28 April 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: A EULAR taskforce was convened to develop recommendations for lifestyle behaviours in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). The aim of this paper was to review the literature on the relationship between smoking and alcohol consumption with regard to RMD-specific outcomes.

METHODS: Two systematic reviews were conducted to identify systematic reviews and meta-analyses, published between 2013 and 2018, related to smoking and alcohol consumption in seven RMDs: osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus, axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), systemic sclerosis (SSc) and gout. Two additional systematic reviews were performed to identify original longitudinal studies on smoking and alcohol consumption and disease-specific outcomes.

RESULTS: Nine reviews and 65 original studies on smoking as well as two reviews and 14 original studies on alcohol consumption met the inclusion criteria. While most studies were moderate/poor quality, smoking was significantly associated with poorer outcomes: cardiovascular comorbidity; poorer response to RA treatment; higher disease activity and severity in early RA; axSpA radiographic progression. Results were heterogeneous for OA while there was limited evidence for PsA, SSc and gout. Available studies on alcohol mainly focused on RA, reporting a positive association between alcohol intake and radiographic progression. Five studies assessed alcohol consumption in gout, reporting a significant association between the number and type of alcoholic beverages and the occurrence of flares.

CONCLUSION: Current literature supports that smoking has a negative impact on several RMD-specific outcomes and that moderate or high alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk of flares in RA and gout.

26 January 2022 In Cancer

Evidence on the impact of diet, alcohol, body-mass index (BMI), and physical activity on mortality due to cancer and other cancer-related outcomes is still scarce. Herein, we reviewed the contribution of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study to the current state of the art on the role of these factors in cancer mortality. We identified 45 studies using a rapid systematic review methodology.

Dietary factors associated with reduced cancer mortality included raw vegetable intake; dietary fiber intake; the Mediterranean diet; other dietary scores; other diet patterns including low meat eaters, vegetarians/vegans, or fish eaters; dietary intake (or biomarkers) of some vitamins (e.g., vitamin D, vitamin K2, or Vitamin C); and intake of lignans. Physical activity and following healthy lifestyle recommendations also reduced cancer mortality risk.

In contrast, dietary factors associated with higher cancer mortality risk included poor diet quality, consumption of alcohol and soft drinks including juice, and, to a lesser extent, intake of some fatty acids. Excess weight and obesity also increased the risk of cancer mortality. The EPIC study holds valuable information on diet and lifestyle factors and offers a unique opportunity to identify key diet-related factors for cancer mortality prevention.

25 August 2020 In General Health

OBJECTIVES: To examine the association between alcohol drinking patterns and health-related quality of life (HRQL).

METHODS: Population-based cross-sectional study was conducted in 2008-2010 among 12,715 adult individuals in Spain. HRQL was assessed with the SF-12 questionnaire and alcohol intake with a diet history. The threshold between average moderate drinking and average heavy drinking was >/= 40 g/day of alcohol in men and >/= 24 g/day in women. Binge drinking was defined as the intake of >/= 80 g in men and >/= 60 g in women at any drinking session during the preceding 30 days. Analyses were performed with linear regression and adjusted for the main confounders.

RESULTS: Compared to non-drinkers, all types of average drinkers reported better scores on the SF-12 physical component: beta=1.42 (95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.81) in moderate drinkers and beta=1.86 (1.07 to 2.64) in heavy drinkers. In contrast, average alcohol consumption was not associated with the mental component of the SF-12. The number of binge drinking episodes and most types of beverage preference showed no association with physical or mental HRQL.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol drinkers, including those with heavy drinking, reported better physical HRQL than non-drinkers.

25 August 2020 In General Health

Epidemiological estimates indicate not only an increase in the proportion of older adults, but also an increase in those who continue moderate alcohol consumption. Substantial literatures have attempted to characterize health benefits/risks of moderate drinking lifestyles. Not uncommonly, reports address outcomes in a single outcome, such as cardiovascular function or cognitive decline, rather than providing a broader overview of systems.

In this narrative review, retaining focus on neurobiological considerations, we summarize key findings regarding moderate drinking and three health domains, cardiovascular health, Type 2 diabetes (T2D), and cognition. Interestingly, few investigators have studied bouts of low/moderate doses of alcohol consumption, a pattern consistent with moderate drinking lifestyles. Here, we address both moderate drinking as a lifestyle and as an acute event. Review of health-related correlates illustrates continuing inconsistencies.

Although substantive reductions in risk for cardiovascular and T2D events are reported, robust conclusions remain elusive. Similarly, whereas moderate drinking is often associated with enhanced cognition and lower dementia risk, few benefits are noted in rates of decline or alterations in brain structure. The effect of sex/gender varies across health domains and by consumption levels. For example, women appear to differentially benefit from alcohol use in terms of T2D, but experience greater risk when considering aspects of cardiovascular function.

Finally, we observe that socially relevant alcohol doses do not consistently impair performance in older adults. Rather, older drinkers demonstrate divergent, but not necessarily detrimental, patterns in neural activation and some behavioral measures relative to younger drinkers. Taken together, the epidemiological and laboratory studies reinforce the need for greater attention to key individual differences and for the conduct of systematic studies sensitive to age-related shifts in neurobiological systems.

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