17 September 2015 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Results from several cohort and case-control studies suggest a protective association between current alcohol intake and risk of thyroid carcinoma, but the epidemiological evidence is not completely consistent and several questions remain unanswered.

METHODS: The association between alcohol consumption at recruitment and over the lifetime and risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma was examined in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Among 477 263 eligible participants (70% women), 556 (90% women) were diagnosed with differentiated thyroid carcinoma over a mean follow-up of 11 years. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS: Compared with participants consuming 0.1-4.9 g of alcohol per day at recruitment, participants consuming 15 or more grams (approximately 1-1.5 drinks) had a 23% lower risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma (HR=0.77; 95% CI=0.60-0.98). These findings did not differ greatly when analyses were conducted for lifetime alcohol consumption, although the risk estimates were attenuated and not statistically significant anymore. Similar results were observed by type of alcoholic beverage, by differentiated thyroid carcinoma histology or according to age, sex, smoking status, body mass index and diabetes.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides some support to the hypothesis that moderate alcohol consumption may be associated with a lower risk of papillary and follicular thyroid carcinomas.

05 March 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: To examine women's drinking behaviour relative to Australian guidelines and identify associated factors over the lifespan.

DESIGN AND METHODS: Data came from three prospective cohorts of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health aged 18-23 (n = 14 247), 45-50 (n = 13 715) and 70-75 years (n = 12 432) when first surveyed in 1996. The same women were re-surveyed at roughly 3-year intervals until 2012. At each survey, four drinking behaviours were based on two guidelines: long-term drinking (no more than two standard drinks per day) and episodic drinking (no more than four standard drinks on an occasion): (i) no risk (within both guidelines); (ii) low episodic risk (less than once a month); high episodic risk (at least once a month); long-term risk (more than two drinks per day regardless of episodic drinking).

RESULTS: No risk drinking increased with age, low episodic risk drinking remained almost constant between ages 18 and 39, and high episodic risk drinking declined rapidly. Few women drank at long-term risk. Factors associated with risky drinking varied with age; however, being a past or current smoker consistently increased the risk, and risks for smokers increased with age. Risky drinking was less likely to be practised by women providing care and needing help with daily tasks, or by pregnant women and those living with children.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Risky drinking behaviour should be addressed in younger women and in those who smoke. Interventions to reduce risky drinking, possibly in combination with reducing smoking, could be offered through general practice centres. 

23 January 2015 In General Health

Aims: The majority of prospective studies on alcohol use and mortality risk indicate that non-drinkers are at increased risk of death compared to moderate drinkers. This article investigates the association between middle-aged women's alcohol use and mortality, controlling for socio-demographic and health variables. An association between alcohol use and hospital in-patient care is also analysed.

Methods: Baseline data were collected during 1995-2000 in a population-based cohort of 6917 women aged 50-59 years living in southern Sweden, the Women's Health in Lund Area (WHILA). After 9 years, a register follow-up was performed from the National cause-of-death register and the Swedish hospital discharge register. Cox proportional hazards regression were used to analyse differences in survival.

Results: During the observation period, 201 (2.9%) women died. In a crude model, non-drinkers had a significantly increased risk for death. When including socio-demographic predictors in the model, there was a strong indication that non-drinkers were at increased risk for death compared to moderate drinkers. Adding health predictors, not drinking alcohol was no longer a risk factor for death. Further, analyses of in-patient care indicate that non-drinkers had poorer health during their entire adult life.

CONCLUSIONS: THIS STUDY UNDERLINES THE IMPORTANCE OF INCLUDING HEALTH STATUS AT BASE-LINE WHEN PROSPECTIVELY STUDYING THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN ALCOHOL USE AND MORTALITY, OTHERWISE MODERATE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION MAY APPEAR MORE BENEFICIAL THAN IS THE CASE.

23 January 2015 In Diabetes

Alcohol has previously been shown to have a U-shaped association with type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk, but less is known regarding the specific association with wine. To evaluate for the first time the associations between T2D risk and both baseline wine consumption and trajectories of wine consumption frequency throughout life, estimated using an innovative group-based trajectory modeling strategy. A total of 66,485 women from the French prospective E3N-EPIC cohort were followed between 1993 and 2007; 1,372 incident cases of T2D were diagnosed during the follow-up. Multivariable Cox regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CI) for T2D risk. The average consumption of wine, among alcohol consumers, was 0.81 drinks/day (1 drink = 150 mL). Associations between wine and T2D were restricted to overweight women (Pinteraction = 0.0084). Among them, wine consumption was inversely associated with T2D risk (Ptrend = 0.0022). A lower risk was observed for overweight women having two or more drinks/day [HR 0.59 (0.43-0.82)] when compared with non-alcohol consumers. Women who started to drink wine early in life (around age 10-15 years) were at a significantly lower risk than lifetime abstainers. In our study, wine drinking was inversely associated with T2D risk but only in overweight women. Our results also suggest a potential beneficial, cumulative effect of moderate wine consumption throughout life for overweight women, who would already be at higher risk of T2D. We encourage other cohort studies with information on wine consumption to investigate these associations.

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