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Wine In Moderation
Io bevo all'amor mio caro, cuor contento cent'anni camperà!
William Shakespeare,
1564 » 1616

Alcohol and wine in relation to cancer and other diseases.
Alcool e vino in relazione ai tumori e ad altre malattie.

Attilio Giacosa, Anne F. Adam-Blondon, Sara Baer-Sinnott, Roberto Barale, Luigi Bavaresco, Gabriele Di Gaspero, Laura Dugo, Robert Curtis Ellison, Vincenzo Gerbi, Dun Gifford, Jaak Janssens, Carlo La Vecchia, Eva Negri, Mario Pezzotti, Leonardo Santi, Luca Santi and Mariangela Rondanelli

European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2011 November

Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with increased overall mortality, cancer, liver, and cardiovascular diseases; but low doses of alcohol (up to one drink per day) are not associated with the risk of any cancer site with the exception of breast cancer and possibly of oral and pharyngeal cancers. Moreover, recent evidence indicates that moderate alcohol and specifically wine intake provides cardioprotection and neuroprotection and may increase longevity. Various experimental data hypothesize a potential cancer chemopreventive role of some grape extracts, and complete sequence of grapevine genome has revealed genes responsible for the synthesis of healthpromoting compounds (resveratrol and other polyphenols), thus advocating the development of future potential nutraceutical strategies. This focuses on the pros and cons of moderate alcohol and wine consumption and opens a debate on this topic.

Il consumo elevato di alcool si associa ad un aumento della mortalità, così come ad un aumento dei tumori e delle malattie del fegato e cardiovascolari. Per contro, un consumo moderato di alcool (sino ad 1 bicchiere di vino, pari a 125 ml, al giorno che corrisponde a 10 grammi di alcool) non è associato ad alcun tipo di rischio oncologico, eccetto il cancro alla mammella e verosimilmente il cancro del cavo orale e del faringe. Inoltre, recenti evidenze indicano che il moderato consumo di alcolici, e specificamente di vino, comporta una riduzione del rischio di malattie cardiovascolari e neurologiche degenerative, come la demenza senile, e può favorire la longevità. Molti dati sperimentali ipotizzano un possibile effetto preventivo sul cancro da parte di vari estratti dell’uva e la recente scoperta del genoma della vite ha messo in evidenza i geni responsabili della sintesi di questi composti (resveratrolo e altri polifenoli) con attività positive sulla salute, ponendo così in evidenza l’ipotesi di un futuro sviluppo di strategie nutraceutiche salutistiche. L’editoriale fa il punto sui pro e contro di un moderato consumo di alcolici, ed in particolare di vino, ed apre il dibattito su questo tema.


Development of a Quantitative PCR for Detection of Lactobacillus plantarum Starters During Wine Malolactic Fermentation

Cho, Gyu-Sung, Sabrina Krauß, Melanie Huch, Maret Du Toit, and Charles M.A.P. Franz

Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2011 September

A quantitative, real-time PCR method was developed to enumerate Lactobacillus plantarum IWBT B 188 during the malolactic fermentation (MLF) in Grauburgunder wine. The qRT-PCR was strain-specific, as it was based on primers targeting a plasmid DNA sequence, or it was L. plantarum-specific, as it targeted a chromosomally located plantaricin gene sequence. Two 50 l wine fermentations were prepared. One was inoculated with 15 g/hl Saccharomyces cerevisiae, followed by L. plantarum IWBT B 188 at 3.6 × 106 CFU/ml, whereas the other was not inoculated (control). Viable cell counts were performed for up to 25 days on MRS agar, and the same cells were enumerated by qRT-PCR with both the plasmid or chromosomally encoded gene primers. The L. plantarum strain survived under the harsh conditions in the wine fermentation at levels above 105/ml for approx. 10 days, after which cell numbers decreased to levels of 103 CFU/ml at day 25, and to below the detection limit after day 25. In the control, no lactic acid bacteria could be detected throughout the fermentation, with the exception of two sampling points where ca. 1 × 102 CFU/ml was detected. The minimum detection level for quantitative PCR in this study was 1 × 102 to 1 × 103 CFU/ml. The qRT-PCR results determined generally overestimated the plate count results by about 1 log unit, probably as a result of the presence of DNA from dead cells. Overall, qRT-PCR appeared to be well suited for specifically enumerating Lactobacillus plantarum starter cultures in the MLF in wine.


Alcohol Consumption at Midlife
and Successful Ageing in Women:
A Prospective Cohort Analysis in the Nurses’ Health Study.

Qi Sun, Mary K. Townsend, Olivia I. Okereke, Eric B. Rimm, Frank B. Hu1, Meir J. Stampfer, Francine Grodstein

PLoS Medicine, 2011 September

Observational studies have documented inverse associations between moderate alcohol consumption and risk of premature death. It is largely unknown whether moderate alcohol intake is also associated with overall health and well-being among populations who have survived to older age. In this study, we prospectively examined alcohol use assessed at midlife in relation to successful ageing in a cohort of US women.

Methods and Findings
Alcohol consumption at midlife was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Subsequently, successful ageing was defined in 13,894 Nurses’ Health Study participants who survived to age 70 or older, and whose health status was continuously updated. "Successful ageing" was considered as being free of 11 major chronic diseases and having no major cognitive impairment, physical impairment, or mental health limitations. Analyses were restricted to the 98.1% of participants who were not heavier drinkers (.45 g/d) at midlife. Of all eligible study participants, 1,491 (10.7%) achieved successful ageing. After multivariable adjustment of potential confounders, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption at midlife was associated with modestly increased odds of successful ageing. The odds ratios (95% confidence interval) were 1.0 (referent) for nondrinkers, 1.11 (0.96–1.29) for #5.0 g/d, 1.19 (1.01–1.40) for 5.1–15.0 g/d, 1.28 (1.03–1.58) for 15.1–30.0 g/d, and 1.24 (0.87–1.76) for 30.1–45.0 g/d. Meanwhile, independent of total alcohol intake, participants who drank alcohol at regular patterns throughout the week, rather than on a single occasion, had somewhat better odds of successful ageing; for example, the odds ratios (95% confidence interval) were 1.29 (1.01–1.64) and 1.47 (1.14–1.90) for those drinking 3–4 days and 5–7 days per week in comparison with nondrinkers, respectively, whereas the odds ratio was 1.10 (0.94–1.30) for those drinking only 1–2 days per week.

These data suggest that regular, moderate consumption of alcohol at midlife may be related to a modest increase in overall health status among women who survive to older ages.


Moderate alcohol consumption and cognitive risk.

Neafsey EJ, Collins MA.

Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 2011 August

We reviewed 143 papers that described the relationship between moderate drinking of alcohol and some aspect of cognition. Two types of papers were found: (1) those that provided ratios of risk between drinkers and nondrinkers (74 papers in total) and (2) those that, although they did not provide such ratios, allowed cognition in drinkers to be rated as “better,” “no different,” or “worse” than cognition in nondrinkers (69 papers in total). The history of research on moderate drinking and cognition can be divided into two eras: 1977–1997 and 1998–present. Phase I (1977–1997) was the era of neuropsychological evaluation involving mostly young to middle-aged (18–50 years old) subjects. Although initial studies indicated moderate drinking impaired cognition, many later studies failed to confirm this, instead finding no difference in cognition between drinkers and nondrinkers. Phase II (1998–present) was and is the era of mental status exam evaluation involving mostly older ($55 years old) subjects. These studies overwhelmingly found that moderate drinking either reduced or had no effect on the risk of dementia or cognitive impairment. When all the ratios of risk from all the studies in phase II providing such ratios are entered into a comprehensive meta-analysis, the average ratio of risk for cognitive risk (dementia or cognitive impairment/decline) associated with moderate “social” (not alcoholic) drinking of alcohol is 0.77, with nondrinkers as the reference group. The benefit of moderate drinking applied to all forms of dementia (dementia unspecified, Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular dementia) and to cognitive impairment (low test scores), but no significant benefit against cognitive decline (rate of decline in test scores) was found. Both light and moderate drinking provided a similar benefit, but heavy drinking was associated with nonsignificantly higher cognitive risk for dementia and cognitive impairment. Although the meta-analysis also indicated that wine was better than beer or spirits, this was based on a relatively small number of studies because most studies did not distinguish among these different types of alcohol. Furthermore, a number of the studies that did make the distinction reported no difference among the effects of these different types of alcohol. Therefore, at present this question remains unanswered. Analysis also showed that the presence of the apolipoprotein E epsilon 4 allele eliminated the benefit of moderate drinking. However, this was based on a relatively small number of studies and several other studies have found a beneficial effect of the epsilon e4 allele. Further studies are necessary to settle this question. The benefit of moderate alcohol for cognition was seen in both men and women, although the amount and pattern of drinking is very different between the two sexes. Lastly, the finding of unaffected or significantly reduced cognitive risk in light to moderate drinkers was seen in 14/19 countries for which country-specific ratio data were available, with three of the five remaining countries showing nonsignificant reductions as well. Overall, light to moderate drinking does not appear to impair cognition in younger subjects and actually seems to reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive decline in older subjects.