22 February 2019 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Prevention aiming at smoking, alcohol consumption, and BMI could potentially bring large gains in life expectancy (LE) and health expectancy measures such as Healthy Life Years (HLY) and Life Expectancy in Good Perceived Health (LEGPH) in the European Union. However, the potential gains might differ by region.

METHODS: A Sullivan life table model was applied for 27 European countries to calculate the impact of alternative scenarios of lifestyle behavior on life and health expectancy. Results were then pooled over countries to present the potential gains in HLY and LEGPH for four European regions.

RESULTS: Simulations show that up to 4 years of extra health expectancy can be gained by getting all countries to the healthiest levels of lifestyle observed in EU countries. This is more than the 2 years to be gained in life expectancy. Generally, Eastern Europe has the lowest LE, HLY, and LEGPH. Even though the largest gains in LEPGH and HLY can also be made in Eastern Europe, the gap in LE, HLY, and LEGPH can only in a small part be closed by changing smoking, alcohol consumption, and BMI.

CONCLUSION: Based on the current data, up to 4 years of good health could be gained by adopting lifestyle as seen in the best-performing countries. Only a part of the lagging health expectancy of Eastern Europe can potentially be solved by improvements in lifestyle involving smoking and BMI. Before it is definitely concluded that lifestyle policy for alcohol use is of relatively little importance compared to smoking or BMI, as our findings suggest, better data should be gathered in all European countries concerning alcohol use and the odds ratios of overconsumption of alcohol.

22 February 2019 In General Health

The determination of appropriate dietary strategies for the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases remains a challenging and highly relevant issue worldwide. Epidemiological dietary interventions have been studied for decades with contrasting impacts on human health. Moreover, research scientists and physicians have long debated diets encouraging alcohol intake, such as the Mediterranean and French-style diets, with regard to their impact on human health. Understanding the effects of these diets may help to improve in the treatment and prevention of diseases. However, further studies are warranted to determine which individual food components, or combinations thereof, have a beneficial impact on different diseases, since a large number of different compounds may occur in a single food, and their fate in vivo is difficult to measure. Most explanations for the positive effects of Mediterranean-style diet, and of the French paradox, have focused largely on the beneficial properties of antioxidants, among other compounds/metabolites, in foods and red wine. Wine is a traditional alcoholic beverage that has been associated with both healthy and harmful effects. Not withstanding some doubts, there is reasonable unanimity among researchers as to the beneficial effects of moderate wine consumption on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and longevity, which have been ascribed to polyphenolic compounds present in wine. Despite this, conflicting findings regarding the impact of alcohol consumption on human health, and contradictory findings concerning the effects of non-alcoholic wine components such as resveratrol, have led to confusion among consumers. In addition to these contradictions and misconceptions, there is a paucity of human research studies confirming known positive effects of polyphenols in vivo. Furthermore, studies balancing both known and unknown prognostic factors have mostly been conducted in vitro or using animal models. Moreover, current studies have shifted focus from red wine to dairy products, such as cheese, to explain the French paradox. The aim of this review is to highlight the contradictions, misconceptions, and scientific facts about wines and diets, giving special focus to the Mediterranean and French diets in disease prevention and human health improvement. To answer the multiplicity of questions regarding the effects of diet and specific diet components on health, and to relieve consumer uncertainty and promote health, comprehensive cross-demographic studies using the latest technologies, which include foodomics and integrated omics approaches, are warranted.

25 January 2019 In General Health

This study investigated the potential effect of therapeutic doses of acetaminophen (APAP) in combination with light-moderate amounts of alcohol on kidney functions controlling for factors such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity that may predispose the kidney to APAP and/or alcohol toxicity. Secondary analysis of the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data was performed using SAS 9.4. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) comparing the likelihood that individuals who ingested therapeutic doses of APAP and light-moderate amount of alcohol, compared to those who did not, would have kidney dysfunction were generated from multiple logistics regression models by further controlling for potential predisposing factors namely hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Kidney dysfunction was defined based on self-reports and laboratory examination of serum creatinine (SCr), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and albumin creatinine ratio (ABCR). Statistically significant increased odds of renal dysfunction were noted among respondents who reported use of therapeutic doses of APAP and light-moderate amount of alcohol [OR(95% CI)=1.64(1.28-2.10) self-report, 2.18(1.81-2.63) SCr, 4.60(3.03-7.00) BUN, 3.14(2.42-4.07) GFR, and 1.71(1.36-2.14) ALBCR)] even after adjusting for hypertension, diabetes and obesity [Adjusted OR (95% CI)=1.78 (1.22-2.58) self-report, 2.05 (1.07-3.92) GFR]. The toxic effects of APAP and alcohol on the kidney were hypothesized. The threshold doses at which these effects begin to occur are unknown. The findings of this study suggest that even therapeutic doses of APAP and light-moderate amount of alcohol could be health problematic if consumed concomitantly.

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