24 March 2021 In Phenolic compounds

Ageing and menopause contribute to endothelial dysfunction, causing impaired cerebral perfusion, which is in turn associated with accelerated cognitive decline. In a 14-week pilot study, we showed that supplementation with low-dose resveratrol, a phytoestrogen that can enhance endothelial function, improved cerebrovascular and cognitive functions in postmenopausal women.

We sought to confirm these benefits in a larger, longer-term trial. A 24-month randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial was undertaken in 125 postmenopausal women, aged 45-85 years, who took 75 mg trans-resveratrol or placebo twice-daily for 12 months and then crossover to the alternative treatment for another 12 months. We evaluated within individual differences between each treatment period in measures of cognition (primary outcome), cerebrovascular function in the middle cerebral artery (cerebral blood flow velocity: CBFV, cerebrovascular responsiveness: CVR) and cardio-metabolic markers as secondary outcomes.

Subgroup analyses examined effects of resveratrol by life stages. Compared to placebo, resveratrol supplementation resulted a significant 33% improvement in overall cognitive performance (Cohen's d = 0.170, P = 0.005). Women >/=65 years of age showed a relative improvement in verbal memory with resveratrol compared to those younger than 65 years. Furthermore, resveratrol improved secondary outcomes including resting mean CBFV (d = 0.275, P = 0.001), CVR to hypercapnia (d = 0.307, P = 0.027), CVR to cognitive stimuli (d = 0.259, P = 0.032), fasting insulin (d = 0.174, P = 0.025) and insulin resistance index (d = 0.102, P = 0.034).

Regular supplementation with low-dose resveratrol can enhance cognition, cerebrovascular function and insulin sensitivity in postmenopausal women. This may translate into a slowing of the accelerated cognitive decline due to ageing and menopause, especially in late-life women. Further studies are warranted to observe whether these cognitive benefits of resveratrol can reduce the risk of dementia.

25 August 2020 In General Health

We investigated the relation between alcohol drinking and healthy ageing by means of a validated health status metric, using individual data from the Ageing Trajectories of Health: Longitudinal Opportunities and Synergies (ATHLOS) project.

For the purposes of this study, the ATHLOS harmonised dataset, which includes information from individuals aged 65+ in 38 countries, was analysed (n = 135,440). Alcohol drinking was reflected by means of three harmonised variables: alcohol drinking frequency, current and past alcohol drinker. A set of 41 self-reported health items and measured tests were used to generate a specific health metric. In the harmonised dataset, the prevalence of current drinking was 47.5% while of past drinking was 26.5%.

In the pooled sample, current alcohol drinking was positively associated with better health status among older adults ((b-coef (95% CI): 1.32(0.45 to 2.19)) and past alcohol drinking was inversely related (b-coef (95% CI): -0.83 (-1.51 to -0.16)) with health status. Often alcohol consumption appeared to be beneficial only for females in all super-regions except Africa, both age group categories (65-80 years old and 80+), both age group categories, as well as among all the financial status categories (all p < 0.05).

Regional analysis pictured diverse patterns in the association for current and past alcohol drinkers. Our results report the need for specific alcohol intake recommendations among older adults that will help them maintain a better health status throughout the ageing process.

04 May 2020 In Phenolic compounds

Deficits in the cerebral microcirculation contribute to age-related cognitive decline. In a pilot study of postmenopausal women, we found that supplementation with a low dose of resveratrol, a phytoestrogen, for 14 weeks improved cerebrovascular and cognitive functions.

We have since undertaken a larger, longer term study to confirm these benefits. Postmenopausal women aged 45-85 years (n = 129) were randomized to take placebo or 75 mg trans-resveratrol twice daily for 12 months. Effects on cognition, cerebral blood flow, cerebrovascular responsiveness (CVR) and cardiometabolic markers (blood pressure, diabetes markers and fasting lipids) were assessed. Compared to placebo, resveratrol improved overall cognitive performance (P < 0.001) and attenuated the decline in CVR to cognitive stimuli (P = 0.038). The latter effect was associated with reduction of fasting blood glucose (r = -0.339, P = 0.023).

This long-term study confirms that regular consumption of resveratrol can enhance cognitive and cerebrovascular functions in postmenopausal women, with the potential to slow cognitive decline due to ageing and menopause.

04 May 2020 In Cardiovascular System

AIMS: To investigate associations of life-time hazardous and binge drinking with biomarkers of cardiometabolic health, liver function, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study with median follow-up time to CVD incidence of 4.5 years.

SETTING: London, UK: civil servants within the Whitehall II Study.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 4820 drinkers aged 59-83 years with biological measurements during the 2011-12 survey.

MEASUREMENTS: Hazardous drinking was defined as having an AUDIT-C score >/= 5 calculated at each decade of life, forming the following groups: never hazardous drinker, former early (stopping before age 50), former later (stopping after age 50), current hazardous drinker and consistent hazardous drinker (hazardous drinker at each decade of life).

FINDINGS: More than half the sample had been hazardous drinkers at some point during their life-time, comprising former early (< age 50) (19%), former later (>/= age 50) (11%), current (21%) and consistent hazardous drinker (AUDIT-C >/= 5 across life (5%). After adjusting for covariates, waist circumference was larger with more persistent hazardous drinking (e.g. compared with never hazardous drinkers, former early had increased waist circumference by 1.17 cm [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.25-2.08]; former later by 1.88 cm (CI = 0.77-2.98); current by 2.44 cm (CI = 1.50-3.34) and consistent hazardous drinker by 3.85 cm (CI = 2.23-5.47). Current hazardous drinkers had higher systolic blood pressure (2.44 mmHg, CI = 1.19-3.68) and fatty liver index scores (4.05 mmHg, CI = 2.92-5.18) than never hazardous drinkers. Current hazardous drinkers [hazard ratio (HR) = 2.75, CI = 1.44-5.22) had an elevated risk of stroke, and former later hazardous drinkers had an elevated risk of non-CVD mortality (HR = 1.93, CI = 1.19-3.14) than never hazardous drinkers. Life-time binge drinking was associated with larger waist circumferences and poorer liver function compared with never binge drinkers.

CONCLUSION: Hazardous drinking may increase cardiometabolic risk factors; this is made worse by persistent hazardous drinking throughout life, particularly in relation to weight gain, suggesting benefits of early intervention.

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