03 mmol/L, 95% CI -0.03 to 0.08), log transformed triglycerides (0.03 mmol/L, 95% CI -0.01 to 0.08) or log transformed fasting glucose (0.01 mmol/L, 95% CI -0.006 to 0.03), self-reported CVD (odds ratio (OR) 0.98, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.27) or self-reported IHD (OR 1.10, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.45).

CONCLUSION: Low to moderate alcohol use among men had the expected effects on most CVD risk factors but not fasting glucose. Larger studies are needed to confirm the null associations with IHD, CVD and fasting glucose.

Published in Cardiovascular System
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