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Alcohol and HIV Effects on the Immune System

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and HIV infection both affect the immune system and frequently coexist in the same person, potentially multiplying the risk of infectious disease. Infectious disease, in turn, continues to be a major health concern and leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, despite major advances in our understanding of the immune system, improvements in sanitation...

Alcohol Alert Archives

The NIAAA Alcohol Alert was a quarterly bulletin produced from 1988 through 2015 that disseminated important research findings on a single aspect of alcohol and health. Please click on the desired publication for full text. To order single copies of select Alcohol Alerts, see ordering Information.

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Alcohol and the Immune System - Editor's Note

Clinicians have long observed an association between excessive alcohol consumption and adverse immune-related health effects such as susceptibility to pneumonia. In recent decades, this association has been expanded to a greater likelihood of acute respiratory stress syndromes (ARDS), sepsis, alcoholic liver disease (ALD), and certain cancers; a higher incidence of postoperative complications...

Alcohol's Effect on Host Defense

Alcohol has been the most common substance of use and abuse in human history. Moderate amounts of alcohol are enjoyed for its anxiolytic effects; however, its addictive properties can lead to chronic, excessive alcohol use and alcohol use disorder. In addition to its commonly recognized behavioral effects, alcohol affects many organs, including the immune system that controls the body’s defense...

Impact of Alcohol Abuse on the Adaptive Immune System

In the United States, alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the third-leading cause of preventable death. It is associated with increased susceptibility to bacterial pneumonia; viral infections, such as HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV); and increased postoperative morbidity and mortality. This increased susceptibility is mediated in part by functional alterations in various cells of the immune system...

Women and Alcohol - From the Editors

Recent epidemiological research has identified alarming trends in drinking patterns of girls and women in the United States. In recent years, the amount and frequency of alcohol use are increasing in White and Hispanic girls and young women in contrast to decreasing patterns of heavy alcohol use in boys and young men.1,2 Similarly, current and binge alcohol use is rising among older women,3,4 resu...

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the Developing Immune System

Most Americans are aware that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can injure the developing fetus. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), with their developmental, cognitive, and behavioral consequences, probably are the best known dangers (Bakoyiannis et al. 2014; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] 2009). However, drinking during pregnancy also can...

The Influence of Gender and Sexual Orientation on Alcohol Use and Alcohol-Related Problems: Toward a Global Perspective

The prevalence of alcohol use and the contrast between the drinking patterns of men and women vary widely across the globe. For instance, rates of current drinking ranged from 3 percent and 37 percent for women and men, respectively, in the Indian state of Karnataka to 94 percent and 97 percent for women and men in Denmark (Wilsnack et al. 2009). Overall, however, men have higher rates of...

Alcohol-Related Disparities Among Women: Evidence and Potential Explanations

Although research on alcohol-related disparities among women is a highly understudied area, evidence shows that racial/ethnic minority women, sexual minority women, and women of low socioeconomic status (based on education, income, or residence in disadvantaged neighborhoods) are more likely to experience alcohol-related problems. These problems include alcohol use disorder, particularly after...

Alcoholic Myopathy: Pathophysiologic Mechanisms and Clinical Implications

Skeletal muscle dysfunction (i.e., myopathy) is common in patients with alcohol use disorder. However, few clinical studies have elucidated the significance, mechanisms, and therapeutic options of alcohol-related myopathy. Preclinical studies indicate that alcohol adversely affects both anabolic and catabolic pathways of muscle-mass maintenance and that an increased proinflammatory and oxidative...