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I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Here is what's new this week in To Your Health - a consumer health oriented podcast from NLM - that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.
The harmful health impacts of drinking alcohol may be higher among vulnerable populations than more affluent British adults, reports a comprehensive study recently published in BMC Public Health.
The study finds English adults (who live in lower income areas and consume alcohol) are far more likely than affluent adults to drink in combination with health challenging behaviors, such as smoking, overweight, and poor diet and exercise. The study, based on a nationally representative telephone survey of 6,015 British adults, found highly significant health impact, alcohol-related differences between lower income and affluent adults — even when both groups drank about the same amount of alcohol during a week.
The study's six authors note adults from lower income areas (or vulnerable populations) are 10 times more likely than affluent counterparts to drink in a lifestyle syndrome that includes smoking, excess weight, and poor diet and exercise — even though weekly alcohol consumption between the groups is similar.
The study's six authors note the overall differences suggest (and we quote): 'multiplicative effects on risks of wholly (e.g. alcoholic liver disease) and partly (e.g. cancers) alcohol-related conditions' (end of quote).
The study adds adults from lower income areas (or persons in vulnerable populations) are more likely to indulge in binge drinking compared to more affluent peers. Lower income persons also self-disclosed they comparatively were more prone to both current and past episodes of binge drinking. The study is one of the first to more precisely assess binge drinking habits within a national survey.
Overall, the study seems to confirm a long standing hypothesis sometimes called the 'alcohol harm paradox' that suggests there are demographic differences in the impact of drinking upon health.
The study does not try to explain the underlying socio-cultural and other rationales for the assessed differences. However, the authors conclude (and we quote): 'Public health messages on how smoking, poor diet/exercise and bingeing escalate health risks with alcohol are needed, especially in (low income) communities, as their absence will contribute to health inequalities' (end of quote).
Meanwhile, MedlinePlus.gov's alcoholism and alcohol abuse health topic page notes too much alcohol can cause damage to the liver, brain and other organs. An overview of alcoholism (provided by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) is provided in the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's alcoholism and alcohol abuse health topic page.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides concise, easy-to-read information about treatment within the 'treatment and therapies' section of MedlinePlus.gov's alcoholism and alcohol abuse health topic page.
MedlinePlus.gov's alcoholism and alcohol abuse health topic page also provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the 'journal articles' section. Links to clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the 'clinical trials' section. You can sign up to receive updates about alcohol abuse as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.
MedlinePlus.gov's alcoholism and alcohol abuse health topic page additionally provides links to helpful handouts on topics, such as alcohol use disorder and health risks of alcohol use (in English and Spanish), within the 'patient handouts' section.
To find MedlinePlus.gov's alcoholism and alcohol abuse health topic page, please type 'alcoholism' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'alcoholism and alcohol abuse (National Library of Medicine).' MedlinePlus.gov also has health topic pages devoted to impaired drinking and underage drinking.
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