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, March 12, 2011

Harm Reduction and 12 Steps: Complementary, Oppositional, or Something In-Between?

Initially born of the desire to prevent the transmission of HIV among injection drug users, harm reduction presents a relatively new option for assisting individuals who struggle with drug and alcohol use. Twelve-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are widely recognized as being a representative example of abstinence-based treatment and are often seen as oppositional to harm reduction. 

The purpose of this study is to examine the ways in which harm reduction workers interpret the relationship between harm reduction and 12-step approaches to treatment. 

The study draws upon qualitative interviews with 18 staff members from two harm reduction-based substance use treatment programs.

Two central themes emerge from the qualitative data: (1) harm reduction and 12-step approaches can be complementary; and (2) 12-step approaches in high-threshold treatment settings may differ significantly from their original philosophy and intent. A third, much less prominent theme reflects some respondents' skepticism about the capacity of the two approaches to work together given the resistance to harm reduction by some in the 12-step community. 

Complementary conceptualizations of harm reduction and 12-step approaches have the potential to broaden the range of options available to people experiencing substance use problems.

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Identification of genes regulated in the mouse extended amygdala by excessive ethanol drinking associated with dependence

Alcoholism is characterized by a progressive loss of control over ethanol intake. 

The purpose of this study was to identify transcriptional changes selectively associated with excessive ethanol drinking in dependent mice, as opposed to non-dependent mice maintaining a stable voluntary consumption or mice solely undergoing forced intoxication. 

We measured expression levels of 106 candidate genes in the extended amygdala, a key brain structure for the development of drug addiction. 

Cluster analysis identified 17 and 15 genes selectively induced or repressed, respectively, under conditions of excessive drinking. 

These genes belong to signaling pathways involved in neurotransmission and transcriptional regulation.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Alcohol-Related Negative Consequences among Drinkers around the World

This paper examines (1) gender and country differences in negative consequences related to drinking; (2) relative rates of different consequences; (3) country-level predictors of consequences.
Multi-level analyses used survey data from the GENACIS collaboration. 

Measures included 17 negative consequences grouped into (a) high endorsement acute, (b) personal and (c) social. Country-level measures included average frequency and quantity of drinking, percent current drinkers, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Human Development Index (HDI). 

Overall, the three groupings of consequences were reported by 44%, 12% and 7% of men and by 31%, 6% and 3% of women, respectively. More men than women endorsed all consequences but gender differences were greatest for consequences associated with chronic drinking and social consequences related to male roles. The highest prevalence of consequences was in Uganda, lowest in Uruguay. Personal and social consequences were more likely in countries with higher usual quantity, fewer current drinkers, and lower scores on GDP and HDI. However, significant interactions with individual-level quantity indicated a stronger relationship between consequences and usual quantity among drinkers in countries with lower quantity, more current drinkers and higher scores on GDP and HDI.  

Both gender and country need to be taken into consideration when assessing adverse drinking consequences. Individual measures of alcohol consumption and country-level variables are associated with experiencing such consequences. Additionally, country-level variables affect the strength of the relationship between usual quantity consumed by individuals and adverse consequences.

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B.C. to be first in Canada to treat alcoholism as a chronic condition

B.C. will soon become the first jurisdiction in Canada to recognize alcohol addiction as a chronic medical condition.

Provincial Health Minister Colin Hansen said the change — to take effect April 1 — will put the emphasis on preventive measures and give family doctors more time and resources to treat patients with alcohol addiction.

"It's saying to family physicians that if they identify somebody that has a chronic alcohol problem, they can treat them in the same way they would treat complex illnesses," he said. "They get to spend more time with their patient, as opposed to the standard doctor's visit, (where) they've got however many minutes to fill a prescription."

The move follows a 2009 B.C. Medical Association report on improving addiction care that recommended addiction be recognized as a chronic, treatable disease.  > > > > Read More

A Parsimonious, Integrative Model of Key Psychological Correlates of UK University Students’ Alcohol Consumption

To examine the predictive utility of psychological correlates of alcohol consumption identified in previous (US-dominated) research for a UK student sample and construct an integrative model predictive of alcohol dependency in a sample of first-year undergraduate students. 

A self-report questionnaire completed by 230 students measured stable and modifiable correlates of alcohol dependence. Stable correlates included age when first regularly drinking (age of onset), personality traits and religiosity. Modifiable measures included drinking motives, self-efficacy, alcohol-related expectancies, prototype perceptions and normative beliefs.
The final multivariate model highlighted the importance of age of onset, sensation-seeking and a series of social cognitive measures including: social drinking motives, confidence in the ability to drink within government guidelines (self-efficacy) and the perceived quantity and frequency of alcohol consumed by university friends. Beta-coefficients indicated that self-efficacy and social drinking motives were particularly important predictors. A significant interaction was observed between age of onset and self-efficacy. Earlier onset was associated with higher levels of alcohol dependence for low and moderate, but not high levels of self-efficacy. 
The model presented here could be used to identify students at risk of alcohol dependence and inform the design of campus-based interventions. 

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Alcohol intake and cognitive abilities in old age: The Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 study.

Moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with better cognitive performance in late adulthood, possibly by improving vascular health. Few studies have examined the potentially confounding roles of prior cognitive ability and social class in this relationship. 

Participants were 922 healthy adults about 70 years old in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 study, for whom there are IQ data from age 11. Alcohol consumption was obtained by self-report questionnaire. Cognitive outcome measures included general cognitive ability, speed of information processing, memory, and verbal ability. 

Moderate to substantial drinking (>2 units/day) was associated with better performance on cognitive tests than low-level drinking (≤2 units/day) or nondrinking in men and women. 

After adjusting for childhood IQ and adult social class, most of these associations were removed or substantially attenuated. 

After full adjustment, a small, positive association remained between overall alcohol intake and memory (women and men) and verbal ability (women only). 

Women's overall alcohol intake was derived almost exclusively from wine. In men, effects differed according to beverage type: wine and sherry–port consumption was associated with better verbal ability, but beer was associated with a poorer verbal ability and spirits intake was associated with better memory. 

Prior intelligence and socioeconomic status influence both amount and type of alcohol intake and may partly explain the link between alcohol intake and improved cognitive performance at age 70. 

Alcohol consumption was found to make a small, independent contribution to memory performance and verbal ability, but these findings' clinical significance is uncertain. 

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Alcohol, psychoactive drugs and fatal road traffic accidents in Norway: A case–control study

A case–control study was conducted on 204 drivers fatally injured in road traffic accidents in south-eastern Norway during the period 2003–2008. 

Cases from single vehicle accidents (N = 68) were assessed separately. As controls, 10 540 drivers selected in a roadside survey in the same geographical area during 2005–2006 were used. Blood samples were collected from the cases and oral fluid (saliva) samples from the controls. Samples were analysed for alcohol, amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, opioid analgesics, hypnotics, sedatives and a muscle relaxant; altogether 22 psychoactive substances. Equivalent cutoff concentrations for blood and oral fluid were used. The risk for fatal injury in a road traffic accident was estimated using logistic regression adjusting for gender, age, season of the year, and time of the week. 

The odds for involvement in fatal road traffic accidents for different substances or combination of substances were in increasing order: single drug < multiple drugs < alcohol only < alcohol + drugs. 

For single substance use: medicinal drug or THC < amphetamine/methamphetamine < alcohol. 

For most substances, higher ORs were found when studying drivers involved in single vehicle accidents than for those involved in multiple vehicle accidents, but confidence intervals were wider.

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Longitudinal Associations Between Other-Sex Friendships and Substance Use in Adolescence

The impact of the changes in the gender composition of friendship networks during early adolescence on substance use in late adolescence was examined. 

The hypothesis was that initial level and increase in the proportion of other-sex friends in the network would be associated with higher levels of substance use among girls, but not among boys. 

Girls and boys (n=390) were interviewed annually from ages 12 to 18 (79% retention). 

For both boys and girls, initial level in the proportion of other-sex friends predicted alcohol use in late adolescence, whereas it was predictive of drug use in girls only.
Moreover, for girls only, a faster increase in the proportion of other-sex friends in the network predicted later use of alcohol and drugs.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

State declares war on alcohol abuse

The government is waging war on the alarming increase in the abuse of alcohol and drugs, and has warned of stricter legislation - including raising the legal age for alcohol consumption from 18.

In a hard-hitting statement, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said yesterday that the devastating effects of alcohol abuse had spurred the government to "prioritise this as a matter of urgency". > > > >   Read More

Impaired Alcohol Metabolism after Gastric Bypass Surgery: A Case-Crossover Trial

Severe obesity remains the leading public health crisis of the industrialized world, with bariatric surgery the only effective and enduring treatment. Poor psychological adjustment has been occasionally reported postoperatively. In addition, evidence suggests that patients can metabolize alcohol differently after gastric bypass.

Preoperatively and at 3 and 6 months postoperatively, 19 Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) patients' breath alcohol content (BAC) was measured every 5 minutes after drinking 5 oz red wine to determine peak BAC and time until sober in a case-crossover design preoperatively and at 6 months postoperatively.

Patients reported symptoms experienced when intoxicated and answered a questionnaire of drinking habits. The peak BAC in patients after RYGB was considerably higher at 3 months (0.059%) and 6 months (0.088%) postoperatively than matched preoperative levels (0.024%). Patients also took considerably more time to return to sober at 3 months (61 minutes) and 6 months (88 minutes) than preoperatively (49 minutes). Postoperative intoxication was associated with lower levels of diaphoresis, flushing, and hyperactivity and higher levels of dizziness, warmth, and double vision. Postoperative patients reported drinking considerably less alcohol, fewer preferred beer, and more preferred wine than before surgery.

This is the first study to match preoperative and postoperative alcohol metabolism in gastric bypass patients. Post-RYGB patients have much higher peak BAC after ingesting alcohol and require more time to become sober. Patients who drink alcohol after gastric bypass surgery should exercise caution.

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Can’t stop the craving: The effect of impulsivity on cue-elicited craving for alcohol in heavy and light social drinkers

A robust finding in the alcohol literature is that heavy and alcohol-dependent drinkers show stronger reactions to alcohol-related cues than light drinkers. However, there are individual differences in the degree of cue-elicited craving. Personality factors appear to be involved in cue reactivity and impulsivity is a possible candidate.
The aim of the present study was to examine the role of different aspects of impulsivity in heavy drinking and alcohol cue reactivity in social drinkers.
Participants were heavy (n = 13) and light (n = 29) social drinkers who were exposed to neutral and alcohol-related stimuli during a single laboratory session. Trait impulsivity, response inhibition, and sensitivity to reward were assessed with the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11), the Stop Signal Task, and the Card-Arranging Reward Responsivity Objective Test, respectively.
Heavy drinkers scored higher on trait impulsivity (BIS-11) than light drinkers. In addition, heavy drinkers reported elevated levels of craving for alcohol, but both in light and heavy drinkers, craving increased equally after exposure to alcohol cues. Impulsivity appeared to moderate this relation: heavy drinkers with ineffective response inhibition showed more craving to alcohol cues, compared to heavy drinkers with adequate response inhibition. In light drinkers, response inhibition did not influence craving to alcohol cues.
Different aspects of impulsivity are involved in heavy drinking and perhaps motivate alcohol consumption in a variety of ways. Having a deficient response inhibition appears to be a risk factor for heavy drinkers because it is associated with increased craving to alcohol cues. 
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Retraining Automatic Action Tendencies Changes Alcoholic Patients’ Approach Bias for Alcohol and Improves Treatment Outcome

This study tested the effects of a new cognitive-bias modification (CBM) intervention that targeted an approach bias for alcohol in 214 alcoholic inpatients.

Patients were assigned to one of two experimental conditions, in which they were explicitly or implicitly trained to make avoidance movements (pushing a joystick) in response to alcohol pictures, or to one of two control conditions, in which they received no training or sham training.

Four brief sessions of experimental CBM preceded regular inpatient treatment. In the experimental conditions only, patients’ approach bias changed into an avoidance bias for alcohol. This effect generalized to untrained pictures in the task used in the CBM and to an Implicit Association Test, in which alcohol and soft-drink words were categorized with approach and avoidance words.

Patients in the experimental conditions showed better treatment outcomes a year later. These findings indicate that a short intervention can change alcoholics’ automatic approach bias for alcohol and may improve treatment outcome.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chap 11 Signal Transduction and Neurotoxicity: What Can We Learn from Experimental Culture Systems?

Signal transduction is a key process to transmit information from the extracellular milieu, and to elicit changes in the biological activity of target cells.  Several cell signaling pathways can be targeted by neurotoxicants and developmental neurotoxicants. 
This chapter focuses on the interactions of ethanol, a known human developmental neurotoxicant, with signal transduction pathways stimulated by acetylcholine through activation of muscarinic receptors. 

It shows how initial observations in vivo, upon developmental exposure to ethanol, have been followed-up by a series of studies in cell culture systems which have allowed the discoveries that ethanol, by interfering with muscarinic signaling in astroglial cells, inhibits their proliferation and their ability to foster neuronal differentiation.
Such effects of alcohol may be related to microencephaly and abnormal neuronal development, two hallmarks of the fetal alcohol syndrome. 
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Acute alcohol intoxication impairs top–down regulation of stroop incongruity as revealed by blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging

Functional neuroanatomy of executive functions has been delineated in a large number of neuroimaging studies using conflict-inducing tasks. The neural basis of alcohol's effects on cognitive control is poorly understood despite the evidence of impaired ability to evaluate competing demands and to inhibit -maladaptive responses. 

To investigate the effects of moderate intoxication, healthy social drinkers participated in both alcohol (0.60 g/kg ethanol for men, 0.55 g/kg for women) and placebo conditions while being scanned using blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). A modified four-color Stroop task combined reading and color naming and used manual responses. Twenty subjects (10 women) were instructed to press a button corresponding to the font color except when a word was written in gray in which case they had to respond to the meaning of the word. 

Alcohol increased reaction times and a tendency to make more errors on incongruent trials. Behavioral indices of alcohol-induced premature responding correlated with the current drinking levels and impulsivity traits, suggesting an interaction between alcohol effects and personality predispositions. 

A distributed frontoparietal cortical network was activated by incongruity. However, moderate alcohol inebriation selectively attenuated anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) activation during both high-conflict trials and erroneous responses, indicating vulnerability of the regulative function subserved by the ACC. 

By disrupting top–down, strategic processing, alcohol may interfere with goal-directed behavior, resulting in poor self control. 

The present results support models proposing that alcohol-induced prefrontal impairments diminish inhibitory control and are modulated by dispositional risk factors and levels of alcohol consumption.

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Effects of morphine and alcohol on functional brain connectivity during “resting state”:A placebo-controlled crossover study in healthy young men

A major challenge in central nervous system (CNS) drug research is to develop a generally applicable methodology for repeated measurements of drug effects on the entire CNS, without task-related interactions and a priori models.

For this reason, data-driven resting-state fMRI methods are promising for pharmacological research. 

This study aimed to investigate whether different psychoactive substances cause drug-specific effects in functional brain connectivity during resting-state. 

In this double blind placebo-controlled (double dummy) crossover study, seven resting-state fMRI scans were obtained in 12 healthy young men in three different drug sessions (placebo, morphine and alcohol; randomized). Drugs were administered intravenously based on validated pharmacokinetic protocols to minimize the inter- and intra-subject variance in plasma drug concentrations. Dual-regression was used to estimate whole-brain resting-state connectivity in relation to eight well-characterized resting-state networks, for each data set. 

A mixed effects analysis of drug by time interactions revealed dissociable changes in both pharmacodynamics and functional connectivity resulting from alcohol and morphine. 

Post hoc analysis of regions of interest revealed adaptive network interactions in relation to pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic curves. 

Our results illustrate the applicability of resting-state functional brain connectivity in CNS drug research.

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8th Meeting
Monday 21 March 2011, 11h00 – 17h00
Brussels, Froissart 101, room 02/169


1) Welcome and introduction by the Chair
2) Quorum (Rules of Procedure, Art. 1.1)
3) Declaration of interests considered prejudicial to independence in relation to the items
on the agenda (Rules of Procedure, Art. 3.4)
4) Adoption of the agenda (Rules of Procedure, Art. 11.6)
5) Formal adoption of the draft summary report of the Science Group's 7th meeting of 25
October 2010
6) Demonstration of and discussion on options for teleconferencing (Commission services)
7) Update on recent developments (Commission services)
8) Work towards formulating scientific advice on reducing the negative impact of harmful
and hazardous alcohol consumption on the workplace (EAHF Task request)
o Draft report on initiatives and guidelines developed by alcohol producer companies
to reduce consumption and potential harm in the workplace
o Draft report on the evidence relating to the topics of the Task request
o Next steps
9) Agreeing on dates for next meetings, including meeting formats as appropriate
10) Any other business

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Spirituality and the treatment of substance use disorders: an exploration of forgiveness, resentment and purpose in life

Faith-based treatment programs are a viable treatment option for many individuals with substance use disorders; however, the psychological mechanisms that explain the relationship between spirituality and a recovery from substance use disorders have not been established. 

The Spirituality, Forgiveness, and Purpose (SFP) model of recovery proposes that forgiveness and purpose in life may mediate the spirituality–recovery relationship. 

As a preliminary step in exploring this theory, a cross-sectional investigation of 277 clients of the Australian Salvation Army Rehabilitation Service Centres was performed.

A multiple regression found that forgiveness of others, forgiveness of self, receiving forgiveness from others, and receiving forgiveness from God predicted resentment. 

Furthermore, multiple mediation analyses found that forgiveness of self and receiving forgiveness from others and God mediated the relationship between daily spiritual experiences and purpose and engagement in life.

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Faith-based treatment programs are a viable treatment option for many individuals with substance use disorders; however, the psychological mechanisms that explain the relationship between spirituality and a recovery from substance use disorders have not been established. The Spirituality, Forgiveness, and Purpose (SFP) model of recovery proposes that forgiveness and purpose in life may mediate the spirituality–recovery relationship. As a preliminary step in exploring this theory, a cross-sectional investigation of 277 clients of the Australian Salvation Army Rehabilitation Service Centres was performed. A multiple regression found that forgiveness of others, forgiveness of self, receiving forgiveness from others, and receiving forgiveness from God predicted resentment. Furthermore, multiple mediation analyses found that forgiveness of self and receiving forgiveness from others and God mediated the relationship between daily spiritual experiences and purpose and engagement in life.

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Faith-based treatment programs are a viable treatment option for many individuals with substance use disorders; however, the psychological mechanisms that explain the relationship between spirituality and a recovery from substance use disorders have not been established. The Spirituality, Forgiveness, and Purpose (SFP) model of recovery proposes that forgiveness and purpose in life may mediate the spirituality–recovery relationship. As a preliminary step in exploring this theory, a cross-sectional investigation of 277 clients of the Australian Salvation Army Rehabilitation Service Centres was performed. A multiple regression found that forgiveness of others, forgiveness of self, receiving forgiveness from others, and receiving forgiveness from God predicted resentment. Furthermore, multiple mediation analyses found that forgiveness of self and receiving forgiveness from others and God mediated the relationship between daily spiritual experiences and purpose and engagement in life.

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The Influence of Alcohol Abuse History on the Differential, Longitudinal Patterns of Mental and Physical Quality of Life Following Liver Transplantation

This prospective, longitudinal study investigated change in physical and mental health quality of life (QoL) in a sample of 65 end-stage liver disease patients before and after liver transplantation. 

Physical and mental health QoL were assessed using the SF-36 Physical Health Summary and Mental Health Summary, respectively. Baseline data were collected prior to transplant and follow-up data were collected at 1 and 6 months after transplantation. 

Repeated-measures analysis of variance results indicate that physical QoL did not improve significantly between baseline and 1-month follow-up (F = .031, P = .860) but did between 1- and 6-month follow-up (F = 20.873, P < .001). 

Significant between-subject effects suggested attenuated improvement for patients with alcohol abuse histories (F = 6.213, P = .017). Physical QoL did not improve between 1- and 6-month follow-up for patients with alcohol abuse history (t(13) = −1.074, P = .112). 

By contrast, mental health QoL improved significantly between baseline and 1-month follow-up (F = 13.840, P < .001), but not between 1- and 6-month follow-up (F = .750, P = .391). 

No significant differences were found on the Mental Health Summary index based on alcohol abuse history for either time period. 

Post hoc multivariate analysis of variance results suggested worse functioning (F = 2.674, P = .013) for individuals with alcohol abuse history on SF-36 Physical Functioning (F = 5.55, P = .021), Body Pain (F = 13.578, P < .001), Vitality (F = 4.337, P = .040), and Social Functioning (F = 10.50, P = .002) subscales. 

For liver transplant patients, improvements in psychosocial functioning and QoL precede improvements in physical QoL. 

Attenuated physical QoL improvements for patients with alcohol abuse histories are related to greater pain and physical deficits.

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Perturbation of the Glutamate–Glutamine System in Alcohol Dependence and Remission

As acute ethanol exposure inhibits N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate (Glu) receptors, sudden withdrawal from chronic alcohol use may lead to an increased activation of these receptors with excitotoxic effects. In the longer term, brain levels of Glu and its metabolites, such as glutamine (Gln), are likely to be chronically altered by alcohol, possibly providing a measure of overall abnormal Glu–Gln cycling. However, few studies have assessed concentrations of these metabolites in clinical populations of individuals with alcohol use disorders.

Glu and Gln levels were compared in groups of 17 healthy controls and in 13 participants with alcohol dependence. Within the alcohol-dependent group, seven participants had current alcohol use disorder (AUD), and six had AUD in remission for at least 1 year (AUD-R). Neurometabolite concentrations were measured with proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) in a predominantly gray matter voxel that included the bilateral anterior cingulate gyri. Tissue segmentation provided an assessment of the proportion of gray matter in the 1H-MRS voxel. The Drinker Inventory of Consequences (DrInC) and Form-90 were administered to all participants to quantify alcohol consequences and use. 

Glu level was lower and Gln level was higher in the AUD and AUD-R groups relative to the control group; creatine, choline, myo-inositol, and total N-acetyl groups, primarily N-acetylaspartate did not differ across groups. These results were not confounded by age, sex, or proportion of gray matter in the 1H-MRS voxel. Neurometabolite concentrations did not differ between AUD and AUD-R groups. 

Subsequent regressions in the combined clinical group, treating voxel gray matter proportion as a covariate, revealed that total score on the DrInC was positively correlated with Gln but negatively correlated with both Glu and gray matter proportion. 

Regression analyses, including DrInC scores and smoking variables, identified a marginal independent effect of smoking on Gln. 

The current findings of higher Gln and lower Glu in the combined AUD and AUD-R groups might indicate a perturbation of the Glu–Gln cycle in alcohol use disorders. The absence of differences in mean Glu and Gln between the AUD and AUD-R groups suggests that altered Glu–Gln metabolism may either predate the onset of abuse or persist during prolonged abstinence.

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Cognitive and behavioral effects of prenatal alcohol exposure

Children exposed to substantial amounts of alcohol prenatally are known to display a range of physical and cognitive anomalies, referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). 

Animal models and neuroimaging studies of FASDs have consistently demonstrated that specific regions of the brain (e.g., midline structures) are more vulnerable to the teratogenic effects of alcohol than other regions. 

The main aim of this article is to assess whether findings from cognitive–behavioral studies of FASDs yield a profile that maps onto the pattern of damage revealed by neuroanatomical investigations. 

To achieve this aim, the findings from studies that have investigated elementary functions (e.g., associative learning), general functions (e.g., intellectual abilities), specific functions (e.g., language and memory) and behavior in children and adults with FASDs are examined. 

The cognitive–behavioral profile emerging from the data is defined as a generalized deficit in processing and integrating complex information. It is proposed that slow processing of information mainly contributes to this deficit. 

The clinical implications of the above characterization of the cognitive–behavioral profile in FASDs are discussed.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

10th Annual Association of Recovery Schools Annual Conference: Rock & Roll to Recovery

What: 10th Annual Association of Recovery Schools Annual Conference: Rock & Roll to Recovery
When: July 20-22, 2011
Where: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
Hosted by: Prevention & Recovery Services, Case Western Reserve University.
Our Conference theme, Rock & Roll to Recovery, provides an opportunity to acknowledge the powerful nature of addiction and how our society, including the music world, has suffered. We celebrate the educators, guidance counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, physicians, community volunteers, families & friends … all who help young people in recovery pursue their dreams.  > > > >  Read More

Training: Science of Addiction and Recovery

Dallas, TX Training: April 16 , 2011

Download the Texas Training flyer here!
Registration Deadline is 5pm, April 8th! Only 40 spaces available, so register today!
  • Register Now!
  • About the Training
  • About the Trainer
  • Training Follow-up
  • Registration Fee
  • Important Dates
  • Training Schedule
  • Training Location and Transportation
  • Other Important Information

About the Training

The Science of Addiction and Recovery is a 6 six-hour “train the trainer” training for people in long-term recovery, their families, friends and allies.  > > > >   Read More

Alcohol, tobacco, and mammographic density: a population-based study

Mammographic density (MD), or the proportion of the breast with respect to its overall area that is composed of dense tissue, is a strong risk factor for breast cancer. 
Studies support a positive association of mammographic density and alcohol drinking. 
This was a cross-sectional multicenter study based on 3584 women, aged 45–68 years, recruited from seven screening centers within the Spanish breast cancer screening program network. The association between MD, alcohol consumption and tobacco use was evaluated by using ordinal logistic models with random center-specific intercepts. 
We found a weak positive association between current alcohol intake and higher MD, with current alcohol consumption increasing the odds of high MD by 13% (OR = 1.13; 95% CI 0.99–1.28) and high daily grams of alcohol being positively associated with increased MD (P for trend = 0.045). 
There were no statistically significant differences in MD between smokers and non-smokers. Nevertheless, increased number of daily cigarettes and increased number of accumulated lifetime cigarettes were negatively associated with high MD (P for trend 0.017 and 0.021).

The effect of alcohol on MD was modified by menopausal status and tobacco smoking: whereas, alcohol consumption and daily grams of alcohol were positively associated with higher MD in postmenopausal women and in women who were not currently smoking, alcohol consumption had no effect on MD in premenopausal women and current smokers. 
Our results support an association between recent alcohol consumption and high MD, characterized by a modest increase in risk at low levels of current consumption and a decrease in risk among heavier drinkers. 
Our study also shows how the effects of alcohol in the breast can be modified by other factors, such as smoking. 
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Combined transcriptome analysis of fetal human and mouse cerebral cortex exposed to alcohol

Fetal exposure to environmental insults increases the susceptibility to late-onset neuropsychiatric disorders. 

Alcohol is listed as one of such prenatal environmental risk factors and known to exert devastating teratogenetic effects on the developing brain, leading to complex neurological and psychiatric symptoms observed in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). 

Here, we performed a coordinated transcriptome analysis of human and mouse fetal cerebral cortices exposed to ethanol in vitro and in vivo, respectively. 

Up- and down-regulated genes conserved in the human and mouse models and the biological annotation of their expression profiles included many genes/terms related to neural development, such as cell proliferation, neuronal migration and differentiation, providing a reliable connection between the two species. 

Our data indicate that use of the combined rodent and human model systems provides an effective strategy to reveal and analyze gene expression changes inflicted by various physical and chemical environmental exposures during prenatal development. It also can potentially provide insight into the pathogenesis of environmentally caused brain disorders in humans. 

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Recent AERC research: Alcohol Insights on students, sport, stress, families and supply points

The AERC library has recently had a number of Alcohol Insights added to its research bank including:

Monday, March 7, 2011

School performance and alcohol use problems in early adulthood: a longitudinal study.

There is inconsistent evidence about the association between school performance and subsequent use of alcohol and alcohol problems in adolescents and young adults.

This study examines whether school performance at 14 years is associated with drinking problems in early adulthood; and whether this association is explained by family and individual factors in childhood and adolescence.

Data were from a 21-year follow-up of 3,478 Australian young adults from birth to the age of 21 years when data on use of alcohol were collected. Child school performance (CSP) was assessed at 14 years via self- and maternal report. Alcohol consumption at 21 years was measured via self-report, and alcohol abuse and dependence were assessed by the computerized version of Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI-Auto). Potential confounding factors were prospectively measured between the child’s birth and age of 14 years.

School performance at 14 years predicted young adults’ alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders (AUDs). After controlling for confounding, children who had lower school performance had increased risk of drinking more than two glasses of alcohol per day in early adulthood (odds ratio=1.7; 95% confidence interval: 1.1–2.6).

There was a similar pattern of association between CSP and young adults’ alcohol abuse and dependence (AUD) measured by CIDI-Auto.

Level of academic performance in high school children predicts their drinking problems as young adults, independently of a selected group of individual and family confounders.

Exploration of the pathway linking school performance and alcohol problems in young people may help identify opportunities for preventive interventions.

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A Simple Way to Measure Ethanol Sensitivity in Flies

Low doses of ethanol cause flies to become hyperactive, while high doses are sedating. The sensitivity to ethanol-induced sedation of a given fly strain is correlated with that strain s ethanol preference, and therefore sedation is a highly relevant measure to study the genetics of alcohol responses and drinking. 

We demonstrate a simple way to expose flies to ethanol and measure its intoxicating effects. 

The assay we describe can determine acute sensitivity, as well as ethanol tolerance induced by repeat exposure. 

It does not require a technically involved setup, and can therefore be applied in any laboratory with basic fly culture tools.

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Belfast to set minimum alcohol price

Northern Ireland’s power-sharing executive aims to become the first government in Europe to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol in a bid to tackle binge drinking and anti-social behaviour and cut the region’s health bill.

Alex Attwood, the social development minister and Michael McGimpsey, health minister, launched a consultation process on Monday calling for a minimum price of between 40p and 70p for a unit of alcohol in off-licences, pubs and registered clubs.  > > > >   Read More

Individual and household-level socioeconomic position is associated with harmful alcohol consumption behaviours among adults

To examine associations between individual-, household- and neighbourhood-level socioeconomic position (SEP) and harmful alcohol consumption.
Adults aged 18–76 residing in 50 neighbourhoods in Melbourne completed a postal questionnaire (n= 2349, 58.7% response rate). Alcohol-related behaviours were classified by risk of short- and long-term harm. Individual-, household- and neighbourhood-level SEP were ascertained by education, household income and proportion of low-income households, respectively. The association were examined by multi-level logistic regression.
Participants lower education or household income were less likely to consume alcohol frequently compared to their more-advantaged counterparts. Lower-educated men were more likely to be at risk of short-term harm [OR 1.75 (1.23 to 2.48)]. Low-income women were less likely to be at risk of short-term harm [OR 0.44 (0.23 to 0.81)]. Neighbourhood disadvantage was not associated with alcohol consumption.
Men and women from socioeconomically advantaged backgrounds were more frequent consumers of alcohol, whereas their disadvantaged counterparts drank less frequently but in greater quantities on each drinking occasion.

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Alcohol and depression

To examine the literature on the associations between alcohol use disorders (AUD) and major depression (MD), and to evaluate the evidence for the existence of a causal relationship between the disorders.
PsycInfo; PubMed; Embase; Scopus; ISI Web of Science database searches for studies pertaining to AUD and MD from the 1980 to the present. Random-effects models were used to derive estimates of the pooled adjusted odds ratios (AOR) for the links between AUD and MD among studies reporting an AOR.
The analysis revealed that the presence of either disorder doubled the risks of the second disorder, with pooled AORs ranging from 2.00 to 2.09. 

Epidemiological data suggest that the linkages between the disorders cannot be accounted for fully by common factors that influence both AUD and MD, and that the disorders appear to be linked in a causal manner. 

Further evidence suggests that the most plausible causal association between AUD and MD is one in which AUD increases the risk of MD, rather than vice versa. 

Potential mechanisms underlying these causal linkages include neurophysiological and metabolic changes resulting from exposure to alcohol. 

The need for further research examining mechanisms of linkage, gender differences in associations between AUD and MD and classification issues was identified.
The current state of the literature suggests a causal linkage between alcohol use disorders and major depression, such that increasing involvement with alcohol increases risk of depression. 

Further research is needed in order to clarify the nature of this causal link, in order to develop effective intervention and treatment approaches.

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Alcohol-related discussions in health care—a population view

The present study aimed to evaluate the frequency and the target group of alcohol screening and brief interventions in health-care settings and how well this level of activity reflects public opinion.
A general population survey.
A random sample of Finns aged 15–69 years with a 74% response rate (n = 2725).
Frequency counts were used to evaluate the level of activity. Logistic regression models were used to examine which groups were asked and advised about alcohol use and which groups considered it useful.

More than 90% had positive attitudes towards being asked about their alcohol use. Of those who had been in contact with health care (n = 2062) in the 12 months before the survey, 33.3% had been asked about their alcohol use, being most often men, young, heavy drinkers and those of high socio-economic status. Thirty-seven per cent of those who had been asked were given advice, being most often heavy drinkers and those with a normal body mass index. However, 50% of heavy drinkers who had been asked about their alcohol use had not been advised about it. Of those who had been advised, 71.9% considered it useful, especially older subjects, and also including heavy episodic drinkers, although less than others.
In Finland, the frequency of health-care professionals asking and giving advice on alcohol is relatively low. However, public opinion towards these discussions is positive. 

Our results encourage the support and uptake of systematic screenings and brief interventions in health-care settings.

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