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Alcohol abuse in middle age could lead to dementia later in life, asserts a new paper from researchers at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom and published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. investigations have suggested that current levels of alcohol consumption can influence dementia risk, but no study had examined whether alcohol use disorders AUDs affect long-term memory impairment.
Researchers looked at 6, people in the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative study of middle-aged adults in the U. At baseline and follow-up examinations, subjects self-reported their alcohol risk factors, and memory was assessed using word-recall tests. These findings did not change when adjusted for potentially mediating factors such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and head injury. Although the study did not address why alcohol might affect memory, the authors suggest several factors may be at play.
Iain Lang, a study coauthor, told Wine Spectator. Lang added that alcohol can increase the release of free radicals, which damage cell membranes.
Heavy consumption of wine, beer and spirits may have distinct effects on long-term memory, but this study did not distinguish among alcohol types. For those who drink moderately, the news is sunnier. The potential of red wine to mitigate the risk of heart disease has been confirmed by many studies in the past, but new research suggests alcohol may have a negative effect on one function of the human heart: your heartbeat. Alcohol consumption, even in light to moderate amounts, appears to be associated with atrial fibrillation AFan abnormal heartbeat or flutter that increases the risk of stroke, heart failure and dementia, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Among the 79, subjects none of whom had AF at baselinethere were 7, cases of AF reported over 12 years of follow up. Subjects self-reported their alcohol consumption by volume and type. The authors found that the more one drank, the greater the likelihood of developing AF. Compared with subjects who reported having less than one drink per week, those who drank 15 to 21 drinks per week increased their risk of AF by 14 percent; those who drank in excess of 21 drinks per week, 39 percent. Spirits tended to have the greatest impact on the risk of AF, with wine also increasing risk; beer did not.
This may have to do with the respective alcohol levels of the beverages. The authors point to other findings that "chronic alcohol ingestion le to depression of heart function," as well as atrial electromechanical delays in otherwise healthy men.
Higher alcohol content, therefore, may play a role in AF development. From sulfites to egg whites to isinglass, today's wine lover is acutely aware of what goes into the wine she drinks. Few, however, are likely aware of plasticizers used to coat tanks at wineries. Now a study from France reports that the coatings of many wine vessels contain compounds called phthalates, some of which, at high enough concentrations, can be toxic.
The study also found that these phthalates are migrating into some wines and spirits in potentially alarming quantities. The compounds are "extensively used in the plastic industry to improve the physical and mechanical properties of plastic products. In many countries, these dangerous phthalates have been banned for years. Past studies on animals indicate that potential dangers from phthalates could include malformations of male sex organs and an increased risk of certain types of cancers.
If the dangerous phthalates have been off the market for years, why look into the problem now? Pascal and his team decided to do a quick survey of the situation in France and identify the main sources of phthalate residues in contact with wines and spirits. For the study, Chatonnet and his colleagues examined wine samples from all over France and 30 samples of grape spirits from southwest France. They found that 17 percent of the samples contained no detectable quantity of any phthalates; 19 percent contained non-quantifiable traces. The E.
In American manufacturing, DBA has also been used in textiles, food packaging, dental materials and cosmetics, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The EPA continues to investigate the potential effects of these phthalates, and has added them to a list of "chemicals that present or may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.
The scientists also examined the polymer-based items in winemaking facilities that might be responsible for the transmission of phthalates to beverages—such as vats, pumps, hoses, gaskets and tanks. While several of these materials showed ificant phthalate concentrations, Chatonnet and his coauthors concluded that "the epoxy resin coatings used on vats represented the major source.
Alcohol can increase the extraction of phthalates, so spirits were likely to contain larger amounts of the compounds. Chatonnet said the risk of "a glass of wine is nothing in comparison with some other products. Chatonnet urges wineries not to use vats or other polymer materials that were coated more than 10 years ago; many of these, made with phthalates that were later banned, have a high contamination potential.
His team is also working to develop a preparation that could be applied to materials to eliminate their risk of phthalate migration. By Esther Mobley. Potentially toxic compound found in some French wines From sulfites to egg whites to isinglass, today's wine lover is acutely aware of what goes into the wine she drinks.
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