27 March 2020 In General Health

The microbiota is known to modulate the host response to influenza infection through as-yet-unclear mechanisms. We hypothesized that components of the microbiota exert effects through type I interferon (IFN), a hypothesis supported by analysis of influenza in a gain-of-function genetic mouse model. Here we show that a microbially associated metabolite, desaminotyrosine (DAT), protects from influenza through augmentation of type I IFN signaling and diminution of lung immunopathology. A specific human-associated gut microbe, Clostridium orbiscindens, produced DAT and rescued antibiotic-treated influenza-infected mice. DAT protected the host by priming the amplification loop of type I IFN signaling. These findings show that specific components of the enteric microbiota have distal effects on responses to lethal infections through modulation of type I IFN.

27 March 2020 In General Health

Public health groups, researchers, the beverage alcohol industry, and other stakeholders have promoted and applied the concept of "responsible drinking" for the past 50 years. However, little is known about the state of the existing responsible drinking evaluation research and its application to policy and practice. This project provides a scoping review of studies evaluating responsible drinking interventions. Two primary research questions guided this investigation: (1) To what extent have authors attempted to define the concept of responsible drinking while evaluating responsible drinking interventions? and (2) What is the state of the responsible drinking intervention evaluation literature? We retrieved 49 peer-reviewed articles that evaluated interventions designed to promote "responsible drinking." Four articles provided, or attempted to provide, an explicit definition of responsible drinking; these four definitions lacked consensus. The existing responsible drinking interventions varied considerably in terms of the messages they attempted to convey (e.g., avoid binge drinking, use protective behavioral strategies, stick to relatively safe drinking limits), again suggesting lack of consensus. We observed greater consensus concerning the approach to evaluating responsible drinking interventions: studies typically recruited college students to complete brief, well-controlled experiments and measured potential predictors of drinking behavior (e.g., attitudes, expectancies, intentions) rather than actual drinking behavior. We discuss limitations of this methodological approach and the need for greater consensus regarding the concept of responsible drinking.

27 March 2020 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: We assessed the influence of sex on the effects of smoking and alcohol consumption on the risk of Parkinson's disease (PD).

METHODS: This population-based cohort study examined data of 6,795,816 Koreans aged >/=40 years from the Korean National Health Insurance Service database who completed a national program for general health check-up at 2009. For a maximum 9 years' observation period, incident PD was tracked, and hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were computed using the Cox proportional hazard models, adjusted for potential confounding factors for each sex group. We tested interactions on the addictive scale by estimating the relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI).

RESULTS: 3,400,538 men and 3,395,278 women generated 24,365,694 and 24,754,154 person-years, respectively. A total of 13,223 men (0.39%) and 14,818 women (0.44%) developed PD during follow-up. Current smoking and alcohol independently reduced the risk of PD in both sexes. Current male smokers tended to have a lower risk of PD than current female smokers at equal smoking intensity (P < 0.0001 for interaction) and duration (P < 0.0001 for interaction). In contrast, at equal alcohol intakes, PD risk tended to be lower in female drinkers than in male drinkers (P < 0.0001 for interaction). A superadditive interaction between smoking and alcohol was found in current male smokers (RERI, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.04 to 0.34; P = 0.015) and female ex-smokers (RERI, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.09 to 0.76; P = 0.014).

CONCLUSION: Our data suggest sex-related differences in individual and joint impacts of smoking and alcohol intake on the risk of PD.

21 February 2020 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Problem drinking carries significant health burdens, including an increased risk of hypertension. The effect of chronic alcohol intake on blood pressure (BP) in women is understudied and poorly understood.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to examine the relationships between drinking habits and BP in hypertensive women. METHODS: We analyzed drinking habits in 113 women followed in the Brigham and Women's Hospital Hypertension Clinic for at least one year.

RESULTS: Among these women with well-controlled hypertension, baseline diastolic BP was significantly lower in moderate drinkers compared with women who rarely or never drank. Changes in both systolic and diastolic BP over 12 months showed a significant negative association with changes in percent drinking days. In contrast, there was a trend toward higher baseline systolic BP among those women who consumed more drinks per drinking day.

CONCLUSIONS: Among these women with controlled hypertension, our data failed to demonstrate an association between drinking beyond recommended limits and higher disease burden. These findings parallel the widely reported difference between drinking frequency, associated with a host of positive health outcomes, and drinking intensity, associated with negative outcomes. Novel to this report is an observed reduction in blood pressure over the one-year follow-up period accompanying an increased drinking frequency in treated hypertensive women. Cautions include the suggestion that a greater number of drinks per drinking day was associated with higher baseline pressure. These data imply that drinking within sensible limits has no negative impact on chronic hypertension. In fact, for women with well-controlled hypertension, such a habit may impart benefit

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