18 May 2018 In General Health

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, incidence and death increases from around the time of menopause comparing to women in reproductive age. A healthy lifestyle can prevent CVD, but it is unclear which lifestyle factors may help maintain and improve cardiovascular health for women after menopausal transition. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies to evaluate the association between modifiable lifestyle factors (specifically smoking, physical activity, alcohol intake, and obesity), with CVD and mortality in middle-aged and elderly women. Pubmed, Embase, among other databases and reference lists were searched until February 29th, 2016. Study specific relative risks (RR) were meta-analyzed using random effect models. We included 59 studies involving 5,358,902 women. Comparing current versus never smokers, pooled RR were 3.12 (95% CI 2.15-4.52) for CHD incidence, 2.09 (95% CI 1.51-2.89) for stroke incidence, 2.76 (95% CI 1.62-4.71) for CVD mortality and 2.22 (95% CI 1.92-2.57) for all-cause mortality. Physical activity was associated with a decreased risk of 0.74 (95% CI 0.67-0.80) for overall CVD, 0.71 (95% CI 0.67-0.75) for CHD, 0.77 (95% CI 0.70-0.85) for stroke, 0.70 (95% CI 0.58-0.84) for CVD mortality and 0.71 (95% CI 0.65-0.78) for all-cause mortality. Comparing moderate drinkers versus non-drinkers, the RR was 0.72 (95% CI 0.56-0.91) for CHD, 0.63 (95% CI 0.57-0.71) for CVD mortality and 0.80 (95% CI 0.76-0.84) for all-cause mortality. For women with BMI 30-35 kg/m(2) the risk was 1.67 (95% CI 1.24-2.25) for CHD and 2.3 (95% CI 1.56-3.40) for CVD mortality, compared to normal weight. Each 5 kg/m(2) increase in BMI was associated with 24% (95% CI 16-33%) higher risk for all-cause mortality. This meta-analysis suggests that physical activity and moderate alcohol intake were associated with a reduced risk for CVD and mortality. Smoking and higher BMI were associated with an increased risk of these endpoints. Adherence to a healthy lifestyle may substantially lower the burden of CVD and reduce the risk of mortality among middle-aged and elderly women. However, this review highlights important gaps, as lack of standardized methods in assessing lifestyle factors and lack of accurate information on menopause status, which should be addressed by future studies in order to understand the role of menopause on the association between lifestyle factors and cardiovascular events.

18 May 2018 In General Health

The introduction of the term "French Paradox" motivated an extensive and in-depth research into health benefits of moderate wine consumption. The superiority of wine is thought to be attributed to its micro-constituents and consequent effort was made to isolate and identify these bioactive compounds as well as to elucidate the mechanisms of their action. Controlled trials offer more concrete answers to several raised questions than observational studies. Under this perspective, clinical trials have been implemented, mainly in healthy volunteers and rarely in patients, in order to investigate the acute or chronic effect of wine consumption on metabolism and physio-pathological systems, which are mainly associated with cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this review is to update the knowledge about the acute and long term effect of wine consumption on lipid and glucose/insulin metabolism as well as on the inflammatory and haemostatic systems, based on the reported data of controlled clinical trials. In conclusion, the most repeated result of wine consumption is on lipid metabolism, attributed mainly to ethanol, while wine micro-constituents seem to have an important role mainly in haemostatic and inflammatory/endothelial systems.

18 May 2018 In Drinking Patterns

Binge drinking (BD) is a public health concern with serious implications for brain development. This review is the first in which neuropsychological studies of healthy young BDs are synthesized following PRISMA guidelines. We conducted a literature search in PsycINFO, Web of Science, and PubMed. Articles were screened using strict inclusion criteria. Two authors independently assessed the methodological quality. Of the 27 studies included, 14 (52%) were of intermediate quality, 7 (26%) of poor quality and 6 (22%) of high quality. BD is associated with deficits in verbal memory and executive functions, principally poor inhibitory control. Tentatively, BD may be related to deficits in cognitive flexibility and monitoring of information in working memory. Further studies are needed to determine potential impairments in prospective memory and decision-making. BDs do not seem to show difficulties in planning, short-term memory, attention, processing speed or visuospatial construction. The evidence does not seem to support greater vulnerability in females. Future longitudinal studies should identify the characteristics of extreme trajectories, explore recovery deficits and design intervention programs.

18 May 2018 In Dementia

Alcohol consumption is common in Western countries and has been increasing in older adults. Latest figures from Great Britain suggest 75% of those over 65 years drink, an increase from 71% 10 years ago. Chronic heavy intake is a well-established cause of brain atrophy and dementia, with a recent long-term prospective study from the USA reporting a doubling of the odds of later severe memory impairment in those with a history of an alcohol use disorder. Drinking of moderate amounts has been reported to be protective for brain health in a number of epidemiological studies, including some claims of possibly reducing dementia risk. Rigorous recent research has questioned this belief, with new evidence of harmful associations in moderate drinkers compared with abstainers. This has raised suspicion that reported protective effects of moderate drinking were due to confounding by socioeconomic class and intelligence. Clinicians should look out for cognitive impairment in heavy drinkers, considering that abstinence may induce a degree of clinical improvement. Discussions with patients regarding moderate drinking should be informed by recent research. Health benefits of moderate drinking at least for cognitive function are questionable, and if they exist are probably limited to one unit of alcohol daily with respect to other body systems.

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