AACR LogoIt is pointed out in several studies that excessive alcoholism could lead to several diseases. Study authors have seemingly identified an association between alcohol intake, cancer and aging that begins at the cellular level with telomere shortening.

Telomeres are apparently discovered at the area of DNA sequences at the end of a chromosome, and are said to be significant for the genetic constancy of cells. As people age, telomere length seemingly cuts down increasingly. Excessive use of alcohol has supposedly been associated with oxidative stress and inflammation, two mechanisms that speed up telomere shortening. As telomere shortening is believed to augment cancer risk, the study authors considered that those with shorter telomeres owing to heavy alcohol consumption could encompass an augmented cancer risk.

Lead author Andrea Baccarelli, M.D., Ph.D, commented, “Heavy alcohol users tend to look haggard, and it is commonly thought heavy drinking leads to premature aging and earlier onset of diseases of aging. In particular, heavy alcohol drinking has been associated with cancer at multiple sites. All the cells in our body have a biological clock in telomeres.”

By means of real-time polymerase chain response, the study authors gauged serum DNA among 59 subjects who abused alcohol. Around 22 percent seemingly took four or more alcoholic drinks each day. Roughly 197 participants supposedly had inconsistent alcohol intake habits. Out of them, around 4 percent took in four more alcoholic drinks per day.

The two groups were claimed to be almost the same age and were similar in other factors that could impact telomere length like diet, physical exercise, work-related stress and environmental exposures. Outcomes seemingly exhibited that telomere length was considerably shortened in those who took in heavy quantities of alcohol. Supposedly, telomere length was almost half as long as telomere length seen in the non-abusers i.e. 0.41 vs. 0.79 relative units.

Carriers of the variant genotype ADH1B were said to have more chances to be abusers and encompassed shorter telomere length, as per Baccarelli.

The study was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting 2010.