15 June 2022 In Drinking Patterns

AIMS: To examine the association of alcohol consumption patterns with growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) in older drinkers, separately among individuals with cardiovascular disease (CVD)/diabetes and those without them, as GDF-15 is a strong biomarker of chronic disease burden.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Population-based study in Madrid (Spain). PARTICIPANTS: A total of 2051 life-time drinkers aged 65+ years included in the Seniors-ENRICA-2 study in 2015-17. Participants' mean age was 71.4 years and 55.4% were men.

MEASUREMENTS: According to their average life-time alcohol intake, participants were classified as occasional ( 1.43-20 g/day; women: > 1.43-10 g/day), moderate-risk (men: > 20-40 g/day; women: > 10-20 g/day) and high-risk drinkers (men: > 40 g/day; women: > 20 g/day; or binge drinkers). We also ascertained wine preference (> 80% of alcohol derived from wine), drinking with meals and adherence to a Mediterranean drinking pattern (MDP) defined as low-risk drinking, wine preference and one of the following: drinking only with meals; higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet; or any of these.

FINDINGS: In participants without CVD/diabetes, GDF-15 increased by 0.27% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.06%, 0.48%] per 1 g/day increment in alcohol among high-risk drinkers, but there was no clear evidence of association in those with lower intakes or in the overall group, or across categories of alcohol consumption status. Conversely, among those with CVD/diabetes, GDF-15 rose by 0.19% (95% CI = 0.05%, 0.33%) per 1 g/day increment in the overall group and GDF-15 was 26.89% (95% CI = 12.93%, 42.58%) higher in high-risk versus low-risk drinkers. Drinking with meals did not appear to be related to GDF-15, but among those without CVD/diabetes, wine preference and adherence to the MDP were associated with lower GDF-15, especially when combined with high adherence to the Mediterranean diet.

CONCLUSIONS: Among older life-time drinkers in Madrid, Spain, high-risk drinking was positively associated with growth differentiation factor 15 (a biomarker of chronic disease burden). There was inconclusive evidence of a beneficial association for low-risk consumption.

28 April 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: A EULAR taskforce was convened to develop recommendations for lifestyle behaviours in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). The aim of this paper was to review the literature on the relationship between smoking and alcohol consumption with regard to RMD-specific outcomes.

METHODS: Two systematic reviews were conducted to identify systematic reviews and meta-analyses, published between 2013 and 2018, related to smoking and alcohol consumption in seven RMDs: osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus, axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), systemic sclerosis (SSc) and gout. Two additional systematic reviews were performed to identify original longitudinal studies on smoking and alcohol consumption and disease-specific outcomes.

RESULTS: Nine reviews and 65 original studies on smoking as well as two reviews and 14 original studies on alcohol consumption met the inclusion criteria. While most studies were moderate/poor quality, smoking was significantly associated with poorer outcomes: cardiovascular comorbidity; poorer response to RA treatment; higher disease activity and severity in early RA; axSpA radiographic progression. Results were heterogeneous for OA while there was limited evidence for PsA, SSc and gout. Available studies on alcohol mainly focused on RA, reporting a positive association between alcohol intake and radiographic progression. Five studies assessed alcohol consumption in gout, reporting a significant association between the number and type of alcoholic beverages and the occurrence of flares.

CONCLUSION: Current literature supports that smoking has a negative impact on several RMD-specific outcomes and that moderate or high alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk of flares in RA and gout.

26 January 2022 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: A range of societal changes have created positive and encouraging environments for women's alcohol use. Within this context, in Western countries there is evidence of rising rates of alcohol consumption and related harms among midlife and older women. It is timely and important to explore the role of alcohol in the lives of midlife women to better understand observed data trends and to develop cohort specific policy responses. Focussing on Western countries and those with similar mixed market systems for alcohol regulation, this review aimed to identify 1) how women at midlife make sense of and account for their consumption of alcohol; 2) factors that play a role; and 3) the trends in theoretical underpinnings of qualitative research that explores women's drinking at midlife.

METHODS: A meta-study approach was undertaken. The review process involved extracting and analysing the data findings of eligible research, as well as reviewing the contextual factors and theoretical framing that actively shape research and findings.

RESULTS: Social meanings of alcohol were interwoven with alcohol's psycho-active qualities to create strong localised embodied experiences of pleasure, sociability, and respite from complicated lives and stressful circumstances in midlife women. Drinking was shaped by multiple and diverse aspects of social identity, such as sexuality, family status, membership of social and cultural groups, and associated responsibilities, underpinned by the social and material realities of their lives, societal and policy discourses around drinking, and how they physically experienced alcohol in the short and longer term.

CONCLUSION: For harm reduction strategies to be successful, further research effort should be undertaken to understand alcohol's diverse meanings and functions in women's lives and the individual, material, and socio-cultural factors that feed into these understandings. As well as broad policies that reduce overall consumption and "de-normalise" drinking in society, policy-makers could usefully work with cohorts of women to develop interventions that address the functional role of alcohol in their lives, as well as policies that address permissive regulatory environments and the overall social and economic position of women.

17 November 2021 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: In many countries, lockdown measures were implemented to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation may have an impact on mental health, tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption. The aim of this research report is therefore to describe changes in tobacco and alcohol consumption in the general French population during the first 2 weeks of lockdown and identify any associated factors.

METHODS: Self-reported changes in smoking and alcohol consumption following the lockdown implemented in France on 17 March 2020 were collected from 2003 respondents aged 18 years and older in an online cross-sectional survey carried out from 30 March to 1 April 2020. Anxiety and depression levels were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

RESULTS: Among current smokers, 26.7% reported an increase in their tobacco consumption since lockdown and 18.6% reported a decrease, while it remained stable for 54.7%. The increase in tobacco consumption was associated with an age of 18-34 years, a high level of education, and anxiety. Among alcohol drinkers, 10.7% reported an increase in their alcohol consumption since lockdown and 24.4% reported a decrease, while it remained stable for 64.8%. The increase in alcohol consumption was associated with an age of 18-49 years, living in cities of more than 100 000 inhabitants, a high socio-professional category, and a depressive mood.

CONCLUSIONS: The national lockdown implemented in France during the COVID-19 pandemic influenced tobacco and alcohol consumption in different ways according to sociodemographic group and mental health.

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