04 May 2020 In General Health

Understanding how dietary nutrients modulate the gut microbiome is of great interest for the development of food products and eating patterns for combatting the global burden of non-communicable diseases.

In this narrative review we assess scientific studies published from 2005 to 2019 that evaluated the effect of micro- and macro-nutrients on the composition of the gut microbiome using in vitro and in vivo models, and human clinical trials. The clinical evidence for micronutrients is less clear and generally lacking.

However, preclinical evidence suggests that red wine- and tea-derived polyphenols and vitamin D can modulate potentially beneficial bacteria. Current research shows consistent clinical evidence that dietary fibers, including arabinoxylans, galacto-oligosaccharides, inulin, and oligofructose, promote a range of beneficial bacteria and suppress potentially detrimental species.

The preclinical evidence suggests that both the quantity and type of fat modulate both beneficial and potentially detrimental microbes, as well as the Firmicutes/Bacteroides ratio in the gut. Clinical and preclinical studies suggest that the type and amount of proteins in the diet has substantial and differential effects on the gut microbiota.

Further clinical investigation of the effect of micronutrients and macronutrients on the microbiome and metabolome is warranted, along with understanding how this influences host health.

21 February 2020 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

24 October 2019 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Adolescent drinking has declined across many developed countries from the turn of the century. The aim of this review is to explore existing evidence examining possible reasons for this decline.

METHODS: We conducted systematic searches across five databases: Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Informit Health and Scopus. Studies were included if association between declining alcohol consumption and potential explanatory factors were measured over time. Narrative synthesis was undertaken due to substantial methodological heterogeneity in these studies.

RESULTS: 17 studies met the inclusion criteria. Five studies found moderate evidence for changes in parental practices as a potential cause for the decline. Five studies that examined whether alcohol policy changes influenced the decline found weak evidence of association. Three studies explored whether alcohol use has been substituted by illicit substances but no evidence was found. Two studies examined the effect of a weaker economy; both identified increase in adolescent alcohol use during times of economic crisis. One study indicated that changes in exposure to alcohol advertising were positively associated with the decline and another examined the role of immigration of non-drinking populations but found no evidence of association. One study tested participation in organised sports and party lifestyle as a potential cause but did not use robust analytical methods and therefore did not provide strong evidence of association for the decline.

CONCLUSIONS: The most robust and consistent evidence was identified for shifts in parental practices. Further research is required using robust analytical methods such as ARIMA modelling techniques and utilising cross-national data.

26 February 2019 In Cancer

Background and aims: Cancer has emerged as the leading cause of death in human populations. The contribution of alcohol has been highly suspected. The purpose of this paper was to analyze the time trend of digestive cancers in Romania, in terms of mortality rates (1955-2012), and incidence rates (2008-2012), and the alcohol consumption data (1961-2010), aiming to find out if there is any association.

Methods: The data on six more common digestive cancers mortality rates (1955-2012) and incidence rates (2008-2012) were obtained from the historical and recent country statistics and publications of International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)/World Health Organisation (WHO), as age-standardized rate expressed per 100,000 population (ASRw). Data on alcohol consumption were obtained from the statistics and publications of WHO and United European Gastroenterology (UEG), as liters of pure alcohol/year. Results: Between 1955-2012, the ASRw of mortality registered an increase of the cancers of the esophagus in M (from 2.03 to 3.90), and of colorectal cancer in both sexes (from 4.65 to 18.20 in M, and from 4.57 to 9.70 in F). Between 1980-2012, an increasing trend of mortality was registered, in both sexes, for the cancers of the pancreas (from 5.50 to 9.30 in M and from 2.92 to 5.10 in F) and liver (from 1.77 to 11.00, in M, and from 0.83 to 4.20 in F). In terms of incidence, between 2008-20012, an increasing trend of ASRw was registered for the cancers of the esophagus in M (from 3.90 to 4.30), gastric cancer in M (from 15.90 to 16.30), colorectal cancer in both sexes (from 27.60 to 34.50 in M and from 19.00 to 20.20 in F), pancreatic cancer in F (form 5.20 to 5.90), and liver cancer in M (from 8.10 to 9.20). Alcohol consumption per capita (liters pure alcohol/year) increased in the same period, from an average of 5 in 1961, to 12.8 in 2003-2005, and to 14.4 in 2008-2010.

Conclusions: Given the parallel increase of some digestive cancers and alcohol consumption registered in our area, alcohol could represent more than a coincidence.

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