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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2016 Nov;40(11):2283-2291. doi: 10.1111/acer.13231. Epub 2016 Sep 30.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Chronic Disease: The Case for a Long-Term Trial.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts. kmukamal@bidmc.harvard.edu.
2
Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.
3
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Rockville, Maryland.
4
Hendriks Nutrition Support for Business, Zeist, the Netherlands.
5
Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
6
Section of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
7
Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
8
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
9
Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts.
10
Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
11
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.

Abstract

Drinking within recommended limits is highly prevalent in much of the world, and strong epidemiological associations exist between moderate alcohol consumption and risk of several major chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer. In many cases, plausible biological mediators for these associations have been identified in randomized trials, but gold standard evidence that moderate drinking causes or prevents any chronic disease remains elusive and important concerns about available evidence have been raised. Although long-term randomized trials to test the observed associations have been termed impossible, clinical investigators have now successfully completed randomized trials of complex nutritional interventions in a variety of settings, along with trials of alcohol consumption itself of up to 2 years duration. The successful completion of these trials suggests that objections to the execution of a full-scale, long-term clinical trial of moderate drinking on chronic disease are increasingly untenable. We present potential lessons learned for such a trial and discuss key features to maximize its feasibility and value.

KEYWORDS:

Feeding Studies; Randomized Controlled Trial

PMID:
27688006
PMCID:
PMC5073014
DOI:
10.1111/acer.13231
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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