Monday December 9, 2019

New Link Found Between Alcohol, Genes And Heart Failure

The team found that the faulty titin gene may also play a role in the condition

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Hangovers might last longer than you think
Hangovers might last longer than you think. Pixabay

Even moderate level of alcohol consumption may worsen the condition of heart failure patients with a faulty versions of a gene called titin, new research has found.

Titin is crucial for maintaining the elasticity of the heart muscle. But faulty version of the gene may cause dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)– a type of heart failure where the left ventricle becomes weak causing lessening the ability to pump blood.

“Our research strongly suggests alcohol and genetics are interacting — and genetic predisposition and alcohol consumption can act together to lead to heart failure,” said study co-author James Ware from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London.

For the first part of the study, the team analysed 141 patients with a type of heart failure called alcoholic cardiomyopathy (ACM) — a type of heart failure due to long term alcohol abuse which may trigger because of drinking more than 70 units a week (roughly seven bottles of wine) for five years or more.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The team found that the faulty titin gene may also play a role in the condition.

The results, published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, showed that 13.5 per cent of ACM patients carried the mutation — much higher than the proportion of people who carry them in the general population.

Ware explained that the condition is not simply the result of alcohol poisoning, but arises from a genetic predisposition and thus can put other family members at risk as well.

He added that relatives of patients with ACM should receive assessment and heart scans to see if they unknowingly carry the faulty gene.

Also Read: Alcoholic Beverages Aren’t That Good For You As You May Have Thought

In the second part, the team analysed 716 patients with dilated cardiomyopathy – a condition that causes the heart muscle to become stretched and thin.

The team found that in patients whose DCM was caused by the faulty titin gene, even moderately increased alcohol intake (defined as drinking above the weekly recommended limit of 14 units), affected the heart’s pumping power.

“Alcohol and the heart have a complicated relationship. While moderate levels may have benefits for heart health, too much can cause serious cardiac problems. This research suggests that in people with titin-related heart failure, alcohol may worsen the condition,” explained study co-author, Paul Barton from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial. (IANS)

Next Story

Generalised Anxiety Disorder During Teenage Can Lead to Harmful Drinking Habits

Using questionnaire and clinical interview data from more than 2,000 participants, researchers found generalised anxiety disorder at age 18 was linked to frequent drinking

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Anxiety
Research has shown that links between mental health problems, such as Anxiety disorders, and alcohol are common and complex. Pixabay

Researchers at the University of Bristol have found evidence of an association between generalised Anxiety disorder at age 18 and harmful drinking three years later.

The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence strengthens the evidence for a relationship between anxiety and later alcohol use as the researchers accounted for other factors such as adolescent smoking and cannabis use, and parental anxiety and alcohol use.

“Helping adolescents to develop positive strategies for coping with anxiety, instead of drinking alcohol, may reduce the risk of future harmful drinking. However, we cannot determine if the relationship is causal, because we used an observational study design,” said Maddy Dyer.

Using questionnaire and clinical interview data from more than 2,000 participants, researchers found generalised anxiety disorder at age 18 was linked to frequent drinking, frequent bingeing, hazardous drinking, and harmful drinking at age 18.

Generalised anxiety disorder continued to be associated with harmful drinking at age 21.

Drinking to cope was also strongly associated with more harmful drinking, but it did not appear to influence associations between anxiety and alcohol use.

Harmful drinking was measured using a special test developed by the World Health Association.

On average, adolescents with anxiety drank at more harmful levels regardless of whether they tended to drink alcohol for coping reasons or not.

Anxiety
Researchers at the University of Bristol have found evidence of an association between generalised Anxiety disorder at age 18 and harmful drinking three years later. Pixabay

“Our own research has shown that links between mental health problems, such as anxiety disorders, and alcohol are common and complex,” said Mark Leyshon, Senior Policy and Research Manager at Alcohol Change UK.

For example, anxiety can be both a result of stopping drinking and a risk factor in beginning to drink too much, as this new study suggests.

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“We need more research to help us better understand the connections between alcohol and mental health, as well as high-quality, accessible, integrated support for substance misuse and mental health issues,” Leyshon added. (IANS)