What is the Biggest Modifiable Risk Factor For Dementia? Alcohol

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“undefined” by Iñaki Queralt is licensed under CC BY 2.0Michaël Schwarzinger, MD, PhD

Translational Health Economics Network (THEN)
Paris

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The association of heavy drinking with dementia has been known for decades. For instance, there is about no Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome without heavy drinking and the syndrome was described in 1890. But this type of dementia is very rare. Also, heavy drinking is knowingly associated with multiple risk factors for dementia onset such as hypertension or diabetes. But heavy drinkers generally refuse to participate to cohort studies and declaration of alcohol use among participants is generally biased downward… So the study rationale is very strong, but supporting empirical evidence is quite scarce.

This nationwide study included all 31+ million adults discharged from hospitals over 6 years, i.e., 50% of the French population before 65 years old and 80% above that age. Of 1.1+ million adults diagnosed with dementia, one in twenty had an early-onset (before 65 years old). Heavy drinking was recorded in most (56%) early-onset dementia cases: two-third in men; one-third in women. In addition, the association of heavy drinking with dementia goes far beyond 65 years old, both directly (>3 times higher risk for dementia onset after controlling for more than 30 known risk factors for dementia) and indirectly as heavy drinking was associated with all other independent risk factors for dementia onset. Accordingly, heavy drinking had the largest effect on dementia risk of all independent modifiable risk factors such as hypertension or diabetes.

The effects were found whatever dementia case definition or population studies.

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New Drug Blocks Frequency of Drinking Alcohol, But Not Amount Once Drinking Starts

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Megan Ryan M.B.A. Clinical Program Director, DMD Technology Development Coordinator National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD

Megan Ryan

Megan Ryan M.B.A.
Clinical Program Director, DMD
Technology Development Coordinator
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Alcohol use disorder (AUD) has been linked to the dysregulation of the brain stress systems (e.g. corticotropin-releasing factor, glucocorticoids, and vasopressin) creating a negative emotional state leading to chronic relapsing behavior. Several pre-clinical studies have shown that by blocking the V1b receptor with a V1b receptor antagonist, dependence induced compulsive-like alcohol intake is also blocked. This is the first multi-site trial to assess the efficacy of the V1b receptor antagonist novel compound (ABT-436) for the treatment of alcohol dependence.

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Gene Modifies Response to Topiramate in Heavy Drinkers

Henry R. Kranzler, MD Professor, Department of Psychiatry Director of the Center for Studies of Addiction. University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, PhiladelphiaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Henry R. Kranzler, MD
Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Director of the Center for Studies of Addiction.
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Kranzler: The study had two main findings:

  • First, topiramate, at a maximal dosage of 200 mg/day, which is lower than the 300 mg/day used in prior treatment trials, substantially reduced the frequency of heavy drinking and increased the frequency of abstinent days more than placebo. The lower dosage was well tolerated.
  • Second, a variant in a gene that encodes a receptor subunit that binds topiramate moderated the response to topiramate. That is, C-allele homozygotes in the single nucleotide polymorphism rs2832407 in GRIK1, the gene encoding the GluK1 subunit of the kainate receptor, were the subgroup that accounted for the effects of topiramate on heavy drinking. This has important implications for the personalized treatment of alcohol use disorder, in that 40% of people of European ancestry have this genotype and, if confirmed, these findings would make it possible to screen people genetically to select an effective treatment.

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