23 February 2023 In General Health

PURPOSE: To examine whether higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness are related to increased alcohol consumption and dependence among a large sample of adults attending a preventive medicine clinic. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of 38,653 apparently healthy patients who visited the Cooper Clinic (Dallas, TX) for preventive medical examinations (1988-2019) and enrolled in the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. The primary independent variable was cardiorespiratory fitness, based on a maximal treadmill test, and the dependent variables were alcohol consumption and dependence (self-reported).

The relations between fitness category (low, moderate, high) and alcohol consumption (low, moderate, heavy) and suggested alcohol dependence (Cut down, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye opener score ≥2) among women and men were estimated via multivariable regression while adjusting for covariates (e.g., age, birth year cohort, marital status, and body mass index).

RESULTS: Women within the moderate and high fitness categories had 1.58 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32-1.91) and 2.14 (95% CI, 1.77-2.58) greater odds of moderate/heavy alcohol consumption, respectively, in comparison to their low fitness counterparts. Similarly, moderate and high fit men had 1.42 (95% CI, 1.30-1.55) and 1.63 (95% CI, 1.49-1.80) times greater odds of moderate-to-heavy alcohol consumption, respectively, in comparison to the low fitness group. In addition, among men who were heavy drinkers (but not women), higher fitness levels were related to lower rates of suggested alcohol dependence. Specifically, these men had 45.7%, 41.7%, and 34.9% proportions of clinically relevant alcohol problems across low, moderate, and high fitness categories (adjusted P for trend <0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Higher fitness levels are significantly related to greater alcohol consumption among a large cohort of adult patients. Interventions focusing on increasing fitness (via physical activity promotion) might consider concurrently aiming to reduce alcohol consumption.

23 November 2022 In Dementia

BACKGROUND: Previous studies on associations of alcohol use with memory decline showed inconclusive results. We examined these associations using longitudinal data from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study (GBCS) and explored whether these associations varied by sex and age group.

METHODS: Memory function was assessed by delayed 10-word recall test (DWRT) and immediate 10-word recall test (IWRT) at both baseline (2003-2008) and follow-up (2008-2012) examinations, expressed as the mean annual change and mean annual rate of change in scores. Memory cognitive impairment was defined by DWRT scores of less than 4. Multivariable linear regression models and restricted cubic spline were used for data analysis.

RESULTS: Of 14,827 participants without memory cognitive impairment at baseline, 90.2% were never or occasional drinkers, 5% moderate drinkers, 1.5% excessive drinkers, and 3.3% former drinkers. The mean (standard deviation) age was 60.6 (6.6) years old. During an average of 4.1 years follow-up, 1000 (6.7%) participants developed memory cognitive impairment. After adjusting for confounders, compared with never or occasional drinkers, moderate and excessive drinkers had significant decline in DWRT scores (beta, 95% confidence interval (CI) = -0.04 (-0.08 to -0.01), and - 0.07 (-0.14 to 0.01), respectively), and IWRT scores (beta, 95% CI = -0.10 (-0.19 to -0.01), and - 0.15 (-0.30 to 0.01), respectively) annually. With respect to the mean annual rate of change, moderate and excessive drinkers also showed greater decline in DWRT scores (beta, 95% CI = -1.02% (-1.87% to -0.16%), and - 1.64% (-3.14% to -0.14%), respectively). The associations did not vary by sex and age group (all P values for interaction >/= 0.10).

CONCLUSION: Compared to never or occasional alcohol use, moderate and excessive alcohol users had greater memory decline and the associations did not vary by sex and age group.

27 October 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Research has long found 'J-shaped' relationships between alcohol consumption and certain health outcomes, indicating a protective effect of moderate consumption. However, methodological limitations in most studies hinder causal inference. This review aimed to identify all observational studies employing improved approaches to mitigate confounding in characterizing alcohol-long-term health relationships, and to qualitatively synthesize their findings.

METHODS: Eligible studies met the above description, were longitudinal (with pre-defined exceptions), discretized alcohol consumption, and were conducted with human populations. MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Embase and SCOPUS were searched in May 2020, yielding 16 published manuscripts reporting on cancer, diabetes, dementia, mental health, cardiovascular health, mortality, HIV seroconversion, and musculoskeletal health. Risk of bias of cohort studies was evaluated using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale, and a recently developed tool was used for Mendelian Randomization studies.

RESULTS: A variety of functional forms were found, including reverse J/J-shaped relationships for prostate cancer and related mortality, dementia risk, mental health, and certain lipids. However, most outcomes were only evaluated by a single study, and few studies provided information on the role of alcohol consumption pattern.

CONCLUSIONS: More research employing enhanced causal inference methods is urgently required to accurately characterize alcohol-long-term health relationships. Those studies that have been conducted find a variety of linear and non-linear functional forms, with results tending to be discrepant even within specific health outcomes.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO registration number CRD42020185861.

26 August 2022 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Alcohol consumption has complex effects on myocardial infarction (MI) and ischemic stroke. We investigated the difference in associations according to drinking patterns (drinking frequency vs. amount per occasion) and sex.

METHODS: This population-based retrospective study included 11,595,191 subjects participating in national health examinations between 2009 and 2010. Using Cox regression analyses, we calculated MI and ischemic stroke risk according to weekly alcohol consumption, drinking frequency, and amount per occasion.

RESULTS: For MI, all weekly alcohol consumption amounts showed lower risk compared to non-drinkers: mild (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.78; 95% confidence intervals [CI], 0.77-0.79), moderate (aHR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.70-0.73), and heavy (aHR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.72-0.76). Drinking frequency and amount per occasion did not differ in MI risk. However, women showed increased risk with heavy drinking and >/=8 drinks per occasion. For ischemic stroke, a J-shaped association was observed for weekly alcohol consumption: mild (aHR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.90-0.92), moderate (aHR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.93-0.96), and heavy (aHR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02-1.06). Among women, ischemic stroke risk began to increase with moderate drinking. Given similar weekly alcohol consumption levels, ischemic stroke risk increased with higher frequency of drinking, not with amount per occasion.

CONCLUSIONS: Drinking frequency may be a more important risk factor for ischemic stroke than amount per occasion. Among women, the protective effect of alcohol against MI was not evident in heavy amounts, and the risk of ischemic stroke began to increase at lower levels compared to men.

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