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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Childhood sleep problems, early onset of substance use and behavioral problems in adolescence
Sleep Medicine Article in Press, 12 January 2009

Very few prospective studies examine the relationship between childhood sleep problems and subsequent substance use. In this study, we examined how sleep problems at ages 3–8 predicted onset of alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use in adolescence. We also investigated the relationships between childhood sleep problems and adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems

Controlling for parental alcoholism, sleep problems at ages 3-8 predicted onset of alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use among boys and onset of alcohol use among girls. Childhood sleep problems were related to maternal ratings of internalizing and externalizing problems during adolescence for both boys and girls. Adjusting for these problems did not weaken the effects of sleep problems on onset of substance use.

This is to our knowledge the first study that prospectively examines gender differences in the relationship between sleep problems and early onset of substance use. Childhood sleep problems predicted early onset of substance use for boys but not girls. If childhood sleep problems indeed increase the probability of substance use onset, greater attention by parents to sleep problems in children and adolescents would potentially have ameliorative long-term effects. Parents are encouraged to explore different ways to help their children sleep better, including obtaining information and suggestions from their primary care physicians.

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Alcohol policy: battle of the binge

Published: 08 December 2008
Author: Stuart Shepherd

As drink gets cheaper and licensing hours get longer, stemming the effect on the nation's health and the NHS budget is causing headaches. Stuart Shepherd reports
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Addiction Volume 104 Issue 2, Pages 191 - 192

Wagenaar et al.’s [1] meta-analysis assessing the impact of price on drinking in this issue of Addiction is a true tour de force that will serve as an invaluable resource for researchers, public health practitioners, alcohol ontrol advocates and policy makers for many years to come.
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Effects of beverage alcohol price and tax levels on drinking: a meta-analysis of 1003 estimates from 112 studies

Addiction Volume 104 Issue 2, Pages 179 - 190

We conducted a systematic review of studies examining relationships between measures of beverage alcohol tax or price levels and alcohol sales or self-reported drinking. A total of 112 studies of alcohol tax or price effects were found, containing1003 estimates of the tax/price–consumption relationship.

Simple means of reported elasticities are −0.46 for beer, −0.69 for wine and −0.80 for spirits. Meta-analytical results document the highly significant relationships (P < 0.001) between alcohol tax or price measures and indices of sales or consumption of alcohol (aggregate-level r = −0.17 for beer, −0.30 for wine, −0.29 for spirits and −0.44 for total alcohol). Price/tax also affects heavy drinking significantly (mean reported elasticity = −0.28, individual-level r = −0.01, P < 0.01), but the magnitude of effect is smaller than effects on overall drinking

A large literature establishes that beverage alcohol prices and taxes are related inversely to drinking. Effects are large compared to other prevention policies and programs. Public policies that raise prices of alcohol are an effective means to reduce drinking.

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