Sunday November 17, 2019

Alcohol dependency leads to cancer in myriad forms

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London:High alcohol consumption will lead to varied forms of cancers among heavy drinkers, especially, in low-income countries like India, researchers have warned.

Picture credit: wearechange.org
Picture credit: wearechange.org

The new study of alcohol use in countries of all-income levels, including low-income nations like India and Zimbabwe, shows that alcohol dependence increases the risk of alcohol-related cancers and injury with no reduction in risk of mortality or in cardiovascular diseases overall.

The data came from 12 countries participating in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, a prospective cohort study of individuals aged 35-70 years.

The high-income countries were Sweden and Canada; upper-middle-income countries were Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Poland, South Africa and Turkey; lower-middle-income countries were China and Colombia; and were India and Zimbabwe.

The research, published in The Lancet journal, included 114,970 adults, of whom 28,813 people (25 per cent) were from low-income countries.

Current drinking was associated with a 51 per cent increased risk of alcohol-related cancers of mouth, oesophagus, stomach, colorectum, liver, breast, ovary, and head and neck. A 29 per cent increased risk of injury in current drinkers has been witnessed.

Although current drinking was associated with a 24 per cent reduced risk of heart attack, there was no reduction in risk of mortality or stroke.

High alcohol intake and heavy episodic drinking were both associated with significant increases in risk of overall mortality.

For higher-income countries, current drinking was associated with a 16 per cent reduced risk of combined disease outcome, while for lower-income countries, current drinking was associated with a 38 per cent increased risk.

“The world needs better health strategies to reduce harmful alcohol use especially in low-income countries like India,” the authors noted.

“Because alcohol consumption is increasing in many countries, especially in low-income countries, the importance of alcohol as a risk factor for disease might be underestimated. Therefore, global strategies to reduce harmful use of alcohol are essential,” explained Dr Salim Yusuf, president of the World Heart Federation.

According to a leading author, Dr Andrew Smyth from the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Canada, “the data support the call to increase global awareness of the importance of harmful use of alcohol and the need to further identify and target the modifiable determinants of harmful alcohol use”.

(IANS)

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Immune Cells Become Active and Repair Brain While Sleep: Study

For the findings, researchers conducted the study on mice

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Study suggests that the enhanced remodeling of neural circuits and repair of lesions during Sleep may be mediated in part by the ability of microglia to dynamically interact with the Brain. Pixabay

Researchers have found that immune cells called microglia, which play an important role in reorganising the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage, are also primarily active while we sleep.

Microglia serve as the brain’s first responders, patrolling the brain and spinal cord and springing into action to stamp out infections or gobble up debris from dead cell tissue.

“This research shows that the signals in our brain that modulate the sleep and awake state also act as a switch that turns the immune system off and on,” said study lead author Ania Majewska, Professor at University of Rochester in the US.

In previous studies, Majewska’s lab has shown how microglia interact with synapses, the juncture where the axons of one neuron connects and communicates with its neighbours.

The microglia help maintain the health and function of the synapses and prune connections between nerve cells when they are no longer necessary for brain function.

For the findings, researchers conducted the study on mice.

The current study points to the role of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that signals arousal and stress in the central nervous system.

This chemical is present in low levels in the brain while we sleep, but when production ramps up it arouses our nerve cells, causing us to wake up and become alert.

The study showed that norepinephrine also acts on a specific receptor, the beta2 adrenergic receptor, which is expressed at high levels in microglia.

When this chemical is present in the brain, the microglia slip into a sort of hibernation.

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Researchers have found that immune cells called microglia, which play an important role in reorganising the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage, are also primarily active while we Sleep and affects Brain. Pixabay

The study, which employed an advanced imaging technology that allows researchers to observe activity in the living brain, showed that when mice were exposed to high levels of norepinephrine, the microglia became inactive and were unable to respond to local injuries and pulled back from their role in rewiring brain networks.

“This work suggests that the enhanced remodeling of neural circuits and repair of lesions during sleep may be mediated in part by the ability of microglia to dynamically interact with the brain,” said study first author Rianne Stowell.

ALSO READ: Scientists Link ‘Brain Fog’ to Body Illness

“Altogether, this research also shows that microglia are exquisitely sensitive to signals that modulate brain function and that microglial dynamics and functions are modulated by the behavioural state of the animal,” Stowell said.

The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. (IANS)