15 June 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Risk genes linked to the development of gout have been identified, and lifestyle factors are related to gout risk. It remains unclear whether healthy lifestyle factors can mitigate the genetic risk of gout. Therefore, we aimed to explore whether and to what extent a healthy lifestyle can mitigate the risk of gout related to genetic factors.

METHODS: Within the UK Biobank, 416,481 gout-free participants (aged 37-74) were identified at baseline. Polygenic risk for gout was assessed and categorized as low (lowest tertile), middle (tertile 2), and high (highest tertile). Healthy lifestyle factors included no/moderate alcohol consumption, no smoking, physical activity, and a healthy diet. Participants were categorized into three groups according to their number of healthy lifestyle factors: unfavorable (0 or 1), intermediate (any 2), and favorable (3 or 4). Data were analyzed using Cox proportional hazard models.

RESULTS: Over the follow-up (median: 12.1 years), 6206 participants developed gout. Compared to low genetic risk, the hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of gout was 1.44 (1.35-1.54) for middle and 1.77 (1.66-1.89) for high genetic risk. The HRs (95% CIs) of gout were 0.63 (0.59-0.67) for a favorable lifestyle and 0.79 (0.75-0.85) for an intermediate lifestyle, compared to an unfavorable lifestyle. In joint effect analysis, compared to participants with low genetic predisposition and a favorable lifestyle, the HRs (95% CIs) of gout were 2.39 (2.12-2.70)/3.12 (2.79-3.52) in those with middle and high genetic predisposition plus unfavorable lifestyle profiles, and 1.53 (1.35-1.74)/1.98 (1.75-2.24) for those with middle and high genetic predisposition plus favorable lifestyle profiles, respectively. Moreover, compared to an unfavorable lifestyle, the HRs of gout related to a favorable lifestyle was 0.64 (95% CI, 0.56-0.73) for low genetic risk, 0.65 (95% CI, 0.58-0.72) for middle genetic risk, and 0.62 (95% CI, 0.57-0.69) for high genetic risk. There was a significant additive interaction between unfavorable lifestyle and high genetic risk on gout.

CONCLUSIONS: Healthy lifestyle was associated with a lower risk of gout and may attenuate the risk of gout related to genetic factors by almost a third.

28 April 2022 In General Health

This work aimed to relate alcohol consumption with adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) and with food neophobia (FN) among Italian and Spanish university students. Volunteers (n = 194, 108 Italian and 86 Spanish), recruited at the La Sapienza University of Rome and the Catholic University of Murcia, filled in standardized questionnaires to evaluate alcohol consumption (AUDIT), FN (FN Scale: FNS), and adherence to the MD (MDS-14, MED-55, QueMD).

In addition to the previously reported QueMD sub-score (aMED), a sub-score for non-typical MD foods (ntMED, carbonated and/or sugar-sweetened beverages (soft drinks), butter, margarine, or cooking cream, and manufactured sweets, pastries, and cakes) was evaluated. Italian females had higher MED-55 and FNS scores, and a lower AUDIT score than Spaniards (p < 0.01). Students who stayed with their family (resident) were more adherent to MD than those who moved away from home. Resident Italians consumed less beer, hard liquors, and cocktails than Spaniards on Saturday nights (p < 0.01).

There were negative correlations between AUDIT and QueMD (R squared: 0.137, p < 0.05), and AUDIT and ntMED (R squared: 0.201, p < 0.01) in Spaniards, however, there was no relationship between AUDIT and other MD scores. In conclusion, this pilot study suggests that non-typical MD foods and Saturday night consumptions, related to being far from home, have a great impact on alcohol consumption.

28 April 2022 In General Health
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Alcohol consumption is a major threat to global health. The aim of the present study was to explore the association between alcohol consumption and chronic kidney disease (CKD) in a Chinese population. METHODS AND RESULTS: A total of 4664 participants, aged >/=18 years, who participated in a baseline alcohol survey in 1997 and were followed up in 2009 of the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), were recruited in the current study. Data on alcohol consumption was obtained using standardized questionnaires, with CKD (defined as eGFR
28 April 2022 In General Health

Alcohol exposure, and particularly chronic heavy drinking, affects all components of the adaptive immune system. Studies both in humans and in animal models determined that chronic alcohol abuse reduces the number of peripheral T cells, disrupts the balance between different T-cell types, influences T-cell activation, impairs T-cell functioning, and promotes T-cell apoptosis.

Chronic alcohol exposure also seems to cause loss of peripheral B cells, while simultaneously inducing increased production of immunoglobulins. In particular, the levels of antibodies against liver-specific autoantigens are increased in patients with alcoholic liver disease and may promote alcohol-related liver damage. Finally, chronic alcohol exposure in utero interferes with normal T-cell and B-cell development, which may increase the risk of infections during both childhood and adulthood.

Alcohol's impact on T cells and B cells increases the risk of infections (e.g., pneumonia, HIV infection, hepatitis C virus infection, and tuberculosis), impairs responses to vaccinations against such infections, exacerbates cancer risk, and interferes with delayed-type hypersensitivity. In contrast to these deleterious effects of heavy alcohol exposure, moderate alcohol consumption may have beneficial effects on the adaptive immune system, including improved responses to vaccination and infection. The molecular mechanisms underlying ethanol's impact on the adaptive immune system remain poorly understood.

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