25 August 2020 In Cardiovascular System
Epidemiological studies of middle-aged populations generally find the relationship between alcohol intake and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke to be either U- or J-shaped. This review describes the extent that these relationships are likely to be causal, and the extent that they may be due to specific methodological weaknesses in epidemiological studies. The consistency in the vascular benefit associated with moderate drinking (compared with non-drinking) observed across different studies, together with the existence of credible biological pathways, strongly suggests that at least some of this benefit is real. However, because of biases introduced by: choice of reference categories; reverse causality bias; variations in alcohol intake over time; and confounding, some of it is likely to be an artefact. For heavy drinking, different study biases have the potential to act in opposing directions, and as such, the true effects of heavy drinking on vascular risk are uncertain. However, because of the known harmful effects of heavy drinking on non-vascular mortality, the problem is an academic one. Studies of the effects of alcohol consumption on health outcomes should recognise the methodological biases they are likely to face, and design, analyse and interpret their studies accordingly. While regular moderate alcohol consumption during middle-age probably does reduce vascular risk, care should be taken when making general recommendations about safe levels of alcohol intake. In particular, it is likely that any promotion of alcohol for health reasons would do substantially more harm than good.
25 August 2020 In Phenolic compounds

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Epidemiological data suggest that moderate red wine consumption reduces cardiovascular mortality and the incidence of diabetes. However, whether these effects are due to ethanol or to non-alcoholic components of red wine still remains unknown. The aim of the present study was to compare the effects of moderate consumption of red wine, dealcoholized red wine, and gin on glucose metabolism and the lipid profile.

METHODS: Sixty-seven men at high cardiovascular risk were randomized in a crossover trial. After a run-in period, all received each of red wine (30 g alcohol/d), the equivalent amount of dealcoholized red wine, and gin (30 g alcohol/d) for 4 week periods, in a randomized order. Fasting plasma glucose and insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), plasma lipoproteins, apolipoproteins and adipokines were determined at baseline and after each intervention.

RESULTS: Fasting glucose remained constant throughout the study, while mean adjusted plasma insulin and HOMA-IR decreased after red wine and dealcoholized red wine. HDL cholesterol, Apolipoprotein A-I and A-II increased after red wine and gin. Lipoprotein(a) decreased after the red wine intervention.

CONCLUSIONS: These results support a beneficial effect of the non-alcoholic fraction of red wine (mainly polyphenols) on insulin resistance, conferring greater protective effects on cardiovascular disease to red wine than other alcoholic beverages. www.isrctn.org: ISRCTN88720134.

25 August 2020 In Liver Disease

OBJECTIVES: To systematically summarize the risk relationship between different levels of alcohol consumption and incidence of liver cirrhosis.

METHODS: MEDLINE and Embase were searched up to March 6, 2019, to identify case-control and cohort studies with sex-specific results and more than 2 categories of drinking in relation to the incidence of liver cirrhosis. Study characteristics were extracted and random-effects meta-analyses and meta-regressions were conducted.

RESULTS: A total of 7 cohort studies and 2 case-control studies met the inclusion criteria, providing data from 2,629,272 participants with 5,505 cases of liver cirrhosis. There was no increased risk for occasional drinkers. Consumption of one drink per day in comparison to long-term abstainers showed an increased risk for liver cirrhosis in women, but not in men. The risk for women was consistently higher compared to men. Drinking >/=5 drinks per day was associated with a substantially increased risk in both women (relative risk [RR] = 12.44, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.65-23.27 for 5-6 drinks, and RR = 24.58, 95% CI: 14.77-40.90 for >/=7 drinks) and men (RR = 3.80, 95% CI: 0.85-17.02, and RR = 6.93, 95% CI: 1.07-44.99, respectively). Heterogeneity across studies indicated an additional impact of other risk factors.

DISCUSSION: Alcohol is a major risk factor for liver cirrhosis with risk increasing exponentially. Women may be at higher risk compared to men even with little alcohol consumption. More high-quality research is necessary to elucidate the role of other risk factors, such as genetic vulnerability, body weight, metabolic risk factors, and drinking patterns over the life course. High alcohol consumption should be avoided, and people drinking at high levels should receive interventions to reduce their intake.

25 August 2020 In General Health

BACKGROUND:AIMS: Gallstone disease (GSD) is a common gastrointestinal disorder. Clinical epidemiological studies revealed that alcohol consumption has a preventive effect on the development of GSD. This study aimed to evaluate the relative risks of drinking for GSD development and investigate the dose-response relationships.

METHODS: A systematic search of the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases for studies published up to 2018 was performed. All studies that satisfied the following eligibility criteria were included: patients with GSD with or without cholecystitis; and cohort or case-control studies investigating the association between alcohol consumption and GSD development.

RESULTS: Sixteen case-control studies including 24,401 gallstone cases and 76,185 controls, and eight cohort studies with 14,693 GSD cases among 2,432,471 person-years were enrolled. Alcohol consumption presented a decreased overall risk of GSD (pooled relative ratio [RR], 0.84; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 to 0.89; p=0.02). Subgroup analyses according to drinking levels indicated a gradual risk reduction for GSD compared to nondrinkers (light: RR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.94 to 0.99; p=0.75; moderate: RR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.75 to 0.85; p=0.27; high: RR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.56 to 0.79; p0.01). A nonlinear risk reduction was observed in a dose-response meta-analysis of all the studies (n=14, p0.01 for nonlinearity).

CONCLUSIONS: In this systematic review with meta-analysis, alcohol consumption could decrease the risk of GSD, and the dose-response analysis revealed a dose-dependent linear risk reduction and a weakened linear trend between alcohol consumption levels less than and greater than 28 g/day.

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