Nav: Home

The Lancet: Harmful alcohol use linked with increased risk of alcohol-related cancers and injury

September 16, 2015

A new study of alcohol use in countries of all income levels shows that current use increases the risk of alcohol-related cancers and injury, with no reduction in risk of mortality or cardiovascular disease overall. The research, published in The Lancet, supports health strategies to reduce harmful alcohol use, especially in low-income countries (LICs).

Alcohol consumption is proposed to be the third most important modifiable risk factor for death and disability. However, alcohol consumption has been associated with both benefits and harms, and previous studies were mostly done in high-income countries. This new study investigated associations between alcohol consumption and clinical outcomes in a prospective cohort of countries at different economic levels in five continents. The data came from 12 countries participating in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, a prospective cohort study of individuals aged 35-70 years. The high-income countries (HICs) were Sweden and Canada; upper-middle-income countries (UMICs) were Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Poland, South Africa, and Turkey; lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) were China and Colombia; and LICs were India and Zimbabwe.

The study included 114 970 adults, of whom 12 904 (11%) were from HICs, 24 408 (21%) were from UMICs, 48 845 (43%) were from LMICs, and 28 813 (25%) were from LICs. The median follow-up was 4·3 years and current drinking was reported by 36 030 (31%) individuals. Although current drinking was associated with a 24% reduced risk of heart attack, there was no reduction in risk of mortality or stroke, and current drinking was associated with a 51% increased risk of alcohol-related cancers--meaning those of the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, colorectum, liver, breast, ovary, and head and neck--and a 29% increased risk of injury in current drinkers. For a combination of all reported outcomes, there was no overall benefit from current alcohol use. High alcohol intake and heavy episodic drinking were both associated with significant increases in risk of overall mortality.

The authors also identified differences between countries of different income levels in risk for a combination of all clinical outcomes analysed in the study (ie, mortality, cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack, cancer, injury, and admission to hospital). For higher-income countries (HICs/UMICs combined), current drinking was associated with a 16% reduced the risk of this combined outcome, while for lower-income countries (LMICs/LICs combined) current drinking was associated with a 38% increased risk.

Lead author Dr Andrew Smyth of the Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, ON, Canada says: "Our data support the call to increase global awareness of the importance of harmful use of alcohol and the need to further identify and target the modifiable determinants of harmful alcohol use."[1]

Co-author Dr Salim Yusuf, Director of PHRI and President of World Heart Federation,hh adds: "Because alcohol consumption is increasing in many countries, especially in LICs/LMICs, the importance of alcohol as a risk factor for disease might be underestimated. Therefore, global strategies to reduce harmful use of alcohol are essential."

Writing in a linked Comment, Dr Jason Connor of the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland, and Professor Wayne Hall of the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia and National Addiction Centre, Kings College London, UK, say: "More than sufficient evidence is available for governments to give increased public health priority to reducing alcohol-related disease burden in low-income and middle-income countries. This should be done by implementing the most effective population policies to discourage harmful drinking--namely, increasing the price of alcohol and reducing its availability, especially to younger drinkers, and preventing the alcohol industry from promotion of frequent drinking to intoxication."
-end-
NOTES TO EDITORS:

This study was funded by Population Health Research Institute, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, AstraZeneca (Canada), Sanofi-Aventis (France and Canada), Boehringer Ingelheim (Germany and Canada), Servier, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, King Pharma, and national or local organisations in participating countries.

[1] Quote direct from author and cannot be found in text of Article.

The Lancet

Related Heart Attack Articles:

Muscle protein abundant in the heart plays key role in blood clotting during heart attack
A prevalent heart protein known as cardiac myosin, which is released into the body when a person suffers a heart attack, can cause blood to thicken or clot--worsening damage to heart tissue, a new study shows.
New target identified for repairing the heart after heart attack
An immune cell is shown for the first time to be involved in creating the scar that repairs the heart after damage.
Heart cells respond to heart attack and increase the chance of survival
The heart of humans and mice does not completely recover after a heart attack.
A simple method to improve heart-attack repair using stem cell-derived heart muscle cells
The heart cannot regenerate muscle after a heart attack, and this can lead to lethal heart failure.
Mount Sinai discovers placental stem cells that can regenerate heart after heart attack
Study identifies new stem cell type that can significantly improve cardiac function.
Fixing a broken heart: Exploring new ways to heal damage after a heart attack
The days immediately following a heart attack are critical for survivors' longevity and long-term healing of tissue.
Heart patch could limit muscle damage in heart attack aftermath
Guided by computer simulations, an international team of researchers has developed an adhesive patch that can provide support for damaged heart tissue, potentially reducing the stretching of heart muscle that's common after a heart attack.
How the heart sends an SOS signal to bone marrow cells after a heart attack
Exosomes are key to the SOS signal that the heart muscle sends out after a heart attack.
Heart attack patients taken directly to heart centers have better long-term survival
Heart attack patients taken directly to heart centers for lifesaving treatment have better long-term survival than those transferred from another hospital, reports a large observational study presented today at Acute Cardiovascular Care 2019, a European Society of Cardiology congress.
Among heart attack survivors, drug reduces chances of second heart attack or stroke
In a clinical trial involving 18,924 patients from 57 countries who had suffered a recent heart attack or threatened heart attack, researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and fellow scientists around the world have found that the cholesterol-lowering drug alirocumab reduced the chance of having additional heart problems or stroke.
More Heart Attack News and Heart Attack Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.