To support the free and open dissemination of research findings and information on alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. To encourage open access to peer-reviewed articles free for all to view.

For full versions of posted research articles readers are encouraged to email requests for "electronic reprints" (text file, PDF files, FAX copies) to the corresponding or lead author, who is highlighted in the posting.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Persistent Impairment of Hippocampal Neurogenesis in Young Adult Rats Following Early Postnatal Alcohol Exposure
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles) 19 October 2007

Prenatal alcohol exposure can cause damage to the developing fetus with outcomes including growth deficiency, facial dysmorphology, brain damage, and cognitive and behavioral deficits. Smaller brains in children with FASD have been linked both with reduced cell proliferation in the developing CNS and with apoptotic cell loss of postmitotic neurons.

Prenatal alcohol exposure in rodents during the period of brain development comparable to that of the first and second trimesters of human pregnancy persistently alters adult neurogenesis. Long-term effects of alcohol exposure during the third trimester equivalent, which occurs postnatally in the rat, on adult neurogenesis have not been previously reported.

The goal of this study was to examine the effect of postnatal binge-like alcohol exposure on cell proliferation and neurogenesis in hippocampal dentate gyrus during adolescence and young adulthood.

Binge-like alcohol exposure on PD4–9 significantly reduced the number of mature neurons in adult hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) both on PD50 and PD80, without altering cumulative cytogenesis on PD50. In addition, the number of new neurons, that were generated between PD30 and 50, was further reduced after 30 days of survival in all 3 groups (SC, SI, and AE).

These observations suggest that early postnatal binge alcohol exposure results in long-term deficits of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, providing a potential basis for the deficits of hippocampus-dependent behaviors reported for this model.

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Activation of protein tyrosine kinases and matrix metalloproteinases causes blood-brain barrier injury: Novel mechanism for neurodegeneration associated with alcohol abuse
Glia , published online 17 October 2007

Blood-brain barrier (BBB) formed by brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMVEC) regulates the passage of molecules and leukocytes in and out of the brain. Activation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and alteration of basement membrane (BM) associated with BBB injury was documented in stroke patients.

While chronic alcoholism is a risk factor for developing stroke, underlying mechanisms are not well understood.

We hypothesized that ethanol (EtOH)-induced protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) signaling resulted a loss of BBB integrity via MMPs activation and degradation of BM component, collagen IV.

Treatment of BMVEC with EtOH or acetaldehyde (AA) for 2-48 h increased MMP-1, -2 and -9 activities or decreased the levels of tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMP-1, -2) in a PTK-dependent manner without affecting protein tyrosine phosphatase activity.

Enhanced PTK activity after EtOH exposure correlated with increased phosphorylated proteins of selective receptor and nonreceptor PTKs. Up-regulation of MMPs activities and protein contents paralleled a decrease in collagen IV content, and inhibitors of EtOH metabolism, MMP-2 and -9, or PTK reversed all these effects.

Using human BMVEC assembled into BBB models, we found that EtOH/AA diminished barrier tightness, augmented permeability, and monocyte migration across the BBB via activation of PTKs and MMPs.

These findings suggest that alcohol associated BBB injury could be mediated by MMPs via BM protein degradation and could serve as a comorbidity factor for neurological disorders like stroke or neuroinflammation. Furthermore, our preliminary experiments indicated that human astrocytes secreted high levels of MMP-1 and -9 following exposure to EtOH, suggesting the role of BM protein degradation and BBB compromise as a result of glial activation by ethanol.

These results provide better understanding of multifaceted effects of alcohol on the brain and could help develop new therapeutic interventions.

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GABRA2 Alleles Moderate the Subjective Effects of Alcohol, Which are Attenuated by Finasteride
Neuropsychopharmacology (2005) 30, 1193–1203

GABAA receptors are involved in the subjective effects of alcohol. Endogenous neuroactive steroids interact with GABAA receptors to mediate several behavioral effects of alcohol in rodents.

Based on a haplotypic association of alcohol dependence with the gene encoding the GABAA receptor alpha-2 subunit (GABRA2), we examined whether GABRA2 alleles are associated with the subjective response to alcohol. We also examined whether finasteride (a 5-alpha steroid reductase inhibitor), which blocks the synthesis of some neuroactive steroids, reduces the subjective response to alcohol.

These findings provide preliminary evidence that the risk of alcoholism associated with GABRA2 alleles may be related to differences in the subjective response to alcohol. The effects of finasteride provide indirect evidence for a mediating role of neuroactive steroids in some of the subjective effects of alcohol.

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Long-lasting tolerance to alcohol following a history of dependence
Addiction Biology (OnlineEarly Articles). 11 September 2007

Tolerance to alcohol effects is one of the defining features of clinical alcohol dependence. Here, we hypothesized that the post-dependent state may include tolerance to sedative-hypnotic alcohol actions.

To address this question, we used a recently developed animal model in which repeated cycles of alcohol intoxication and withdrawal trigger long-lasting behavioral plasticity. This animal model shares important features with the clinical condition. Animals were exposed to 7 weeks of intermittent alcohol vapor, allowed to recover for 3 weeks, and tested in protracted abstinence to exclude contributions from acute withdrawal. Post-dependent and control rats were injected with a hypnotic dose of alcohol (3 g/kg), and the loss of righting reflex (LORR) was recorded, blood alcohol levels were monitored, and the elimination rate was calculated.

Post-dependent animals showed a decrease in LORR. Alcohol metabolism and elimination kinetics did not differ between groups.

In conclusion, a history of alcohol dependence induces long-lasting hypnotic tolerance. This process may play an important role in maintaining the dependent state.

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Dopaminergic mutations: Within-family association and linkage in multiplex alcohol dependence families
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, Early View 19 October 2007

Animal and human studies of addiction indicate that the D2 dopamine receptor (DRD2) plays a critical role in the mechanism of drug reward. D2 receptor density in the brains of alcoholics has been shown to be reduced relative to controls. Previous studies of DRD2 in association with alcohol dependence using variation in the TaqI A locus were highly controversial.

Recently, a synonymous mutation, C957T, in the coding region of the human DRD2 gene has been identified which appears to have functional effects including alteration in receptor availability.

In order to determine if susceptibility to alcohol dependence (AD) within multiplex alcohol dependence families would be altered by the C957T in the coding region of the D2 gene, within-family association was studied in members of Caucasian multiplex alcohol dependence families. Members of control families with no personal alcohol or substance dependence history were included for case/control comparisons.

Analyses performed to detect within-family association showed evidence favoring an association for the C957T polymorphism. Linkage analyses of polymorphisms in this region showed that only the C957T locus remained of interest. Evidence for the C957T T allele having a role in AD susceptibility at the population level using a case/control comparison was statistically marginal , but was consistent with the family data results.

These results support a role for DRD2 as a susceptibility gene for alcohol dependence within multiplex families at high risk for developing alcohol dependence.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Plan for Action on Alcohol Problems: Update
Scottish Addiction Studies On-line Library.
19 Oct 2007

This updated plan builds on progress made since the original Plan for Action on Alcohol Problems was published in 2002. It sets out a programme for the next three years to change drinking cultures and reduce alcohol-related harm through government action, partnership working, and encouraging individuals to take personal responsibility. It will be supported by a detailed delivery plan which will enable Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Ministerial Advisory Committee on Alcohol Problems (SMACAP) to monitor progress and ensure delivery of each of the high level actions.

The update retains the broad structure of the original plan but does not include specific actions under the heading of culture change. This reflects the belief that real culture change requires integrated and sustained action across all pillars of the plan; protection and controls, prevention and education and the provision of services.

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Concurrent Dietary Administration of D-SAL and Ethanol Diminishes Ethanol’s Teratogenesis
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles)
19 October 2007

SAL (SALLRSIPA) is a peptide fragment of activity-dependent neurotrophic factor. Both L- and D-SAL diminish ethanol’s pathogenesis, however, the D-peptide is protease resistant, and can therefore be effectively administered in a diet.

The present study tested the hypothesis that D-SAL provided in a liquid diet containing ethanol will prevent ethanol-induced teratogenicity in mice.

Dietary D-SAL reduced the incidence of ocular defects in ethanol-exposed fetuses from 29 to 10% in the right eyes and from 21 to 7.5% in the left eyes; levels similar to those observed in pair-fed controls. In addition to decreasing their incidence, D-SAL also reduced the severity of the ocular defects.

These results demonstrate that oral D-SAL can prevent ethanol-induced ocular defects. Because ocular defects are commonly associated with CNS damage, oral D-SAL may also prove valuable in preventing ethanol-induced brain defects.

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Gender Differences for Ghrelin Levels in Alcohol-Dependent Patients and Differences Between Alcoholics and Healthy Controls
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles)
19 October 2007

Ghrelin is a 28-amino acid gut-brain peptide, mainly secreted by the gastric mucosa. Its effects are linked to energy homeostasis and particularly seem to increase hunger and food intake. In recent years, studies suggested that appetite-regulating peptides, such as ghrelin play a relevant role in alcoholism. Since data published to date on the potential role of ghrelin as state and/or trait marker in alcoholism and the association with craving are controversial, we aimed at further elucidating these aspects.

(1) Ghrelin levels are significantly higher in female alcohol-dependent patients as compared to controls, not, however, in men alcoholics. (2) In several statistical subanalyses, an association of craving and ghrelin was found. The results, however, remain heterogeneous.

The data suggest gender-dependent ghrelin levels in alcohol-dependent patients. We therefore conclude, that it might be useful to perform statistical analyses gender-specific.

With regard to a potential correlation of ghrelin and craving the results seem to depend on gender, duration of the abstinence period and the instrument used.

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Gender Differences in Friends’ Influences on Adolescent Drinking: A Genetic Epidemiological Study
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles) 19 October 2007

We use data from a population-based twin study to examine the association between characteristics of the friendship group and adolescents’ own alcohol use at age 14, with focus on gender differences, both with respect to the adolescent’s own gender and the gender composition of his/her friendship group.

Friends’ drinking, smoking, and delinquency were more strongly related to alcohol use in girls, compared to boys, and in adolescents with opposite-sex friends, compared to adolescents with only same-sex friends. Friends’ alcohol use showed modest evidence of genetic influence in girls, suggesting peer selection; however, there was no evidence of genetic influence on friends’ alcohol use in boys. The correlation between adolescent and friend drinking was largely attributable to shared environmental effects across genders.

Gender and gender of friends moderate the associations between friends’ behavior and adolescents’ alcohol use, with evidence that girls, and those with opposite-sex friends, may be more susceptible to friends’ influence. Genetically informative analyses suggest that similarity in alcohol use between adolescents and their friends is mediated, at least partially, through environmental pathways.

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Nicotine’s Effects on Attentional Efficiency in Alcoholics
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles) 19 October 2007

Historically, the concomitant use of nicotine among alcoholics has not been methodologically accounted for. Given the observed cognitive enhancing effects of acute nicotine on attentional processes, it is important that the potentially positive effects of nicotine be disentangled from the negative effects of chronic alcohol dependence.

The current study was conducted to address this question and to test the hypothesis that alcoholics who are regular smokers are more sensitive to the effects of nicotine on cognition as compared to regular smoking community controls.

As expected, the alcoholic group performed more poorly than did the control group. However, of greater interest to the current study was the finding that alcoholic participants differentially benefited from nicotine administration, as demonstrated in the differential dose effect.

The concomitant use of nicotine may serve to "mask" or "overcome" some of the negative effects of chronic alcohol dependence in newly recovering alcoholics. This potential effect has significant implications for treatment development and further understanding of the process of recovery of function in chronic alcoholics.

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Likelihood of developing an alcohol and cannabis use disorder during youth: Association with recent use and age
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Article in Press 20 September 2007

We extend the literature on the association of early onset of drug use and estimated risk for developing a substance use disorder (SUD) by investigating the risk that recent onset of alcohol and cannabis use confers for developing a substance use disorder at each chronological age of adolescence and young adulthood (12–21-years-old).

The results indicated that the teenage years were strongly linked to an elevated risk status. The odds ratio (OR) of having a prior year alcohol use disorder (AUD) among recent onset alcohol users was significantly elevated for youth at ages 14, 16, 17 and 18 compared to the estimated risk for AUD among recent onset users aged 22–26. For cannabis, we obtained significantly elevated ORs for a cannabis use disorder (CUD) at each of teenage years when compared to older recent onset users (aged 22–26).

These data provide further epidemiological support that adolescence is a particularly vulnerable period for developing a SUD.

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Client consensus on beliefs about abstinence: Effects on substance abuse treatment outcomes
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Article in Press, 18 October 2007

Organizational culture, as evinced by consensus regarding staff and client beliefs and values, has been shown to affect client engagement in residential substance abuse treatment.

The present paper extends this work to treatment outcomes. Secondary analysis of data from a “Beliefs About Abstinence Scale,” used in the Drug Abuse Treatment Outcomes Study (DATOS), was conducted for 76 programs, including outpatient methadone treatment, outpatient drug-free, short-term inpatient, and long-term residential programs.

Findings show that higher levels of client consensus after 1 month of treatment were associated with less use of drugs and alcohol at 1-year follow-up, after controlling for the mean of the scale score, gender, age, client substance use at baseline and treatment modality.

The implications of the results for substance abuse treatment are discussed.

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Linkage scan for quantitative traits identifies new regions of interest for substance dependence in the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) sample
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Article in Press, 15 October 2007

Dependence on alcohol and illicit drugs frequently co-occur. Results from a number of twin studies suggest that heritable influences on alcohol dependence and drug dependence may substantially overlap.

Using large, genetically informative pedigrees from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA), we performed quantitative linkage analyses using a panel of 1717 SNPs. Genome-wide linkage analyses were conducted for quantitative measures of DSM-IV alcohol dependence criteria, cannabis dependence criteria and dependence criteria across any illicit drug (including cannabis) individually and in combination as an average score across alcohol and illicit drug dependence criteria.

For alcohol dependence, LOD scores exceeding 2.0 were noted on chromosome 1 (2.0 at 213 cM), 2 (3.4 at 234 cM) and 10 (3.7 at 60 cM).

For cannabis dependence, a maximum LOD of 1.9 was noted at 95 cM on chromosome 14.

For any illicit drug dependence, LODs of 2.0 and 2.4 were observed on chromosome 10 (116 cM) and 13 (64 cM) respectively.

Finally, the combined alcohol and/or drug dependence symptoms yielded LODs >2.0 on chromosome 2 (3.2, 234 cM), 10 (2.4 and 2.6 at 60 cM and 116 cM) and 13 (2.1 at 64 cM).

These regions may harbor genes that contribute to the biological basis of alcohol and drug dependence.

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It’s impossible to create a single guide that suits all
October 20, 2007

It is difficult if not impossible to produce a guide to safe drinking that will apply equally to the tall and short, the fat and thin, that will take into account the wide variations of the ability to metabolise alcohol that occur according to race and, to some extent, to the drinking culture and past drinking history that is the norm in someone’s peer group.

Obviously there is not only a difference between men and women but also between women before and after the menopause. Seasoned drinkers who don’t overdo the drinking develop a metabolic system that processes alcohol between a third and a quarter more efficiently and faster than the occasional drinker.
. . . . . . .

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Drink limits ‘useless’

October 20, 2007

Guidelines on safe alcohol consumption limits that have shaped health policy in Britain for 20 years were “plucked out of the air” as an “intelligent guess”.

The Times reveals today that the recommended weekly drinking limits of 21 units of alcohol for men and 14 for women, first introduced in 1987 and still in use today, had no firm scientific basis whatsoever.

Subsequent studies found evidence which suggested that the safety limits should be raised, but they were ignored by a succession of health ministers.
. . . . . . .

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How ‘safe drinking’ experts let a bottle or two go to their heads
October 20, 2007

The recommended maximum intake was set 20 years ago by doctors who simply plucked a limit out of the air

A collective shudder of dismay rattled wine glasses on middle-class dining tables this week when a report labelled some of Britain’s most affluent towns as sozzled dens of “hazardous drinking” iniquity.

Middle-class, middle-aged drinkers, according to a report commissioned by the Department of Health, had been consuming so much wine for so long that many were putting their health “at significant risk”.

Cue the sound of corks returning to half-drunk bottles across the land. Had the users known how safe drinking limits came into being, they might just have poured another glass.

When the report defined any man who drinks more than 21 units of alcohol a week, or woman who consumes more than 14, as a hazardous drinker, the authors were relying on limits that have been set in stone for the past 20 years.

Yet these guidelines have no basis in science. Rather, in the words of a member of the committee that drew them up, they were simply “plucked out of the air”.
. . . . . . .

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The Young People's Video Project

We invite A.A. members to submit digital videos that focus on the experience of getting sober between the ages of 12 and 25.

Welcome to the Young People's Video Project

Press Release
October 16, 2007

MASTIC BEACH, NY — Assemblyman Fred Thiele (2nd Assembly District) and The Century Council partnered today to bring a life-saving lesson about the dangers of drunk driving and underage drinking to students in Mastic Beach and Center Moriches. Brandon Silveria and his father Tony spoke to students at William Floyd High School and Center Moriches High School about the importance of “making the right choice” about alcohol – and for students who are under the age of 21, the only responsible decision is not to drink. Brandon is a young man who was involved in an alcohol-related crash at age 17 just before his high school prom. The Century Council is a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.
. . . . . .
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Ministers act on teenage drinking

Friday 19 October 2007

A ban on the sale of pre-mixed cocktails in supermarkets and tougher alcohol sales licences are among the measures the cabinet plans to introduce to curb teenage drinking, according to NOS news.

Ministers want to reduce the number of under-16s who drink alcohol by 25%, NOS quotes the leaked proposal as saying.
. . . . . . .

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Synaptic plasticity and addiction
Nature Reviews Neuroscience
8, 844-858 (November 2007)

Addiction is caused, in part, by powerful and long-lasting memories of the drug experience. Relapse caused by exposure to cues associated with the drug experience is a major clinical problem that contributes to the persistence of addiction.

Here we present the accumulated evidence that drugs of abuse can hijack synaptic plasticity mechanisms in key brain circuits, most importantly in the mesolimbic dopamine system, which is central to reward processing in the brain.

Reversing or preventing these drug-induced synaptic modifications may prove beneficial in the treatment of one of society's most intractable health problems.

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National Alcohol and Drug Addiction. Recovery Month 2007. Join the Voices for Recovery. Saving Lives, Saving Dollars.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007

SAMHSA's Road to Recovery Update

The Road to Recovery Update keeps you informed about activities leading up to National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) in September. Feel free to forward this information to friends and colleagues, include it in newsletters or listservs, or link to it from your Web site.

Next Webcast

Wednesday, November 7: "Saving Lives, Saving Dollars: A National Showcase of Events"

Saving Lives, Saving Dollars: A National Showcase of Events View the Trailer

In this program, we will look at the tremendous educational and awareness-raising events conducted in communities large and small as the country came together in celebration of National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) in September 2007. Individuals, families, and communities across the Nation united under the theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Saving Lives, Saving Dollars." This program will highlight Recovery Month community forums, walks and runs for recovery, Major League Baseball games, music-based activities, and other cost-effective events that showcase how addiction is treatable and recovery is possible.

Voices for Recovery

Across the country, people in recovery are celebrating their successes and sharing them with others in an effort to educate the public about treatment, how it works, for whom, and why. Through Voices for Recovery on the Recovery Month Web site, people can read these inspirational stories as well as post their own stories of recovery.

We encourage you to take a moment to visit Voices for Recovery and share your recovery story. Simply click Share Stories to post your story along with your contact information if you choose to provide it. If you prefer to remain anonymous, only provide your State and your story.

After you’ve entered your information, you will be prompted to download the Hold Harmless Form. This needs to be downloaded, filled out, and faxed back before your story can be posted. If you’ve already submitted your story to the Recovery Month Web site but have not yet faxed back the Hold Harmless Form, please do so. Your story cannot be posted until the Hold Harmless Form is completed and returned.

Please share your story and help us spread the word to get people nationwide to submit their personal stories. Help others see that recovery is possible.

Attention Event Planners – Add Details From Your Event and Submit Photos

Congratulations to everyone who coordinated and/or participated in a Recovery Month event this September! We want to capture all of the events around the country so please click here to submit your pictures and videos. Be sure to add any comments from your event and send photos and any samples of materials. You can continue to post your events throughout the year.

Customer Satisfaction Form

We would like to know about your Recovery Month efforts this September and how useful you found the Recovery Month toolkit for planning your activities. This information will be used in the development of future outreach materials distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

Your response is voluntary, but your input is essential so that the Recovery Month materials we provide in future years will continue to meet your needs. Please click here to complete the Customer Satisfaction Form and return it by October 31, 2007, via mail or fax to:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
Office of the Director, Consumer Affairs
1 Choke Cherry Road, Second Floor
Rockville, MD 20857
Fax: 202-789-0598 (Attn: Kristin Engdahl)

About Recovery Month

National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, celebrating 18 years of observance in 2007, is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). For more information about Recovery Month, visit


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 31 (11), 1908–1912.

The goal of this study was to investigate whether Interactive Voice Response is a technology with which to perform real-time assessments of alcohol consumption and stress.

Of the data collection calls, 305 (97%) were answered. Real-time drinking was assessed 9 times of 9 (100%). The average length of the IVR assessment was only 28 seconds because of modified technology. Individuals with an estimated blood alcohol concentration above 0.1% under-reported drinking in their day-after reports by between 1 and 10 drinks. The same subjects had more pronounced stress reduction than those with lower BAC levels.

Interactive Voice Response methodology offers a promising new technology for daily as well as real-time assessments.

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Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 31 (11), 1883–1890.

Alcohol produces biphasic effects of both stimulation and sedation. Sensitivity to these effects may increase the risk for the development of alcoholism. Alcohol-induced changes in stimulation and sedation are commonly assessed with self-report questionnaires in human research and with physical activity monitoring in animal research.

However, little is known about the effects of alcohol on physical activity or the relationship between physical activity and subjective self-report measures of stimulation and sedation following alcohol consumption in humans.

All alcohol doses increased physical activity, but these increases were time- and dose-dependent. Increases in physical activity lasted across both ascending and descending limbs of the BrAC curve. Following the 0.6 g/kg dose, both physical activity and self-reported stimulation increased during the ascending BrAC.

Separate analyses of self-reported sedation scores indicated that alcohol consumption also increased sedation for the 0.6 and 0.8 g/kg doses. Physical activity was not significantly correlated with either self-reported stimulation or sedation at any time point.

These findings suggest that assessments of subjectively measured stimulation and sedation and objectively measured physical activity each assess unique aspects of the effects of alcohol. Used simultaneously, these measures may be useful for examining underlying mechanisms of the effects of alcohol on behavior.

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Variation in GABRA2 Predicts Drinking Behavior in Project MATCH Subjects
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 31 (11), 1780–1787.

Previous studies demonstrated, and replicated, an association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the GABRA2 gene and risk for alcohol dependence. The present study examines the association of a GABRA2 SNP with another definition of alcohol involvement and with the effects of psychosocial treatment.

European-American subjects (n = 812, 73.4% male) provided DNA samples for the analysis. All were participants in Project Matching Alcoholism Treatment to Client Heterogeneity (MATCH), a multi-center randomized clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of 3 types of psychosocial treatment for alcoholism: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), or twelve-step facilitation (TSF). The daily probabilities of drinking and heavy drinking were estimated during the 12-week treatment and 12-month post-treatment periods.

Subjects homozygous for the allele associated with low risk for alcohol dependence in previous studies had lower daily probabilities of drinking and heavy drinking in the present study. This low-risk allele was also associated with a greater difference in drinking outcomes between the treatments. In addition, it enhanced the relative superiority of TSF over CBT and MET. Population stratification was excluded as a confound using ancestry informative marker analysis.

The assessment of genetic vulnerability may be relevant to studies of the efficacy of psychosocial treatment: GABRA2 genotype modifies the variance in drinking and can therefore moderate power for resolving differences between treatments.

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Using the truth to tackle alcohol and drug misuse

17 October 2007

Scotland’s Futures Forum will look at whether false perceptions about other people’s drinking habits are contributing to the problem of excessive drinking, in an upcoming seminar at the Scottish Parliament organised by the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action Teams.

On Monday 22 October Dr Wesley Perkins from the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York will present a seminar entitled, ‘Is everybody really doing it?’

Dr Perkins is an expert in social norms marketing, which aims to communicate the truth to students, and others, who often hold exaggerated views of the extent of alcohol misuse among their peers.

Once they become aware of the true level of alcohol use among others, Dr Perkins’ findings have shown a significant drop in consumption.

Scotland’s Futures Forum Director Robert Rae said:

"This research challenges some of the basic assumptions of health promotion work and is an important contribution to the debate on the causes of alcohol misuse.”

Also presenting on Monday will be David Zucker, a key player in the social marketing field in the United States who was central to the development of the Florida Truth Campaign on tobacco.

He will discuss the success of this campaign in reducing tobacco use among Florida school students.

Background information on the ‘Fresh Perspectives on Alcohol and Drugs’ project

Holyrood's think-tank, Scotland's Futures Forum, is carrying out an innovative study into alcohol and drugs use in Scotland.

The aim of the project is to look at the following question: “How can Scotland reduce the damage to its population through alcohol and drugs by half by the year 2025?

The Forum seeks to stimulate open and honest debate on the causes and impacts of drug and alcohol misuse across Scottish society.

The study will consider the views of local communities, a wide range of harm reduction measures, the role of poverty, and review international best practice.

The project aims to inform public policy debate and challenge policy makers to consider new long-term approaches to problematic alcohol and drug use. The project is due to be completed in June 2008.

Background information on Scotland’s Futures Forum

Scotland’s Futures Forum was created by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body in August 2005.

The forum aims to identify key challenges facing the nation and stimulate debate between MSPs, academics, civic society, wealth creators and international organisations on the ways of meeting them.

For more information about Scotland ’s Futures Forum see:


Is it worth it?

Mounting evidence finds even moderate drinking may increase your risk of breast and colon cancer
You eat your veggies, you exercise at least a few times a week, you gave up cigarettes and hormone-replacement pills, and you have a glass of red wine every day, all because you care about your health.

But one of these things is not like the others.

While your attention has been elsewhere, scientists have amassed persuasive evidence that drinking alcohol -- any form of alcohol, even in moderate amounts -- can pose a serious threat to your health.
. . . . . .

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Signs of Progress

Declines in Underage Drinking and Drunk Driving

Table of Contents

Underage Drinking

Percentage of High School Students Who had Their First Drink of Alcohol Before Age 13…………….………………..……………...............3
Percentage of Adolescents Who Have or Have Not had a Drink in the Past Month………………………………………………………………4
Trend Analysis of Current Drinking Among Adolescents…………………………………………………………………………………….............5
Comparison of 8th and 10th Graders Who Drank in the Past 30 Days……………………………………………………………………………....6
Percentage of Underage Youth Who Have or Have Not had a Drink in the Past month………………………………………………………….7
Trend Analysis of Drinking Among High School Seniors …………………………………………………………………………………………....8
Trend Analysis of High School Seniors Drinking 5 or More Drinks in a Row ……………..………………………………………………............9
Trend Analysis of Beer Drinking Among College Freshmen………………………………………………………………………………….........10

Drunk Driving
Trend Analysis of Total Drunk Driving Fatalities…………………….……………………………………………………………………………….11
Comparison of Total Traffic Fatalities to Drunk Driving Fatalities………………………………………………………………………………….12
Drunk Driving Fatalities as a Percentage of Total Crash Fatalities…………………………………………………………………………...……13
Drunk Driving Fatalities Declining Despite Increasing Number of Licensed Drivers.…………………………………………………………….14
Drunk Driving Fatalities Per Million Licensed Drivers………………………………………………………………………………………………..15
Drunk Driving Fatalities Decreasing Despite Increasing Vehicle Miles Traveled…………………………………………………………………16
Drunk Driving Fatalities Per Billion Vehicle Miles Traveled…………………………………………………………………………………………17
Drunk Driving Fatalities Decreasing Despite Increasing Number of Registered Motor Vehicles……………………………………………….18
Drunk Driving Fatalities Per Million Registered Motor Vehicles…………………………………………………………………………………….19
Drunk Driving Fatalities by Blood Alcohol Concentration……………………………………………………………………………………………20
Teen Drunk Driving Fatalities…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..21
Teen Drunk Driving Fatalities as a Percentage of Total Fatalities Involving a Teen Driver……………………………………………………...22
Teen Drunk Driving Fatalities Decreasing Despite Increasing Number of Licensed Teen Drivers……………………………………………..23
Teen Drunk Driving Fatalities Per Thousand Licensed Teen Drivers……………………………………………………………………………...24

Download PowerPoint Presentation: Declines in Underage Drinking and Drunk Driving
Voice Of Scotland: Alcohol Awareness

NEXT week is Alcohol Awareness Week which brings together Scottish Government and the alcoholic drinks industry to promote responsible drinking. Here we speak to a ServeWise trainer Joanne Worrall, training and development manager for Bar Budda owners Dark Star, about how the industry is trying to encourage moderate alcohol consumption.
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A Day In The Life Of U.S. Teens: Thousands Do Drugs

Published: October 18, 2007

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A snapshot of an average day in the lives of U.S. teens shows hundreds of thousands are smoking, drinking and ingesting illegal drugs, according to a report from the federal government.

On an average day, nearly 1.2 million teenagers smoked cigarettes, 631,000 drank and 586,000 used marijuana, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found.

Nearly 50,000 used inhalants, 27,000 used hallucinogens, 13,000 used cocaine and 3,800 used heroin, SAMHSA said in its report.

"In the United States in 2006, one-third of adolescents aged 12 to 17 drank alcohol in the past year, one-fifth used an illicit drug and one-sixth smoked," the report reads.

The report is based on a number of surveys, but mostly the National Survey on Drug Use, which uses in-depth interviews of more than 60,000 people.

It found that the percentage of adolescents using alcohol and drugs declined between 2002 and 2006.
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EUROCARE Newsletter September - October 2007

.… News from the Secretariat

  • Eurocare Annual General Meeting
  • Lunch meeting on FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders) in the European Parliament

.… News from Eurocare Members

  • ELSA Project: Alcohol advertisement regulations in Europe do not protect minors
  • DHS: Innovative practices to tackle drink driving, binge drinking and consumer information
  • STAP: High compliance of alcohol ads proves shortcomings rather than effectiveness of self-regulation

.… News from the European Union

  • The Parliament’s report on the EU Alcohol Strategy calls for further action
  • First meeting of the Alcohol and Health Forum
  • European Parliament prepares its report on the Community Strategy on health and safety at work
  • Eurostat report: comparative price levels of alcoholic beverages in 37 European countries
  • Parliament endorses reduced excise duty on rum from French overseas departments
  • Health-EU launches e-newsletter
  • Council agrees on Programme of Community Action in the field of Health 2008-2013
  • Gastein 10th event
  • European Parliament calls for protection of young people from smoke

.… News from the Member States

  • Ireland will soon introduce health-warning labels for pregnant women on alcohol containers
  • France – ANPAA denounces Rugby World Cup Sponsorship by Heineken
  • Germany – Taxes on alcopops lead Baccardi to withdraw its Breezer from the German market
  • Sweden – Risk Drinking Project: Alcohol prevention work in primary health care and occupational health care

.… Upcoming Events

  • The evolution of Health Following Enlargement – HEM Closing the Gap
  • Reducing the Harm caused by alcohol: A Coordinated European Response
  • Putting theory into practice: Research, Training and Health promotion programmes in Early Identification and Brief intervention for alcohol problems
  • Building Capacity for Action: European Alcohol Policy Conference

.… The activities of the Industry in the European Parliament

  • AdVantage launch: a debating platform within the European Parliament on the role of advertising in our society
  • Lunch Briefing on New Approaches to Alcohol Policy

.… Questions from Members of the European Parliament to European Commission concerning alcohol

.… News from the Secretariat
  • Eurocare Annual General Meeting

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The DRAM Vol. 3(9) - How Protective are Protective Factors: The Complexity of Risky Drinking Behavior

October 17, 2007

For young people, the use and abuse of alcohol is alarming because of their still developing neuroanatomy, and the ease with which they can develop a dependency to alcohol (Molina, 2007; Padget, 2006). Using scientific studies to understand what leads adolescents toward future problematic alcoholic use can facilitate the development of more effective public health initiatives targeting underage alcohol consumption. This week, The DRAM discusses research that examines how adverse childhood experiences and the age of onset for first alcohol use contribute to young adults’ current use of alcohol.
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Source: Addiction and Recovery News




Number of Adolescents Using Marijuana on an Average Day Vastly Exceeds Half of the Number of All Students Registered in New York City Schools

On an average day, nearly 1.2 million teenagers smoked cigarettes, 631,000 drank, and 586,000 used marijuana, according to the latest data, in a first-of-a kind report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The report, which highlights the substance abuse behavior and addiction treatment activities that occur among adolescents on an average day, draws on national surveys conducted and analyzed by SAMHSA's Office of Applied Studies.

The report, A Day in the Life of American Adolescents: Substance Use Facts, presents a stark picture of the daily toll substance abuse takes on America's young.
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The OAS Report: A Day in the Life of American Adolescents: Substance Use Facts


  • Facts about substance use among youth aged 12 to 17 are based on data from SAMHSA's 2006 National Survey on Drug Use & Health (NSDUH) and SAMHSA's 2005 Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), and for clients under the age of 18 from SAMHSA's 2005 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS). Data are presented on first substance use, past year substance use, receipt of substance use treatment, and source of substance use treatment referrals "on an average day."
  • On an average day in 2006, youth used the following substances for the first time: 7,970 drank alcohol for the first time, 4,348 used an illicit drug for the first time, 4,082 smoked cigarettes for the first time, 3,577 used marijuana for the first time, and 2,517 used pain relievers nonmedically for the first time.
  • Youth who used alcohol in the past month drank an average of 4.7 drinks per day on the days they drank and those who smoked cigarettes in the past month smoked an average of 4.6 cigarettes per day on the days they smoked.
  • On a average day in 2005, the number of youth admissions to substance abuse treatment were referred by the following sources: 189 by the criminal justice system; 66 by self-referral or referral from other individuals; 43 by schools; 37 by community organizations; 22 by alcohol or drug treatment providers; and 18 by other health providers.
  • On an average day in 2005, active substance abuse treatment clients under the age of 18 received the following the types of substance abuse treatment: 76,240 were clients in outpatient treatment; 10,313 were clients in non-hospital residential treatment; and 1,058 were clients in hospital inpatient treatment.
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Images of Sexual Stereotypes in Rap Videos and the
Health of African American Female Adolescence

Volume 16, Number 8, 2007

This study sought to determine whether perceiving portrayals of sexual stereotypes in rap music videos was associated with adverse health outcomes among African American adolescent females.

In logistic regression analyses, adolescents who perceived more portrayals of sexual stereotypes in rap music videos were more likely to engage in binge drinking , test positive for marijuana , have multiple sexual partners , and have a negative body image.

This is one of the first studies quantitatively examining the relationship between cultural images of sexual stereotypes in rap music videos and a spectrum of adverse health outcomes in African American female adolescents.

Greater attention to this social issue may improve the health of all adolescent females.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Impact of Alcopops on Adolescent Drinking: A Literature Review
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on October 17, 2007

The present review aims to analyse the relationship between alcopop consumption and expected negative consequences, in particular, with regard to the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumed, the number of negative alcohol-related consequences, the consumption of other drugs, and engagement in further risk behaviours.

An analysis of existing studies shows that on the grounds of methodological limitations, such as not controlling for total alcohol consumption, evidence of an association between the consumption of alcopops and the effects mentioned above is scarce. Results rather indicate a clear relationship between the quantity of alcohol consumed and alcohol-related negative consequences.

In place of beverage-specific interventions, a successful alcohol policy should look to implement evidence-based measures for the reduction of total alcohol consumption.

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Comparison of a food-frequency questionnaire method and a quantity-frequency method to classify risky alcohol consumption in women
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on October 17, 2007

Population surveys use a variety of methods to collect data on alcohol consumption. Comparability of results across methods is a prime consideration. Different methods have been demonstrated to be robust in terms of ranking individuals' alcohol use, while results have been mixed regarding comparability in terms of volume of consumption. In Australia, evidence-based guidelines have been developed that identify critical thresholds of consumption that are associated with increased risk of alcohol-related morbidity.

This study investigated whether the identification of individuals consuming alcohol above these thresholds was consistent across two methods used to collect data on consumption.

The ranking of individuals was robust across methods. However, concordance in identifying risky/high-risk drinkers varied considerably based on the assumptions underlying the different methods used to calculate drinking volume using the FFQ. Similarly, the sensitivity and specificity of the FFQ methods compared to QF in terms of identifying risky/high-risk consumers were high but variable.

This study indicated that the proportion of respondents exceeding consumption thresholds was sensitive to the instrument used to collect data on alcohol intake. Quantifying such differences is important when making comparisons between surveys that use different methodologies.

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