Alcohol

Review of new UK alcohol guidelines coming soon.

Latest News

Dry January has a dramatic effect on health – Metro – 16-May-2018
Giving up booze for a month lowers blood pressure, cholesterol & diabetes risk.
It can also drastically reduce levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood.
Study involved 141 people who drank more than the UK recommended limit.
Blood samples were taken at the start and end of the month.
Abstainers saw their insulin resistance fall by an average of 26 per cent.
Not known how long the results last.

Drinking can take years off your life – BBC News – 13-Apr-2018
2 drinks a day shortens life expectancy by up to two years.
More than 3 drinks a day could lose five years of your life.
5 to 10 drinks a week could shorten their lives by six months.
UK government guidelines say less than six pints of beer per week.
Did not find an increased risk of death for lighter drinkers.
Reduced risk of heart disease wiped out by a higher risk of other illness.
Lancet study of 600,000 alcohol drinkers in 19 countries.

Alcohol can cause irreversible genetic damage to stem cells – The Guardian – 3-Jan-2018
Research using mice shows alcohol causes cancer by scrambling the DNA in cells.
Alcohol metabolite causes DNA damage including to stem cells.
Acetaldehyde slices through DNA causing permanent damage if not neutralised by two natural defence mechanisms.
Alcohol consumption causes around 4% of cancers in the UK.

This is your brain on alcohol – Harvard Health Publishing – 14-Jul-2017
Study followed over 500 healthy participants over 30 years.
Took tests to measure memory, reasoning, and verbal skills.
Underwent brain imaging with MRI at the end of the study.
Amount of shrinkage in the hippocampus was related to the amount people drank.
Four or more drinks a day had 6x risk of hippocampal shrinkage.
However, little impact on cognitive performance.

Even moderate drinking may speed brain decline – Statnews – 06-June-2017
Study published in the BMJ finds 8 to 12 drinks a week is associated with cognitive decline.
Brain scans show degeneration and shrinking of the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory and navigation.
Consuming one more alcoholic drink per week was associated with a 0.01 percent reduction.
For comparison, aging one year was associated with a 0.02 percent decrease.

Moderate drinking linked to lower risk of some heart conditions – BMJ – 22-Mar-2017
Study of nearly 2 million adults who were free from CVD at baseline.
Non-drinkers were separated from former and occasional drinkers.
Moderate drinking associated with a lower risk of angina, heart failure and ischaemic stroke.
Moderate drinking defined as no more than 14 units (112 grams) of alcohol a week.
Observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.

Moderate Drinking Effect on Health may be Explained by Wealth and Status – Fight Aging! – 6-Feb-2017
Secondary analysis of data from 2,908 participants in the New Zealand Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
Positive influence of moderate alcohol consumption on health disappeared when controlling for full socioeconomic status.

Why energy dense alcohol leads to overeating – Nature – 10-Jan-2017
Calorie intake usually suppresses brain appetite signals.
Hypothalamic Agrp neurons are normally activated by starvation and evoke intense hunger.
However dietary doses of ethanol triggers electrical and biochemical hyperactivity in these circuits.

Muddled Link Between Booze and Cancer – Wired – 22-Sep-2016
World Health Organization has recognized alcoholic beverages as a Group 1 carcinogen since 2012.
Early studies criticized for sick quitters bias – teetotallers included former alcoholics people already too sick to drink.
Meta-analysis of recent epidemiological and biological research estimates that alcohol-attributable cancers make up 5.8% of cancer deaths.
Journal Addiction has highlighted often-cozy relationship between alcohol academics and industry.
UK Department of Health has changed its alcohol guidelines from “safe to drink moderately” to “there is no level of regular drinking that can be considered as completely safe.”

Alcohol Use and the Over 50s in the UK – International Longevity Centre UK – 18-Jan-2016
Hidden population of over 50s at increasing risk from their drinking.
Most not confident they could keep track of their alcohol units.
16,700 respondents.