The Inside Edge

Previous studies suggest that regular moderate to high intake of alcohol might increase the risk of AF in men, but not in women.

A prospective study involving 34,715 initially healthy women aged over 45 years has specifically examined the potential risk in women. Participants were free of AF at baseline; over a median 12.4 years' follow-up, 653 cases of incident AF were confirmed. Consumption of up to two alcoholic drinks per day was not found to be associated with an increased risk of incident AF. However, intake of two or more drinks per day was associated with a small but statistically significant increased risk of AF among healthy middle-aged women.
Conen D, Tedrow UB, Cook NR et al. JAMA 2008; 300(21): 2489-96

Maternal experience before and during pregnancy is known to play a key part in offspring development. Researchers at the University of Nottingham have found the first evidence for a transgenerational effect on immune response based on environmental cues. Pregnant female mice housed next to (but not in direct contact with) males infected with Babesia microti, a mild blood parasite that causes some anaemia, had higher levels of serum corticosterone and increased kidney growth compared with pregnant females housed next to uninfected neighbours. Exposed females produced offspring that as adults, showed an accelerated immune response to B microti and less aggression in social groups. The researchers suggest that ambient information regarding disease is used adaptively to maximise offspring survival and reproductive success.
Curno O, Behnke JM, McElligott AG et al. Proc Biol Sci 2008; doi: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1612

The risk of fracture associated with thiazolidinediones has been investigated using data from 10 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and two observational studies. The observational studies, involving 31,679 people, demonstrated an increased risk of fracture associated with rosiglitazone and pioglitazone. In addition, these drugs were associated with a 45 per cent increased risk of fracture overall in the 10 RCTs ([s40]1 year duration, n = 13,715). Five RCTs showed an increased risk of fracture among women (OR 2.23), but not men. Long-term thiazolidinedione use doubles the risk of fracture in women with type-2 diabetes, but not in men. The authors suggest that regulators and clinicians should reconsider recommending these drugs to women with type-2 diabetes.
Loke YK, Singh S, Furberg CD. CMAJ 2006; 174(12): doi:10.1503/cmaj.080486

Weight misperception is associated with weight gain in women, but no data exist for pregnant women. US researchers have investigated this in 1,537 women with normal or overweight/obese pre-pregnancy BMI. Of 1,029 women with normal pre-pregnancy BMI, 87 per cent accurately perceived and 13 per cent overassessed their weight. Of the 508 who were overweight or obese, 86 per cent accurately perceived and 14 per cent underassessed their pre-pregnancy weight. Compared with normal weight accurate assessors, the adjusted odds of excessive gestational weight gain were 2.0 in normal weight overassessors, 2.9 in overweight/obese accurate assessors, and 7.6 in overweight/obese underassessors.
Herring SJ, Oken E, Haines J et al. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2008; 8(1): 54

Living in a multigenerational household is detrimental to a woman's health, data from Japan suggest. Researchers assessed the long-term impact of domestic arrangements on health among almost 91,000 Japanese men and women aged 40-69 years. Women living with a partner, children and their parents, or their spouse's parents, were two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with CHD than women living with just a partner. But risk of death from CHD was no different between the two groups, suggesting that although living arrangements may increase the risk of diagnosis, they do not affect prognosis. The researchers suggest that the stress of fulfilling multiple roles probably has a deleterious effect.
Ikeda A, Iso H, Kawachi I et al. Heart 2008; doi 10.1136/hrt.2008.149575

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