22 September 2022 In General Health

INTRODUCTION: Chronic pain represents a global health problem with a considerable economic burden. The relation of alcohol intake and chronic pain conditions was assessed in several studies with conflicting results. We used dose-response meta-analysis techniques to answer the question of whether alcohol intake is related to chronic pain occurrence.

METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, Embase, and other databases to identify cohort and case-control studies on alcohol consumption and chronic pain. Sixteen studies were eligible with a total population of 642 587 individuals. Fixed-effects and random-effects pooled estimates were obtained by weighting log odds ratios (ORs) in case-control studies and log incidence rate ratios in cohort studies by the inverse of their variance. A heterogeneity assessment and a dose-response analysis were carried out. Quality scoring was also performed.

RESULTS: Our results show that any alcohol consumption was related to lower odds of chronic pain (pooled OR=0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61-0.95). The association was non-linear. The ORs by quartile of alcohol doses were as follows: OR2nd quartile=0.74; 95% CI, 0.64-0.87; OR3rd quartile=0.67; 95% CI, 0.53-0.86; and OR4th quartile=0.75; 95% CI, 0.50-1.14. This association was observed for cohort studies (OR=0.77; 95% CI, 0.61-0.98) and European studies (OR=0.65; 95% CI, 0.48-0.87) only. Studies with complete adjustment for confounding factors showed a stronger relation than those with incomplete adjustment (OR=0.69; 95% CI, 0.48-0.99 and OR=0.85; 95% CI, 0.65-1.11, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Alcohol consumption presents a non-linear inverse association with the occurrence of chronic pain. Although plausible mechanisms could explain this protective effect, other explanations, including reverse causation, are probable.

26 August 2022 In Liver Disease
The role of moderate alcohol consumption in the evolution of NAFLD is still debated. The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of current and lifelong alcohol consumption in patients with NAFLD. From 2015 to 2020, we enrolled 276 consecutive patients fulfilling criteria of NAFLD (alcohol consumption up to 140 g/week for women and 210 g/week for men). According to their current alcohol intake per week, patients were divided in: abstainers, very low consumers (C1:
26 August 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: The health risks associated with moderate alcohol consumption continue to be debated. Small amounts of alcohol might lower the risk of some health outcomes but increase the risk of others, suggesting that the overall risk depends, in part, on background disease rates, which vary by region, age, sex, and year.

METHODS: For this analysis, we constructed burden-weighted dose-response relative risk curves across 22 health outcomes to estimate the theoretical minimum risk exposure level (TMREL) and non-drinker equivalence (NDE), the consumption level at which the health risk is equivalent to that of a non-drinker, using disease rates from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2020 for 21 regions, including 204 countries and territories, by 5-year age group, sex, and year for individuals aged 15-95 years and older from 1990 to 2020. Based on the NDE, we quantified the population consuming harmful amounts of alcohol.

FINDINGS: The burden-weighted relative risk curves for alcohol use varied by region and age. Among individuals aged 15-39 years in 2020, the TMREL varied between 0 (95% uncertainty interval 0-0) and 0·603 (0·400-1·00) standard drinks per day, and the NDE varied between 0·002 (0-0) and 1·75 (0·698-4·30) standard drinks per day. Among individuals aged 40 years and older, the burden-weighted relative risk curve was J-shaped for all regions, with a 2020 TMREL that ranged from 0·114 (0-0·403) to 1·87 (0·500-3·30) standard drinks per day and an NDE that ranged between 0·193 (0-0·900) and 6·94 (3·40-8·30) standard drinks per day. Among individuals consuming harmful amounts of alcohol in 2020, 59·1% (54·3-65·4) were aged 15-39 years and 76·9% (73·0-81·3) were male.

INTERPRETATION: There is strong evidence to support recommendations on alcohol consumption varying by age and location. Stronger interventions, particularly those tailored towards younger individuals, are needed to reduce the substantial global health loss attributable to alcohol. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

26 August 2022 In Cardiovascular System

We examined whether the often-reported protective association of alcohol with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk could arise from confounding. Our sample comprised 908 men (56-67 years), free of prevalent CVD. Participants were categorized into 6 groups: never drinkers, former drinkers, and very light (1-4 drinks in past 14 days), light (5-14 drinks), moderate (15-28 drinks), and at-risk (>28 drinks) drinkers.

Generalized linear mixed effect models examined the associations of alcohol use with three established CVD risk scores: The Framingham Risk Score (FRS); the atherosclerotic CVD (ASCVD) risk score; and the Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) Severity score, adjusting for group differences in demographics, body size, and health-related behaviors. In separate models we additionally adjusted for several groups of potentially explanatory factors including socioeconomic status, social support, physical and mental health status, childhood factors, and prior history of alcohol misuse.

Results showed lower CVD risk among light and moderate alcohol drinkers, relative to very light drinkers, for all CVD risk scores, independent of demographics, body size, and health-related behaviors. Alcohol-CVD risk associations were robust to further adjustment for several groups of potential explanatory factors.

Study limitations include the all-male sample with limited racial and ethnic diversity, and the inability to adjust for sugar consumption and for patterns of alcohol consumption.

Although this observational study does not address causation, results show that middle-aged men who consume alcohol in moderation have lower CVD risk and better cardiometabolic health than men who consume little or no alcohol, independent of a variety of health, behavioral, psychosocial, and earlier life factors.

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