BACKGROUND: Alcohol and in particular red wine have both immunomodulatory and neuroprotective properties, and may exert an effect on the disease course of multiple sclerosis (MS).

OBJECTIVE: To assess the association between alcohol and red wine consumption and MS course.

METHODS: MS patients enrolled in the Comprehensive Longitudinal Investigation of Multiple Sclerosis at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (CLIMB) who completed a self-administered questionnaire about their past year drinking habits at a single time point were included in the study. Alcohol and red wine consumption were measured as servings/week. The primary outcome was the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) at the time of the questionnaire. Secondary clinical outcomes were the Multiple Sclerosis Severity Score (MSSS) and number of relapses in the year before the questionnaire. Secondary MRI outcomes included brain parenchymal fraction and T2 hyperintense lesion volume (T2LV). Appropriate regression models were used to test the association of alcohol and red wine intake on clinical and MRI outcomes. All analyses were controlled for sex, age, body mass index, disease phenotype (relapsing vs. progressive), the proportion of time on disease modifying therapy during the previous year, smoking exposure, and disease duration. In the models for the MRI outcomes, analyses were also adjusted for acquisition protocol.

RESULTS: 923 patients (74% females, mean age 47 +/- 11 years, mean disease duration 14 +/- 9 years) were included in the analysis. Compared to abstainers, patients drinking more than 4 drinks per week had a higher likelihood of a lower EDSS score (OR, 0.41; p = 0.0001) and lower MSSS (mean difference, - 1.753; p = 0.002) at the time of the questionnaire. Similarly, patients drinking more than 3 glasses of red wine per week had greater odds of a lower EDSS (OR, 0.49; p = 0.0005) and lower MSSS (mean difference, - 0.705; p = 0.0007) compared to nondrinkers. However, a faster increase in T2LV was observed in patients consuming 1-3 glasses of red wine per week compared to nondrinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher total alcohol and red wine intake were associated with a lower cross-sectional level of neurologic disability in MS patients but increased T2LV accumulation. Further studies should explore a potential cause-effect neuroprotective relationship, as well as the underlying biological mechanisms.

Published in General Health

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the dose-risk relationship for alcohol consumption and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in the Ethnic/Racial Variations of Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ERICH) study.

METHODS: ERICH is a multicenter, prospective, case-control study, designed to recruit 1,000 non-Hispanic white patients, 1,000 non-Hispanic black patients, and 1,000 Hispanic patients with ICH. Cases were matched 1:1 to ICH-free controls by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and geographic area. Comprehensive interviews included questions regarding alcohol consumption. Patterns of alcohol consumption were categorized as none, rare (/=1 drink per month and 2 drinks per day and /=5 drinks per day). ICH risk was calculated using the no-alcohol use category as the reference group.

RESULTS: Multivariable analyses demonstrated an ordinal trend for alcohol consumption: rare (odds ratio [OR] 0.57, p < 0.0001), moderate (OR 0.65, p < 0.0001), intermediate (OR 0.82, p = 0.2666), and heavy alcohol consumption (OR 1.77, p = 0.0003). Subgroup analyses demonstrated an association of rare and moderate alcohol consumption with decreased risk of both lobar and nonlobar ICH. Heavy alcohol consumption demonstrated a strong association with increased nonlobar ICH risk (OR 2.04, p = 0.0003). Heavy alcohol consumption was associated with significant increase in nonlobar ICH risk in black (OR 2.34, p = 0.0140) and Hispanic participants (OR 12.32, p < 0.0001). A similar association was not found in white participants.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated potential protective effects of rare and moderate alcohol consumption on ICH risk. Heavy alcohol consumption was associated with increased ICH risk. Race/ethnicity was a significant factor in alcohol-associated ICH risk; heavy alcohol consumption in black and Hispanic participants poses significant nonlobar ICH risk.

Published in Cardiovascular System

Aims: Epidemiological evidence indicates a protective effect of light to moderate alcohol consumption compared to non-drinking and heavy drinking. Although several mechanisms have been suggested, the effect of alcohol on atherosclerotic changes in vessel walls is unclear. Therefore, we explored the relationship between alcohol consumption and common carotid intima media thickness, a marker of early atherosclerosis in the general population.

Methods: Individual participant data from eight cohorts, involving 37,494 individuals from the USE-IMT collaboration were used. Multilevel age and sex adjusted linear regression models were applied to estimate mean differences in common carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) with alcohol consumption.

Results: The mean age was 57.9 years (SD 8.6) and the mean CIMT was 0.75 mm (SD 0.177). About, 40.5% reported no alcohol consumed, and among those who drank, mean consumption was 13.3 g per day (SD 16.4). Those consuming no alcohol or a very small amount (10 g per day, after adjusting for a range of confounding factors. Conclusion: In this large CIMT consortium, we did not find evidence to support a protective effect of alcohol on CIMT.

Published in Cardiovascular System

It is widely believed that light-to-moderate alcohol intake may protect against dementia while excessive drinking may instead increase the risk. Nonetheless, these findings need cautious interpretations due to varying methodologies and lack of standard definition, which hindered our transferring into preventative practice. The objective of this study is to investigate the potential dose-response association between alcohol consumption and risk of dementia. A systematic search was conducted in electronic databases to identify relevant studies. Risk estimates were combined using a random-effect model. Eleven studies with 73,330 participants and 4586 cases for all-cause dementia (ACD), five studies with 52,715 participants and 1267 cases for Alzheimer's dementia (AD) and four studies with 49,535 participants and 542 cases for vascular dementia were included. We observed a nonlinear association between alcohol consumption and ACD risk (p nonlinearity < 0.05). The alcohol dose associated with lower risk of dementia was confined to at most 12.5 g/day, with the risk hitting bottom (RR approximately 0.9) at roughly 6 g/day. Of note, the ACD risk seemed to be elevated ( approximately 10%) when the dose surpasses certain levels: 23 drinks/week or 38 g/day. For the alcohol type, recommendation for wine is prioritized. The subgroup analysis further indicated that the effect of alcohol may be greater in younger adults (/=38 g/day) may instead elevate the risk.

Published in Dementia
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The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer.