Category Archives: binge drinking

Heavy drinking may lead to stroke, peripheral artery disease

One of the most amazing statistics I have heard as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is that sales of high end liquors are up 500% in the past three months. Folks, please! Use a little self awareness.

Drinking high amounts of alcohol may be linked to increased risk of stroke or peripheral artery disease – the narrowing of arteries in the legs, according to new genetic research.

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The study, published Tuesday in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine, used a technique called Mendelian randomization that identifies genetic variants. While observational studies have shown similar results, this new work provides insights through a different lens.

“Since genetic variants are determined at conception and cannot be affected by subsequent environmental factors, this technique allows us to better determine whether a risk factor – in this case, heavy alcohol consumption – is the cause of a disease, or if it is simply associated,” the study’s lead author, Susanna Larsson, said in a news release. Larsson is senior researcher and associate professor of cardiovascular and nutritional epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. “To our knowledge, this is the first study of its kind on alcohol consumption and several cardiovascular diseases.”

Genetic data from more than 500,000 United Kingdom residents showed higher alcohol intake contributed to a threefold increase of peripheral artery disease, a 27% increase in stroke risk, and a potential link to coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation and aortic aneurysm.

“Higher alcohol consumption is a known cause of death and disability, yet it was previously unclear if alcohol consumption is also a cause of cardiovascular disease,” Larsson said. “Considering that many people consume alcohol regularly, it is important to disentangle any risks or benefits.”

Researchers suggest the heightened risk of stroke and PAD could be caused by higher blood pressure.

The American Heart Association’s statement on dietary health suggests alcohol intake can be part of a healthy diet if consumed in moderation – that is, no more than one drink a day for non-pregnant women and two drinks a day for men. The statement notes potential risks of alcohol on existing health conditions, medication-alcohol interaction or personal safety and work situations.

The prevalence of heavy drinking among participants was low, which researchers say is a limitation of the study.

Tony

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Filed under alcohol, binge drinking, drinking alcohol, peripheral artery disease, stroke

Key brain region for controlling binge drinking found

A team of National Institutes of Health-funded researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina has found that deactivating a stress-signaling system in a brain area known for motivation and emotion-related behaviors decreases binge drinking. The study, which was published online in February and is to appear in the May issue of Neuropharmacology, pinpoints a particular system in a specific brain region that can be manipulated to reduce harmful binge drinking.

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The MUSC team was led by Howard C. Becker, Ph.D., director of the Charleston Alcohol Research Center and professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.

“Binge drinking is one of the most common patterns in which alcohol is consumed,” explained Becker. “It’s a risky behavior, and one consequence of repeated binge drinking is increasing risk for developing an alcohol use disorder.”

Further, according to Becker, those who consistently binge drink, particularly during adolescent and college years, have almost 10 times the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder.

But how much alcohol must be consumed to qualify a drinking session as a binge?

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Binge Drinking Raises Risk of Cognitive Decline

Regular readers are aware smoking is just not on as far as I am concerned here on the blog. It is simply self-destructive behavior. Besides lung cancer, smoking damages every organ in the body. I hope that regular readers are not smokers. Ditto binge drinking. I know this sounds like something from wild college days, but it turns out that there are a lot of adults out there who overdo the alcohol scene.

Because my family has both Alzheimers’ Disease and dementia on both sides, I am especially sensitive to cognitive decline. I want very much to keep my mental faculties intact for my entire life.

For that reason, I was struck by an item in USA TODAY by Janice Lloyd reporting from Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Vancouver, Canada that binge drinking increases the risk of cognitive decline.

“Adults ages 65 and older who reported binge drinking at least twice a month were 2½ times more likely to suffer cognitive and memory declines than similar-aged adults who don’t binge-drink.
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Filed under aging, binge drinking, brain, cognitive decline