28 June 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

The relation between alcohol consumption and mortality is a J-shaped curve in most of the many studies published on this topic. The Copenhagen Prospective Population Studies demonstrated in the year 2000 that wine intake may have a beneficial effect on all cause mortality that is additive to that of alcohol. Wine contains various poliphenolic substances which may be beneficial for health and in particular flavonols (such as myricetin and quercetin), catechin and epicatechin, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, various phenolic acids and the stilbene resveratrol. In particular, resveratrol seems to play a positive effect on longevity because it increases the expression level of Sirt1, besides its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties. Moderate wine drinking is part of the Mediterranean diet, together with abundant and variable plant foods, high consumption of cereals, olive oil as the main (added) fat and a low intake of (red) meat. This healthy diet pattern involves a "Mediterranean way of drinking," that is a regular, moderate wine consumption mainly with food (up to two glasses a day for men and one glass for women). Moderate wine drinking increases longevity, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and does not appreciably influence the overall risk of cancer.

22 March 2016 In Drinking & Driving

INTRODUCTION: The social influence on drunk driving has been previously observed in several countries. It is noteworthy, however, that the prevalence of alcohol in road fatalities is not the same in all countries. The present study aimed to explore whether cultural values and the number of roadside breath tests moderate the link between the perceived drunk driving of one's peers and self-reported behavior.

METHODS: Based on the European survey SARTRE 4, the responses of 10,023 car drivers from 15 countries were analyzed. Two cultural values, "tradition" and "conformism," were identified as possibly being linked to social influence. Country scores for these values were taken from the European Social Survey. The number of random roadside breath tests per inhabitant was used as an indicator of drunk-driving enforcement in each country.

RESULTS: A hierarchical multilevel modeling analysis confirmed the link between friends' drunk driving and one's own drunk driving in all countries, but the strength of the link was much stronger in some countries (e.g., Italy, Cyprus, and Israel) than in others (e.g., Finland, Estonia, and Sweden). Both the measured value of "tradition" and the number of alcohol breath tests were found to moderate the link between friends' and one's own drunk driving.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: European stakeholders should take into account cultural specificities of target countries when designing campaigns against drunk driving.

24 February 2016 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To systematically review all the prospective cohort studies that have analysed the relation between adherence to a Mediterranean diet, mortality, and incidence of chronic diseases in a primary prevention setting. DESIGN: Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.

DATA SOURCES: English and non-English publications in PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from 1966 to 30 June 2008. Studies reviewed Studies that analysed prospectively the association between adherence to a Mediterranean diet, mortality, and incidence of diseases; 12 studies, with a total of 1 574,299 subjects followed for a time ranging from three to 18 years were included.

RESULTS: The cumulative analysis among eight cohorts (514,816 subjects and 33,576 deaths) evaluating overall mortality in relation to adherence to a Mediterranean diet showed that a two point increase in the adherence score was significantly associated with a reduced risk of mortality (pooled relative risk 0.91, 95% confidence interval 0.89 to 0.94). Likewise, the analyses showed a beneficial role for greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular mortality (pooled relative risk 0.91, 0.87 to 0.95), incidence of or mortality from cancer (0.94, 0.92 to 0.96), and incidence of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease (0.87, 0.80 to 0.96).

CONCLUSIONS: Greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with a significant improvement in health status, as seen by a significant reduction in overall mortality (9%), mortality from cardiovascular diseases (9%), incidence of or mortality from cancer (6%), and incidence of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease (13%). These results seem to be clinically relevant for public health, in particular for encouraging a Mediterranean-like dietary pattern for primary prevention of major chronic diseases.

24 February 2016 In Cardiovascular System

The aim of this paper is to analyze the a priori dietary indexes used in the studies that have evaluated the role of the Mediterranean Diet in influencing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. All the studies show that this dietary pattern protects against cardiovascular disease, but studies show quite different effects on specific conditions such as coronary heart disease or cerebrovascular disease. A priori dietary indexes used to measure dietary exposure imply quantitative and/or qualitative divergences from the traditional Mediterranean Diet of the early 1960s, and, therefore, it is very difficult to compare the results of different studies. Based on real cultural heritage and traditions, we believe that the a priori indexes used to evaluate adherence to the Mediterranean Diet should consider classifying whole grains and refined grains, olive oil and monounsaturated fats, and wine and alcohol differently.

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