Re: Long term alcohol intake and risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women: a population based cohort study
6 August 2012
Daniela Di Giuseppe and coworkers, in a large population based cohort study, evaluate the association between long term alcohol consumption and incidence of rheumatoid arthritis among women(1).
In accordance with the inverse association between moderate alcohol consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease(2), the authors conclude that moderate alcohol consumption is not harmful and can be protective against rheumatoid arthritis.
This would be a further support to adopt the moderate alcohol consumption as a healthy behaviour practice.
The major concern against this conceivable evolution is the growing evidence that low levels of alcohol consumption may be associated with a small increase in breast cancer risk (3,4,5).
Since the study was performed inside the Swedish Mammography Cohort, the authors have the unique opportunity to verify in the same group of patients the incidence of breast cancer and to couple the rheumatoid arthritis risk and the breast cancer risk.
Hopefully, the evaluation of these two parameters in such a large amount of subjects will help to reach a more firm position about the healthy effects of moderate alcohol consumption in females.
1) Di Giuseppe D, Alfredsson L, Bottai M, Askling J, Wolk A. Long term alcohol intake and risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women: a population based cohort study. BMJ.2012;345:e4230 doi:10.1136/bmj.e4230;
2)Ronksley PE, Brien SE, Turner BJ, Mukamal KJ, Ghali WA. Association of alcohol consumption with selected cardiovascular disease outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
3) Chen WY, Rosner B, Hankinson SE, Colditz GA, Willet WC. Moderate alcohol consumption during adult life, drinking patterns, and breast cancer risk. JAMA.2011;306(17):1884-90;
4)Tjønneland A, Christensen J, Olsen A, Stripp C, Thomsen BL, et al. Alcohol intake and breast cancer risk: the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Cancer Causes Control.2007;18(4):361-373;
5) Mørch LS, Johansen D, Thygesen LC, Tjønneland A, Løkkegaard E, et al. Alcohol drinking, consumption patterns and breast cancer among Danish nurses: a cohort study. Eur J Public Health.2007;17(6):624-629.
Competing interests: None declared
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