Falls are a major health problem in older adults, but their relationship with alcohol consumption in this population remains unclear. In a cohort with 2170 older adults followed up for 3.3 years, both moderate drinking and the Mediterranean drinking pattern were associated with a lower risk of falls and injurious falls.

INTRODUCTION: This study aims to examine the association between certain patterns of alcohol consumption, including the Mediterranean drinking pattern (MDP), and the risk of falls in older adults.

METHODS: A prospective cohort with 2170 community-dwelling individuals aged >/=60 years was recruited in Spain in 2008-2010 and followed up through 2012. At baseline, participants reported alcohol consumption and, at the end of follow-up, their falls during the previous year. The MDP was defined as moderate alcohol consumption (threshold between moderate and heavy intake was 40 g/day for men and 24 g/day for women) with preference for wine and drinking only with meals. Analyses were conducted with negative binomial or logistic regression, as appropriate, and adjusted for the main confounders.

RESULTS: Compared with never drinkers, the number of falls was lower in moderate drinkers (incidence rate ratio (95% confidence interval), 0.79 (0.63-0.99)) and drinkers with MDP (0.73 (0.56-0.96)). Also, moderate drinkers and those with MDP showed a lower risk of >/=2 falls (odds ratio (95% confidence interval), 0.58 (0.38-0.88) and 0.56 (0.34-0.93), respectively) and of falls requiring medical care (0.67 (0.46-0.96) and 0.61 (0.39-0.96), respectively).

CONCLUSION: Both moderate drinking and the MDP were associated with a lower risk of falls and injurious falls in older adults. However, sound advice on alcohol consumption should balance risks and benefits.

Published in Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Epidemiologic studies have found that moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) incidence. Nevertheless, whether the drinking pattern is associated with CHD incidence still remains inconclusive.

METHODS: We included 8,469 Chinese men aged 45-81 years, who were free of CHD, stroke, or cancer at baseline from Dongfeng-Tongji cohort. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect information on alcohol consumption and other covariates. Cox proportional hazard regression model was applied to estimate the multivariable-adjusted hazard rations (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs).

RESULTS: During an average of 4.36 years of follow-up, we identified 959 incident CHD events. Compared with non-drinkers, the multivariable-adjusted HR (95% CI) of CHD incidence was 0.84 (0.71-0.98) in current drinkers. With respect to drinking pattern, men who consumed 20.01-40 grams ethanol once a time had a 24% lower risk of incident CHD (HR = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.62, 0.94) compared with non-drinkers. The adjusted HRs (95% CI) of CHD incidence were 0.80 (0.65, 0.99), 1.02 (0.84, 1.22), and 0.75 (0.59-0.96) in subjects who consumed 0.01-10, 10.01-30, and > 30 grams ethanol per day, respectively. Participants who consumed 20.01-40 grams ethanol per time with less than 5 times per week had the lowest risk of CHD incidence (HR = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.52, 0.96). No significant associations were observed between type or frequency of alcohol consumption and CHD incidence.

CONCLUSIONS: Drinking was associated with a lower risk of CHD incidence in middle-aged and older Chinese men and moderate quantity of ethanol amounts once a time with lower frequency could been considered as a healthy drinking pattern, which might modify the relationship between alcohol consumption and incident CHD.

Published in Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Several studies have found that moderate alcohol intake is associated with lower risk of functional limitations in older adults. However, no previous investigation has assessed this association in older adults from Mediterranean countries, who show characteristic drinking patterns.

METHODS: Data were taken from the UAM and the Seniors-ENRICA cohorts in Spain, comprising community-dwelling people aged >/=60 years. At baseline, participants in both cohorts were classified as non-drinkers, ex-drinkers, moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers (the threshold between moderate and heavy intake was >/=40 g/day in men and >/=24 g/day in women). The Seniors-ENRICA cohort allowed assessment of a Mediterranean Drinking Pattern (MDP), defined as moderate alcohol intake, with wine preference (>/=80% of alcohol consumed as wine) and drinking only with meals. The incidence of limitation in mobility, agility, and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) was ascertained in each cohort at the end of a 3.5-year follow-up. Analyses were adjusted for sex, age, education, lifestyle, BMI, chronic conditions, and functional limitations at baseline others than the studied limitation.

RESULTS: Compared with non-drinkers, ex-drinkers showed a higher risk of IADL limitation (pooled adjusted odds ratio [paOR]: 1.63; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04-2.21). By contrast, moderate drinkers had a lower risk of limitations in mobility (paOR: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.63-0.97), agility (paOR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.65-0.99) and IADL (paOR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.39-0.69). Among individuals reporting poor or fair health, the MDP was associated with lower risk of mobility limitation (aOR: 0.51; 95% CI: 0.27-0.97).

CONCLUSION: In older adults, moderate alcohol consumption, as well as the MDP in specific subgroups, is associated with lower risk of functional limitation. These results should not serve to promote alcohol intake, because older adults are particularly vulnerable to its harmful effects.

Published in General Health

BACKGROUND: This study examined changes during the past decade, from 2005 to 2015, in binge and high-intensity drinking in 7 separate age groups of U.S. 12th graders and young adults.

METHODS: National longitudinal data (N = 6,711) from Monitoring the Future were used to examine trends in consuming 5+, 10+, and 15+ drinks on the same occasion in the past 2 weeks from ages 18 to 29/30 overall and by gender. Results were compared with trends in past 12-month and 30-day alcohol use for the same age groups.

RESULTS: Between 2005 and 2015, binge (5+) and high-intensity drinking (10+, 15+) generally decreased for individuals in their early 20s, remained somewhat stable for individuals in their mid-20s, and increased for individuals at the end of young adulthood (age 29/30). The observed historical trends in binge and high-intensity drinking were similar to those for past 12-month and past 30-day alcohol use for those aged 18 to 20, but diverged for most other age groups in young adulthood. Trends were generally similar for men and women, except that the increase in prevalence began earlier in young adulthood for women than for men.

CONCLUSIONS: Binge and high-intensity drinking among U.S. 12th graders and young adults are dynamic phenomena. Prevention and intervention efforts aimed at reducing the harms resulting from 5+, 10+, and 15+ drinking should acknowledge and focus on differences in trends in these behaviors by age and gender.

Published in Drinking Patterns
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