22 October 2021 In Drinking Patterns

During the early months of 2020, the world experienced a novel, violent, and relentless pandemic era. By the end of the year more than seventy-seven million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the globe. Due to it being a highly contagious disease, the recommended measures adopted by most nations to prevent infection include social distancing and quarantine. How did these measures affect people's relationship with alcohol consumption in cultures where alcohol plays an important social role? A questionnaire-based study, designed to follow the drinking behaviour of people before and during lockdown was applied to two different cultural groups impacted by the pandemic during the strict phase of lockdown. These are the British and Spanish populations (179 participants from each country were interviewed). Considering the frequency of consumption of the alcoholic beverages evaluated (wine, beer, cider, whisky and spirits), the results showed that a significant lockdown*country interaction was observed. Overall, Spanish participants consumed alcoholic beverages less frequently during lockdown than before, while British participants reported no change in their consumption habits. Spaniards' decrease in alcohol consumption is related to the absence of a social contexts while Britons seems to have adapted their consumption to the modified context. Results suggest that, alcohol consumption is a central core of the British culture, while for the Spanish, socialization is more a cultural characteristic than the alcohol itself.

27 July 2018 In Dementia

BACKGROUND: Microglial activation contributes to the neuropathology associated with chronic alcohol exposure and withdrawal, including the expression of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory genes. In the current study, we examined the transcriptome of primary rat microglial cells following incubation with alcohol alone, or alcohol together with a robust inflammatory stimulus.

METHODS: Primary microglia were prepared from mixed rat glial cultures. Cells were incubated with 75 mM ethanol alone or with proinflammatory cytokines ("TII": IL1beta, IFNgamma, and TNFalpha). Isolated mRNA was used for RNAseq analysis and qPCR. Effects of alcohol on phagocytosis were determined by uptake of oligomeric amyloid beta.

RESULTS: Alcohol induced nitrite production in control cells and increased nitrite production in cells co-treated with TII. RNAseq analysis of microglia exposed for 24 h to alcohol identified 312 differentially expressed mRNAs ("Alc-DEs"), with changes confirmed by qPCR analysis. Gene ontology analysis identified phagosome as one of the highest-ranking KEGG pathways including transcripts regulating phagocytosis. Alcohol also increased several complement-related mRNAs that have roles in phagocytosis, including C1qa, b, and c; C3; and C3aR1. RNAseq analysis identified over 3000 differentially expressed mRNAs in microglia following overnight incubation with TII; and comparison to the group of Alc-DEs revealed 87 mRNAs modulated by alcohol but not by TII, including C1qa, b, and c. Consistent with observed changes in phagocytosis-related mRNAs, the uptake of amyloid beta1-42, by primary microglia, was reduced by alcohol.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results define alterations that occur to microglial gene expression following alcohol exposure and suggest that alcohol effects on phagocytosis could contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease.

18 May 2018 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Cancer is a major public health problem worldwide, and the number of incident cases increases every year expected to reach 17.1 million a year by 2020. There is evidence that people who adhere to the Mediterranean Diet (MediD) have lower incidence of cancer. However, cancers' location and culture studies seem to affect the MediD impact. We aimed to review these discrepant findings.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A critical review from a focused literature search was conducted. A literature search of controlled trials from: EMBASE (1970-), MEDLINE (1950-) and PsycINFO (1960-) was undertaken. Two authors (DF and YB) independently extracted the data.

RESULTS: Out of 785 abstracts identified only 583 publications focused solely on MediD and cancer. Of these, 46 were clinical trials published since 2007. Twenty-eight trials with a total of 570,262 participants are included in accordance with inclusion criteria. Only four reported the MediD does not reduce the risk of cancer. Of the negative studies, three were undertaken in non-Mediterranean populations. Cancers of the digestive tract were studied in 11 studies. Except for pancreatic cancer, all other sites along the digestive tract demonstrated significantly reduced rate with the MediD.

CONCLUSION: The MediD is associated with reduction in overall cancer rates as well as significantly lower rates of digestive tract cancers. These effects may be accentuated in the Mediterranean countries themselves. Further studies are needed to support or refute the effects of the MediD on other cancer types.

03 May 2018 In General Health
BACKGROUND: There is little knowledge about the consumption of alcohol among Chinese and Norwegian older adults aged 65 years and over. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and factors related to alcohol consumption among older adults in China and Norway. METHODS: The Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS) data in 2008-2009 conducted in China and The Nord-Trondelag Health Study data in 2006-2008 (HUNT3) conducted in Norway were used. Mulitvariable logistic regression was used to test the factors related to alcohol consumption. RESULTS: The prevalence of participants who drink alcohol in the Chinese and Norwegian sample were 19.88% and 46.2%, respectively. The weighted prevalence of participants with consumption of alcohol in the Chinese sample of women and men were 7.20% and 34.14%, respectively. In the Norwegian sample, the prevalence of consumption of alcohol were 43.31% and 65.35% for women and men, respectively. Factors such as younger age, higher level of education, living in urban areas, living with spouse or partner, and better health status were related to higher likelihood of alcohol consumption among Norwegian older women and men; while reported better health status and poorer life satisfaction were related to higher likelihood of alcohol consumption among Chinese. In addition, rural males and older females with higher level of education were more likely to consume alcohol. CONCLUSION: The alcohol consumption patterns were quite different between China and Norway. Besides economic development levels and cultures in the two different countries, demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, overall health status, and life satisfaction were associated with alcohol consumption as well
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