MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Gro Askgaard MD
Department of Hepatology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet
National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark
Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
Dr. Askgaard: Alcohol is the main risk factor of cirrhosis in Europe, where 1.8% of
all deaths are attributable to liver disease. Alcohol amount is known to be a significant factor of development of cirrhosis – the greater alcohol amount, the greater risk. Less is known about drinking pattern – how the way you drink alcohol affects your risk. In this study we evaluated the influence of drinking frequency (drinking days/week), of lifetime alcohol consumption versus recent alcohol consumption, and alcohol type (wine, beer, liquor).
Medical Research: What are the main findings?
Dr. Askgaard: This study confirmed the dose-response relationship between
alcohol amount and alcoholic cirrhosis.
Among men, the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis was higher in daily
drinkers compared to less frequent drinkers (for instance drinkers of 5-6 days/week), when alcohol amount was taken into account. Furthermore, our results
suggested that recent alcohol consumption, and not lifetime
alcohol consumption, is the strongest predictor of alcoholic
cirrhosis. Regarding beverage type, wine was associated with a
lower risk of alcoholic cirrhosis compared to beer and liquor,
for the same level of alcohol amount. Among women, we are
unable to draw firm conclusions due to low statistical power,
though, in general, we found the same trends.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Askgaard: Implications of our study for public health and clinical counselling
are that there seems to be some gain when cutting down
on alcohol amount, regardless of the high level of lifetime alcohol
consumption, and that daily drinkers should be advised to drink
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Askgaard: We still do not know how binge drinking (drinking a considerably amount of alcohol on one occasion – “weekend drinking”) influences the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis.