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Effect On Binge Drinking On The Liver: An Alarming Public Health Issue?
  1. Philippe Mathurin (p-mathurin{at}
  1. Service d’Hépatologie, Hôpital Claude Huriez, Lille, France
    1. Pierre Deltenre (pierre.deltenre{at}
    1. Service d’Hépatologie, Hôpital Claude Huriez, Lille, France


      A strong increase in binge drinking is currently being seen in western countries. Young people seem particularly prone to this habit because they may be unreceptive to “sensible drinking” messages. In addition, binge-drinking male adolescents frequently continue to do so and have a high risk of chronic alcohol consumption in adulthood. Thus, reducing binge drinking in adolescents and adults constitutes one of the leading health objectives in western countries. However, binge drinking is a major public heath issue that can no longer be considered simply a momentary risk factor of behavioral concerns, but must now be viewed in light of long-term consequences, such as alcohol-induced liver disease. There is a great deal of evidence that binge drinking induces several mechanisms implicated in the development of liver injury. Repeated episodes of binge drinking intensify these mechanisms, resulting in exacerbation of liver injury. Epidemiological data strongly suggest that binge drinking is responsible for an increased incidence of cirrhosis. Cirrhosis mortality rates are increasing in northern European countries with a culture of binge-drinking (beer and spirits). The UK represents an exaggerated example of these northern European trends. Future epidemiological studies will need to focus on the relationship between liver injury, quantity of alcohol consumed per binge and frequency of binge episodes. Indeed, the question of which type of binge drinking pattern (in terms of frequency of episodes and amount of alcohol intake per binge) is associated with an increased risk of alcoholic liver cirrhosis remains subject to debate.

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