26 August 2022 In General Health

The "drunken monkey" hypothesis posits that attraction to ethanol derives from an evolutionary linkage among the sugars of ripe fruit, associated alcoholic fermentation by yeast, and ensuing consumption by human ancestors. First proposed in 2000, this concept has received increasing attention from the fields of animal sensory biology, primate foraging behavior, and molecular evolution.

We undertook a review of English language citations subsequent to publication of the original paper and assessed research trends and future directions relative to natural dietary ethanol exposure in primates and other animals. Two major empirical themes emerge: attraction to and consumption of fermenting fruits (and nectar) by numerous vertebrates and invertebrates (e.g., Drosophila flies), and genomic evidence for natural selection consistent with sustained exposure to dietary ethanol in diverse taxa (including hominids and the genus Homo) over tens of millions of years.

We also describe our current field studies in Uganda of ethanol content within fruits consumed by free-ranging chimpanzees, which suggest chronic low-level exposure to this psychoactive molecule in our closest living relatives.

26 August 2022 In General Health

Literature highlights the need for adjustment for diet quality when the effect of alcohol consumption on health is investigated. We sought to define—a-posterior—dietary patterns according to various drinking preferences as well as to evaluate their combined effect against 10-year cardio-metabolic incidence.

During 2001–2002, 3042 CVD-free adults consented to participate in the ATTICA study; of them, 2583 completed the 10-year follow-up (85 % participation rate), but precise information about cardio-metabolic incidence was available in 2020 participants (overall retention rate 66 %). Intake per type of alcoholic beverage was assessed and “a posterior” dietary patterns were defined.

Results showed that among participants not drinking alcoholic beverages, women adhering more to a healthier dietary pattern had 25 % lower CVD risk within the 10-year study follow-up, while men adhering more to an unhealthy dietary pattern had almost two times higher CVD risk (p-values < 0.05). Among beer drinkers, both men and women adhering more to a healthier dietary pattern were found to have at least 26 % lower risk of developing hypertension and at least 15 % lower risk of developing hypercholesterolemia, while men adhering more to a healthier dietary pattern were also found to have 29 % lower CVD risk (all p-values < 0.05).

Similarly, among wine drinkers, women adhering more to a healthier dietary pattern were found to have a 16 % and 52 % lower risk of developing hypertension and diabetes mellitus, respectively, whereas men adhering more to a healthier dietary pattern had 22 % lower CVD risk (all p-values < 0.05). Finally, among spirit drinkers, higher adherence to an unhealthy dietary pattern in both genders had an aggravating effect on cardio-metabolic risk.

It seems that the quality of dietary pattern stands out as a critical confounding factor in studies assessing the effect of alcohol consumption on cardio-metabolic risk. A Phytochemical-Rich Dietary Pattern is suggested, particularly among drinkers.

26 August 2022 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To quantify rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cases attributable to selected non-genetic risk factors.

DESIGN: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and meta-analysis.

PARTICIPANTS: US adults.

DATA SOURCES: The prevalence of exposure was obtained from NHANES. Weighted analysis was performed to account for the complex sampling design in NHANES. PubMed and Web of Science up to 31 March 2019 were searched to identify epidemiological studies reported the association between non-genetic risk factors and RA in US adults. Relative risk (RR) value and the corresponding CI were pooled by meta-analysis to evaluate the associations between modifiable risk factors and RA. Population attributable fraction (PAF) was calculated based on the prevalence and RR data.

RESULTS: The weighted percentages of former smokers, current smokers and overweight or obese people were 24.84%, 23.93% and 63.97%, and the average alcohol consumption was 51.34 g/week. In the meta-analysis, we found that former smokers (RR 1.22, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.36) and current smokers (RR 1.47, 95% CI 1.29 to 1.68) had higher risks of RA. Overweight and obese individuals had 1.27-fold (95% CI 1.09 to 1.48) increased risk of RA. Each per 50 g/week increment of alcohol consumption was associated with 8% (95% CI 0% to 16%) reduction in the risk of RA. Therefore, PAF value of smoking was 14.00% (95% CI 8.13% to 23.33%). Excess body mass index (BMI) was found to account for 14.73% (95% CI 5.45% to 23.50%) of RA incidence. The fraction of RA risk attributed by low alcohol intake was 8.21% (95% CI 0.31% to 16.39%). Collectively, we found that 32.69% (95% CI 13.41% to 50.96%) of RA cases were attributable to smoking, overweight or obesity and low alcohol drinking.

CONCLUSION: Nearly 33% of RA incidence was attributed to smoking, excess BMI and low alcohol drinking in USA. Our findings could provide a basis for developing guidelines of RA prevention and control in USA.

26 August 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: The health risks associated with moderate alcohol consumption continue to be debated. Small amounts of alcohol might lower the risk of some health outcomes but increase the risk of others, suggesting that the overall risk depends, in part, on background disease rates, which vary by region, age, sex, and year.

METHODS: For this analysis, we constructed burden-weighted dose-response relative risk curves across 22 health outcomes to estimate the theoretical minimum risk exposure level (TMREL) and non-drinker equivalence (NDE), the consumption level at which the health risk is equivalent to that of a non-drinker, using disease rates from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2020 for 21 regions, including 204 countries and territories, by 5-year age group, sex, and year for individuals aged 15-95 years and older from 1990 to 2020. Based on the NDE, we quantified the population consuming harmful amounts of alcohol.

FINDINGS: The burden-weighted relative risk curves for alcohol use varied by region and age. Among individuals aged 15-39 years in 2020, the TMREL varied between 0 (95% uncertainty interval 0-0) and 0·603 (0·400-1·00) standard drinks per day, and the NDE varied between 0·002 (0-0) and 1·75 (0·698-4·30) standard drinks per day. Among individuals aged 40 years and older, the burden-weighted relative risk curve was J-shaped for all regions, with a 2020 TMREL that ranged from 0·114 (0-0·403) to 1·87 (0·500-3·30) standard drinks per day and an NDE that ranged between 0·193 (0-0·900) and 6·94 (3·40-8·30) standard drinks per day. Among individuals consuming harmful amounts of alcohol in 2020, 59·1% (54·3-65·4) were aged 15-39 years and 76·9% (73·0-81·3) were male.

INTERPRETATION: There is strong evidence to support recommendations on alcohol consumption varying by age and location. Stronger interventions, particularly those tailored towards younger individuals, are needed to reduce the substantial global health loss attributable to alcohol. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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