28 September 2023 In General Health

Brain gray- and white matter changes is well described in alcohol-dependent elderly subjects; however, the effect of lower levels of alcohol consumption on the brain is poorly understood. We investigated the impact of different amounts of weekly alcohol consumption on brain structure in a population-based sample of 70-year-olds living in Gothenburg, Sweden. Cross-sectional data from 676 participants from The Gothenburg H70 Birth Cohort Study 2014-16 were included. Current alcohol consumers were divided into seven groups based on self-reported weekly amounts of alcohol consumption in grams (g) (0-50 g/week, used as reference group, 51-100 g/week, 101-150 g/week, 151-200 g/week, 201-250 g/week, 251-300 g/week, and > 300 g/week). Subcortical volumes and cortical thickness were assessed on T1-weighted structural magnetic resonance images using FreeSurfer 5.3, and white matter integrity assessed on diffusion tensor images, using tract-based statistics in FSL. General linear models were carried out to estimate associations between alcohol consumption and gray- and white matter changes in the brain. Self-reported consumption above 250 g/week was associated with thinning in the bilateral superior frontal gyrus, the right precentral gyrus, and the right lateral occipital cortex, in addition to reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) and increased mean diffusivity (MD) diffusively spread in many tracts all over the brain. No changes were found in subcortical gray matter structures. These results suggest that there is a non-linear relationship between alcohol consumption and structural brain changes, in which loss of cortical thickness only occur in non-demented 70-year-olds who consume more than 250 g/week.

28 September 2023 In General Health

Background The relationship between alcohol consumption and ectopic fat distribution, both known factors for cardiovascular disease, remains understudied. Therefore, we aimed to examine the association between alcohol consumption and ectopic adiposity in adults at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Methods and Results In this cross-sectional analysis, we categorized alcohol intake among participants in MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) as follows (drinks/day): 2 (heavy drinking), former drinking, and lifetime abstention. Binge drinking was defined as consuming >/=5 drinks on 1 occasion in the past month. Visceral, subcutaneous, and intermuscular fat area, pericardial fat volume, and hepatic fat attenuation were measured using noncontrast computed tomography. Using multivariable linear regression, we examined the associations between categories of alcohol consumption and natural log-transformed fat in ectopic depots. We included 6756 MESA participants (62.1+/-10.2 years; 47.2% women), of whom 6734 and 1934 had chest computed tomography (pericardial and hepatic fat) and abdominal computed tomography (subcutaneous, intermuscular, and visceral fat), respectively. In adjusted analysis, heavy drinking, relative to lifetime abstention, was associated with a higher (relative percent difference) pericardial 15.1 [95% CI, 7.1-27.7], hepatic 3.4 [95% CI, 0.1-6.8], visceral 2.5 [95% CI, -10.4 to 17.2], and intermuscular 5.2 [95% CI, -6.6 to 18.4] fat but lower subcutaneous fat -3.5 [95% CI, -15.5 to 10.2]). The associations between alcohol consumption and ectopic adiposity exhibited a J-shaped pattern. Binge drinking, relative to light-to-moderate drinking, was also associated with higher ectopic fat.

Conclusions Alcohol consumption had a J-shaped association with ectopic adiposity. Both heavy alcohol intake and binge alcohol drinking were associated with higher ectopic fat.

28 September 2023 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by chronic widespread pain, as well as anxiety, sadness, and depression. These symptoms are present in most patients and have a negative impact on their daily, family, and social life. The role of neurotransmitters in the pathophysiology of FM has been extensively discussed. The scientific evidence shows that levels of serotonin are decreased in patients with FM. Numerous studies support the beneficial effects that moderate wine consumption has on the body, with cardiovascular, endocrine, bone, and muscle improvements.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this pilot study was to assess whether light consumption of red wine improves the main symptoms of FM.

METHODS: The study consisted of an experimental study with a control group with a total of 60 women diagnosed with FM following the American College of Rheumatology's criteria. The experimental group ingested 15 g of alcohol per day, in the form of red wine, over a period of four weeks. The outcome measures were: the level of pain in tender points, sadness, anxiety, depression, and quality of life. The assessments tools were: tender point graphics, the visual analogue scale (for the assessment of pain and sadness), the Hamilton Anxiety Scale, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, and the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire. The measurements were completed before and after the consumption of red wine. In addition, the differences between groups were evaluated in terms of drug consumption in the pre-intervention and follow-up phases.

RESULTS: Statistically significant improvements were obtained in the wine ingestion group for the variables of pain (p = 0.038), tender points (p < 0.001), and anxiety (p = 0.028). An improvement in the mean values was observed in favor of the experimental group for the variables of sadness, depression, and quality of life. The differences observed in the changes seen in the groups that were in favor of the wine ingestion group should not be attributed to the consumption of drugs but to the fact that the experimental group had a light intake of red wine.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this pilot study suggest a potential relationship between alcohol intake through the light consumption of red wine as part of the patients' diet and the improvement of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia. Future studies are necessary to confirm these preliminary data; a bigger sample and a controlled diet should be considered, and the mechanisms through which improvements are achieved should be analyzed.

28 September 2023 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Headache is one of the most common neurological symptoms. Many previous studies have indicated a relationship between primary headaches and alcohol. Drinking has been associated with increased risk of tension-type headache (TTH) and migraine. However, recently published studies have not confirmed this relationship. The existing literature is inconclusive; however, migraine patients avoid alcohol. Therefore, the primary objective was to provide a reliable assessment of alcohol intake in people with primary headaches; the secondary objective was to identify any potential relationship between alcohol consumption and headache risk.

METHODS: This study was based on PubMed, Embase and Web of Science database searches performed on 11 July 2023. This systematic review was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42023412926). Risk of bias for the included studies was assessed using the Joanna Briggs Institute critical appraisal tools. Meta-analyses were performed using Statistica software. The Risk Ratio (RR) was adopted as the measure of the final effect. Analyses were based on a dichotomous division of the respondents into "non-drinkers" and "drinkers" for headache patients and matched non-headache groups.

RESULTS: From a total of 1892 articles, 22 were included in the meta-analysis. The majority demonstrated a moderate or high risk of bias. The first part of the meta-analysis was performed on data obtained from 19 migraine studies with 126 173 participants. The risk of migraine in alcohol drinkers is approximately 1.5 times lower than in the group of non-drinkers (RR = 0.71; 95% CI: 0.57-0.89). The second part involved 9 TTH studies with 28 715 participants. No relationship was found between TTH diagnosis and alcohol consumption (RR = 1.09; 95% CI: 0.93-1.27). Two of the included cluster-headache articles had inconclusive results.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol consumption and migraine are inversely correlated. The exact mechanism behind this observation may indicate that migraine leads to alcohol-avoidance, rather than alcohol having any protective role against migraine. There was no relationship between TTH and drinking. However, further studies related to primary headaches and alcohol consumption with low risk of bias are required. Additionally, patients and physicians should consider the latest medical data, in order to avoid the myths about alcohol consumption and primary headaches.

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