26 November 2015 In Pregnant Women

OBJECTIVES: Despite potential health risks for women and children, one in five women report alcohol use during pregnancy and a significant proportion of those who quit during pregnancy return to drinking post-delivery. This study seeks to understand the longitudinal patterns of alcohol consumption before, during pregnancy and post-delivery, and the role of maternal characteristics for purposes of informing prevention design.

METHODS: General growth mixture models were used to describe the average developmental patterns of maternal weekly drinking quantity at six time points, from preconception through child entering kindergarten, as well as heterogeneity in these patterns among 9100 mothers from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study representing the 2001 US national birth cohort.

RESULTS: Four distinct classes of mothers were defined by their longitudinal alcohol consumption patterns: Low Probability Drinkers (50.3 %), Escalating Risk Drinkers (12.0 %), Escalating Low Risk Drinkers (27.4 %), and Early Parenting Quitters (10.2 %). Heterogeneous covariate associations were observed. For example, mothers who gave birth after age 36 were twice as likely to be Escalating Risk Drinkers and Escalating Low Risk Drinkers (vs Low Probability Drinkers), but not more likely to be Early Parenting Quitters, when compared to mothers who gave birth between the ages of 26 and 35.

CONCLUSIONS: for practice There is significant heterogeneity in maternal longitudinal alcohol use patterns during the perinatal period. Baseline maternal characteristics and behavior associated with these heterogeneous patterns provide valuable tools to identify potential risky drinkers during this critical time period and may be synthesized to tailor pre- and postnatal clinical counseling protocols.

26 November 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

AIMS: In Italy, sales data show a dramatic fall in alcohol consumption between 1970 and 2010. The aim of our study is to provide updated information on trends, prevalence and determinants of alcohol drinking in Italy, using individual-level data.

METHODS: Seven nationally representative cross-sectional surveys were conducted in Italy between 2006 and 2014, on a total sample of 21,416 participants aged >/=15 years, with available information on weekly consumption of wine, beer and spirits.

RESULTS: Per capita alcohol consumption decreased by 23% between 2006 and 2014 (from 5.6 to 4.4 drinks/week), due to the fall in wine drinking. Overall, the prevalence of alcohol drinkers was 61.6%. Individuals predominantly drinking wine were 35.3%, beer 11.1% and spirits 6.4%. A direct trend of drinking with age was observed for total alcohol (multivariate odds ratio, OR = 1.75 for >/=65 vs. 15-24 years) and predominant wine drinking (OR = 8.05), while an inverse trend was observed for beer (OR = 0.17) and spirit drinkers (OR = 0.33). Women (OR = 0.24), obese individuals (OR = 0.67) and those from southern Italy (OR = 0.63) were less frequently, while those with high education (OR = 1.97), ex- (OR = 1.46) and current smokers (OR = 2.17) were more frequently alcohol drinkers.

CONCLUSION: On the basis of individual-level data we confirm and further update to 2014 the decreasing trend in alcohol consumption in Italy over the last few decades, mainly due to the fall in wine consumption. This may be due to anti-alcohol policies, programs and campaigns adopted and developed over the last decade. It also reflects socio-cultural changes in drinking, particularly in younger generations.

16 October 2015 In Pregnant Women

BACKGROUND: Deficits in information processing may be a core deficit after fetal alcohol exposure. This study was designed to investigate the possible effects of weekly low to moderate maternal alcohol consumption and binge drinking episodes in early pregnancy on choice reaction time (CRT) and information processing time (IPT) in young children.

METHOD: Participants were sampled based on maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy. At the age of 60-64 months, 1,333 children were administered a modified version of the Sternberg paradigm to assess CRT and IPT. In addition, a test of general intelligence (WPPSI-R) was administered.

RESULTS: Adjusted for a wide range of potential confounders, this study showed no significant effects of average weekly maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy on CRT or IPT. There was, however, an indication of slower CRT associated with binge drinking episodes in gestational weeks 1-4.

CONCLUSION: This study observed no significant effects of average weekly maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy on CRT or IPT as assessed by the Sternberg paradigm. However, there were some indications of CRT being associated with binge drinking during very early pregnancy. Further large-scale studies are needed to investigate effects of different patterns of maternal alcohol consumption on basic cognitive processes in offspring.

28 August 2015 In Pregnant Women

OBJECTIVE: Epidemiologic studies have reported conflicting results regarding maternal alcohol consumption before and during pregnancy, and the risk of congenital heart defects (CHDs). However, a systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between maternal alcohol consumption and CHDs in offspring has not been conducted.

DESIGN: We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE for articles catalogued between their inception and February 16, 2015; we identified relevant published studies that assessed the association between maternal alcohol consumption and CHD risk. Two authors independently assessed the eligibility of the retrieved articles and extracted data from them. Study-specific relative risk estimates were pooled by random-effects or fixed-effects models.

RESULTS: From the 1527 references, a total of 19 case-control studies and four cohort studies were enrolled in this meta-analysis. The summary of 23 studies related to CHDs indicated an overall pooled relative risk of 1.13 (95% confidence interval: 0.96, 1.29) among mothers drinking before or during pregnancy. Statistically significant heterogeneity was detected (Q = 196.61, P < .001, I2 = 88.8%) with no publication bias (Egger's test: P = .157). We conducted stratified and meta-regression analyses to identify the origin of the heterogeneity among studies.

CONCLUSION: In summary, this meta-analysis provided no positive association between maternal alcohol consumption and risk of CHDs.

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