03 May 2018 In Cancer
BACKGROUND: Previous studies have revealed inconsistent findings regarding the association of light to moderate alcohol consumption with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer mortality. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to examine the association between alcohol consumption and risk of mortality from all causes, cancer, and CVD in U.S. adults. METHODS: Data were obtained by linking 13 waves of the National Health Interview Surveys (1997 to 2009) to the National Death Index records through December 31, 2011. A total of 333,247 participants >/=18 years of age were included. Self-reported alcohol consumption patterns were categorized into 6 groups: lifetime abstainers; lifetime infrequent drinkers; former drinkers; and current light, moderate, or heavy drinkers. Secondary exposure included participants' binge-drinking status. The main outcome was all-cause, cancer, or CVD mortality. RESULTS: After a median follow-up of 8.2 years (2.7 million person-years), 34,754 participants died of all causes (including 8,947 CVD deaths and 8,427 cancer deaths). Compared with lifetime abstainers, those who were light or moderate alcohol consumers were at a reduced risk of mortality for all causes (light-hazard ratio [HR]: 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.76 to 0.82; moderate-HR: 0.78; 95% CI: 0.74 to 0.82) and CVD (light-HR: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.69 to 0.80; moderate-HR: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.64 to 0.78), respectively. In contrast, there was a significantly increased risk of mortality for all causes (HR: 1.11; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.19) and cancer (HR: 1.27; 95% CI: 1.13 to 1.42) in adults with heavy alcohol consumption. Binge drinking >/=1 d/week was also associated with an increased risk of mortality for all causes (HR: 1.13; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.23) and cancer (HR: 1.22; 95% CI: 1.05 to 1.41). CONCLUSIONS: Light and moderate alcohol intake might have a protective effect on all-cause and CVD-specific mortality in U.S. adults. Heavy or binge drinking was associated with increased risk of all-cause and cancer-specific mortality
04 August 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Introduction: Adolescence and young adulthood are periods of continued biological and psychosocial maturation. Thus, there may be deleterious effects of consuming large quantities of alcohol on neural development and associated cognition during this time. The purpose of this mini review is to highlight neuroimaging research that has specifically examined the effects of binge and heavy drinking on adolescent and young adult brain structure and function.

Methods: We review cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of young binge and heavy drinkers that have examined brain structure (e.g., gray and white matter volume, cortical thickness, white matter microstructure) and investigated brain response using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Results: Binge and heavy-drinking adolescents and young adults have systematically thinner and lower volume in prefrontal cortex and cerebellar regions, and attenuated white matter development. They also show elevated brain activity in fronto-parietal regions during working memory, verbal learning, and inhibitory control tasks. In response to alcohol cues, relative to controls or light-drinking individuals, binge and heavy drinkers show increased neural response mainly in mesocorticolimbic regions, including the striatum, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), hippocampus, and amygdala. Mixed findings are present in risky decision-making tasks, which could be due to large variation in task design and analysis.

Conclusions: These findings suggest altered neural structure and activity in binge and heavy-drinking youth may be related to the neurotoxic effects of consuming alcohol in large quantities during a highly plastic neurodevelopmental period, which could result in neural reorganization, and increased risk for developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

04 August 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

The introduction of health warnings on labels to correct externalities associated with alcohol consumption is heavily debated and has been explored from different perspectives. The current paper aims to analyse the interest and attitudes of Italian university students regarding health warnings on alcoholic beverages and to verify the existence of segments that differ in terms of attitudes towards such warnings. Our results show that young consumers consider health warnings quite important, although the degree of perceived utility differs in relation to the type of warning. Cluster analysis shows the existence of three groups of young consumers with different degrees of attention and perceived utility of warnings on alcoholic beverages, but also in relation to drinking behaviour and awareness of social and health risks related to alcohol consumption. In brief, Italian young adults with moderate consumption behaviour view label warnings positively, while this attitude is weaker among younger adults and those with riskier consumption behaviours. Our findings, albeit limited and based on stated and not revealed data, support the need for appropriate tools to improve the availability of information among young adults on the risks of excessive alcohol consumption and increased awareness of the importance of moderate drinking.

22 June 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: This study examined changes during the past decade, from 2005 to 2015, in binge and high-intensity drinking in 7 separate age groups of U.S. 12th graders and young adults.

METHODS: National longitudinal data (N = 6,711) from Monitoring the Future were used to examine trends in consuming 5+, 10+, and 15+ drinks on the same occasion in the past 2 weeks from ages 18 to 29/30 overall and by gender. Results were compared with trends in past 12-month and 30-day alcohol use for the same age groups.

RESULTS: Between 2005 and 2015, binge (5+) and high-intensity drinking (10+, 15+) generally decreased for individuals in their early 20s, remained somewhat stable for individuals in their mid-20s, and increased for individuals at the end of young adulthood (age 29/30). The observed historical trends in binge and high-intensity drinking were similar to those for past 12-month and past 30-day alcohol use for those aged 18 to 20, but diverged for most other age groups in young adulthood. Trends were generally similar for men and women, except that the increase in prevalence began earlier in young adulthood for women than for men.

CONCLUSIONS: Binge and high-intensity drinking among U.S. 12th graders and young adults are dynamic phenomena. Prevention and intervention efforts aimed at reducing the harms resulting from 5+, 10+, and 15+ drinking should acknowledge and focus on differences in trends in these behaviors by age and gender.

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