Saturday October 19, 2019

Early Exposure To Alcohol Can Increases The Risk For Anxiety Later in Life

A study showed adolescent binge drinking, even if discontinued, increases the risk for anxiety later in life due to abnormal epigenetic programming. 

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"Binge drinking early in life modifies the brain and changes connectivity in the brain, especially in the amygdala, which is involved in emotional regulation and anxiety, in ways we don't totally understand yet," said Subhash Pandey, Professor at the University of Illinois in the US. Pixabay

Are you a heavy drinker? Take note. Alcohol exposure early has lasting effects on the brain and increases the risk of anxiety in adulthood, say researchers, including one of an Indian-origin.

A study showed adolescent binge drinking, even if discontinued, increases the risk for anxiety later in life due to abnormal epigenetic programming.

“Epigenetics” refers to chemical changes to DNA, RNA or specific proteins associated with chromosomes that change the activity of genes without changing the genes themselves.

“Binge drinking early in life modifies the brain and changes connectivity in the brain, especially in the amygdala, which is involved in emotional regulation and anxiety, in ways we don’t totally understand yet,” said Subhash Pandey, Professor at the University of Illinois in the US.

DNA
“Epigenetics” refers to chemical changes to DNA, RNA or specific proteins associated with chromosomes that change the activity of genes without changing the genes themselves. 
Pixabay

“But what we do know is that epigenetic changes are lasting and increase susceptibility to psychological issues later in life, even if drinking that took place early in life is stopped,” said Pandey.

For the study, adolescent rats that underwent an assessment for anxiety were exposed to ethyl alcohol for two days on and two days off or to the same protocol using saline for 14 days.

The rats were allowed to mature to adulthood without any further exposure to alcohol.

brain
“Epigenetics” refers to chemical changes to DNA, RNA or specific proteins associated with chromosomes that change the activity of genes without changing the genes themselves. 
Pixabay

The rats exhibited anxious behaviour later in life, even after the binge drinking regimen stopped in late adolescence. They also had lower levels of a protein called Arc in the amygdala.

Arc is important for the normal development of synaptic connections in the brain.

The findings were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

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Rats with less Arc also had about 40 per cent fewer neuronal connections in the amygdala compared with rats that weren’t exposed to alcohol.

The decrease in Arc levels is caused by epigenetic changes that alter the expression of Arc, and an enhancer RNA, which modifies the expression of Arc. These changes are caused by adolescent alcohol exposure, said Pandey. (IANS)

Next Story

Study reveals, Frequent Drinking Can Be More Harmful Than Binges

For the study, published in the journal EP Europace, researchers examined the relative importance of frequent drinking versus binge drinking for new-onset atrial fibrillation

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Researchers examined the relative importance of Frequent Drinking versus Binge Drinking for new-onset atrial fibrillation. Pixabay

Alcohol lovers, take a note. Drinking small amounts of alcohol frequently is linked with a higher likelihood of atrial fibrillation than binge drinking, says a new study.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder and raises the risk of stroke by five-fold. Symptoms include palpitations, racing or irregular pulse, shortness of breath, tiredness, chest pain and dizziness.

“Our study suggests that drinking less often may also be important to protect against atrial fibrillation,” said study author Jong-Il Choi, from Korea University College in South Korea.

For the study, published in the journal EP Europace, researchers examined the relative importance of frequent drinking versus binge drinking for new-onset atrial fibrillation.

The analysis included 9,776,956 individuals without atrial fibrillation who underwent a national health check-up in 2009 which included a questionnaire about alcohol consumption.

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The number of Frequent Drinking sessions is related to atrial fibrillation onset regardless of age and sex. Pixabay

Participants were followed-up until 2017 for the occurrence of atrial fibrillation.

The number of drinking sessions per week was the strongest risk factor for new-onset atrial fibrillation.

Compared with drinking twice per week (reference group), drinking every day was the riskiest, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.412, while drinking once a week was the least risky (HR 0.933).

Binge drinking did not show any clear link with new-onset atrial fibrillation.

“Our study suggests that frequent drinking is more dangerous than infrequent binge drinking with regard to atrial fibrillation,” Choi said.

The number of drinking sessions was related to atrial fibrillation onset regardless of age and sex.

Repeated episodes of atrial fibrillation triggered by alcohol may lead to overt disease, the research notes.

Drinking
Drinking small amounts of alcohol frequently is linked with a higher likelihood of atrial fibrillation than binge drinking. Pixabay

In addition, drinking can provoke sleep disturbance which is a known risk factor for atrial fibrillation.

There was a two per cent increase in the risk of new-onset atrial fibrillation for each gram of alcohol consumed per week.

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Compared to mild drinkers, those who drank no alcohol, moderate, or high amounts had 8.6 per cent, 7.7 per cent, and 21.5 per cent elevated risks, respectively, the study said. (IANS)