BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j909
(Published 22 March 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j909
Collectively, our findings, from the most comprehensive study to date of the relation between alcohol consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, indicate that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of initially presenting with several, but not all, cardiovascular diseases. Similarly, we show that heavy drinking is differentially associated with a range of such diseases. This has implications for patient counselling, public health communication, and disease prediction algorithms and suggests the necessity for a more nuanced approach to the role of alcohol consumption in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
It takes more than 25 litres of water to produce one litre of beer. So, the global alcohol industry, production, distribution, retail leave a huge climate footprint…The alcohol industry perpetuates myths about its economic contribution to countries as well as myths about the effects of alcohol and alcohol policies. The costs for alcohol harm are much greater than the economic contribution of the alcohol industry. And the conduct of the industry, targeting children and young people with their marketing and targeting developing countries with heavy lobbying is highly problematic, knowing alcohol plays a role in creating poverty and hindering development…To free people around the world from poverty, and to achieve the MDGs it is fundamental to address the role alcohol plays in creating and exacerbating poverty and hindering development. The equation is simple and tells decision-makers what to do: Less alcohol, means less poverty and more sustainable development.”
Published 15 September 2017 By Tim Newman
Researchers uncover changes in brain activity associated with binge drinking. Earlier studies showed that alcoholic people have measurable changes in their resting brain activity. And now, for the first time, researchers find similar changes in the brains of non-alcoholic students who binge drink.
Non-bingers' and bingers' brains compared
When the neural activity of the two groups was compared, there were significant differences. More specifically, there was a measurable increase in beta and theta oscillations in the right temporal lobe - particularly the parahippocampal and fusiform gyri - and the occipital cortex.
The parahippocampal gyrus is believed to play a part in coding and retrieving memories. The fusiform gyrus does not have a well-defined role to date but seems to be involved in recognition. The occipital cortex deals with processing visual information.
Interestingly, the increased activity in these areas mirrors those found in the brains of chronic alcoholics.
The researchers believe that the alterations in brain activity might be early signs of alcohol-induced brain damage. Changes in these regions may indicate a reduction in their ability to respond to external stimuli, which may hamper information processing.
Younger brains are still developing, and the researchers believe that this might make them more vulnerable to alcohol damage.
"These features might be down to the particularly harmful effects of alcohol on young brains that are still in development, perhaps by delaying neuromaturational processes." Eduardo López-Caneda
Just over 40% of teens reported having had a few sips of alcohol by the age of 15, but only 16% had consumed a full serve. Of those who had tried alcohol, 28% of boys and 15% of girls had done so before the age of 13.
This doesn’t mean that young teenagers who have tried alcohol are necessarily drinking to excess, just that they are sampling alcohol at a relatively young age. For most 14- and 15-year-olds, drinking alcohol was not a regular practice — only 7% had consumed an alcoholic drink in the month before their interview.
Parents’ regular, short-term, risky drinking was shown to be a strong factor in influencing their teenage children to try alcohol. Around 11% of mothers and 30% of fathers reported having at least five drinks on a single occasion at least twice a month.
Most parents did not drink daily; of those who did, more men than women exceeded guidelines for long-term risk.
Percentage of parents (of 12–to-13-year-olds) who drink at risky levels.
Friends also had a strong influence. Almost 40% of those who had at least one friend who drank alcohol had tried alcohol themselves, compared to only 5% of those who had no friends who drank.
Teens were also more likely to have tried alcohol if they were the only child, in the later stages of puberty, or in a single-parent household. But even after accounting for all these factors, there was still a significant association between parents’ drinking habits and adolescents’ alcohol use. Those whose parents drank at a risky level were most likely to have tried alcohol