Alcohol Can Cause Immediate Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

Elizabeth Fernandez wrote . . . . . . . . .

A single glass of wine can quickly – significantly – raise the drinker’s risk for atrial fibrillation, according to new research by UC San Francisco.

The study provides the first evidence that alcohol consumption substantially increases the chance of the heart rhythm condition occurring within a few hours. The findings might run counter to a prevailing perception that alcohol can be “cardioprotective,” say the authors, suggesting that reducing or avoiding alcohol might help mitigate harmful effects.

The paper is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Contrary to a common belief that atrial fibrillation is associated with heavy alcohol consumption, it appears that even one alcohol drink may be enough to increase the risk,” said Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS, professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at UCSF.

“Our results show that the occurrence of atrial fibrillation might be neither random nor unpredictable,” he said. “Instead, there may be identifiable and modifiable ways of preventing an acute heart arrhythmia episode.”

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart arrhythmia seen clinically, but until now research has largely focused on risk factors for developing the disease and therapies to treat it, rather than factors that determine when and where an episode might occur. AF can lead to loss of quality of life, significant health care costs, stroke and death.

Large studies have shown that chronic alcohol consumption can be a predictor of the condition, and Marcus and other scientists have demonstrated that it is linked to heightened risks of a first diagnosis of atrial arrhythmias.

The research centered on 100 patients with documented AF who consumed at least one alcoholic drink a month. The patients were recruited from the general cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology outpatient clinics at UCSF. People with a history of alcohol or substance use disorder were excluded, as were those with certain allergies, or who were changing treatment for their heart condition.

Each wore an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor for approximately four weeks, pressing a button whenever they had a standard-size alcoholic drink. They were also all fitted with a continuously recording alcohol sensor. Blood tests reflecting alcohol consumption over the previous weeks were periodically administered. Participants consumed a median of one drink per day throughout the study period.

Researchers found that an AF episode was associated with two-fold higher odds with one alcoholic drink, and three-fold higher odds with two or more drinks within the preceding four hours. AF episodes were also associated with an increased blood alcohol concentration.

The authors note study limitations, including that patients might have forgotten to press their monitor buttons or that they minimized the number of button presses due to embarrassment, although these considerations would not have affected alcohol sensor readings. Additionally, the study was limited to those with established AF, not to the general population.

“The effects seem to be fairly linear: the more alcohol consumed, the higher the risk of an acute AF event,” said Marcus. “These observations mirror what has been reported by patients for decades, but this is the first objective, measurable evidence that a modifiable exposure may acutely influence the chance that an AF episode will occur.”

Source: UCSF

Singaporean Company Unveils World’s First Cell-Based Crab Meat

Shiok Meats, the cell-cultured crustacean meat pioneer, showcased the world’s first cell-based crab meat at a private tasting event in Singapore recently.

In a collaboration with Chef José Luis Del Amo of TheTasteLab, Shiok Meats presented Crab Cake and Chili Crab, complemented by Lobster-flavored Potato Chips and Tom Yum Shrimp Soup, all prepared with Shiok Meats’ cell-based meats.

Shiok Meats states that the event was an important milestone for Shiok Meats, signifying a step closer to bringing cell-based crustacean meat to consumers by 2023. The company continues to work towards the building of the first-ever cell-based seafood manufacturing plant in Singapore.

This development follows a string of previous milestones which the female-led company has achieved in the few years since launch.

The seafood of the future

Demand for seafood is on the rise, despite a rising global awareness of its disastrous implications. According to FAO, there is a huge demand for crab and the prices have been rising. Live crab exports rose by 20 percent to US$ 652 million, with China and the Republic of Korea each accounting for just under 50 percent of the total. Retail sales of crab were up by 60 percent compared to 2019. The crab market is insatiable as consumers shift to home consumption and are willing to pay higher retail prices for quality products.

Cell cultured seafood offers a solution. Once the stem cells are harvested, the shrimp, lobster, and crab meats are grown in nutrient-rich conditions, similar to that of a greenhouse. After four-to-six weeks, the cell-based seafood is exactly the same as its conventional counterpart but more sustainable, clean, and nutritious. Shiok Meats’ patent-pending technology can grow crustaceans four times faster than conventional production.

Dr. Sandhya Sriram, CEO and Dr. Ka Yi Ling, CTO, stated: “We are ecstatic that we were able to showcase the first ever cell-based crab meat that we produced in our facility. We are humbled by the support and enthusiasm of our team, investors and collaborators. In this exclusive tasting event, we invited some of the key stakeholders in the food and alternative protein industry. Our mission is to develop cell-based crustacean meats that are contributing towards a cleaner and healthier seafood industry and solving for the inefficiencies around global protein production. We are working very hard on making sure that our products are delicious, healthy and affordable in the long run.”

Source: Vegconomist

Study: Vaccines’ Power Against COVID Hospitalization Fades in Elderly

The ability of COVID-19 vaccines to protect adults older than 75 against hospitalization appears to wane over time, but still remained 80% effective as of the end of July, new federal data shows.

The same data indicates that vaccines continued to offer the same or nearly the same level of protection against hospitalization for people up to the age of 75, and the shots remained 94% effective among adults ages 18-49, CBS News reported.

Hospitalization rates among fully vaccinated people were higher among older residents of nursing homes and among those with underlying conditions such as weakened immune systems, according to data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Getting vaccinated remains crucial: Previewing the data’s release earlier this month, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky noted that “COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates were 17 times higher in unvaccinated,”CBS News reported.

The fresh data was presented Monday as the CDC’s independent panel of vaccine experts met to discuss federal plans for a potential booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines next month.

While the findings suggest a slight decline in the vaccines’ ability to protect older and vulnerable people against severe disease, the CDC says reaching conclusions about how long protection lasts in these groups is challenging, CBS News reported.

“It actually may be very difficult for us to disentangle time, since vaccination and the impact of the Delta variant, especially in some populations that we know were vaccinated earlier in the time course. So, if we see waning in the last couple of months, it could be really difficult,” Dr. Sara Oliver, a leading CDC vaccine official, told the vaccine panel.

Another CDC analysis released on the weekend stated that even though 16.1% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in June had been fully vaccinated, the vaccines appear to remain “highly effective in preventing hospitalization,” CBS News reported.

On Monday, the CDC said it will schedule another meeting of the panel in mid-September to discuss more data on booster shots, a meeting that will likely be held before the Biden administration’s planned roll-out of booster shots the week of Sept. 20.

Previously, top U.S. health officials said they were planning for the possibility that third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would be needed eight months after people received their first two shots, but recent data from the vaccine makers and other countries suggest booster shots might be required sooner than six months from vaccination, CBS News reported.

Source: HealthDay

Chia and Tomato Guacamole with Sumac Crisps

Ingredients

cooking oil spray
4 rye mountain breads (100 g)
1-1/2 tsp ground sumac
2 medium avocados (500 g), chopped coarsely
1/3 cup lime juice
1 small red onion (100 g) chopped finely
1/3 cup (60 g) semi-dried tomatoes, chopped finely
1/4 cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1-1/2 tbsp black or white chia seeds
2 fresh long red chilies, sliced thinly

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Line three oven trays with baking paper. Spray with cooking oil.
  2. Cut each sheet of mountain bread into 16 triangles. Place in a single layer on trays and spray with oil. Sprinkle with sumac. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 5 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  3. Place avocado and juice in a medium bowl. Mash lightly with a fork. Stir in red onion, tomato, coriander, paprika, 1 tablespoon chia seeds and three-quarters of the chili. Season to taste with salt.
  4. Place guacamole in a serving bowl. Top with remaining chili and remaining chia seeds. Serve with sumac crisps.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Everyday Power Foods


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