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How Toxic Is Alcohol? New Research Exposes 60 Alcohol-Related Diseases
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How Toxic Is Alcohol? New Research Exposes 60 Alcohol-Related Diseases

Aug 12, 2023
Alcohol Dangers Concept

Researchers from Peking University and Oxford Population Health have found that Chinese men are susceptible to 60 diseases linked to alcohol consumption. The study confirms 28 known conditions and identifies 33 new ones, highlighting the need for stronger alcohol control policies in China and guiding global prevention strategies.

Recently, a collaborative study conducted by researchers from Peking University and Oxford Population Health shed light on the susceptibility of Chinese men to 60 diseases related to alcohol consumption. The study, titled “Alcohol consumption and risks of more than 200 diseases in Chinese men,” was published in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine.

Global Impact of Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol consumption poses a significant global health threat, with previous research highlighting its strong association with diseases such as liver cirrhosis, stroke, and various types of cancer. However, a lack of systematic investigation into the overall medical impact of drinking within a specific population prompted the researchers to undertake this study.

Methodology

To conduct their research, the team utilized data from the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB), a comprehensive database comprising information from over 512,000 adults recruited across China between 2004 and 2008. The database not only contained crucial health information but also included detailed interviews regarding participants’ lifestyle choices, including their alcohol consumption patterns. Over a span of 12 years, the researchers tracked medical diagnoses and performed genetic analyses to establish the causal relationship between alcohol intake and disease development.

Findings

The findings of this study not only confirmed the 28 alcohol-related diseases previously advocated by the World Health Organization but also uncovered an additional 33 diseases, including gout, cataracts, certain fractures, and gastric ulcers, that can be attributed to a history of alcohol consumption.

Calls for Policy Changes

Professor Li Liming, a senior author and co-PI of CKB at Peking University, emphasized the need for stronger alcohol control policies in China, noting, “Levels of alcohol consumption are rising in China, particularly among men. This large collaborative study demonstrates a need to strengthen alcohol control policies in China.”

Professor Zhengming Chen, Richard Peto Professor of Epidemiology at Oxford Population Health, stressed the significance of the study’s causal evidence in informing prevention strategies worldwide. “This study provides important causal evidence of the scale of alcohol-related harms, which is critical to inform prevention strategies in different countries,” he said.

Reference: “Alcohol consumption and risks of more than 200 diseases in Chinese men” by Pek Kei Im, Neil Wright, Ling Yang, Ka Hung Chan, Yiping Chen, Yu Guo, Huaidong Du, Xiaoming Yang, Daniel Avery, Shaojie Wang, Canqing Yu, Jun Lv, Robert Clarke, Junshi Chen, Rory Collins, Robin G. Walters, Richard Peto, Liming Li, Zhengming Chen, Iona Y. Millwood and China Kadoorie Biobank Collaborative Group, 8 June 2023, Nature Medicine.
DOI: 10.1038/s41591-023-02383-8


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