- The Washington Times - Friday, August 24, 2018

New research supports that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.

From young adults to the elderly, drinking beer, wine or spirits significantly contributes to causes of early death, according to a new study.

In 2016, there million deaths globally were linked to alcohol use, including over 12 percent in males and over three percent in females between the ages of 15 and 49.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Lancet, is one of the most comprehensive looks at the global burden of disease stemming from alcohol, with data on 28 million people from across 195 countries over a period of a quarter of a century.

“Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for global disease burden and causes substantial health loss,” the authors wrote. “We found that the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimizes health loss is zero.”



The findings add robust support to a number of studies that highlight the drawbacks of alcohol consumption despite that other, modest research found an association between light to moderate drinking and extended life.

“With the largest collected evidence base to date, our study makes the relationship between health and alcohol clear — drinking causes substantial health loss, in myriad ways, all over the world,” Max Griswold, lead author of the study and senior researcher at the University of Washington Medicine, said in a statement.

The study included data on individual and population alcohol consumption from almost 700 sources, in addition to almost 600 studies on the risk of alcohol use. The researchers created new algorithms to take into account alcohol sales, to account for missing information in self-reported alcohol consumption.

They also included an analysis of 23 health outcomes associated with alcohol use, including cardiovascular disease; certain cancers; noncommunicable diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol use disorders and pancreatitis, communicable disease such as tuberculosis, intentional and unintentional injuries and transportation-related injuries.

“We now understand that alcohol is one of the major causes of death in the world today,” Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, said in the statement. “We need to act now. We need to act urgently to prevent these millions of deaths. And we can.”

In 2016, 1.5 billion men and 900,000 women were current drinkers. Of the 2.8 million deaths attributed to alcohol that year, the three leading causes were tuberculosis, road injuries and self-harm.

For populations 50 and older, cancers accounted for a large proportion of alcohol-related deaths, 27.1 percent for females and 18.9 percent for males.

When accounting for relative risk of drinking, researchers found that any alcohol consumption increased these risk factors and emphasized that the safest amount of alcohol is no alcohol.

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