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, December 13, 2008

Abstinence From Moderate Alcohol Self-Administration Alters Progenitor Cell Proliferation and Differentiation in Multiple Brain Regions of Male and Female P Rats
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Published Online: 10 Dec 2008

Acute and chronic ethanol exposure has been found to decrease hippocampal neurogenesis, reduce dendritic differentiation of new neurons, and increase cell death. Interestingly, abstinence from such treatment increases hippocampal neurogenesis and microglial genesis across several brain regions.
The goal of the current investigation was to study cellular alterations on neuro- and cell-genesis during abstinence following alcohol self-administration using alcohol-preferring rats (P rats).

Mild alcohol withdrawal anxiety was detected by reduction in social interactions. The number of hippocampal BrdU+ cells was increased approximately 50% during alcohol abstinence (26 ± 2.8 in controls vs. 39 ± 4 in alcohol group). BrdU+ cells were also increased in the substantia nigra (SN) approximately 65% in the alcohol abstinent group (12 ± 1 in controls vs. 19 ± 1.5 in alcohol group). No gender differences were found. Confocal analyses indicated that approximately 75% of co-localization of BrdU+ cells with NeuN in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) resulting a net increase in neurogenesis in the alcohol abstinent group compared to controls. In cingulum, greater proportion of BrdU+ cells were co-localized with NG2 in the alcohol abstinent group indicating increased differentiation toward oligodendrocyte progenitors in both genders. However, the phenotype of the BrdU+ cells in SN and other brain regions were not identified by NeuN, Iba-1, GFAP, or NG2 suggesting that these BrdU+ cells probably remain in a nondifferentiated stage.

These data indicate that abstinence from moderate alcohol drinking increases hippocampal neurogenesis, cingulate NG2 differentiation, and SN undifferentiated cell proliferation in both males and females. Such cellular alteration during abstinence could contribute to the spontaneous partial restoration of cognitive deficits upon sobriety.
Request Reprint E-Mail:
QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged >18 Years Who Consumed Five or More Alcoholic Drinks in 1 Day at Least Once in the Preceding Year,* by Sex and Age Group --- National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2007
MMWR Weekly December 12, 2008 / 57(49);1333

Overall, 20.4% of adults aged >18 years had five or more alcoholic drinks in 1 day at least once in the preceding year. For both men and women, the percentage decreased with age. In all four age groups, men were substantially more likely than women to have had five or more drinks in 1 day at least once in the preceding year.
Program and Client Characteristics as Predictors of the Availability of Social Support Services in Community-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research Online First December 11, 2008

Recent emphases on increasing accountability, using less intensive settings, and implementing evidence-based services helped to focus the research community on the structure, processes, and outcomes of services delivered to substance abuse clients. Considerably less attention has been given to understanding how to structure services to enhance engagement and retention leading to treatment continuity.

This study examined structural characteristics of community-based treatment facilities in relationship to the availability of supportive services within a sample of 1,332 substance abuse treatment programs surveyed through the Alcohol and Drug Services Study in 1996 and 1997.

Structural and client characteristics are important predictors of added supportive services. Furthermore, a program with a broader and established set of core services is more likely to have expanded supportive services.

These findings have implications for public health professionals, both in terms of ensuring sustainable service programming for these chronic clients and in identifying services to adopt or discard to meet a population with multiple needs.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:
Life with a 12-year-old alcoholic
By Thelma Etim BBC News, Hampshire

Jane (not her real name) was faced with the shock discovery that her young son was drinking heavily when somebody knocked on her door to tell her he had collapsed in the street.

At the age of 12, Alan, (not his real name) had drunk himself unconscious and was being revived by paramedics after attending a friend's birthday party.

He had drunk a bottle of vodka, along with half a bottle of Martini.
But he had already been consuming huge amounts of alcohol for a year before that watershed incident brought his problem to the attention of his shocked parents.
. . . . .

Binge Drinking During Pregnancy and Risk of Seizures in Childhood: A Study Based on the Danish National Birth Cohort
American Journal of Epidemiology Advance Access published online on December 8, 2008

Seizures are often found in children with fetal alcohol syndrome, but it is not known whether binge drinking during pregnancy by nonalcoholic women is associated with an increased risk of seizure disorders in children.

The authors conducted a population-based cohort study of 80,526 liveborn singletons in the Danish National Birth Cohort (1996–2002). Information on maternal binge drinking (intake of 5 drinks on a single occasion) was collected in 2 computer-assisted telephone interviews during pregnancy. Children were followed for up to 8 years. Information on neonatal seizures, epilepsy, and febrile seizures was retrieved from the Danish National Hospital Register.

Results showed that exposure to binge drinking episodes during pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk of seizure disorders in children, except for those exposed at 11–16 gestational weeks. These children had a 3.15-fold increased risk of neonatal seizures (95% confidence interval: 1.37, 7.25) and a 1.81-fold increased risk of epilepsy (95% confidence interval: 1.13, 2.90).

These findings suggest that maternal binge drinking during a specific time period of pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk of specific seizure disorders in the offspring.

The results are exploratory, however, and need to be replicated.

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Friday, December 12, 2008

Adverse Childhood Events and Lifetime Alcohol Dependence.
AJPH First Look, published online ahead of print Dec 4, 2008

We sought to study the association between adverse events occurring in childhood and adolescence and lifetime alcohol dependence in a representative sample of American adults.

With data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, we conducted logistic regression multivariate analyses to examine the impact of adverse events occurring in childhood (aged <18>

Adverse childhood events were associated with familial alcoholism and with early and binge drinking, and therefore, we controlled for these potential confounders. Experiencing 2 or more adverse childhood events, compared with none, significantly increased the risk for alcohol dependence, even after we controlled for sociodemographic variables and disorder-specific potential confounders not considered in the extant literature
Individuals who experienced 2 or more adverse childhood events are at increased risk for lifetime alcohol dependence. A better understanding of the factors underlying the risk for alcohol dependence is important for developing better prevention and early intervention measures.

Request Reprint E-Mail:
Serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR) and monoamine oxidase (MAOA) promoter polymorphisms in women with severe alcoholism

Archives of Women's Mental Health Volume 11, Numbers 5-6 / December, 2008

The serotonin system is known to play a pivotal role for mood, behaviour and psychic illness as e.g. alcoholism. Alcoholism in both males and females has been associated with polymorphisms in genes encoding for proteins of importance for central serotonergic function.

Genotyping of two functional polymorphisms in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter and monoamine oxidase-A, respectively, (5-HTT-LPR and MAOA-VNTR), was performed in a group of women with severe alcohol addiction. A large sample of adolescent females from a normal population was used as controls.

A significantly higher frequency of the LL 5-HTT genotype (high activity) was found in female addicts without a known co-morbid psychiatric disorder than in the controls. Genotype of the MAOA-VNTR polymorphism did not differ significantly between addicts and controls.
However, within the group of alcoholics, when the patients with known co-morbid psychiatric disorders were excluded, aggressive anti-social behaviour was significantly linked to the presence of the high activity MAOA allele.

The pattern of associations between genotypes of 5-HTT-LPR and MAOA-VNTR in women with severe alcoholism differs from most corresponding studies on males.

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Press Release - £330,000 to tackle alcohol-fuelled crime in London

10 December 2008

Eleven London boroughs will each receive £30,000 to tackle specific local troublespots of alcohol-related crime and disorder.

Hackney, Islington, Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Barking and Dagenham, Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth, Waltham Forest, Ealing, Newham and Southwark will be given a share of a new national Home Office £1.5 million fund.

This money is available to the 50 priority areas which have the highest levels of alcohol-related crime and disorder and public concern about drunk and rowdy behaviour. This money will be used to tackle underage sales, confiscate alcohol from under 18s and to carry out tougher alcohol enforcement work.
Downward Trend in Teen Marijuana Use Slows; Prescription Drug Abuse Remains High

NIDA's 2008 Monitoring the Future Survey Shows Mixed Results

WASHINGTON -- There are signs that the ongoing decline in teen marijuana use in recent years has stalled; however the downward trend in cigarette and alcohol use continues, according to the 2008 Monitoring the Future (MTF) Survey.
Results were announced today at a news conference. The MTF survey indicates that marijuana use among eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders, which has shown a consistent decline since the mid-1990s, appears to have leveled off with 10.9 percent of eighth graders, 23.9 percent of tenth graders, and 32.4 percent of twelfth graders reporting past year use.

Heightening the concern over this stabilization in use is the finding that, compared to last year, the proportion of eighth graders who perceived smoking marijuana as harmful and the proportion disapproving of its use have decreased.
Substance Abuse and Hospitalization for Mood Disorder Among Medicaid Beneficiaries
AJPH First Look, published online ahead of print Nov 13, 2008

We compared the influence of substance abuse with that of other comorbidities (e.g., anxiety, HIV) among people with mood disorder (N = 129 524) to explore risk factors for psychiatric hospitalization and early readmission within 3 months of discharge.

After linking Medicaid claims data in 5 states (California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Texas) to community-level information, we used logistic and Cox regression to examine hospitalization risk factors.

Twenty-four percent of beneficiaries with mood disorder were hospitalized. Of these, 24% were rehospitalized after discharge. Those with comorbid substance abuse accounted for 36% of all baseline hospitalizations and half of all readmissions.

Results highlight the need for increased and sustained funding for the treatment of comorbid substance abuse and mood disorder, and for enhanced partnership between mental health and substance abuse professionals.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:
New Report on Substance Use Among Adolescents

Adolescents who use drugs at an earlier age are more likely to develop substance dependence or abuse. Preventing or delaying substance use mong this population is of utmost importance and has been an ongoing goal of the Federal Government’s Healthy People initiative (

This issue of The NSDUH Report examines trends in substance use, dependence or abuse, and treatment among adolescents (i.e., youths aged 12 to 17). Data from the 2002 through 2007 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUHs) are utilized.

Read Full Report (PDF)

American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research
Volume 15, issue 2

This issue includes three articles:

  • “Development of the American Indian Enculturation Scale to Assist Counseling Practice,”

  • “The Changing Patterns of Drug Use among American Indian Students Over the Past 30 Years,” and

  • “Strong Navajo Marriages.”

Read Full Publication (PDF)


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

AAAP 2008: NESARC Findings Changing Understanding of Alcoholism

Wave 2 Data Sheds Further Light on 5 Subtypes

December 9, 2008 (Boca Raton, Florida) — New findings from 2 waves of the National Epidemiological Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) community survey are changing clinicians' understanding of alcohol dependence, researchers say.

Presented here at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry 19th Annual Meeting and Symposium, Howard B. Moss, MD, from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in Bethesda, Maryland, described how NESARC data identified 5 subtypes of alcohol-dependent drinkers and the more recent wave 2 data shed light on recovery, remission, and treatment seeking.

The data show that rather than being solely a disease of middle-aged men, more than half of alcohol-dependent individuals are young adults. In addition, only half of alcoholics have a family history of the disease, said Dr. Moss.

Read More


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Scientists identify alcohol tolerance gene

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
08 Dec 2008

An alcohol tolerance gene has been identified by scientists which could eventually lead to a test to see how well people can hold their drink.

Researchers also believe that the breakthrough could help identify people who are more susceptible to alcohol abuse later in life.

The team looked at how strongly people were affected by drinking in terms of body sway, co-ordination problems and feeling "high", and pinpointed the stretch of DNA that appeared to determine it.

According to the findings people who show little response to alcohol have a higher likelihood of alcohol dependence and abuse and this is influenced by genetics.

Drinkers who show a low level of response to alcohol can consume more before feeling the effects of intoxication and are more likely to succumb to alcoholism.

Read More


Nr 50 On the Margins: Nordic Alcohol and Drug Treatment 1885-2007

Eds. Johan Edman & Kerstin Stenius

The aim of this volume is to picture the character and dynamics of the alcohol and drug treatment systems in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. How and why have new ideas and institutions emerged during its history? Who have been the actors and what have been the structures behind changes or resistance to change? What can explain the continuities and the reforms?


A Frame
Kerstin Stenius & Johan Edman

Idealistic Doctors. Alcoholism Treatment Institutions in Sweden 1885-1916
Anna Prestjan

From Gold Cure to Antabuse. Danish Treatment Traditions in a Liberal Drinking Culture
Sidsel Eriksen

“You Take a Sick Man and Put Him in Hospital”. Treatment of Excessive Drinkers in Norway in the 1930s
Olav Hamran

In the Faint Shadow of Prohibition. The First Finnish Alcoholics Act of 1936
Kerstin Stenius

Conservatism and Social Control. Treatment with Disulfiram in Denmark, 1945-2005
Henrik Thiesen

Treatment as Adaptation. A-clinics in Post-War Finland
Jukka Ahonen

On the Demise of the Norwegian Vagrancy Act
Ragnar Hauge

From Hard Labour to Unemployment. The Crisis of Work Policy within the Treatment of Alcohol Abusers in Sweden and Norway during the 1970s
Johan Edman & Olav Hamran

A Crutch for Cripples or a Shield for the Endangered? The Temporary Decline in Compulsory Care within Swedish Alcohol Treatment during the 1970s
Johan Edman

The American Package. Acceptance of Alcoholism Treatment as a Problem Solution in Iceland in the Last Quarter of the 20th Century
Hildigunnur Ólafsdóttir

After the Storm. Developments in Maintenance Treatment Policy and Practice in Sweden 1987–2006
Björn Johnson

Medicalisation with a Focus on Injecting Drug Users. Changes in the Norwegian Treatment System from the 1990s
Astrid Skretting

Professional Expertise versus Market Mechanisms in Contemporary Denmark
Mads Uffe Pedersen

From Sanatoriums to Public Injection Rooms. Actors, Ideas and Institutions in the Nordic Treatment Systems
Johan Edman & Kerstin Stenius


NAD Publications



Nosam publishes news and information on alcohol policy and alcohol marketing in the Nordic countries. The pages cover news as well as more static background infomation concerning the Nordic countries’ alcohol policy systems, for example facts about state policies in different countries. Nosam links to different organisations and institutions that deal with alcohol policy matters. Nosam serves an important purpose by its numerous links to other sources of information; documents, press releases, institutions, legal acts...etc. Further information is always available just a click away from the main page.


18/11 EP votes to reduce traveller allowances by 50%

18/11 Higher taxes on alcohol in Finland

5/11 EU: relaxed rules on low alcohol wines

Read More
EC Law and trade agreements’ impact on public health and alcohol policy.

Meeting in Riga 25-26.2.2009

The space for alcohol policy-making has changed due to what is often referred to as the process of globalization. By international agreements politics looses its geographical boundaries and is governed by aims of pacts tied for reasons of economic competitiveness in a global context. These types of actions for liberalizing trade have some evident and serious side effects on the public health policy field. One notable structural change has been the so called judicialisation of politics, where international courts make decisions that have direct impact on the space for action in issues of public health. Judges in international courts decide on matters that used to be on the tables of national or local politicians.

It is becoming more evident that in order to know the alcohol policy field in Europe of today one needs to be acquainted with the logics of EC law, EFTA and WTO. Taking this assumption as a starting point the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services is arranging a seminar about EC Law and international trade agreements’ impact on public health, with alcohol policy as a special focus. The meeting, which will take place in Riga in February 2009, is co-arranged with the Nordic Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research (NAD, Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social issues). The target audience is European civil servants, researchers and policy makers, especially in the geographical area of the Northern Dimension Partnership (NDPHS,

The programme is structured around presentations by specialists of trade agreements, EC law as well as public health and alcohol policy. The seminar will for example discuss policy processes at an EU level, and will present special cases of monopolies, alcohol marketing and cross border trade. It will offer an opportunity to get insights in the larger processes that shape everyday policy making.

Read Full Announcement



Models, implications and meanings of alcohol and drug treatment systems

A thematic meeting of the Kettil Bruun Society for Social and Epidemiological Research on Alcohol, Stockholm, Sweden, 7-9 October 2009

See more


Monday, December 8, 2008

French doctor claims to have found 'chemical cure' for alcoholism

A doctor claims to have found a 'chemical cure' for alcoholism.

French cardiologist Dr Olivier Ameisen tested out baclofen on himself and was amazed by the effect it had on reducing his drinking.

Baclofen, which is commonly used to treat muscle spasms, appears to suppress the craving for alcohol.

Dr Ameisen, 55, has written a book about his discovery, called Le Dernier Verre (The Last Glass) which is proving a publishing hit in France. It comes out in English next month.

In it, he calls for clinical trials to test his theory.

But some specialists believe it is "extremely irresponsible" to tell people that alcoholism - a physical, social and psychological condition - can be treated with a simple drug.

. . . . .

Read Full Article


Chromosome 15q25.1 genetic markers associated with level of response to alcohol in humans
PNAS As with other genetically complex common psychiatric and medical conditions, multiple genetic and environmental components contribute to alcohol use disorders (AUDs), which can confound attempts to identify genetic components.

Intermediate phenotypes are often more closely correlated with underlying biology and have often proven invaluable in genetic studies. Level of response (LR) to alcohol is an intermediate phenotype for AUDs, and individuals with a low LR are at increased risk.

A high rate of concurrent alcohol and nicotine use and dependence suggests that these conditions may share biochemical and genetic mechanisms. Genetic association studies indicate that a genetic locus, which includes the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 gene cluster, plays a role in nicotine consumption and dependence. Genetic association with alcohol dependence was also recently shown.

We show here that two of the markers from the nicotine studies also show an association (multiple testing corrected P < 0.025) with several LR phenotypes in a sample of 367 siblings. Additional markers in the region were analyzed and shown to be located in a 250-kb expanse of high linkage disequilibrium containing three additional genes.

These findings indicate that LR intermediate phenotypes have utility in genetic approaches to AUDs and will prove valuable in the identification of other genetic loci conferring susceptibility to AUDs.

Read Full Abstract

Request Rprint E-Mail:
Opinions on the impact of alcohol on individuals and communities: early summary findings from the NorthWest Big Drink Debate

• In line with international evidence, respondents recognised that a number of external factors increase the quantity of alcohol consumed: low prices and discounts (80% thought this increases consumption); large measures (75%); allowing street drinking (68%); advertising (56%) and extended drinking hours (54%).

• Nearly half of participants avoided the town centre at night because of the drunken behaviour of others, and half felt that action was needed to tackle alcohol issues in their area.

• Fewer than half of respondents felt that information on alcohol-related harm (36%) or advice from a GP (48%) would decrease alcohol consumption.

• Nearly three in ten of the respondents drank at hazardous or harmful levels1, which when extrapolated to the whole population, suggests an estimated 1.33 million adults in the North West drink at such levels. Alcohol intake was high across all population segments, although the type of alcohol consumed showed strong socioeconomic gradients, with wine drinking associated with less deprived communities and beer or cider intake higher in more deprived locations.

• Very few people felt that the health risks of alcohol were exaggerated. Although only 7% felt that they did not know enough about the health risks, this was higher among harmful drinkers (11%). More than two in five drinkers were concerned about the impact of their drinking on their weight. In particular, those drinking hazardously (58%) and harmfully (60%) were most likely to feel this way. Such health concerns should be used to tailor brief interventions, health messages and campaigns.

• People who drink harmfully were six times more likely to say that alcohol relieves boredom or that it helps them to forget their problems compared with sensible drinkers.Such motivations should be considered when seeking to address alcohol misuse.

Read Full Publication


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Screening, brief interventions, referral to treatment (SBIRT) for illicit drug and alcohol use at multiple healthcare sites: Comparison at intake and 6 months later
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Volume 99, Issues 1-3, 1 January 2009, Pages 280-295

Alcohol screening and brief interventions in medical settings can significantly reduce alcohol use. Corresponding data for illicit drug use is sparse. A Federally funded screening, brief interventions, referral to treatment (SBIRT) service program, the largest of its kind to date, was initiated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in a wide variety of medical settings. We compared illicit drug use at intake and 6 months after drug screening and interventions were administered.

Of 459,599 patients screened, 22.7% screened positive for a spectrum of use (risky/problematic, abuse/addiction). The majority were recommended for a brief intervention (15.9%), with a smaller percentage recommended for brief treatment (3.2%) or referral to specialty treatment (3.7%). Among those reporting baseline illicit drug use, rates of drug use at 6-month follow-up (4 of 6 sites), were 67.7% lower and heavy alcohol use was 38.6% lower ), with comparable findings across sites, gender, race/ethnic, age subgroups. Among persons recommended for brief treatment or referral to specialty treatment, self-reported improvements in general health ), mental health , employment , housing status , and criminal behavior were found.

SBIRT was feasible to implement and the self-reported patient status at 6 months indicated significant improvements over baseline, for illicit drug use and heavy alcohol use, with functional domains improved, across a range of health care settings and a range of patients.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Doctor educates on danger of alcoholism

By Tshepo Mongwa SEROWE -

Alcoholism is a chronic condition of drinking liquor at a level that interferes with an individual’s physical, mental, health as well as social, family and job obligations.

However, the problem can be reversed for as long as one adheres to advice and procedures followed in overcoming alcoholism.

A medical doctor at the Sekgoma Memorial Hospital in Serowe, Dr Biyangidiki Finini said the first step in overcoming alcoholism is for one to acknowledge that they have a drinking problem.

. . . . .

Read Full Article
2008 .Vol No.231
Cues that Signal the Alcohol Content of a Beverage and their Effectiveness at Altering Drinking Rates in Young Social Drinkers
Alcohol and Alcoholism 2008 43(6):630-635

The aim of this study was to assess the impact of cues that signal the alcoholic strength of a beverage on drinking rate in young social drinkers.

In both experiments, participants took significantly longer to consume the 7% drink compared with the 3% drink, and the total inter-sip interval was longer for the 7% drink. These effects were most closely related to the participants’ changing estimates of alcohol strength across the test session, alongside concomitant changes in various aspects of self-reported mood. Sensory and hedonic evaluations of the drinks did not affect drinking behaviour in either experiment.

The findings suggest that the consumption rate of an alcoholic beverage can be modulated by its alcohol content, and that the perceived pharmacological effect of the alcohol serves as an effective signal to alter drinking behaviour.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail: