25 January 2019 In Cardiovascular System

Light-to-moderate regular alcohol consumption has been associated with reduced mortality, heart failure, and sudden death, with a well described "U-shaped" relationship. We sought to determine whether markers of diffuse ventricular fibrosis as assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) T1 mapping differ between nondrinkers and regular drinkers. We prospectively recruited 165 participants to undergo 3T CMR ventricular T1 mapping which included 120 regular light-to-moderate drinkers (7 to 28 standard drinks per week for >12 months) and 45 age and gender-matched nondrinking controls (1 standard drink approximately 12 g alcohol). Diffuse ventricular fibrosis was assessed using ShMOLLI T1 mapping sequences performed in mid-short axis. Native T1, postcontrast T1 times and extracellular volume were compared in the left ventricle between regular drinkers and lifelong nondrinkers. In total 165 participants (mean age 59 +/- 12 years, 70% male, 36% hypertension, mean LVEF 58 +/- 11%) underwent CMR. Moderate alcohol intake (mean alcohol intake 16 +/- 6 SDs/week) was associated with lower markers of diffuse ventricular fibrosis: native T1 time 1140 +/- 47 vs 1173 +/- 39 ms, p < 0.001; postcontrast T1 time 470 +/- 47 vs 445 +/- 43 ms, p=0.01; extracellular volume 25.0 +/- 2.7% vs 27.0 +/- 2.8%, p=0.003 despite similar LV size (p=0.55) and mass compared with nondrinkers (p=0.78). Quantity of alcohol intake and beverage type did not predict lower native T1 times. In conclusion, light-to-moderate or "social" alcohol consumption is associated with T1 changes on CMR suggestive of a reduction in diffuse ventricular fibrosis. These preliminary findings may provide some insights into the association between modest alcohol intake and reduction in sudden death and heart failure.

05 December 2018 In Liver Disease

BACKGROUND: Alcohol is a known cause of cirrhosis, but it is unclear if the associated risk varies by whether alcohol is drunk with meals, or by the frequency or type of alcohol consumed. Here we aim to investigate the associations between alcohol consumption with meals, daily frequency of consumption, and liver cirrhosis.

METHODS: The Million Women Study is a prospective study that includes one in every four UK women born between 1935 and 1950, recruited between 1996 and 2001. In 2001 (IQR 2000-03), the participants reported their alcohol intake, whether consumption was usually with meals, and number of days per week it was consumed. Cox regression analysis yielded adjusted relative risks (RRs) for incident cirrhosis, identified by follow-up through electronic linkage to routinely collected national hospital admission, and death databases.

FINDINGS: During a mean of 15 years (SD 3) of follow-up of 401 806 women with a mean age of 60 years (SD 5), without previous cirrhosis or hepatitis, and who reported drinking at least one alcoholic drink per week, 1560 had a hospital admission with cirrhosis (n=1518) or died from the disease (n=42). Cirrhosis incidence increased with amount of alcohol consumed (>/=15 drinks [mean 220 g of alcohol] vs one to two drinks [mean 30 g of alcohol] per week; RR 3.43, 95% CI 2.87-4.10; p<0.0001). About half of the participants (203 564 of 401 806) reported usually drinking with meals and, after adjusting for amount consumed, cirrhosis incidence was lower for usually drinking with meals than not (RR 0.69, 0.62-0.77; p<0.0001; wine-only drinkers RR 0.69, 0.56-0.85; all other drinkers RR 0.72, 0.63-0.82). Among 175 618 women who consumed seven or more drinks per week, cirrhosis incidence was greater for daily consumption than non-daily consumption (adjusted RR 1.61, 1.40-1.85; p<0.0001). Daily consumption, together with not drinking with meals, was associated with more than a doubling of cirrhosis incidence (adjusted RR 2.47, 1.96-3.11; p<0.0001).

INTERPRETATION: In middle-aged women, cirrhosis incidence increases with total alcohol intake, even at moderate levels of consumption. For a given weekly intake of alcohol, this excess incidence of cirrhosis is higher if consumption is usually without meals, or with daily drinking. FUNDING: UK Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK.

29 October 2018 In Phenolic compounds

There is a growing body of evidence implicating the gut 'microbiome' role in overall human health. Bacterial species belonging to the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are generally considered to be beneficial and are commonly used in probiotic applications, whereas increases in some genera including Clostridum, Eubacterium and Bacteroides are implicated in negative health outcomes. Dietary polyphenols are bioactive compounds that have been found to increase the numbers of beneficial bacteria and antimicrobial actions against pathogenic bacteria, however most studies have been conducted in animal models or in-vitro colonic models. The aim of this systematic review was to provide an overview of recent trials on the effect of dietary grape and red wine polyphenols on the gut microbiota in humans. Following PRISMA guidelines, a systematic review was conducted of electronic databases (PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Wed of Science and Scopus) to identify human intervention trials examining the effect of grape or wine polyphenols on gut microbiota. Seven trials met the inclusion criteria. One study looked at changes in gut microbiota following the ingestion of de-alcoholised red wine or red wine, and six studies referred to gut microbiota as intermediates in formation of phenolic metabolites. All studies confirmed that ingested polyphenols from grape and red wine, were modulated by gut microbiota, increasing numbers of polyphenolic metabolites which were found in blood, urine, ileal fluid and faeces. Intake of polyphenols derived from grape and red wine can modulate gut microbiota and contribute to beneficial microbial ecology that can enhance human health benefits. Additionally, grape and red wine polyphenols were modulated by the gut microbiota and there is a potential for a two-way relationship between the gut microbiota and polyphenolic compounds. Nevertheless, additional research is required to fully understand the complex relationship between gut microbiota and dietary polyphenols before any health claims can be made in relation to human health.

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