21 February 2020 In Dementia

BACKGROUND: Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most threatening neurodegenerative disease, is characterized by the loss of memory and language function, an unbalanced perception of space, and other cognitive and physical manifestations.

The pathology of AD is characterized by neuronal loss and the extensive distribution of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). The role of environment and the diet in AD is being actively studied, and nutrition is one of the main factors playing a prominent role in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.

In this context, the relationship between dementia and wine use/abuse has received increased research interest, with varying and often conflicting results.

Scope and Approach: With this review, we aimed to critically summarize the main relevant studies to clarify the relationship between wine drinking and AD, as well as how frequency and/or amount of drinking may influence the effects.

Key Findings and Conclusions: Overall, based on the interpretation of various studies, no definitive results highlight if light to moderate alcohol drinking is detrimental to cognition and dementia, or if alcohol intake could reduce risk of developing AD.

21 February 2020 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Problem drinking carries significant health burdens, including an increased risk of hypertension. The effect of chronic alcohol intake on blood pressure (BP) in women is understudied and poorly understood.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to examine the relationships between drinking habits and BP in hypertensive women. METHODS: We analyzed drinking habits in 113 women followed in the Brigham and Women's Hospital Hypertension Clinic for at least one year.

RESULTS: Among these women with well-controlled hypertension, baseline diastolic BP was significantly lower in moderate drinkers compared with women who rarely or never drank. Changes in both systolic and diastolic BP over 12 months showed a significant negative association with changes in percent drinking days. In contrast, there was a trend toward higher baseline systolic BP among those women who consumed more drinks per drinking day.

CONCLUSIONS: Among these women with controlled hypertension, our data failed to demonstrate an association between drinking beyond recommended limits and higher disease burden. These findings parallel the widely reported difference between drinking frequency, associated with a host of positive health outcomes, and drinking intensity, associated with negative outcomes. Novel to this report is an observed reduction in blood pressure over the one-year follow-up period accompanying an increased drinking frequency in treated hypertensive women. Cautions include the suggestion that a greater number of drinks per drinking day was associated with higher baseline pressure. These data imply that drinking within sensible limits has no negative impact on chronic hypertension. In fact, for women with well-controlled hypertension, such a habit may impart benefit

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

21 February 2020 In General Health

Brain age is a metric that quantifies the degree of aging of a brain based on whole-brain anatomical characteristics. While associations between individual human brain regions and environmental or genetic factors have been investigated, how brain age is associated with those factors remains unclear.

We investigated these associations using UK Biobank data. We first trained a statistical model for obtaining relative brain age (RBA), a metric describing a subject's brain age relative to peers, based on whole-brain anatomical measurements, from training set subjects (n = 5,193).

We then applied this model to evaluation set subjects (n = 12,115) and tested the association of RBA with tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, and genetic variants.

We found that daily or almost daily consumption of tobacco and alcohol were both significantly associated with increased RBA (P < 0.001). We also found SNPs significantly associated with RBA (p-value < 5E-8). The SNP most significantly associated with RBA is located in MAPT gene. Our results suggest that both environmental and genetic factors are associated with structural brain aging.

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