15 january 2021

Using Mendelian randomization to evaluate the effects of alcohol consumption on the risk of coronary heart disease

PURPOSE: This paper aims to evaluate the use of Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses for judging the effects of alcohol consumption on the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH/ This paper presents a review of methodology for MR and describes its early application to judging health effects of alcohol, current uses and a recommended approach of combining MR results with those from observational and experimental studies.

FINDINGS: Early applications of MR to health effects of alcohol consumption were inadequate for providing unbiased results, but newer attempts using polygenic scores show promise. It is important to combine data from MR analyses with those from observational and experimental studies to obtain an unbiased and scientifically sound estimate of alcohol’s effects on health.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Giving advice to the public regarding alcohol consumption must be based on accurate, unbiased scientific data; this paper describes attempts to use MR for achieving this goal.

SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS: Given that light-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lower risk of CHD, type II diabetes mellitus and total mortality, it is important to be able to evaluate both the benefits and harms from alcohol before giving advice regarding drinking.

ORIGINALITY/VALUE: This is part of a group of three papers dealing with the potential health benefits and harms associated with alcohol consumption.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Grø nbæ Ellison R. Curtis; k Morten; Skovenborg Erik
  • Issue

    Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 84-95. https://doi.org/10.1108/DAT-09-2020-0061
  • Published Date

    15 january 2021