06 May 2014 In Pregnant Women

BACKGROUND: There is substantial debate as to whether moderate alcohol use during pregnancy could have subtle but important effects on offspring, by impairing later cognitive function and thus school performance. The authors aimed to investigate the unconfounded effect of moderately increased prenatal alcohol exposure on cognitive/educational performance.

METHODS: We used mother-offspring pairs participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and performed both conventional observational analyses and Mendelian randomization using an ADH1B variant (rs1229984) associated with reduced alcohol consumption. Women of White European origin with genotype and self-reported prenatal alcohol consumption, whose offspring's IQ score had been assessed in clinic (N = 4061 pairs) or Key Stage 2 (KS2) academic achievement score was available through linkage to the National Pupil Database (N = 6268), contributed to the analyses.

RESULTS: Women reporting moderate drinking before and during early pregnancy were relatively affluent compared with women reporting lighter drinking, and their children had higher KS2 and IQ scores. In contrast, children whose mothers' genotype predisposes to lower consumption or abstinence during early pregnancy had higher KS2 scores (mean difference +1.7, 95% confidence interval +0.4, +3.0) than children of mothers whose genotype predisposed to heavier drinking, after adjustment for population stratification.

CONCLUSIONS: Better offspring cognitive/educational outcomes observed in association with prenatal alcohol exposure presumably reflected residual confounding by factors associated with social position and maternal education. The unconfounded Mendelian randomization estimates suggest a small but potentially important detrimental effect of small increases in prenatal alcohol exposure, at least on educational outcomes.

06 May 2014 In Liver Disease

OBJECTIVES: We tested the hypothesis that alcohol, alone and in combination with alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) 1B and ADH1C genotypes, affects liver damage and disease in the general population.

METHODS: Information on alcohol intake and on liver disease was obtained from 9,080 men and women from the Copenhagen City Heart Study. Biochemical tests for the detection of liver damage were specific for alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST)-to-ALT ratio (AST/ALT), gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (gamma-GT), albumin, bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, coagulation factors, and erythrocyte volume.

RESULTS: Increasing alcohol intake was associated with increasing erythrocyte volume, AST/ALT, and levels of ALT, gamma-GT, albumin, bilirubin, coagulation factors, and with decreasing levels of alkaline phosphatase. Multifactorially adjusted hazard ratios for alcoholic liver disease overall were 0.9 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.6-1.4), 1.4 (0.8-2.5), 1.8 (0.9-3.5), and 4.1 (2.5-7.0) for an alcohol intake of 1-13, 14-20, 21-27, and > or = 28 drinks per week, respectively, compared with drinking or = 21 drinks per week) leads to stepwise increases in signs of liver damage with no threshold effect, and to an increased risk of liver disease. The minor changes in biochemical tests for low alcohol intake may not account for subclinical liver disease.

06 May 2014 In General Health

 

 

 

OBJECTIVES: Our aim was to establish whether alcohol protects against RA development and to determine whether this effect is influenced by alcohol dose, duration and serological status through systematically reviewing the literature and undertaking a meta-analysis. METHODS: We searched Medline/EMBASE (1946 to July 2012) using the terms rheumatoid arthritis.mp or arthritis, rheumatoid/ and alcohol.mp or ethanol/. Manuscript bibliographies were reviewed. Observational studies were included that were case-control/cohort, examined the relationship between alcohol and RA risk and reported or allowed the calculation of effect size data [odds ratios (ORs)/relative risks (RRs) with 95% CIs] in drinkers vs non-drinkers. A random-effects model was used to estimate pooled ORs/RRs. Dose-risk relationships were evaluated by trend tests. RESULTS. Nine studies (from 893 articles) met our inclusion criteria, comprising six case-control (3564 cases; 8477 controls) and three cohort studies (444 RA cases; 84 421 individuals). A significant protective effect of alcohol on RA risk was observed-summary OR for RA in drinkers vs non-drinkers 0.78 (95% CI 0.63, 0.96). This effect was confined to ACPA-positive RA-summary OR 0.52 (95% CI 0.36, 0.76), with no significant risk reduction seen for ACPA-negative RA-summary OR 0.74 (95% CI 0.53, 1.05). Subgroup analysis by study design identified a significant relationship in case-control but not cohort studies. CONCLUSION: Alcohol intake is inversely associated with ACPA-positive RA, suggesting a protective effect. As this finding is confined to case-control studies further research is required with prospective cohort studies incorporating ACPA status to confirm this relationship.

 

 

 

06 May 2014 In General Health

 

 

 

Context:Low overnight urinary melatonin metabolite concentrations have been associated with increased risk for breast cancer among postmenopausal women. The Postmenopausal Women's Alcohol Study was a controlled feeding study to test the effects of low to moderate alcohol intake on potential risk factors for breast cancer including serum and urinary levels of hormones and other biomarkers. Previously, we observed significant increases in concentrations of serum estrone sulfate and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate in participants after consumption of 15 or 30 g (one or two drinks) of alcohol per day.Objective:In the present analysis, we evaluated the relationship of alcohol consumption with 24-h urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (6-SMT) concentration (micrograms per 24 h).Design and Participants:Healthy postmenopausal women (n = 51) consumed a controlled diet plus each of three treatments (a nonalcoholic placebo beverage or 15 or 30 g alcohol/d) during three 8-wk periods in random order under conditions of weight maintenance.Measures:6-SMT was measured in 24-h urine samples that were collected at entry into the study (baseline) and at the midpoint (4 wk) and end (8 wk) of each of the three diet periods.Results:Concentration of 6-SMT was not significantly modified by the alcohol treatment after adjustment for body mass index, hours of sleep, daylight hours, and baseline level of 6-SMT.Conclusions:These results suggest that low to moderate daily alcohol consumption does not significantly affect 24-h urinary levels of melatonin among healthy postmenopausal women.

 

 

 

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