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MET413 Basic Epidemiology for Alcohol Consumption

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Question 

You are a member of a local public health improvement team with a specific interest in alcohol related disease. The BBC have contacted you to provide a lay summary based on this research that has just been published, see reference above.

Lay summaries are important for supporting wider public engagement with research material. They are informative, shorter, written accounts of research which are aimed at a wider general audience without specialist knowledge.


You should consider including the following:

  • A title
  • Explanation of terms/definitions
  • Basic epidemiology of alcohol use/ H Pylori
  • Key messages
  • Implications and recommendations.

Answer

Alcohol consumption could lead to gastric cancer:

A recent study conducted by Ma, Jung, Weinderpass et al. (2015) has shown that consumption of alcohol can lead to increased chances of developing cancer because of helicobacter pylori infection status. This has been considered to be one of the most interesting research that throws light on the existing relationship between alcohol consumption and infection caused by Helicobacter Pylori.

Important terms:

The research comprises of a number of key terms whose meaning must be understood to comprehend and evaluate the findings of the research.

Gastric cancer:  Proliferation and accumulation of cellular mass within the stomach

Helicobacter Pylori: A gram negative air-loving bacteria predominantly found inside the stomach (Wise 2015)

Immunoblot-assays: The laboratory procedure of differentiating proteins through electrophoresis into nitrocellulose sheets so as to facilitate identification of the proteins through labelled antibodies

Cohort population: Refers to a set of population sharing similar trait

Seropositivity: Yielding a positive result for a blood serum test

Cox regression model: A probability model that reflects time-to-event data

Alcohol consumption and infection caused by Helicobacter Pylori are related:

Gastric cancer is held accountable for the third most common type of cancer throughout China, Japan and Korea (Liu et al. 2016). The incidence of Gastric cancer has been strongly linked to alcohol consumption but till date there had been no substantial evidence predicting the relationship of gastric cancer and Helicobacter pylori infection status (Huang et al. 2016). According to statistical incidence, it has been mentioned that approximately 60% of the Korean population is affected with Helicobacter Pylori infection that is susceptible to develop gastric cancer (Ma, SH et al. 2015). The research thus aimed to critically evaluate and establish the relationship based upon a cohort-study design.

The bigger picture:

Heavy drinking revealed a 3.48 times increase in the risk of developing H.Pylori infection.

Binge drinking on the other hand revealed a 3.27 times risk of developing H.Pylori infection in people who had not been affected with the infection previously.

The risk of developing gastric cancer was found to be maximum among the subjects who were heavy and binge drinkers and were not affected previously by Helicobacter Pylori strains secreting CagA or VacA genes.

In this regard, it should be noted that heavy and binge alcohol consumption serves as a high risk factor for enhancing the probability of developing gastric cancer.

Staying away from Gastric Cancer:

The findings revealed the existence of a positive relationship between the pattern of alcohol consumption and the prevalence of gastric ulcer. It should be significantly noted that binge drinkers are at a higher risk of developing Helicobacter Pylori infection consequently increasing the risk of developing gastric cancer. Hence, quitting alcohol could immensely contribute to a healthier and extended years of life. Complete abstinence from alcohol might seem impossible for heavy drinkers and binge drinkers who could access the rehabilitation centres for assistance and support. Complete substitution of alcoholic beverages for fresh fruit juices can reduce the probability of developing gastric cancer and other gut associated complications.

References:

Huang, C., Wang, Y., Fan, H., Ma, X., Tang, R., Huan, X., Zhu, Y., Xu, Z., Xu, H. and Yang, L., 2016. Association analysis of DACT1 genetic variants and gastric cancer risk in a Chinese Han population: a case–control study. OncoTargets and therapy, 9, p.5975.

Liu, S.Y., Han, X.C., Sun, J., Chen, G.X., Zhou, X.Y. and Zhang, G.X., 2016. Alcohol intake and Helicobacter pylori infection: a dose–response meta-analysis of observational studies. Infectious Diseases, 48(4), pp.303-309.

Ma, S.H., Jung, W., Weiderpass, E., Jang, J., Hwang, Y., Ahn, C., Ko, K.P., Chang, S.H., Shin, H.R., Yoo, K.Y. and Park, S.K., 2015. Impact of alcohol drinking on gastric cancer development according to Helicobacter pylori infection status. British journal of cancer, 113(9), p.1381.

Wise, J., 2015. Eradicating H pylori seems to reduce incidence of gastric cancer, review shows. BMJ: British Medical Journal (Online), 351.

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