24 March 2021 In Pregnant Women
Alcohol consumption remains prevalent among pregnant and nursing mothers despite the well-documented adverse effects this may have on the offspring. Moderate-to-high levels of alcohol consumption in pregnancy result in fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) disorders, with brain defects being chief among the abnormalities. Recent findings indicate that while light-to-moderate levels may not cause FAS, it may contribute to epigenetic changes that make the offspring prone to adverse health outcomes including metabolic disorders and an increased propensity in the adolescent-onset of drinking alcohol. On the one hand, prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) causes epigenetic changes that affect lipid and glucose transcript regulating genes resulting in metabolic abnormalities. On the other hand, it can program offspring for increased alcohol intake, enhance its palatability, and increase acceptance of alcohol's flavor through associative learning, making alcohol a plausible second hit for the development of alcohol-induced liver disease. Adolescent drinking results in alcohol dependence and abuse in adulthood. Adolescent drinking results in alcohol dependence and abuse in adulthood. Alterations on the opioid system, particularly, the mu-opioid system, has been implicated in the mechanism that induces increased alcohol consumption and acceptance. This review proposes a mechanism that links PAE to the development of alcoholism and eventually to alcoholic liver disease (ALD), which results from prolonged alcohol consumption. While PAE may not lead to ALD development in childhood, there are chances that it may lead to ALD in adulthood.
24 March 2021 In Cancer
Alcohol drinking is associated with increased risks of several site-specific cancers, but its role in many other cancers remains inconclusive. Evidence is more limited from China, where cancer rates, drinking patterns and alcohol tolerability differ importantly from Western populations. The prospective China Kadoorie Biobank recruited >512,000 adults aged 30-79 years from ten diverse areas during 2004-2008, recording alcohol consumption patterns by a standardised questionnaire. Self-reported alcohol consumption was estimated as grams of pure alcohol per week based on beverage type, amount consumed per occasion, and drinking frequency. After ten years of follow-up, 26,961 individuals developed cancer. Cox regression was used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) relating alcohol consumption to incidence of site-specific cancers. Overall, 33% (n=69,734) of men drank alcohol regularly (i.e. >/=weekly) at baseline. Among male current regular drinkers, alcohol intake showed positive dose-response associations with risks of cancers in the oesophagus (655 events; HR=1.98 [95%CI 1.79-2.18], per 280g/week), mouth and throat (236; 1.74 [1.48-2.05]), liver (573; 1.52 [1.31-1.76]), colon-rectum (575; 1.19 [1.00-1.43]), gallbladder (107; 1.60 [1.16-2.22]), and lung (1017; 1.25 [1.10-1.42]), similarly among never- and ever-regular smokers. After adjustment for total alcohol intake, there were greater risks of oesophageal cancer in daily than non-daily drinkers, and of liver cancer when drinking without meals. The risks of oesophageal cancer and lung cancer were greater in men reporting flushing after drinking than not. In this male population, alcohol drinking accounted for 7% of cancer cases. Among women, only 2% drank regularly, with no clear associations between alcohol consumption and cancer risk. Among Chinese men, alcohol drinking is associated with increased risks of cancer at multiple sites, with certain drinking patterns (e.g. daily, drinking without meals) and low alcohol tolerance further exacerbating the risks.
24 March 2021 In Dementia
Objectives: Alcohol use remains a public health concern with accumulating evidence pointing to alcohol-associated prospective memory (PM) deficits. PM is the cognitive ability to remember to perform an intended action at some point in the future. Following PRISMA guidelines, we searched the evidence base to identify and explore the evidence of a relationship between alcohol use and PM. Methods: We conducted a systematic literature search in Medline, Embase, Pubmed, CINAHL, PsycINFO and Web of Science databases. Studies were included if they met the following criteria: English language publication, healthy adult participants (16 years and over), primary data on the effects of alcohol on PM. Results: Eight peer-reviewed studies were eligible for inclusion, of which five were randomized controlled trials examining the acute effects of a mild dose of alcohol and three were cross-sectional studies assessing the long-term effects of different drinking patterns on PM. Four main findings were supported by the literature: (1) compared with placebo, an acute administration of a mild alcohol dose to healthy social drinkers may lead to poorer PM performance, (2) alcohol consumption over the recommended weekly units can be associated with impaired PM function, (3) other cognitive domains can play a contributing role in alcohol-induced PM impairment, and (4) following future event simulation alcohol-induced PM impairment may be improved. Conclusion: Alcohol consumption potentially impairs PM, even at a low modest dose. Considering the small number of studies and their methodological flaws, additional research is needed to decipher the alcohol-PM relationship and provide further supporting evidence.
24 March 2021 In General Health
Mandatory energy (calorie) labeling of alcoholic drinks is a public health measure that could be used to address both alcohol consumption and obesity. We systematically reviewed studies examining consumer knowledge of the energy content of alcoholic drinks, public support for energy labeling, and the effect of energy labeling of alcoholic drinks on consumption behavior. Eighteen studies were included. Among studies examining consumer knowledge of the energy content of alcoholic drinks (N = 8) and support for energy labeling (N = 9), there was moderate evidence that people are unaware of the energy content of alcoholic drinks (pooled estimate: 74% [95% CI: 64%-82%] of participants inaccurate) and support energy labeling (pooled estimate: 64% [95% CI: 53%-73%] of participants support policy). Six studies examined the effect of energy labeling on consumption behavior. In these studies, there was no evidence of a beneficial effect of labeling on alcohol drinking-related outcome measures. However, the majority of studies were of low methodological quality and used proxy outcome measures, and none of the studies were conducted in real-world settings, resulting in a very low level of evidence and high degree of uncertainty. Further research is required to determine whether energy labeling of alcoholic drinks is likely to be an effective public health policy.
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