Excessive alcohol comsumption increases mortality in later life: a genetic analysis of the health in men cohort study

Osvaldo Almeida, Kieran Mccaul, Graeme Hankey, Bu Yeap, J. Golledge, Leon Flicker

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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We designed this cohort study of men aged 70–89 years to determine if excessive alcohol use increases mortality. They reported history of alcohol use (never, past, ≤ two daily drinks, two to four daily drinks, four to six daily drinks, > six daily drinks) and donated a blood sample in 2001–2004. We determined the ADH1B rs1229984 G>A polymorphism and retrieved mortality data from the Western Australian Data Linkage System. Other study measures included age, education, body mass index, smoking, and history of hypertension, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, coronary heart disease and stroke. Of the 3496 participants, 225 (6.4 percent) carried the ADH1B rs1229984 G>A polymorphism. Carriers consumed significantly less alcohol than non‐carriers. The adjusted mortality hazard ratio (MHR, 95 percent confidence interval—95%CI) over 8.0 years (range: 10 weeks to 11.2 years) relative to never drinkers was 1.15 (95%CI = 0.86, 1.55) for past drinkers, 0.98 (95%CI = 0.76, 1.25) for men consuming ≤ two daily drinks, 1.13 (95%CI = 0.85, 1.49) for two to four drinks, 1.18 (95%CI = 0.81, 1.71) for four to six drinks and 1.87 (95%CI = 1.11, 3.12) for those consuming more than six daily drinks on a regular basis. The MHR associated with the ADH1B rs1229984 G>A polymorphism was 0.68 (95%CI = 0.54, 0.87). Excessive alcohol use in later life is associated with increased mortality, and this association is likely to be causal. We found no evidence that light to moderate alcohol use decreases the mortality of older men. Health messages regarding the safe use of alcohol in older age may benefit from taking these findings into account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-578
Number of pages9
JournalAddiction Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


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