06 September 2018 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for death and disability, but its overall association with health remains complex given the possible protective effects of moderate alcohol consumption on some conditions. With our comprehensive approach to health accounting within the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2016, we generated improved estimates of alcohol use and alcohol-attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for 195 locations from 1990 to 2016, for both sexes and for 5-year age groups between the ages of 15 years and 95 years and older.

METHODS: Using 694 data sources of individual and population-level alcohol consumption, along with 592 prospective and retrospective studies on the risk of alcohol use, we produced estimates of the prevalence of current drinking, abstention, the distribution of alcohol consumption among current drinkers in standard drinks daily (defined as 10 g of pure ethyl alcohol), and alcohol-attributable deaths and DALYs. We made several methodological improvements compared with previous estimates: first, we adjusted alcohol sales estimates to take into account tourist and unrecorded consumption; second, we did a new meta-analysis of relative risks for 23 health outcomes associated with alcohol use; and third, we developed a new method to quantify the level of alcohol consumption that minimises the overall risk to individual health.

FINDINGS: Globally, alcohol use was the seventh leading risk factor for both deaths and DALYs in 2016, accounting for 2·2% (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 1·5-3·0) of age-standardised female deaths and 6·8% (5·8-8·0) of age-standardised male deaths. Among the population aged 15-49 years, alcohol use was the leading risk factor globally in 2016, with 3·8% (95% UI 3·2-4·3) of female deaths and 12·2% (10·8-13·6) of male deaths attributable to alcohol use. For the population aged 15-49 years, female attributable DALYs were 2·3% (95% UI 2·0-2·6) and male attributable DALYs were 8·9% (7·8-9·9). The three leading causes of attributable deaths in this age group were tuberculosis (1·4% [95% UI 1·0-1·7] of total deaths), road injuries (1·2% [0·7-1·9]), and self-harm (1·1% [0·6-1·5]). For populations aged 50 years and older, cancers accounted for a large proportion of total alcohol-attributable deaths in 2016, constituting 27·1% (95% UI 21·2-33·3) of total alcohol-attributable female deaths and 18·9% (15·3-22·6) of male deaths. The level of alcohol consumption that minimised harm across health outcomes was zero (95% UI 0·0-0·8) standard drinks per week.

INTERPRETATION: Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for global disease burden and causes substantial health loss. We found that the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero. These results suggest that alcohol control policies might need to be revised worldwide, refocusing on efforts to lower overall population-level consumption.

27 July 2018 In General Health

Purpose: The placement of warning labels on alcoholic beverages is a policy area with renewed interest, yet a strong evidence base regarding the efficacy of text-based or pictorial warning labels has still to emerge. Increased interest by policymakers has spurred research into potential alcohol warning label designs and messages. The purpose of this article is to draw together recearch in the alcohol warnings literature.

Design/methodology/approach: The current study seeks to review research that has sought to examine the effectiveness of alcohol warning labels. Searches for English-language articles (since 2000) using the terms "alcohol" and "warning label*" were conducted in 2015 across four databases (Web of Science, PubMed, PsycInfo and Cochrane). Articles were included if they empirically assessed the effectiveness and/or design of alcohol warning labels. Only studies that addressed the targeted individual consumer (consistent with downstream social marketing) were included. A narrative analysis approach was used for the 15 articles identified.

Findings: Findings are reported on five themes covering the design of the warning, starting with the use of imagery or recommendations, followed by a focus on the warning messages and whether they are specific, use signal words and are based on qualitative or quantitative information.

Research limitations/implications: Overall, there was little consistency in approach and measures, with very limited research having explored the potential of pictorial warning labels. Numerous research gaps are identified; thus, much more research is needed in this area. The evidence base is weak and caution is needed by policymakers regarding the introduction and implementation of alcohol warning labels. Limitations are discussed.

Originality/value: The review provides a timely up-to-date evaluation of the alcohol warning labels literature that has seen a recent resurgence but has not been critically reviewed.

27 July 2018 In Cancer

Alcohol consumption is inconsistently associated with the risk of gastric cancer morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to systematically evaluate the association between alcohol consumption on gastric cancer risk. The PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases were searched from inception through April 2017. Prospective cohort studies evaluating the association between alcohol consumption and risk of gastric cancer which report its effect estimates with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were included. The results summary was performed using the random-effect model. Twenty-two cohort studies involving 22,545 cases of gastric cancer and 5,820,431 participants were identified and included in our data analysis. Overall, drinking had little or no effect on gastric cancer as compared with non-drinkers. Furthermore, light and moderate alcohol consumption had no significant effect on gastric cancer risk when compared with non-drinkers. However, heavy alcohol consumption was associated with a greater risk of gastric cancer when compared with non-drinkers. The findings of the subgroup analyses indicated that light alcohol consumption was associated with a lower risk of gastric cancer in women, while heavy alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer regardless of country, gender, whether the study reported gastric cancer incidence, or whether the study adjusted for body mass index, educational attainment, or physical activity. The findings of this study suggest that light alcohol consumption might play a protective effect on gastric cancer in women, while heavy alcohol consumption is associated with a significantly increased risk of gastric cancer in all subgroups.

The pattern of alcohol consumption in the form of binge drinking (BD) or heavy episodic drinking has increased notably worldwide in recent years, especially among adolescent and young people, being currently recognized as a global health problem. Although only a minority of binge drinkers will develop a substance use disorder, BD may have negative personal and social consequences in the short and medium term. The objective of this article is to review the findings on personality traits related to binge drinkers and to emphasize the aspects that should be examined in order to make progress in this area. The main characteristics of personality related to the practice of BD, regardless of the theoretical model used, are high Impulsivity and high Sensation seeking, as well as Anxiety sensitivity, Neuroticism (Hopelessness), Extraversion and low Conscientiousness. The data obtained may have theoretical implications to elucidate the endophenotype of BD, but they are especially useful for their preventive applications. Integration into prevention programs of emotional self-control skills, decision-making, social skills, and strategies to manage negative emotions will minimize the risk factors or consequences of BD associated with personality and will improve their effectiveness. In the future, it is necessary to harmonize a common measurement instrument for the assessment of personality, develop longitudinal studies with large samples that also integrate biological and neurocognitive measurements, and determine the reciprocal relationship between personality and BD together with its modulating variables, as well as the possible cultural differences
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