01 February 2017 In Cardiovascular System

Worldwide, binge drinking is a major public health problem. The popularized health risks associated with binge drinking include physical injury and motor vehicle crashes; less attention has been given to the negative effects on the cardiovascular (CV) system. The primary aims of this review were to provide a summary of the adverse effects of binge drinking on the risk and development of CV disease and to review potential pathophysiologic mechanisms. Using specific inclusion criteria, an integrative review was conducted that included data from human experimental, prospective cross-sectional, and cohort epidemiological studies that examined the association between binge drinking and CV conditions such as hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, and arrhythmias. Studies were identified that examined the relationship between binge drinking and CV outcomes. Collectively, findings support that binge drinking is associated with a higher risk of pre-hypertension, hypertension, myocardial infarction, and stroke in middle-aged and older adults. Binge drinking may also have adverse CV effects in young adults (aged 18-30). Mechanisms remain incompletely understood; however, available evidence suggests that binge drinking may induce oxidative stress and vascular injury and be pro-atherogenic. Public health messages regarding binge drinking need to include the effects of binge drinking on the cardiovascular system. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

15 December 2016 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Whether light-to-moderate alcohol consumption is protective against stroke, and whether any association differs by stroke type, is controversial. We conducted a meta-analysis to summarize the evidence from prospective studies on alcohol drinking and stroke types.

METHODS: Studies were identified by searching PubMed to September 1, 2016, and reference lists of retrieved articles. Additional data from 73,587 Swedish adults in two prospective studies were included. Study-specific results were combined in a random-effects model.

RESULTS: The meta-analysis included 27 prospective studies with data on ischemic stroke (25 studies), intracerebral hemorrhage (11 studies), and/or subarachnoid hemorrhage (11 studies). Light and moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a lower risk of ischemic stroke, whereas high and heavy drinking was associated with an increased risk; the overall RRs were 0.90 (95 % CI, 0.85-0.95) for less than 1 drink/day, 0.92 (95 % CI, 0.87-0.97) for 1-2 drinks/day, 1.08 (95 % CI, 1.01-1.15) for more than 2-4 drinks/day, and 1.14 (95 % CI, 1.02-1.28) for more than 4 drinks/day. Light and moderate alcohol drinking was not associated with any hemorrhagic stroke subtype. High alcohol consumption (>2-4 drinks/day) was associated with a non-significant increased risk of both hemorrhagic stroke subtypes, and the relative risk for heavy drinking (>4 drinks/day) were 1.67 (95 % CI, 1.25-2.23) for intracerebral hemorrhage and 1.82 (95 % CI, 1.18-2.82) for subarachnoid hemorrhage.

CONCLUSION: Light and moderate alcohol consumption was inversely associated only with ischemic stroke, whereas heavy drinking was associated with increased risk of all stroke types with a stronger association for hemorrhagic strokes.

15 December 2016 In Cardiovascular System

Study of the relationships of alcohol drinking and risk of stroke can readily become mired in the labyrinthine interactions of drinking categorizations, non-linear associations, disparate cardiovascular conditions, and the heterogeneous types of stroke. This Commentary discusses the recent article by Larsson et al. (BMC Medicine 14:178, 2016). The authors split their material into separate meta-analyses of subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage, and ischemic stroke, finding disparate alcohol-stroke relationships. Our Commentary pursues the disparity theme, using the lumpers versus splitters paradigm to explore several aspects of this complex area.Please see related article: http://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-016-0721-4.

21 September 2016 In General Health

OBJECTIVES: To review critical contributions from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) on alcohol consumption and health outcomes.

METHODS: We performed a narrative review of NHS (1980-2012) and NHS II (1989-2011) publications.

RESULTS: Using detailed information on self-reported alcohol drinking patterns obtained approximately every 4 years combined with extensive information on diet, lifestyle habits, and physician-diagnosed health conditions, NHS investigators have prospectively examined the risks and benefits associated with alcohol consumption. Moderate intake, defined as up to 1 drink a day, is associated with a lower risk of hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, sudden cardiac death, gallstones, cognitive decline, and all-cause mortality. However, even moderate intake places women at higher risk for breast cancer and bone fractures, and higher intake increases risk for colon polyps and colon cancer.

CONCLUSIONS: Regular alcohol intake has both risks and benefits. In analyses using repeated assessments of alcohol over time and deaths from all causes, women with low to moderate intake and regular frequency (> 3 days/week) had the lowest risk of mortality compared with abstainers and women who consumed substantially more than 1 drink per day.

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