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How Toxic Is Alcohol? This PKU-Oxford Team Seeks Answers

New study finds causal link between alcohol consumption and over 60 diseases in Chinese men

by Peking University
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Recently, a study conducted by researchers from Peking University and Oxford Population Health shed light on the susceptibility of Chinese men to 60 diseases related to alcohol consumption. The study, titled "Alcohol consumption and risks of more than 200 diseases in Chinese men," was published in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine.

Alcohol consumption poses a significant global health threat, with previous research highlighting its strong association with diseases such as liver cirrhosis, stroke, and various types of cancer. However, there has been a lack of systematic investigation into the overall medical impact of drinking within a specific population, which prompted the researchers to undertake this study.

To conduct their research, the team utilized data from the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB), a comprehensive database comprising information from over 512,000 adults recruited across China between 2004 and 2008. The database not only contained crucial health information but also included detailed interviews regarding participants' lifestyle choices, including their alcohol consumption patterns. The researchers tracked medical diagnoses over a span of 12 years and performed genetic analyses to establish the causal relationship between alcohol intake and disease development.

The findings of this study not only confirmed the 28 alcohol-related diseases previously advocated by the World Health Organization but also uncovered an additional 33 diseases, including gout, cataracts, certain fractures, and gastric ulcers, that can be attributed to a history of alcohol consumption.

Professor Li Liming, a senior author and co-PI of CKB at Peking University, emphasized the need for stronger alcohol control policies in China, noting, "Levels of alcohol consumption are rising in China, particularly among men. This large collaborative study demonstrates a need to strengthen alcohol control policies in China."

Professor Zhengming Chen, Richard Peto Professor of Epidemiology at Oxford Population Health, stressed the significance of the study's causal evidence in informing prevention strategies worldwide. "This study provides important causal evidence of the scale of alcohol-related harms, which is critical to inform prevention strategies in different countries," he said.

- This press release was provided by Peking University