26 January 2022 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: A range of societal changes have created positive and encouraging environments for women's alcohol use. Within this context, in Western countries there is evidence of rising rates of alcohol consumption and related harms among midlife and older women. It is timely and important to explore the role of alcohol in the lives of midlife women to better understand observed data trends and to develop cohort specific policy responses. Focussing on Western countries and those with similar mixed market systems for alcohol regulation, this review aimed to identify 1) how women at midlife make sense of and account for their consumption of alcohol; 2) factors that play a role; and 3) the trends in theoretical underpinnings of qualitative research that explores women's drinking at midlife.

METHODS: A meta-study approach was undertaken. The review process involved extracting and analysing the data findings of eligible research, as well as reviewing the contextual factors and theoretical framing that actively shape research and findings.

RESULTS: Social meanings of alcohol were interwoven with alcohol's psycho-active qualities to create strong localised embodied experiences of pleasure, sociability, and respite from complicated lives and stressful circumstances in midlife women. Drinking was shaped by multiple and diverse aspects of social identity, such as sexuality, family status, membership of social and cultural groups, and associated responsibilities, underpinned by the social and material realities of their lives, societal and policy discourses around drinking, and how they physically experienced alcohol in the short and longer term.

CONCLUSION: For harm reduction strategies to be successful, further research effort should be undertaken to understand alcohol's diverse meanings and functions in women's lives and the individual, material, and socio-cultural factors that feed into these understandings. As well as broad policies that reduce overall consumption and "de-normalise" drinking in society, policy-makers could usefully work with cohorts of women to develop interventions that address the functional role of alcohol in their lives, as well as policies that address permissive regulatory environments and the overall social and economic position of women.

26 January 2022 In Cardiovascular System

The consumption of food for pleasure is mainly associated with adverse health effects. This review was carried out to verify recent reports on the impact of chocolate and wine consumption on cardiovascular health, with a particular focus on atherosclerosis. On one side, these products have proven adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, but on the other hand, if consumed in optimal amounts, they have cardiovascular benefits.

The submitted data suggest that the beneficial doses are 30-50 g and 130/250 mL for chocolate and wine, respectively, for women and men. The accumulated evidence indicates that the active ingredients in the products under consideration in this review are phenolic compounds, characterized by anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiplatelet properties. However, there are also some reports of cardioprotective properties of other compounds such as esters, amines, biogenic amines, amino acids, fatty acids, mineral ingredients, and vitamins.

Our narrative review has shown that in meta-analyses of intervention studies, consumption of chocolate and wine was positively associated with the beneficial outcomes associated with the cardiovascular system. In contrast, the assessment with the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) scale did not confirm this phenomenon.

In addition, mechanisms of action of bioactive compounds present in chocolate and wine depend on some factors, such as age, sex, body weight, and the presence of additional medical conditions. Patients using cardiovascular drugs simultaneously with both products should be alert to the risk of pharmacologically relevant interactions during their use.

Our narrative review leads to the conclusion that there is abundant evidence to prove the beneficial impact of consuming both products on cardiovascular health, however some evidence still remains controversial. Many authors of studies included in this review postulated that well-designed, longitudinal studies should be performed to determine the effects of these products and their components on atherosclerosis and other CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) disease.

26 January 2022 In Cardiovascular System

PURPOSE: To examine the acute and chronic effects of alcohol on blood pressure (BP) and the incidence of hypertension. We discuss the most current understanding of the mechanisms underlining these effects and their associations with the putative cardioprotective effects of consumption of low-to-moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages.

RECENT FINDINGS: A recent meta-analysis confirmed findings of experimental studies, demonstrating an acute biphasic effect of ethanol on BP, decreasing up to 12 h of ingestion and increasing after that. This effect is mediated by vagal inhibition and sympathetic activation. A meta-analysis found that chronic consumption of alcoholic beverages was associated with a high incidence of hypertension in men and women; it also found that, in women, the risk begins at moderate alcohol consumption. The risks of alcohol consumption are higher in Blacks than in Asians or Caucasians. The mechanism underlying the chronic effects of alcohol on BP, and particularly the differential effect on Blacks, is still unknown. Short-term trials showed that alcohol withdrawal promotes BP reduction; however, the long-term effectiveness of interventions that aim to lower BP through the restriction of alcohol consumption has not been demonstrated.

The harmful effects of alcohol on BP do not support the putative cardioprotective effect of low-to-moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages. The absence of a tangible mechanism of protection, and the possibility that this beneficial effect is biased by socioeconomic and other characteristics of drinkers and abstainers, calls into question the hypothesis that consuming low amounts of alcoholic beverages improves cardiovascular health. The evidence from investigations with various designs converge regarding the acute biphasic effect of ethanol on BP and the risk of chronic consumption on the incidence of hypertension, particularly for Blacks. These effects do not support the putative cardioprotective effect of consumption of low-to-moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages. Mechanisms of chronic BP increase and the demonstration of long-term benefits of reducing alcohol intake as a means to treat hypertension remain open questions.

26 January 2022 In Cancer

PURPOSE: The association between alcohol intake and glioma remains unclear. We evaluated the association between alcohol intake and incidence of glioma in three large, prospective cohort studies with repeated alcohol assessments.

METHODS: We harnessed data from three studies with repeat alcohol assessment to compute hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for glioma by overall alcohol intake and intake from specific beverages using Cox proportional hazards regression, adjusted for age, cohort, body mass index, smoking status, and caloric intake. Analyses were conducted separately for glioma overall and for glioblastoma (GBM).

RESULTS: We confirmed 554 incident glioma cases (362 GBM) among 237,505 participants with 6,216,378 person-years of follow up. Cumulative average alcohol intake was associated with reduced risk of glioma (HR = 0.75, 95%CI:0.56-0.99 comparing > 8-15 to 15 g/d to </= 0.5 g/d). When stratified by sex, for the same comparisons, the HRs for men were 0.57 (95%CI:0.36-0.89) and 0.79 (0.53-1.16), and for women 0.90 (95%CI:0.62-1.30) and 0.62, 95%CI:0.39-0.97. Results were consistent when examining cumulative average, baseline, and recent intake, and with a 4 year lag.

CONCLUSION: These results provide evidence against a positive association between alcohol intake and glioma risk. Alcohol intake was associated with reduced risk of glioma in both men and women.

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