"Schott Zwiesel Wine Glasses" by Didriks is licensed under CC BY 2.0 CC BY 2.0

Health Effects of Alcohol May Depend on How Much You Drink

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Schott Zwiesel Wine Glasses" by Didriks is licensed under CC BY 2.0 <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0"> CC BY 2.0</a>Simona Costanzo MS, PhD
Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology,
Department of Epidemiology and Prevention.
IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed,

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: We investigated how the different intake of alcohol relates to all-cause and cause-specific hospitalizations. In particular, we mainly investigated the association of alcohol consumption with total number of hospitalizations that occurred during 6 years of follow-up.

We also examined cause-specific hospitalizations (e.g., alcohol-related diseases, vascular diseases, cancer, traumatic injury, and neurodegenerative diseases).

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The present study, conducted in a large adult Mediterranean population, shows that moderate alcohol consumption had a modest but complex impact on global hospitalization burden.

Our results particularly highlight the higher rate of hospitalization for all causes, including alcohol-related diseases and cancer, among heavier drinkers (more than 4 drinks/day), compared to light alcohol consumers (up to one drink/day). The magnitude of the association between heavier alcohol intake and hospitalization tended to be greater in smokers than non-smokers.

On the other hand, those who drink in moderation present a lower rate of hospitalization for all causes and for cardiovascular disease as compared to lifetime abstainers and former drinkers. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Our study shows 1) how much excess alcohol can negatively influence the healthcare system and 2) those who drink in moderation resort less to the hospital than teetotalers.

By the way, although low-moderate, non-binging alcohol consumption reduces the chance to be hospitalized, as previous epidemiological evidence has shown for the reduction in mortality risk, we do not recommend that adult life-time abstainers begin drinking for health reasons.

This is because there is a risk that some of those who start to drink will consume more than the low-risk drinking amounts.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

 Response: The results of this study are applicable to people older than 35 years. It will be interesting to investigate this issue also in younger people. 


Dr. Costanzo and Dr. Di Castelnuovo are the principal investigator and the co-applicant, respectively, of an ongoing study supported by a research grant from ERAB (the European Foundation for Alcohol Research). 

Dr. Mukamal was formerly the principal investigator of the Moderate Alcohol & Cardiovascular Health Trial (U10AA025286 from the National Institutes of Health), which received partial support from industry contributions to the Foundation for NIH. 

Dr. de Gaetano is a member of the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research, a consultant to the Web Newsletter of Assobirra, the Italian Association of the Beer and Malt Industries and a corresponding member of the non profit Accademia Italiana della Vite e del Vino. 


Alcohol consumption and hospitalization burden in an adult Italian population: prospective results from the Moli‐sani study

Simona Costanzo, Kenneth J. Mukamal, Augusto Di Castelnuovo, Marialaura Bonaccio,Marco Olivieri, Mariarosaria Persichillo, Amalia De Curtis, Chiara Cerletti, Maria Benedetta Donati, Giovanni de Gaetano, Licia Iacoviello, on behalf of the Moli‐sani Study Investigators

First published: 12 December 2018

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Last Updated on December 16, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD