26 February 2019 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Low-risk thresholds for alcohol use differ across various national guidelines. To assess the novel WHO risk drinking levels in light of alcohol-sensitive common laboratory tests, we analysed biomarkers of liver status, inflammation and lipid profiles from a population-based survey of individuals classified to abstainers and different WHO risk drinking levels defined in terms of mean alcohol consumption per day. The study included 22,327 participants aged 25-74 years from the National FINRISK Study. Data on alcohol use, health status, diet, body weight and lifestyle (smoking, coffee consumption and physical activity) were recorded from structured interviews. Alcohol data from self-reports covering the past 12 months were used to categorize the participants into subgroups of abstainers and WHO risk drinking categories representing low, moderate, high and very high risk drinkers. Serum liver enzymes (GGT, ALT), C-reactive protein (CRP) and lipid profiles were measured using standard laboratory techniques. Alcohol risk category was roughly linearly related with the occurrence of elevated values for GGT, ALT and CRP. Alcohol drinking also significantly influenced the incidence of abnormalities in serum lipids. Significantly higher odds for abnormal GGT, ALT and altered lipid profiles remained in alcohol drinkers even after adjustment for age, waist circumference, physical inactivity, smoking and coffee consumption. A more systematic use of laboratory tests during treatment of individuals classified to WHO risk drinking categories may improve the assessment of alcohol-related health risks. Follow-ups of biomarker responses may also prove to be useful in health interventions aimed at reducing alcohol consumption.

Aims: Alcohol-dependent people who are middle-aged or older have a widespread loss of cortical grey and white matter, particularly in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). We examine if brain abnormalities are detectable in alcohol use disorders before the fifth decade (i.e. <40), and the brain structural differences associated with alcohol abuse/dependence in adolescence. Methods: Case-control studies comparing brain structure in alcohol-abusing/-dependent individuals with normal controls in which the mean age of participants was <40 were identified using Medline, EMBASE and PsychInfo. Studies in which mean age was over and under 21 were considered separately. Results: Twelve papers fulfilled inclusion criteria, five in the adolescent (14-21) and seven in the young adult age range. Two independent groups reported hippocampal and prefrontal volume reductions in adolescents, although this was consistently observed only in females. In young adults (aged 21-40), there were grey matter deficits in the PFC in both sexes. Adult women appeared to, particularly, exhibit white matter differences, evident as reduced area of the corpus callosum. Hippocampal volume reduction was observed in one study of young adults study but not another. Conclusion: The available data suggest that quantitative structural abnormalities of the brain are detectable in young alcohol abusers. There is overlap between the abnormalities seen in adolescents and young adults, although hippocampal volume loss is most consistently seen in the former group. The adolescent hippocampus may be particularly susceptible to alcohol, potentially because of an interaction between adolescent brain development and alcohol exposure
06 May 2014 In Pregnant Women

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is currently recognized as the most common known cause of mental retardation, affecting from 1 to 7 per 1000 live-born infants. Individuals with FAS suffer from changes in brain structure, cognitive impairments, and behavior problems. Researchers investigating neuropsychological functioning have identified deficits in learning, memory, executive functioning, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and poor communication and social skills in individuals with FAS and fetal alcohol effects (FAE). Investigators using autopsy and brain imaging methods have identified microcephaly and structural abnormalities in various regions of the brain (including the basal ganglia, corpus callosum, cerebellum, and hippocampus) that may account for the neuropsychological deficits. Results of studies using newer brain imaging and analytic techniques have indicated specific alterations (i.e., displacements in the corpus callosum, increased gray matter density in the perisylvian regions, altered gray matter asymmetry, and disproportionate reductions in the frontal lobes) in the brains of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol, and their relations with brain function. Future research, including using animal models, could help inform our knowledge of brain-behavior relations in the context of prenatal alcohol exposure, and assist with early identification and intervention.

06 May 2014 In General Health




Abstract The relationship between exposure to lifestyle factors and adverse effects on human reproductive health is debated in the scientific literature and these controversies have increased public and regulatory attention. The aim of the study was to examine the association between modifiable lifestyle factors and main semen parameters, sperm morphology, and sperm chromatin structure. The study population consisted of 344 men who were attending an infertility clinic for diagnostic purposes with normal semen concentration of 20-300 M/ml or with slight oligozoospermia (semen total concentration of 15-20 M/ml) [WHO 1999]. Participants were interviewed and provided semen samples. The interview included questions about demographics, socio-economic status, medical history, lifestyle factors (consumption of alcohol, tobacco, coffee intake, cell phone and sauna usage), and physical activity. The results of the study suggest that lifestyle factors may affect semen quality. A negative association was found between increased body mass index (BMI) and semen volume (p = 0.03). Leisure time activity was positively associated with sperm concentration (p = 0.04) and coffee drinking with the percentage of motile sperm cells, and the percentage of sperm head and neck abnormalities (p = 0.01, p = 0.05, and p = 0.03, respectively). Drinking red wine 1-3 times per week was negatively related to sperm neck abnormalities (p = 0.01). Additionally, using a cell phone more than 10 years decreased the percentage of motile sperm cells (p = 0.02). Men who wore boxer shorts had a lower percentage of sperm neck abnormalities (p = 0.002) and percentage of sperm with DNA damage (p = 0.02). These findings may have important implications for semen quality and Lifestyle.




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