25 January 2019 In Pregnant Women

OBJECTIVES: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is a worldwide problem. Maternal alcohol consumption is an important risk factor for FASD. It remains unknown which alcohol consumption patterns most strongly predict FASD. The objective of this study was to identify these.

DESIGN: Systematic literature review.

METHODS: We searched in PubMed, PsychINFO, PsycARTICLES, ERIC, CINAHL, Embase and MEDLINE up to August 2018. The query consisted of keywords and their synonyms related to FASD, pregnancy and behaviour. Studies were excluded when not published in English, were reviews or involved non-human subjects. Substantial heterogeneity precluded aggregation or meta-analysis of the data. Instead, data were qualitatively inspected.

RESULTS: In total, 21 studies were eligible for further data analysis. All studies that measured both maternal alcohol drinking behaviours and FASD reported retrospective data on maternal drinking patterns, employing both continuous and categorical measures and exhibiting substantial heterogeneity in measures of alcohol consumption (eg, timing of exposure, quantification of alcohol measure and definition of a standard drink). Study quality improved over time and appeared higher for studies based on active case ascertainment, especially when conducted in schools and when behaviour was assessed through interviews.

CONCLUSIONS: We aimed to identify specific maternal drinking behaviour(s) related to FASD. The state of the literature precludes such conclusions. Evidence-based preventive measures necessitate identifying which prenatal alcohol drinking behaviour(s) are most in need of intervention. Therefore, we formulate three recommendations for future research. First, future studies can optimise the value of the collected dataset through specifying measurements and reporting of maternal drinking behaviours and avoiding categorised measures (nominal or ordinal) whenever possible. Second, samples should not be selected based on FASD status, but instead, FASD status as well as maternal alcohol consumption should both be measured in a general population sample. Finally, we provide 10 reporting guidelines for FASD research.

05 December 2018 In General Health

The beneficial association of the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) with longevity has been consistently demonstrated, but the associations of MedDiet components have not been accordingly evaluated. We performed an updated meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies published up to 31 December 2017, to quantify the association of adherence to MedDiet, expressed as an index/score (MDS) and of its components with all-cause mortality. We estimated summary relative risks (SRR) and 95 % CI using random effects models. On the basis of thirty studies (225 600 deaths), SRR for the study-specific highest/lowest and per 1sd MDS increment were 0.79 (95 % CI 0.77, 0.81, Iota 2=42 %, P-heterogeneity 0.02) and 0.92 (95 % CI 0.90, 0.94, Iota 2 56 %, P-heterogeneity <0.01), respectively. Inversely, statistically significant associations were evident in stratified analyses by country, MDS range and publication year, with some evidence for heterogeneity across countries overall (P-heterogeneity 0.011), as well as across European countries (P=0.018). Regarding MDS components, relatively stronger and statistically significant inverse associations were highlighted for moderate/none-excessive alcohol consumption (0.86, 95 % CI 0.77, 0.97) and for above/below-the-median consumptions of fruit (0.88, 95 % CI 0.83, 0.94) and vegetables (0.94, 95 % CI 0.89, 0.98), whereas a positive association was apparent for above/below-the-median intake of meat (1.07, 95 % CI 1.01, 1.13). Our meta-analyses confirm the inverse association of MedDiet with mortality and highlight the dietary components that influence mostly this association. Our results are important for better understanding the role of MedDiet in health and proposing dietary changes to effectively increase adherence to this healthy dietary pattern.

05 December 2018 In General Health

The primary aim of this systematic review was to establish the prevalence, character, and risk factors of peripheral neuropathy amongst chronic alcohol abusers and to identify the most appropriate management strategies. In this review, possible pathogenetic mechanisms are also discussed. A systematic, computer-based search was conducted using the PubMed database. Data regarding the above parameters were extracted. 87 articles were included in this review, 29 case-control studies, 52 prospective/retrospective cohort studies and 2 randomised control trials, 1 cross sectional study, and 3 population-based studies. The prevalence of peripheral neuropathy amongst chronic alcohol abusers is 46.3% (CI 35.7- 57.3%) when confirmed via nerve conduction studies. Alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy generally presents as a progressive, predominantly sensory axonal length-dependent neuropathy. The most important risk factor for alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy is the total lifetime dose of ethanol, although other risk factors have been identified including genetic, male gender, and type of alcohol consumed. At present, it is unclear what the pathogenetic mechanisms for the development of neuropathy amongst those who chronically abuse alcohol are, and therefore, it is unknown whether it is attributed to the direct toxic effects of ethanol or another currently unidentified factor. There is presently sparse data to support a particular management strategy in alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy, but the limited data available appears to support the use of vitamin supplementation, particularly of B-vitamin regimens inclusive of thiamine.

27 September 2018 In General Health

The Mediterranean diet (MD) has been associated with prolonged survival in the general population, but no meta-analysis has apparently investigated the potential health benefits in relation to mortality in the elderly. We performed a longitudinal analysis on 5200 individuals aged >/=65 years identified within the general population recruited in the Moli-sani study cohort (2005-2010). Adherence to the MD was appraised by the a priori Mediterranean diet score (MDS; range 0-9). Survival estimates were derived using Cox regression and competing risk models. For the meta-analysis, PubMed and Scopus databases were searched from inception until April 2018 to identify prospective studies on the MD and death risk in the elderly. Over a median follow-up of 8.1 years, a total of 900 deaths were ascertained in the elderly sub-sample of the Moli-sani cohort. A one-point increase in the MDS was associated with lower risk of all-cause, coronary artery disease/cerebrovascular and non-cardiovascular/non-cancer mortality (multi-variable hazard ratio (HR)=0.94; 95 % CI 0.90, 0.98; HR=0.91; 95 % CI 0.83, 0.99 and HR=0.89; 95 % CI 0.81, 0.96, respectively). In a meta-analysis of seven prospective studies, including our results, for a total of 11 738 participants and 3874 deaths, one-point increment in MDS was associated with 5 % (4-7 %) lower risk of all-cause death. An inverse linear dose-response relationship was found from a meta-analysis including three studies. In conclusion, a prospective cohort study and a meta-analysis showed that closer adherence to the MD was associated with prolonged survival in elderly individuals, suggesting the appropriateness for older persons to adopt/preserve the MD to maximise their prospects for survival.

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