How well do we understand the underlying mechanisms of the cardiovascular consequences associated with binge drinking at night? Consulting Editor Nisha Charkoudian (U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine) interviews lead author Jason Carter (Montana State University) and expert Craig Steinback (University of Alberta) about the latest work by Greenlund et al. While many researchers have investigated binge drinking in a laboratory setting, most of these studies are conducted during daytime hours. In contrast, Carter and co-authors aimed to mimic real-life alcohol consumption habits in their pragmatic study design, which interrogated the effects of binge drinking on sleep, as well as on sympathetic activity the following morning. Carter and his team found that study participants had increased cardiovascular stress, measured by increased heart rate and sympathetic activity, and decreased control of blood pressure. While the authors designed their study prior to the SARS-CoV2 pandemic, their findings are more relevant now than ever before. Listen as we touch on the future directions of this work, including exploring sex differences in alcohol consumption patterns and metabolization, and cognitive aspects of binge drinking.
Ian M. Greenlund, Hannah A. Cunningham, Anne L. Tikkanen, Jeremy A. Bigalke, Carl A. Smoot, John J. Durocher, and Jason R. Carter Morning sympathetic activity after evening binge alcohol consumption Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published January 15, 2021. DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00743.2020