12 August 2019 In Cancer

Background: Alcohol is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer because it induces hepatocellular carcinoma (among other cancers) in humans. An excessive alcohol intake may result in fatty liver, acute/chronic hepatitis, and cirrhosis and eventually lead to hepatocellular carcinoma. It has been reported that alcohol abuse increases the relative risk of hepatocellular carcinoma by 3- to 10-fold.

Aim and Methods: To clarify the known mechanisms of alcohol-related carcinogenesis, we searched Pubmed using the terms alcohol and immune mechanism, alcohol and cancer, and immune mechanism and cancer and summarized the articles as a qualitative review.

Results: From a clinical perspective, it is well known that alcohol interacts with other factors, such as smoking, viral hepatitis, and diabetes, leading to an increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. There are several possible mechanisms through which alcohol may induce liver carcinogenicity, including the mutagenic effects of acetaldehyde and the production of ROS due to the excessive hepatic deposition of iron. Furthermore, it has been reported that alcohol accelerates hepatitis C virus-induced liver tumorigenesis through TLR4 signaling. Despite intense investigations to elucidate the mechanisms, they remain poorly understood.

Conclusion: This review summarizes the recent findings of clinical and pathological studies that have investigated the carcinogenic effects of alcohol in the liver.

12 August 2019 In Diabetes

OBJECTIVE: To summarise the evidence of associations between dietary factors and incidence of type 2 diabetes and to evaluate the strength and validity of these associations.

DESIGN: Umbrella review of systematic reviews with meta-analyses of prospective observational studies.

DATA SOURCES: PubMed, Web of Science, and Embase, searched up to August 2018.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Systematic reviews with meta-analyses reporting summary risk estimates for the associations between incidence of type 2 diabetes and dietary behaviours or diet quality indices, food groups, foods, beverages, alcoholic beverages, macronutrients, and micronutrients.

RESULTS: 53 publications were included, with 153 adjusted summary hazard ratios on dietary behaviours or diet quality indices (n=12), food groups and foods (n=56), beverages (n=10), alcoholic beverages (n=12), macronutrients (n=32), and micronutrients (n=31), regarding incidence of type 2 diabetes. Methodological quality was high for 75% (n=115) of meta-analyses, moderate for 23% (n=35), and low for 2% (n=3). Quality of evidence was rated high for an inverse association for type 2 diabetes incidence with increased intake of whole grains (for an increment of 30 g/day, adjusted summary hazard ratio 0.87 (95% confidence interval 0.82 to 0.93)) and cereal fibre (for an increment of 10 g/day, 0.75 (0.65 to 0.86)), as well as for moderate intake of total alcohol (for an intake of 12-24 g/day v no consumption, 0.75 (0.67 to 0.83)). Quality of evidence was also high for the association for increased incidence of type 2 diabetes with higher intake of red meat (for an increment of 100 g/day, 1.17 (1.08 to 1.26)), processed meat (for an increment of 50 g/day, 1.37 (1.22 to 1.54)), bacon (per two slices/day, 2.07 (1.40 to 3.05)), and sugar sweetened beverages (for an increase of one serving/day, 1.26 (1.11 to 1.43)).

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the association between dietary factors and type 2 diabetes has been extensively studied, but few of the associations were graded as high quality of evidence. Further factors are likely to be important in type 2 diabetes prevention; thus, more well conducted research, with more detailed assessment of diet, is needed.


12 August 2019 In General Health

AIMS: To review the effectiveness of workplace interventions in reducing alcohol consumption among employees.

METHODS: Systematic search of science databases from inception till May 2018 for trials where an intervention was tested against a control and data presented as amount of alcohol consumed per week. Quality of trials was assessed by Cochrane risk of bias tool. Meta-analysis was performed with random-effects model and pooled mean difference (MD) was reported with 95% confidence interval. Publication bias was assessed using Egger's test.

RESULTS: Seven trials with 1291 participants could be included. No outcome assessments were blinded. There was positive effect of workplace intervention on reduction of alcohol consumption with pooled MD of -2.25 [95% CI: -4.20 to -0.30]. The effect was only seen where subjects had a baseline alcohol consumption of over 15 standard drinks per week. There was no heterogeneity across the trials (I2=0%). Funnel plot was symmetrical shaped and Egger's test confirmed that there was no publication bias. Two studies found no advantages to intervention on differences on the AUDIT test.

CONCLUSION: There is weak evidence for workplace interventions (varying modes) as a way of facilitating reduction in the consumption of alcohol among employees but only among the heavier consumers.

12 August 2019 In Pregnant Women

It is common knowledge that alcohol consumption during pregnancy would cause cognitive impairment in children. However, recent works suggested that the risk of drinking during pregnancy may have been exaggerated. It is critical to determine whether and up to which amount the consumption of alcohol will affect the cognitive development of children. We evaluate time-varying functional connectivity using magnetoencephalogram data from somatosensory evoked response experiments for 19 teenage subjects with prenatal alcohol exposure and 21 healthy control teenage subjects using a new time-varying connectivity approach, combining renormalised partial directed coherence with state space modeling. Children exposed to alcohol prenatally are at risk of developing a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) characterized by cerebral connectivity deficiency and impaired cognitive abilities. Through a comparison study of teenage subjects exposed to alcohol prenatally with healthy control subjects, we establish that the inter-hemispheric connectivity is deficient for the former, which may lead to disruption in the cortical inter-hemispheric connectivity and deficits in higher order cognitive functions as measured by an IQ test, for example. We provide quantitative evidence that the disruption is correlated with cognitive deficits. These findings could lead to a novel, highly sensitive biomarker for FASD and support a recommendation of no safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

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