04 May 2020 In Phenolic compounds

Deficits in the cerebral microcirculation contribute to age-related cognitive decline. In a pilot study of postmenopausal women, we found that supplementation with a low dose of resveratrol, a phytoestrogen, for 14 weeks improved cerebrovascular and cognitive functions.

We have since undertaken a larger, longer term study to confirm these benefits. Postmenopausal women aged 45-85 years (n = 129) were randomized to take placebo or 75 mg trans-resveratrol twice daily for 12 months. Effects on cognition, cerebral blood flow, cerebrovascular responsiveness (CVR) and cardiometabolic markers (blood pressure, diabetes markers and fasting lipids) were assessed. Compared to placebo, resveratrol improved overall cognitive performance (P < 0.001) and attenuated the decline in CVR to cognitive stimuli (P = 0.038). The latter effect was associated with reduction of fasting blood glucose (r = -0.339, P = 0.023).

This long-term study confirms that regular consumption of resveratrol can enhance cognitive and cerebrovascular functions in postmenopausal women, with the potential to slow cognitive decline due to ageing and menopause.

04 May 2020 In Cardiovascular System

AIMS: To investigate associations of life-time hazardous and binge drinking with biomarkers of cardiometabolic health, liver function, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study with median follow-up time to CVD incidence of 4.5 years.

SETTING: London, UK: civil servants within the Whitehall II Study.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 4820 drinkers aged 59-83 years with biological measurements during the 2011-12 survey.

MEASUREMENTS: Hazardous drinking was defined as having an AUDIT-C score >/= 5 calculated at each decade of life, forming the following groups: never hazardous drinker, former early (stopping before age 50), former later (stopping after age 50), current hazardous drinker and consistent hazardous drinker (hazardous drinker at each decade of life).

FINDINGS: More than half the sample had been hazardous drinkers at some point during their life-time, comprising former early (< age 50) (19%), former later (>/= age 50) (11%), current (21%) and consistent hazardous drinker (AUDIT-C >/= 5 across life (5%). After adjusting for covariates, waist circumference was larger with more persistent hazardous drinking (e.g. compared with never hazardous drinkers, former early had increased waist circumference by 1.17 cm [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.25-2.08]; former later by 1.88 cm (CI = 0.77-2.98); current by 2.44 cm (CI = 1.50-3.34) and consistent hazardous drinker by 3.85 cm (CI = 2.23-5.47). Current hazardous drinkers had higher systolic blood pressure (2.44 mmHg, CI = 1.19-3.68) and fatty liver index scores (4.05 mmHg, CI = 2.92-5.18) than never hazardous drinkers. Current hazardous drinkers [hazard ratio (HR) = 2.75, CI = 1.44-5.22) had an elevated risk of stroke, and former later hazardous drinkers had an elevated risk of non-CVD mortality (HR = 1.93, CI = 1.19-3.14) than never hazardous drinkers. Life-time binge drinking was associated with larger waist circumferences and poorer liver function compared with never binge drinkers.

CONCLUSION: Hazardous drinking may increase cardiometabolic risk factors; this is made worse by persistent hazardous drinking throughout life, particularly in relation to weight gain, suggesting benefits of early intervention.

21 February 2020 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: Ageing is accompanied by deterioration of multiple bodily functions and inflammation, which collectively contribute to frailty. We and others have shown that frailty co-varies with alterations in the gut microbiota in a manner accelerated by consumption of a restricted diversity diet. The Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) is associated with health. In the NU-AGE project, we investigated if a 1-year MedDiet intervention could alter the gut microbiota and reduce frailty.

DESIGN: We profiled the gut microbiota in 612 non-frail or pre-frail subjects across five European countries (UK, France, Netherlands, Italy and Poland) before and after the administration of a 12-month long MedDiet intervention tailored to elderly subjects (NU-AGE diet).

RESULTS: Adherence to the diet was associated with specific microbiome alterations. Taxa enriched by adherence to the diet were positively associated with several markers of lower frailty and improved cognitive function, and negatively associated with inflammatory markers including C-reactive protein and interleukin-17. Analysis of the inferred microbial metabolite profiles indicated that the diet-modulated microbiome change was associated with an increase in short/branch chained fatty acid production and lower production of secondary bile acids, p-cresols, ethanol and carbon dioxide. Microbiome ecosystem network analysis showed that the bacterial taxa that responded positively to the MedDiet intervention occupy keystone interaction positions, whereas frailty-associated taxa are peripheral in the networks.

CONCLUSION: Collectively, our findings support the feasibility of improving the habitual diet to modulate the gut microbiota which in turn has the potential to promote healthier ageing.

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