06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Observational studies document the inverse relationship between cardiovascular disease (CVD) and moderate alcohol intake. However, the causal role for alcohol in cardioprotection remains uncertain as such protection may be caused by confounders and misclassification. The aim of our study was to evaluate potential confounders, which may contribute to putative cardioprotection by alcohol.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: We evaluated clinical and biological characteristics, including cardiovascular (CV) risk factors and health status, of 149,773 subjects undergoing examination at our Center for CVD Prevention (The Urban Paris-Ile-de-France Cohort). The subjects were divided into four groups according to alcohol consumption: never, low (<or=10 g/day), moderate (10-30 g/day) and high (>30 g/day); former drinkers were analyzed as a separate group.

RESULTS: After adjustment for age, moderate male drinkers were more likely to display clinical and biological characteristics associated with lower CV risk, including low body mass index, heart rate, pulse pressure, fasting triglycerides, fasting glucose, stress and depression scores together with superior subjective health status, respiratory function, social status and physical activity. Moderate female drinkers equally displayed low waist circumference, blood pressure and fasting triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol. Alcohol intake was strongly associated with plasma high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol in both sexes. Multivariate analysis confirmed that moderate and low drinkers displayed better health status than did never drinkers. Importantly, few factors were causally related to alcohol intake.

CONCLUSIONS: Moderate alcohol drinkers display a more favorable clinical and biological profile, consistent with lower CV risk as compared with nondrinkers and heavy drinkers. Therefore, moderate alcohol consumption may represent a marker of higher social level, superior health status and lower CV risk.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

Moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with lower coronary artery disease (CAD) risk. However, data on the CAD risk associated with high alcohol consumption are conflicting. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of heavier drinking on 10-year CAD risk in a population with high mean alcohol consumption. In a population-based study of 5,769 adults (aged 35 to 75 years) without cardiovascular disease in Switzerland, 1-week alcohol consumption was categorized as 0, 1 to 6, 7 to 13, 14 to 20, 21 to 27, 28 to 34, and > or =35 drinks/week or as nondrinkers (0 drinks/week), moderate (1 to 13 drinks/week), high (14 to 34 drinks/week), and very high (> or =35 drinks/week). Blood pressure and lipids were measured, and 10-year CAD risk was calculated according to the Framingham risk score. Seventy-three percent (n = 4,214) of the participants consumed alcohol; 16% (n = 909) were high drinkers and 2% (n = 119) very high drinkers. In multivariate analysis, increasing alcohol consumption was associated with higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (from a mean +/- SE of 1.57 +/- 0.01 mmol/L in nondrinkers to 1.88 +/- 0.03 mmol/L in very high drinkers); triglycerides (1.17 +/- 1.01 to 1.32 +/- 1.05 mmol/L), and systolic and diastolic blood pressure (127.4 +/- 0.4 to 132.2 +/- 1.4 mm Hg and 78.7 +/- 0.3 to 81.7 +/- 0.9 mm Hg, respectively) (all p values for trend <0.001). Ten-year CAD risk increased from 4.31 +/- 0.10% to 4.90 +/- 0.37% (p = 0.03) with alcohol use, with a J-shaped relation. Increasing wine consumption was more related to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, whereas beer and spirits were related to increased triglyceride levels. In conclusion, as measured by 10-year CAD risk, the protective effect of alcohol consumption disappears in very high drinkers, because the beneficial increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol is offset by the increases in blood pressure levels.

06 May 2014 In Cancer




AIMS: To assess the association between drinking patterns and mortality, and cardiovascular disease in a large cohort of young- and middle-aged men and to assess whether the net balance of harm and protective effect implies protective effect or not.

METHODS: Information from health examinations, psychological assessments and alcohol use background in a nationally representative birth cohort of 49,411 male military conscripts aged 18-20 years in 1969/1970, were linked to mortality and hospitalization data through 2004. Cox regression analyses were conducted and attributable proportions (APs) calculated. Confounders (baseline social status, intelligence, personality and smoking) were taken into account.

RESULTS: Increasing alcohol use was associated with increasing mortality (2614 deceased) and with decreasing risk for myocardial infarction (MI). The hazard ratio (HR) for mortality was 1.42 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10-1.82] with a consumption corresponding to 30 g 100% ethanol/day or more in multivariate analysis. The risk for non-fatal MI was significantly reduced at 60 g 100% ethanol/day (HR 0.37, 95% CI 0.15-0.90), not reduced for fatal MI, and non-significantly reduced for total MI. There was a marked association between alcohol use at conscription and mortality and hospitalization with alcohol-related diagnosis. APs indicate that alcohol caused 420 deaths, 61 cases of non-fatal stroke and protected from 154 cases on non-fatal MI.

CONCLUSION: Many more deaths were caused by alcohol than cases of non-fatal MI prevented. From a strict health perspective, we find no support for alcohol use in men below 55 years.




06 May 2014 In Cancer




PURPOSE: Given the high cost and side effects of radioprotective agents such as amifostine, attention has been focused on potentially equally effective but less expensive and toxic natural substances. We evaluated the potential radioprotective effects of wine in preventing skin toxicity in patients with breast cancer.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Before treatment, the medical history and habits of patients were assessed and the information recorded in their clinical folders. Patients were divided into three groups based on the dose/fractionation scheme used: control group, 60.4 Gy (standard technique); Modulated Accelerated Radiotherapy in Adjuvant treatment of breast cancer (MARA)-1 protocol group, 44 Gy (concomitant boost to tumoral bed); and MARA-2 protocol group, 60 Gy (concomitant boost to tumoral bed). The impact of the following variables on acute skin toxicity was evaluated by chart review: radiotherapy protocol, planning target volume (PTV), comorbidity (e.g., hypertension and diabetes), hemoglobin level before therapy, adjuvant hormone therapy, adjuvant chemotherapy, cigarette smoking, and drinking habits.

RESULTS: The study population consisted of 348 patients. More severe skin toxicity was significantly associated with the radiotherapy protocol (p < 0.001) and median PTV (p = 0.005). In addition, the incidence of acute toxicity of Grade 2 or greater was higher in patients without alcohol intake (38.4% vs. 22.3%, p = 0.021). The daily amount of alcohol intake also influenced the incidence of skin toxicity, with an incidence of 38.4% in patients with no wine intake, 31.8% in patients drinking half a glass per day, 13.6% in patients drinking one glass per day, and 35.0% in patients drinking two glasses per day. Multivariate analysis showed that wine intake, PTV, and radiotherapy protocol were all significantly correlated with acute toxicity.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that wine may have a radioprotective effect; however, prospective studies are needed to confirm this beneficial effect of wine and its components.




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