Alcohol Effects

Alcohol's Health Benefits Overstated?

The benefits of light alcohol consumption, as well as the risks associated with not drinking at all, might not be as great as previously thought, according to Penn State researchers who examined the drinking habits of middle-aged adults.

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Alcohol Increases Risks of Heart Conditions

Alcohol abuse increases the risk of atrial fibrillation, heart attack and congestive heart failure as much as other well-established risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and obesity, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Alcohol Helps Bacteria Harm the Liver

End-stage liver disease or liver cirrhosis is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and approximately half of these cases are related to alcohol consumption. There's no refuting that alcohol itself harms the liver, but new research in mice and humans published February 10 in Cell Host & Microbe reveals that chronic drinking also promotes the growth of gut bacteria that can travel to the liver and exacerbate liver disease.

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Bariatric Surgery Can Lead to Alcohol Abuse

Among patients who underwent bariatric surgery, there was a higher prevalence of alcohol use disorders in the second year after surgery, and specifically after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, compared with the years immediately before and following surgery, according to a study in JAMA.

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Alcohol Greatly Increases Serious Injury Risk

Researchers know that alcohol impairs coordination and the ability to perceive and respond to hazards, and that hangovers impair neurocognitive performance and psychomotor vigilance. This study closely examined alcohol-related injuries admitted to hospital, finding that alcohol greatly increases risk for serious injury.

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How Alcohol Interferes With Sleep

Large amounts of alcohol are known to shorten sleep latency, increase slow-wave sleep, and suppress rapid eye movement (REM) during the first half of sleep. During the second half of sleep, REM increases and sleep becomes shallower. A study of the acute effects of alcohol on the relationship between sleep and heart rate variability (HRV) during sleep has found that alcohol interferes with the restorative functions of sleep.

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Brain Damage Seen in Young Binge-Drinkers

It's considered a rite of passage among young people – acting out their independence through heavy, episodic drinking. But a new University of Cincinnati study, the first of its kind nationally, is showing how binge drinking among adolescents and young adults could be causing serious damage to a brain that's still under development at this age.

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Alcohol's Damaging Effects on the Brain

While alcohol has a wide range of pharmacological effects on the body, the brain is a primary target. However, the molecular mechanisms by which alcohol alters neuronal activity in the brain are poorly understood. Participants in a symposium at the annual meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in San Antonio, Texas addressed recent findings concerning the interactions of alcohol with prototype brain proteins thought to underlie alcohol actions in the brain.

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