24 June 2019 In Dementia

BACKGROUND: Alcohol use has been identified as a risk factor for dementia and cognitive decline. However, some patterns of drinking have been associated with beneficial effects.

METHODS AND RESULTS: To clarify the relationship between alcohol use and dementia, we conducted a scoping review based on a systematic search of systematic reviews published from January 2000 to October 2017 by using Medline, Embase, and PsycINFO. Overall, 28 systematic reviews were identified: 20 on the associations between the level of alcohol use and the incidence of cognitive impairment/dementia, six on the associations between dimensions of alcohol use and specific brain functions, and two on induced dementias. Although causality could not be established, light to moderate alcohol use in middle to late adulthood was associated with a decreased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Heavy alcohol use was associated with changes in brain structures, cognitive impairments, and an increased risk of all types of dementia.

CONCLUSION: Reducing heavy alcohol use may be an effective dementia prevention strategy.

24 June 2019 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Light-to-moderate alcohol drinking reduces the risk of ischemic heart disease, and this effect of alcohol is mainly explained by alcohol-induced elevation of HDL cholesterol. Hypo-HDL cholesterolemia is a potent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to clarify how alcohol relates to cardiovascular risk factors in men with hypo-HDL-cholesterolemia.

METHODS: The subjects were middle-aged men with hypo-HDL cholesterolemia (< 40mg/dl), and they were divided into four groups by daily alcohol consumption (non-; light, < 22g ethanol/day; moderate, >/=22g ethanol and /=44g ethanol/day). Each risk factor was compared among the groups after adjustment for age and histories of smoking and regular exercise.

RESULTS: Systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, log-transformed lipid accumulation product and log-transformed cardio-metabolic index were significantly higher in moderate and heavy drinkers than in nondrinkers. Log-transformed triglycerides and triglycerides-to-HDL cholesterol ratio were significantly higher in light, moderate and heavy drinkers than in nondrinkers and tended to be higher with an increase of alcohol intake. LDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol-to-HDL cholesterol ratio were significantly lower in light, moderate and heavy drinkers than in nondrinkers and tended to be lower with an increase of alcohol intake. The above trends for the relationships of alcohol drinking with the cardiovascular risk factors were also found in multivariate logistic regression analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: In men with hypo-HDL cholesterolemia, alcohol drinking shows positive associations with blood pressure and triglycerides and an inverse association with LDL cholesterol.

24 June 2019 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: In addition to its established harmful effects on the liver and other organs, heavy alcohol use confers deleterious effects on the cardiovascular (CV) system, as well. However, data have emerged that light/moderate alcohol consumption (1 drink/day for women and 1-2 drinks/day for men) may be protective against CV disease.

OBJECTIVE/METHODS: English articles regarding the CV effects of alcohol/ethanol were reviewed by search in Medline, Scopus, and Google Scholar.

RESULTS: A J-shaped curve has been proposed to illustrate a differential effect of alcohol on the CV system with the lowest point on the curve (light/moderate drinking) corresponding to optimal exposure to alcohol, which may confer cardioprotection, the rather neutral effect of non-drinking, and the highest risk of heavy and/or binge drinking reflecting the consequence of harmful exposure. However, staying at the nadir of this J-shaped curve appears difficult. Furthermore, concern and distrust have also been raised about the quality of evidence for such "cardioprotection", emphasizing the need for further randomized controlled trials. Another concern relates to the risk of moderate drinking leading to problem drinking, since alcohol is the most common addictive substance.

CONCLUSION: Optimal exposure to alcohol (light/moderate use) means that one needs to stay at the nadir of the J-shaped curve for alcohol use to avail oneself of possible cardioprotection, and this may not be an easy thing to accomplish and/or adhere to, especially if one "likes" alcohol drinking. However, the evidence of "cardioprotection" conferred by alcohol has also been refuted, due to lack of randomized controlled trials.

24 June 2019 In Cancer

Alcohol consumption is associated with higher risk of breast cancer (BC); however, the biological mechanisms underlying this association are not fully elucidated, particularly the extent to which this relationship is mediated by sex hormone levels. Circulating concentrations of estradiol, testosterone, their free fractions and sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), were examined in 430 incident BC cases and 645 matched controls among alcohol-consuming postmenopausal women nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Mediation analysis was applied to assess whether individual hormone levels mediated the relationship between alcohol intake and BC risk. An alcohol-related hormonal signature, obtained by partial least square (PLS) regression, was evaluated as a potential mediator. Total (TE), natural direct and natural indirect effects (NIE) were estimated. Alcohol intake was positively associated with overall BC risk and specifically with estrogen receptor-positive tumors with respectively TE = 1.17(95%CI: 1.01,1.35) and 1.36(1.08,1.70) for a 1-standard deviation (1-SD) increase of intake. There was no evidence of mediation by sex steroids or SHBG separately except for a weak indirect effect through free estradiol where NIE = 1.03(1.00,1.06). However, an alcohol-related hormonal signature negatively associated with SHBG and positively with estradiol and testosterone was associated with BC risk (odds ratio [OR] = 1.25 [1.07,1.47]) for a 1-SD higher PLS score, and had a statistically significant NIE accounting for a mediated proportion of 24%. There was limited evidence of mediation of the alcohol-BC association by individual sex hormones. However, a hormonal signature, reflecting lower levels of SHBG and higher levels of sex steroids, mediated a substantial proportion of the association.

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