26 January 2022 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND & AIMS: To investigate potential biases that exist in available epidemiological evidence resulting in negative associations or underestimation of cardiovascular (CV) risk associated with alcohol consumption.

METHODS: UK Biobank involved baseline data collection from 22 assessment centres across the United Kingdom. The cohort consisted of 333 259 alcohol consumers and 21 710 never drinkers. Participants were followed up for a median 6.9 years capturing incident fatal and non-fatal CV events, ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. Alcohol intake was reported as grams/week.

RESULTS: Using never drinkers as reference, alcohol from all drink types combined (hazard ratios ranging between 0.61 and 0.74), beer/cider (0.70-0.80) and spirits combined, and all wines combined (0.66-0.77) associated with a reduced risk for all outcome measures (all CV events, ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease). In continuous analysis, alcohol captured from all drink types combined (hazard ratio, 1.08, 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.14), and beer/cider and spirits combined (1.24, 1.17-1.31) associated with an increased risk for overall CV events, however hazard ratios were stronger for beer/cider and spirits (P < 0.0001). Wine associated with a reduced risk for overall CV events (0.92, 0.86-0.98) and ischemic heart disease (0.75, 0.67-0.84). This negative relationship with overall CV events was lost after excluding ischemic heart disease events (1.00, 0.93-1.08), while the positive association of alcohol captured from beer/cider and spirits remained significant (1.30, 1.22-1.40). This positive association with overall CV events was present even when consuming less than 14 units per week.

CONCLUSIONS: Avoiding potential biases prevents underestimation of cardiovascular risk and indicates that consuming up to 14 units per week also associated with increased CV risk in the general population.

25 August 2020 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Uncertainty still exists on the impact of low to moderate consumption of different drink types on population health. We therefore investigated the associations of different drink types in the form of beer/cider, champagne/white wine, red wine and spirits with various health outcomes.

METHODS: Over 500,000 participants were recruited to the UK Biobank cohort. Alcohol consumption was self-reported as pints beer/cider, glasses champagne/white wine, glasses of red wine, and measures of spirits per week. We followed health outcomes for a median of 7.02 years and reported all-cause mortality, cardiovascular events, ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular events, and cancer.

RESULTS: In continuous analysis after excluding non-drinkers, beer/cider and spirits intake associated with an increased risk for all-cause mortality (beer/cider: hazard ratio, 1.56; 95% confidence interval, 1.45-1.68; spirits: 1.47; 1.35-1.60), cardiovascular events (beer/cider: 1.25; 1.17-1.33; spirits: 1.25; 1.16-1.36), ischemic heart disease (beer/cider:1.12; 0.99-1.26 [P = 0.056]; spirits: 1.17; 1.02-1.35), cerebrovascular disease (beer/cider: 1.63; 1.32-2.02; spirits: 1.59; 1.25-2.02) and cancer (beer/cider: 1.14; 1.05-1.24; spirits: 1.14; 1.03-1.26), while both champagne/white wine and red wine associated with a decreased risk for ischemic heart disease only (champagne/white wine: 0.84; 0.72-0.98; red wine: 0.88; 0.77-0.99).

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings do not support the notion that alcohol from any drink type is beneficial to health. Consuming low levels of beer/cider and spirits already associated with an increased risk for all health outcomes, while wine showed opposite protective relationships only with ischemic heart disease.

04 May 2020 In Dementia

Although heavy alcohol consumption has been identified as a risk factor for adverse cognitive functioning, it currently remains unclear whether moderate alcohol consumption exerts similar effects. Observational studies previously reported the potential benefits of moderate alcohol consumption on cognition, particularly in the elderly; however, these effects have not yet been demonstrated in Asian populations.

The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between alcohol consumption levels and global and domain-specific cognitive functions in cognitively intact elderly Japanese men. Cross-sectional data from the Shiga Epidemiological Study of Subclinical Atherosclerosis (SESSA), an ongoing prospective, population-based study in Shiga, Japan, were used to examine the relationship between alcohol consumption and cognitive function. Men (n = 585) aged >/=65 years provided information on their weekly consumption of alcohol, and the data obtained were used to construct categories of never, ex- (quit before interview), very light (23-46 g/day), and heavy (>46 g/day) drinkers.

Cognitive function was measured using the Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument (CASI). A fractional logistic regression model adjusted for age, education, body mass index, smoking, exercise, hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia showed that the CASI scores for global and domain-specific cognitive functions were not significantly different between all subgroups of current drinkers and never-drinkers.

However, the CASI score of ex-drinkers (multivariable adjusted mean CASI score [SD]) was significantly lower than that of never-drinkers in the global [never vs. ex: 90.16 (2.21) vs. 88.26 (2.58)] and abstraction and judgment domain [never vs. ex: 9.48 (0.46) vs. 8.61 (0.57)]).

The present results do not suggest any beneficial or adverse relationship between current alcohol consumption levels and cognitive functioning (both global and domain specific) in elderly Japanese men; however, low cognitive function among ex-drinkers warrants future investigations to identify the factors causing drinkers to quit.

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