26 May 2021 In Pregnant Women
BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is associated with major birth defects and developmental disabilities. Questionnaires concerning alcohol consumption during pregnancy underestimate alcohol use while the use of a reliable and objective biomarker for alcohol consumption enables more accurate screening. Phosphatidylethanol can detect low levels of alcohol consumption in the previous two weeks. In this study we aimed to biochemically assess the prevalence of alcohol consumption during early pregnancy using phosphatidylethanol in blood and compare this with self-reported alcohol consumption. METHODS: To evaluate biochemically assessed prevalence of alcohol consumption during early pregnancy using phosphatidylethanol levels, we conducted a prospective, cross-sectional, single center study in the largest tertiary hospital of the Netherlands. All adult pregnant women who were under the care of the obstetric department of the Erasmus MC and who underwent routine blood testing at a gestational age of less than 15 weeks were eligible. No specified informed consent was needed. RESULTS: The study was conducted between September 2016 and October 2017. In total, we received 1,002 residual samples of 992 women. After applying in- and exclusion criteria we analyzed 684 samples. Mean gestational age of all included women was 10.3 weeks (SD 1.9). Of these women, 36 (5.3 %) tested positive for phosphatidylethanol, indicating alcohol consumption in the previous two weeks. Of women with a positive phosphatidylethanol test, 89 % (n = 32) did not express alcohol consumption to their obstetric care provider. CONCLUSIONS: One in nineteen women consumed alcohol during early pregnancy with a high percentage not reporting this use to their obstetric care provider. Questioning alcohol consumption by an obstetric care provider did not successfully identify (hazardous) alcohol consumption. Routine screening with phosphatidylethanol in maternal blood can be of added value to identify women who consume alcohol during pregnancy.
26 May 2021 In Liver Disease
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Only a minority of heavy drinkers progress to alcohol-associated cirrhosis (ALC). The aim of this study was to identify common genetic variants that underlie risk for ALC. APPROACH AND RESULTS: We analyzed data from 1,128 subjects of European ancestry with ALC and 614 heavy-drinking subjects without known liver disease from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and three countries in Europe. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) was performed, adjusting for principal components and clinical covariates (alcohol use, age, sex, body mass index, and diabetes). We validated our GWAS findings using UK Biobank. We then performed a meta-analysis combining data from our study, the UK Biobank, and a previously published GWAS. Our GWAS found genome-wide significant risk association of rs738409 in patatin-like phospholipase domain containing 3 (PNPLA3) (odds ratio [OR] = 2.19 [G allele], P = 4.93 x 10(-17) ) and rs4607179 near HSD17B13 (OR = 0.57 [C allele], P = 1.09 x 10(-10) ) with ALC. Conditional analysis accounting for the PNPLA3 and HSD17B13 loci identified a protective association at rs374702773 in Fas-associated factor family member 2 (FAF2) (OR = 0.61 [del(T) allele], P = 2.56 x 10(-8) ) for ALC. This association was replicated in the UK Biobank using conditional analysis (OR = 0.79, P = 0.001). Meta-analysis (without conditioning) confirmed genome-wide significance for the identified FAF2 locus as well as PNPLA3 and HSD17B13. Two other previously known loci (SERPINA1 and SUGP1/TM6SF2) were also genome-wide significant in the meta-analysis. GeneOntology pathway analysis identified lipid droplets as the target for several identified genes. In conclusion, our GWAS identified a locus at FAF2 associated with reduced risk of ALC among heavy drinkers. Like the PNPLA3 and HSD17B13 gene products, the FAF2 product has been localized to fat droplets in hepatocytes. CONCLUSIONS: Our genetic findings implicate lipid droplets in the biological pathway(s) underlying ALC.
26 May 2021 In Liver Disease
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Increasingly populations are both overweight/obese and consume alcohol. The risk of liver disease from the combination of these factors is unclear. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to address this important gap in evidence. Protocol registered with PROSPERO(CRD42016046508). METHODS: We performed electronic searches of Ovid Medline, Embase Classic + Embase, until 17th June 2020 for cohort studies of adults without pre-existing liver disease. Primary outcome was morbidity/mortality from chronic liver disease. Exposures were alcohol consumption categorised as within or above UK recommended limits (14 units/112 g per week) and BMI categorised as normal, overweight or obese. Non-drinkers were excluded. A Poisson regression log-linear model was used to test for statistical interaction between alcohol and BMI and to conduct a one-stage meta-analysis. RESULTS: Searches identified 3129 studies-16 were eligible. Of these, nine cohorts (1,121,514 participants) had data available and were included in the analysis. The Poisson model showed no significant statistical interaction between alcohol consumption and BMI on the risk of chronic liver disease. Compared to normal weight participants drinking alcohol within UK recommended limits, relative risk of chronic liver disease in overweight participants drinking above limits was 3.32 (95% CI 2.88 to 3.83) and relative risk in obese participants drinking above limits was 5.39 (95% CI 4.62 to 6.29). CONCLUSIONS: This meta-analysis demonstrated a significantly increased risk of chronic liver disease in participants who were both overweight/obese and consumed alcohol above UK recommended limits. This evidence should inform advice given to patients and risk stratification by healthcare professionals.
26 May 2021 In General Health
BACKGROUND: Alcohol harms are rising globally, and alcohol policies, where they exist, are weak or under-developed. Limited progress has been made since the formulation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Strategy in 2010. WHO is seeking to accelerate progress in implementing international efforts to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. The threat to global health posed by tobacco is well understood by policy communities and populations globally; by contrast alcohol is much less so, despite available evidence. THE COMPETITION FOR EPISTEMIC AUTHORITY: Global alcohol corporations have sought to become trusted sources of advice for policy makers and consumers, while continuing to grow their markets. Evidence-informed public health messaging faces formidable competition from transnational corporations as the worlds of corporate and political communications, social and mainstream media become increasingly linked, presenting new opportunities for corporate actors to shape global health governance. Alcohol messaging that uses means of persuasion tied to industry agendas does not tell a clear story about commercial determinants of health, and does not contribute to health improvement. On the contrary, the basic tenets of an evidence-informed population-based approach are denied and the policy measures supported by high quality evidence are being opposed, because they are inimical to commercial interests. A David and Goliath metaphor for this state of affairs, which seems to fit at first glance, may unwittingly reinforce the status quo. CONCLUSION: Public opinion on alcohol and policy issues varies across time and place and can be influenced by dedicated public health interventions. Alcohol marketing dominates people's thinking about alcohol because we currently allow this to happen. Greater ambition is needed in developing countermarketing and other interventions to promote evidence-informed ideas with the public. Alcohol policies need to be further developed, and implemented more widely, in order to arrest the growing burden of alcohol harms across the world.
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