Objective: To estimate the prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy among the general population of Latin America and the Caribbean, by country, in 2012.

Methods: Three steps were taken: a comprehensive, systematic literature search; meta-analyses, assuming a random-effects model for countries with published studies; and regression modelling (data prediction) for countries with either no published studies or too few to obtain an estimate.

Results: Based on 24 existing studies, the pooled prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy among the general population was estimated for Brazil (15.2%; 95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 10.4%-20.8%) and Mexico (1.2%; 95%CI: 0.0%-2.7%). The prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy among the general population was predicted for 31 countries and ranged from 4.8% (95%CI: 4.2%-5.4%) in Cuba to 23.3% (95%CI: 20.1%-26.5%) in Grenada.

Conclusions: Greater prevention efforts and measures are needed in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to prevent pregnant women from consuming alcohol during pregnancy and decrease the rates of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Additional high quality studies on the prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean are also needed.

Published in Pregnant Women

INTRODUCTION: Energy drinks are popular beverages that are supposed to counteract sleepiness, increase energy, maintain alertness and reduce symptoms of hangover. Cognitive enhancing seems to be related to many compounds such as caffeine, taurine and vitamins. Currently, users mostly combine psychostimulant effects of energy drinks to counteract sedative effects of alcohol. However, recent literature suggests that this combination conducts to feel less intoxicated but still impaired. The goal of the present article is to review cognitive impact and subjective awareness in case of caffeinated alcoholic beverage (CAB) intoxication.

METHOD: PubMed (January 1960 to March 2016) database was searched using the following terms: cognitive impairments, alcohol, energy drinks; cognition, alcohol, caffeine.

RESULTS: 99 papers were found but only 12 randomized controlled studies which explored cognitive disorders and subjective awareness associated with acute CAB or AED (alcohol associated with energy drinks) intoxication were included.

DISCUSSION: The present literature review confirmed that energy drinks might counteract some cognitive deficits and adverse effects of alcohol i.e. dry mouth, fatigue, headache, weakness, and perception of intoxication due to alcohol alone. This effect depends on alcohol limb but disappears when the complexity of the task increases, when driving for example. Moreover, studies clearly showed that CAB/AEDs increase impulsivity which conducts to an overconsumption of alcohol and enhanced motivation to drink compared to alcohol alone, potentiating the risk of developing addictive behaviors. This is a huge problem in adolescents with high impulsivity and immature decision making processes.

CONCLUSION: Although energy drinks counteract some cognitive deficits due to alcohol alone, their association promotes the risk of developing alcohol addiction. As a consequence, it is necessary to better understand the neurobiological mechanisms underlying these interactions in order to better prevent the development of alcohol dependence.

Published in General Health

Underage drinking is a significant problem in the US. It is responsible for several thousand mortalities and fatalities each year, both among minors and other members of society. Additionally, underage alcohol consumption produces a severe economic burden in the US. Introduction to alcohol in youth poses serious long-term risks for adolescents, including occupational, educational, and psychosocial impairments, and increases the risk for developing alcohol abuse disorders in adulthood. In order to address and mitigate this problem, the US has set a minimum age drinking law of 21 in all 50 states, and has implemented several supplementary laws limiting the possession and consumption of alcohol. Though these laws have successfully reduced underage drinking, several additional strategies are noteworthy, including preventative and intervention efforts incorporating environmental, individual, communal, and parental factors. The following literature review describes these concepts as they relate to underage drinking laws in the US. Directions for future research, interventions, and ongoing challenges related to the minimum drinking age in the US are also discussed.

Published in Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). A suitably integrated view of the CHD pathogenesis pathway will help to elucidate how moderate alcohol consumption could reduce CHD risk.

METHODS: A comprehensive literature review was conducted focusing on the pathogenesis of CHD. Biomarker data were further systematically analysed from 294 cohort studies, comprising 1 161 560 subjects. From the above a suitably integrated CHD pathogenetic system for the purpose of this study was developed.

RESULTS: The resulting integrated system now provides insight into the integrated higher-order interactions underlying CHD and moderate alcohol consumption. A novel 'connection graph' further simplifies these interactions by illustrating the relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and the relative risks (RR) attributed to various measureable CHD serological biomarkers. Thus, the possible reasons for the reduced RR for CHD with moderate alcohol consumption become clear at a glance.

CONCLUSIONS: An integrated high-level model of CHD, its pathogenesis, biomarkers, and moderate alcohol consumption provides a summary of the evidence that a causal relationship between CHD risk and moderate alcohol consumption may exist. It also shows the importance of each CHD pathway that moderate alcohol consumption influences.

Published in Cardiovascular System
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