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.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Editorial - Health-care reform provides an opportunity for evidence-based alcohol treatment in the USA: the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guideline as a model

The USA is entering an era of major change in the financing and delivery of health-care services, including a greater  emphasis on evidence-based treatment.

Mainstream US alcohol treatment is an amalgam of
experience- and evidence-based approaches; the National
Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
alcohol guideline could provide a model for reform in
the USA.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Global Actions October 17, 2012

Key Recent Milestones:

· Mexico: Global Actions completed the education part of the “Train the Trainer” program in Puebla, delivering 34 trainings and reaching approximately 1,000 university students.

Global Actions in Focus: Initiatives Report 2012

report cover.pngAt the international conference Global Actions: Initiatives to Reduce Harmful Drinking, ICAP released its new international report, Initiatives Report 2012. The report analyzes more than 3,600 initiatives by members of the beverage alcohol industry to reduce harmful drinking.

The report find that the majority of industry initiatives have addressed four issues: drink driving (30%), underage drinking (27%), sales (17%), and marketing (14%). The report is the first of its kind to catalog and analyze these activities.

“In compiling this report, we were struck by not only the sheer volume of initiatives being implemented, but also the broad range of approaches and the high level of industry engagement with local stakeholders,” said ICAP President Marcus Grant.

ICAP’s research shows that, as industry efforts have evolved, several key trends have emerged. In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on low-and middle-income countries. The industry has also been incorporating rigorous evaluation components into its programs. Overall program structures are being strengthened, as partnership and evaluation are introduced to both new and ongoing initiatives.

ICAP has compiled a database of reported industry programs and activities aimed at reducing harmful drinking: The database allows initiatives to be searched according to the 10 areas for policy options and interventions described in the WHO Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol.

What’s Happening Next:

· Colombia: ICAP is continuing training sessions to reduce the number of drink driving injuries and fatalities in Colombia with the Proyecto Patrullero project. ICAP is coordinating seminars in the cities of Quibdó and Santa Marta and organizing additional alcohol check points in Chía, as part of phase two of the project.

Hippocampal volumes and cognitive functions in adult alcoholic patients with adolescent-onset

This study investigated hippocampal volumes and cognitive functions in adult alcoholic patients with adolescent- or late-onset alcohol use.

Twenty-one male alcohol dependent inpatients and 13 healthy male controls were enrolled in this study. Cranial magnetic resonance imaging to measure hippocampal volumes and neuropsychological tests were performed in week 4 of abstinence in the patients and controls. The patients were divided into two subgroups (adolescent- and late-onset subgroups) according to the onset age of alcohol use. 

Alcoholic patients in general had significantly smaller right hippocampal volumes than the healthy controls. Patients' immediate memory, attention, acquisition and working memory subtest scores were inferior to those of the controls. The right hippocampus was significantly smaller in adult alcoholic patients with adolescent-onset use compared to the controls and the late-onset group. There was no significant correlation between neuropsychological test scores and hippocampal volumes. 

Our results suggest that hippocampal volume loss might be a feature of adolescent-onset alcoholic patients rather than of late-onset ones.

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Generalized anxiety disorder is under-recognized in clinical practice in patients with alcohol dependence in France

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a frequent disabling disorder that often occurs with alcohol dependence. However comorbidity between substance use disorders and psychiatric disorders is often under-diagnosed. 

This study tried to evaluate an under-recognition of GAD by clinicians in alcoholic inpatients. Two groups of alcohol-dependent inpatients, hospitalized in the same non-academic psychiatric hospital in France, were included. The first group (Group 1) (n = 205) was included retrospectively within all patients hospitalized for alcohol dependence from may to November 2007. A record review was performed to determine the number of GAD (and other psychiatric disorders) diagnosis which was reported on these files by the clinicians. The second group (Group 2) (n = 199) was included prospectively from May to November 2008. GAD diagnosis was screened with the Worry and Anxiety Questionnaire and then confirmed with the Mini International Neurodiagnostic Interview. 

The two groups were similar in terms of social and demographic variables. GAD prevalence rate was significantly higher in Group 2 (30.7% with Confidence Interval [0.242; 0.371]) than in Group 1 (2.4% with Confidence Interval [0.003; 0.045]). 

This study confirms our hypothesis of an under-recognition of GAD by clinicians in alcohol dependant inpatients. It also confirms the high prevalence rate of comorbidity between alcohol dependence and GAD.

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Rapid Partial Regeneration of Brain Volume During the First 14 Days of Abstinence from Alcohol

Chronic alcohol abuse leads to severe damage of the nervous system, including a change in cerebral metabolism and brain morphology. Global volume reductions of gray matter (GM) and white matter and an increase in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) occur after severe alcohol consumption, but abstinent alcoholics also demonstrate a brain volume recovery. The aim of this study was to investigate whether volumetric amelioration takes place already within the first 2 weeks of abstinence.

All 4 alcohol-dependent patients included in this study were scanned within the first 24 hours of detoxification and after 2 weeks of supervised abstinence. Amelioration of volumetric brain loss in alcohol-dependent patients has been investigated, and brain volumes have been compared with 55 healthy control subjects using whole-brain segmentation and a voxel-based morphometric approach.

On the first day of abstinence, the global CSF volume was larger and the GM volume was smaller in alcohol-dependent patients compared with healthy controls. The largest clusters with significant volumetric differences were in the cingulate gyrus, precentral and middle frontal gyrus, cerebellum, and insula. Already after 2 weeks of abstinence, a significant albeit partial recovery of GM volume occurred in several brain regions.

Our results show that recovery of GM volume in alcohol-dependent patients starts within a few days after detoxification but varies between brain regions. This suggests that the general ability to recover and the rate as well as onset of the recovery diverges for different brain regions.

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Excess Mortality of Alcohol-Dependent Individuals After 14 Years and Mortality Predictors Based on Treatment Participation and Severity of Alcohol Dependence

Little is known about excess mortality and its predictors among alcohol-dependent individuals in the general population. We sought to estimate excess mortality and to determine whether alcohol dependence treatment utilization, alcohol dependence severity, alcohol-related problems, and self-rated health may predict mortality over 14 years.

A random sample of the general population between the ages of 18 and 64 in 1 region in Germany was drawn. Among 4,070 respondents with valid data, 153 alcohol-dependent individuals were identified. For 149 of these 153, vital status information was provided 14 years later. Baseline data from the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (German version M-CIDI) included a diagnosis of alcohol dependence according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association, alcohol dependence treatment utilization, alcohol dependence severity based on the number of DSM-IV alcohol dependence diagnostic criteria fulfilled and a symptom frequency questionnaire, alcohol-related problems, self-rated general health, cigarettes smoked per day, and the number of psychiatric disorders according to the DSM-IV at baseline.

Annualized death rates were 4.6-fold higher for women and 1.9-fold higher for men compared to the age- and sex-specific general population. Having participated in inpatient specialized alcohol dependence treatment was not related with longer survival than not having taken part in the treatment. Utilization of inpatient detoxification treatment predicted the hazard rate ratio of mortality (unadjusted: 4.2, 90% confidence interval 1.8 to 9.8). The severity of alcohol dependence was associated with the use of detoxification treatment. Alcohol-related problems and poor self-rated health predicted mortality.

According to the high excess mortality, a particular focus should be placed on women. Inpatient specialized alcohol dependence treatment did not seem to have a sufficient protective effect against dying prematurely. Having been in detoxification treatment only, the severity of alcohol dependence, alcohol-related problems, and self-rated health may be predictors of time-to-death among this general population sample.

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A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Spatial Working Memory in Children with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure: Contribution of Familial History of Alcohol Use Disorders

Heavy prenatal alcohol exposure leads to widespread cognitive deficits, including problems with spatial working memory (SWM). Neuroimaging studies report structural and functional abnormalities in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), but interpretations may be complicated by the co-occurrence of a family history of alcoholism. Since this history is also linked to cognitive deficits and brain abnormalities, it is difficult to determine the extent to which deficits are unique to prenatal alcohol exposure.

Age-matched subjects selected from 2 neuroimaging studies underwent functional imaging while engaging in a task assessing memory for spatial locations relative to a vigilance condition assessing attention. Pairwise comparisons were made for the following 3 groups: children with histories of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure (ALC, n = 18); those with no prenatal alcohol exposure, but a confirmed family history of alcoholism (FHP, n = 18); and nonexposed, family history negative controls (CON, n = 17).

Relative to CON and FHP, the ALC group showed increased blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) response in the left middle and superior frontal gyri for the SWM condition relative to the vigilance condition (SWM contrast). Additionally, the ALC group showed unique BOLD response increases in the left lingual gyrus and right middle frontal gyrus relative to CON, and left cuneus and precuneus relative to FHP. Both ALC and FHP showed greater activation compared to CON in the lentiform nucleus and insular region.Read

These results confirm previous studies suggesting SWM deficits in FASD. Differences between the ALC group and the CON and FHP groups suggest the left middle and superior frontal region may be specifically affected in alcohol-exposed children. Conversely, differences from the CON group in the lentiform nucleus and insular region for the ALC and FHP groups may indicate this region is associated with family history of alcoholism rather than specifically with prenatal alcohol exposure.

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Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Breast Cancer in Women: From Epidemiology to Mechanisms and Interventions

Epidemiologic studies indicate that moderate alcohol consumption increases breast cancer risk in women. Understanding the mechanistic basis of this relationship has important implications for women's health and breast cancer prevention. 

In this commentary, we focus on some recent epidemiologic studies linking moderate alcohol consumption to breast cancer risk and place the results of those studies within the framework of our current understanding of the temporal and mechanistic basis of human carcinogenesis.

This analysis supports the hypothesis that alcohol acts as a weak cumulative breast carcinogen and may also be a tumor promoter. We discuss the implications of these mechanisms for the prevention and treatment of alcohol-related breast cancer and present some considerations for future studies. 

Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to benefit cardiovascular health and recently been associated with healthy aging. Therefore, a better understanding of how moderate alcohol consumption impacts breast cancer risk will allow women to make better informed decisions about the risks and benefits of alcohol consumption in the context of their overall health and at different stages of their life. Such mechanistic information is also important for the development of rational clinical interventions to reduce ethanol-related breast cancer mortality.

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Evidence for a Multi-Dimensional Latent Structural Model of Externalizing Disorders

Strong associations between conduct disorder (CD), antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and substance use disorders (SUD) seem to reflect a general vulnerability to externalizing behaviors. 

Recent studies have characterized this vulnerability on a continuous scale, rather than as distinct categories, suggesting that the revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) take into account the underlying continuum of externalizing behaviors. 

However, most of this research has not included measures of disorders that appear in childhood [e.g., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)], nor has it considered the full range of possibilities for the latent structure of externalizing behaviors, particularly factor mixture models, which allow for a latent factor to have both continuous and categorical dimensions. 

Finally, the majority of prior studies have not tested multidimensional models. 

Using lifetime diagnoses of externalizing disorders from participants in the Fast Track Project (n = 715), we analyzed a series of latent variable models ranging from fully continuous factor models to fully categorical mixture models. 

Continuous models provided the best fit to the observed data and also suggested that a two-factor model of externalizing behavior, defined as (1) ODD+ADHD+CD and (2) SUD with adult antisocial behavior sharing common variance with both factors, was necessary to explain the covariation in externalizing disorders. 

The two-factor model of externalizing behavior was then replicated using a nationally representative sample drawn from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication data (n = 5,692). 

These results have important implications for the conceptualization of externalizing disorders in DSM-5. 

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Reducing violence through data: Emergency Department data sharing e-learning; DH Guidance on information sharing

A&E data sharing e-learning

An e-learning resource - Reducing Violence in your Community: Emergency Department Datasharing - has been released to support data sharing between the Accident and Emergency Departments (EDs) and Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs). In addition, an ED Datasharing report and a number of data sharing case studies are available.  > > > >  Read More

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Alcohol Policy in Europe: Evidence from AMPHORA


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................................................................................... iii
ABOUT THE AUTHORS AND EDITORS .................................................................................. iv
Antoni Gual & Peter Anderson ............................................................................................. 1
Jürgen Rehm ........................................................................................................................ 4
Thomas Karlsson, Mikaela Lindeman & Esa Österberg ....................................................... 15
Sturla Nordlund .................................................................................................................. 24
Allaman Allamani, Fabio Voller, Pasquale Pepe, Michela Baccini, Giulia Carreras, Esa
Österberg, Thomas Karlsson, Mikaela Lindeman, Moira Plant, Ronald Knibbe, Mieke
Derickx, Peter Anderson, Antoni Gual, Silvia Matrai, Zsuzsanna Elekes, Irmgard Eisenbach-
Stangl, Juliette Guillemont, Sturla Nordlund, Øystein Skjælaaen, Börje Olsson, Filip
Roumeliotis, Grażyna Świątkiewicz, Gerhard Gmel & Hervé Kuendig ................................ 32
Thomas Karlsson, Mikaela Lindeman & Esa Österberg ....................................................... 43
Matilda Hellman................................................................................................................. 50
Avalon de Bruijn ................................................................................................................. 56
Amy Wolstenholme, Colin Drummond, Paolo Deluca, Zoe Davey, Catherine Elzerbi,
Antoni Gual, Noemí Robles, Cees Goos, Julian Strizek, Christine Godfrey, Karl Mann,
Evangelos Zois, Sabine Hoffman, Gerhard Gmel, Hervé Kuendig, Emanuele Scafato,
Claudia Gandin, Simon Coulton & Eileen Kaner .................................................................. 65
Karen Hughes, Zara Quigg, Mark A. Bellis, Amador Calafat, Ninette van Hasselt & Matej
Kosir ................................................................................................................................... 81
Dirk W. Lachenmeier & Jürgen Rehm ................................................................................. 94
Alcohol Policy in Europe Contents
Claudia König, Lidia Segura & Peter Anderson ................................................................. 107
Peter Anderson & Antoni Gual ......................................................................................... 118

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Face-to-face versus computer-delivered alcohol interventions for college drinkers: A meta-analytic review, 1998 to 2010

Alcohol misuse occurs commonly on college campuses, necessitating prevention programs to help college drinkers reduce consumption and minimize harmful consequences. Computer-delivered interventions (CDIs) have been widely used due to their low cost and ease of dissemination but whether CDIs are efficacious and whether they produce benefits equivalent to face-to-face interventions (FTFIs) remain unclear.

Therefore, we identified controlled trials of both CDIs and FTFIs and used meta-analysis (a) to determine the relative efficacy of these two approaches and (b) to test predictors of intervention efficacy. We included studies examining FTFIs (N = 5237; 56% female; 87% White) and CDIs (N = 32,243; 51% female; 81% White). Independent raters coded participant characteristics, design and methodological features, intervention content, and calculated weighted mean effect sizes using fixed and random-effects models. 

Analyses indicated that, compared to controls, FTFI participants drank less, drank less frequently, and reported fewer problems at short-term follow-up (d+s = 0.15–0.19); they continued to consume lower quantities at intermediate (d+ = 0.23) and long-term (d+ = 0.14) follow-ups. 

Compared to controls, CDI participants reported lower quantities, frequency, and peak intoxication at short-term follow-up (d+s = 0.13–0.29), but these effects were not maintained. 

Direct comparisons between FTFI and CDIs were infrequent, but these trials favored the FTFIs on both quantity and problem measures (d+s = 0.12–0.20). Moderator analyses identified participant and intervention characteristics that influence intervention efficacy. 

Overall, we conclude that FTFIs provide the most effective and enduring effects.

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Association study of DRD2 and MAOA genes with subtyped alcoholism comorbid with bipolar disorder in Han Chinese

Several studies have hypothesized that genes involved in the dopamine system, including dopamine type-2 receptor (DRD2)-related TaqIA polymorphism and monoamine oxidase-A upstream variable number tandem repeat (uVNTR), may be associated with alcoholism. But their results were contradictory because of alcoholism's heterogeneity. Therefore, we examined whether the DRD2TaqIA and MAOA-uVNTR gene polymorphisms are susceptibility factors for alcoholism comorbid with bipolar disorder (ALC + BP) in Han Chinese in Taiwan.

We recruited 101 Han Chinese men with comorbid alcoholism and bipolar disorder, and 328 healthy male controls from the community. Genotyping was done using PCR-RFLP.

There were no significant differences in the genotypic frequencies of the DRD2TaqIA or the MAOA-uVNTR polymorphisms between the 2 groups. The MAOA-uVNTR 3-repeat had a significant protective effect on the ALC + BP (odds ratio = 0.432, p = 0.035) but not on the healthy controls. However, the interaction between the MAOA-uVNTR 3-repeat and DRD2 A1/A2 was a risk factor in the ALC + BP (odds ratio = 3.451, p = 0.018).

We indicated the impact of the association between MAOA-uVNTR 3-repeat and DRD2 A1/A2 with ALC + BP.

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Cognitive functions in abstinent alcohol-dependent patients

The objective of this cross-sectional study was to compare cognitive functioning of abstaining alcohol-dependent (AD) male patients and healthy controls as well as to investigate whether their cognitive performance varied by abstinence length. 

Forty-two maintaining abstinent (AD) patients and 34 healthy controls were examined. Tests from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) were used to assess cognitive functions. 

Differences in cognitive performance were found between AD patients and healthy controls. Nonverbal tasks in cognitive domains such as attention, visual memory and working memory were impaired in AD patients who presented deficits in visual episodic memory, had slower reaction time and reduced working memory span. 

Patients who were abstinent for less than one year made more errors in both attentional set shifting and working memory tests than healthy controls and patients with longer durations of abstinence.

Impairments identified in multiple cognitive domains in abstinent alcohol-dependent subjects suggest functional deficits in extensive brain networks connecting interrelated brain structures.

 Attentional control and spatial working memory were less impaired in those AD patients who maintained abstinence for at least one year.

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Differential modulation by vascular nitric oxide synthases of the ethanol-evoked hypotension and autonomic dysfunction in female rats

We recently reported that chronic exposure to ethanol lowers blood pressure (BP) via altering cardiac contractility and autonomic control in female rats. 

In this investigation we conducted pharmacological and molecular studies to elucidate the role of constitutive and inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in these hemodynamic effects of ethanol. Changes caused by selective inhibition of eNOS [N5-(1-iminoethyl)-l-ornithine; l-NIO], nNOS (Nω-propyl-l-arginine; NPLA), or iNOS (1400W) in BP, heart rate (HR), myocardial contractility index (dP/dtmax), and power spectral indices of hemodynamic variability were evaluated in telemetered female rats receiving ethanol (5%, w/v) or control liquid diet for 8 weeks. 

Ethanol increased plasma nitrite/nitrate (NOx) and enhanced the phosphorylation of eNOS and nNOS, but not iNOS, in the tail artery.

Ethanol also reduced BP, +dP/dtmax, low-frequency bands of interbeat intervals (IBILF, 0.25–0.75 Hz) and IBILF/HF ratio while high-frequency bands (IBIHF, 0.75–3 Hz) were increased, suggesting parasympathetic overactivity. 

l-NIO (20 mg/kg i.p.) caused greater increases in BP in control than in ethanol-fed rats but elicited similar reductions in IBILF/HF and +dP/dtmax both groups. NPLA (1 mg/kg i.p.) caused minimal effects in control rats but exacerbated the reductions in BP, +dP/dtmax, and IBILF/HF in ethanol-fed rats.

 No hemodynamic modifications were caused by 1400W (5 mg/kg i.p.) in either rat group.

Together, these findings suggest that nNOS acts tonically to offset the detrimental cardiovascular actions of ethanol in female rats, and the enhanced vascular NO bioavailability may explain the blunted l-NIO evoked pressor response in ethanol-fed rats.

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Alcohol News - 42/2012

The Baltic Times (Estonia) - Ansip: current alcohol and tobacco excise taxes are optimal
Estonian Prime Minster Andrus Ansip expressed an opinion at the Riigikogu on Wednesday that although Estonia has one of the highest alcohol excise taxes in Europe, the tax rates of our excise goods are, all in all, optimal, Postimees Online reports.
ERR News (Estonia) - Duty-Free Allowances on Border Could Become Weekly Limits
Officials plan to tighten up the rules on duty-free allowances for cigarettes and alcohol on Estonia's border with Russia.
YLE uutiset (Finland) - If you look under 30, get your ID out
Members of the Finnish Grocery Trade Association have agreed that anyone who looks less than 30 years of age will have to produce a valid picture ID to buy tobacco or alcohol products as of the start of next year.
Skemman (Iceland) - The effect of the economic climate on alcohol and drug rehabilitation
The effect of economic conditions on the use and abuse of alcohol and other addictive substances has received some attention. However, this literature is in its infancy and limited focus has been on detailed mechanisms or reasons for changes in consumption, be it initiation of use, cessation or level changes of consumption. In this thesis we examine how the economic climate affects the degree of addiction at the time of admission to rehabilitation.
Chicago Tribune (USA) - Online alcohol sales fueling underage drinking
What do you know about online alcohol sales? I must admit that I knew little about this industry and was amazed with some of the statistics I recently discovered while reading an article in the September 2012 Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. If you're the parent of a 'tween or teen, here's another topic for discussion and for monitoring.
New Zealand Herald (New Zealand) - Tougher rules for alcohol advertisements
Advertisers selling alcohol or promoting the environmental benefits of their products will soon have less wriggle-room in ambiguous advertisements.
The Australian (Australia) - Bans on alcohol spawn generation of lucky children
THOUSANDS of indigenous children in remote Queensland communities, provided they are aged 10 years or younger, have never witnessed hundreds of their community members engaged in wild, drunken brawls, seen women being bashed or heard their screams in the night. Nor have they learned next morning that somebody was violently murdered the previous evening.
GlobalPost (UK) - One fifth of British parents think alcohol improves their parenting skills
Nineteen percent of Britain’s mothers and fathers believe that alcohol improves their parenting skills, a new report has found. Perhaps beer goggles make your kids look cuter.
The Australian (Australia) - Industry revolts as federal health agency proposes ban on discount booze
CHEAP wine will be banned under a federal health agency's plan to make drinkers pay at least $8-$10 for a bottle of booze.
Fox News (Haiti) - Haiti prime minister announces sin tax on alcohol cigarettes to pay for education
Haiti's government wants to raise $100 million for a special education fund by putting additional taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and gambling, the Caribbean nation's prime minister said Monday.
Medical Xpress - Veterans are at higher risk of alcohol abuse relapse due to smoking
In a new study published in Frontiers, Dr Timothy Durazzo and colleagues from the San Francisco VA Medical Center and University of California, San Francisco, expand upon their decade of research showing that smoking while kicking the alcohol habit impairs memory, learning and other cognitive skills—ultimately making it more difficult to weather the long storm of sobriety.
Newstrack India - Moderate alcohol intake 'ups irregular heart beat in heart disease patients'
Even "moderate" drinkers have a higher risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) than low-alcohol consumers, researchers say. An analysis of the association of alcohol consumption with the development of AF among subjects with coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or other manifestations of cardiovascular disease (CVD) was based on subjects in two large antihypertensive drug treatment trials.
BBC News - Baby boomer alcohol harm 'more likely than in young'
More NHS money is spent treating alcohol-related illness in baby boomers than young people, a study says. - Alcohol problems may be influenced by neighborhood
Disadvantaged groups living in poor neighborhoods are much more likely to suffer alcohol problems than their wealthier counterparts, research shows.
Berwick Today (UK) - Social cost of alcohol adds to minimum unit price debate
NEW figures have revealed the full extent that alcohol misuse is having on the Northumberland economy - costing the workplace alone £44.69m in days lost. (UK) - Middle-aged drinkers 'unwittingly risking their health'
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said “chronic” overconsumption of alcohol not only led to liver disease, but also increased rates of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

New 'alcohol harm map' released by Alcohol Concern

Alcohol Concern have released a new alcohol harm map. It aims to 'reveal the real harm and cost of alcohol at a local level, so that local authorities and local health providers can ensure that alcohol prevention and treatment services are available to those with drinking problems.'

The map allows the user to click on a region and select a local authority to uncover how many people are drinking at risky of harmful levels and the imapact it has. This includes data on population prevalence, hospital costs and alcohol-related deaths.   > > > >   Read More

NIH REQUEST FOR INFORMATION: Input into the Scientific Strategic Plan for the Proposed National Institute of Substance Use and Addiction Disorders ANALYSIS OF PUBLIC COMMENTS

In 2010, the Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB), a congressionally-mandated oversight group, recommended that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) establish a new institute focused on addiction-related research and public health initiatives. In response, NIH proposed to create a new institute, with the working name of the National Institute of Substance Use and Addiction Disorders (NISUAD). A strategic planning committee, which includes individuals from potentially affected institutes and centers, is developing a draft scientific strategic plan to address scientific opportunities in substance use, abuse, and addiction research to: assist in meeting public health needs and improve training options for new investigators.

As part of the strategic planning process, the committee gathered input from the extramural community through a request for information (RFI) entitled, “Input into the Scientific Plan for the proposed National Institute of Substance Use and Addiction Disorders”1. The committee identified 13 issues in the RFI as important to consider as possible areas of research within the newly formed institute. Respondents were asked to reflect and comment on those 13 areas of research as they responded to the following questions:

1. For any of the areas identified above and any other specific areas you believe are worthy of consideration by NIH, please identify the critical issue(s) and effect(s) on the public, on scientists, or both.

2. Please identify and explain which of the issues you identified are, in your opinion, the most important for NIH to address and why.

Ripple Effect Communications, Inc. was contracted to provide third party analysis of the comments received through the RFI. This report provides an analysis of the 500 submissions received in response to the RFI.

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Conference - Alcohol Law Enforcement Reducing drunkness and over-serving related violence.

Date: November 15-16,  2012
Location: Folket hus, Stockholm

Limited number of participants.

The aim of the conference is to spread knowledge on reducing excessive youth drinking by alcohol law enforcement. When we look at the enforcement field we can distinguish two important perspectives: The perspective of the policy maker and the perspective of the enforcement officer. Those two points of view are the basis of the conference and have been translated into the program. The specific goal of the conference is to bring health and enforcement experts on alcohol closer together. There are many examples of how both disciplines can cooperate in order to create better prevention policies. This conference will deliver to its participants a good understanding of a successful and integrated alcohol enforcement policy approach.

Content of the conference
The theme of the conference is combatting over-serving and public drunkenness. Several enforcement experts from Sweden, UK, Netherlands, Spain, Lithuania, Switzerland and the US are invited to inform us about their practical experiences and strategies. 

Conference Website

The Minimum Legal Drinking Age and Marijuana Use: New Estimates from the NLSY97

In volume 30, issue 4 of this journal Bariş Yörük and Ceren Yörük (Y&EY) used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, 1997 (NLSY97) and a regression discontinuity design to estimate the effect of the minimum legal drinking age on a variety of substances including marijuana. 

They obtained evidence that the probability of marijuana use increased sharply at the age of 21, consistent with the hypothesis that alcohol and marijuana are complements, but inadvertently conditioned on having used marijuana at least once since the last survey. 

Applying the Y&EY research design to all NLSY97 respondents ages 19 through 22, we find no evidence that alcohol and marijuana are complements.

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The impact of minimum legal drinking age laws on alcohol consumption, smoking, and marijuana use revisited

In volume 30, issue 4 of this journal, we used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, 1997 cohort (NLSY97) to estimate the impact of the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) laws on alcohol consumption, smoking, and marijuana use among young adults.

In our analysis, we used a restricted sample of young adults and considered only those who have consumed alcohol, smoked cigarettes, or used marijuana at least once since the date of their last interview.

In this paper, we revisit our original study using the full sample. We show that our results for alcohol consumption in the full sample are similar to those from the restricted sample.

However, the effect of the MLDA on smoking and marijuana use is smaller and often statistically insignificant.

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FASD News - 41/2012

Medical Xpress - Delayed auditory processing found in fetal alcohol syndrome
Preschool children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) display delays in auditory processing, which may serve as a useful neural marker of information processing difficulties, according to research published in the October issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
Read more
Northern News Services - Assessment team working to identify fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
One NWT family has been very straightforward with its adopted children as they cope with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. The mother of that family, whose name will be withheld in this story for privacy reasons, said she and her family have always been communicative about the disorder, its cause and its impact on their lives.
Read more (USA) - County Considering Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Warning Signs
More than 20 years ago, the Hillsborough County Commission adopted what was called the "Hillsborough County Alcoholic Beverage Public Awareness Ordinance," which required all establishments that serve alcoholic beverages to post a visible health warning sign on the premises.
Read more (South Africa) - FAS prevalence underestimated in South Africa
“The 15th October is National FAS Day and is an opportunity to once again highlight the incidence of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in South Africa and the need for urgent, effective educational programmes to combat the problem.
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The New Age Online (South Africa) - Alcohol study with kids at advanced stage
A three-year research study into the prevalence of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) among primary school pupils in Kimberley’s two communities of Roodepan and Galeshewe is at an advanced stage.
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Womens Health and Urban Life - Decolonizing Policy Discourse: Reframing the ‘Problem’ of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder
In this paper, we examine how Canadian federal policy discourse on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) frames the ‘problem’ of alcohol use and FASD in gendered and colonial ways that marginalize the needs of women.
Read more (Australia) - Austrailan National advisory body urges government and service providers to take action to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
The National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) has today released its Position Paper: Addressing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in Australia, and is calling on government and health and related services to implement several recommendations to combat this preventable condition and to support sufferers and their families.
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Anspear - My Name is Sam
My Name is Sam is an introduction to Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders developed by the FASD Trust. It contains a story book for children and a guidance section for parents and carers.
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Alcoholism - Fetal Alcohol-Related Growth Restriction from Birth through Young Adulthood and Moderating Effects of Maternal Prepregnancy Weight
Fetal alcohol-related growth restriction persists through infancy, but its impact later in life is less clear. Animal studies have demonstrated important roles for maternal nutrition in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, but the impact of prenatal maternal body composition has not been studied in humans. 
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Eindhovens Dagblad (Netherlands) - Drinkende moeder makkelijk ontmaskerd
DEN HAAG - Uit de allereerste ontlasting van baby's valt af te leiden of de moeder tijdens de zwangerschap alcohol heeft gedronken. Onderzoekers van het Erasmus MC in Rotterdam hebben hiervoor de zogeheten meconiumtest ontwikkeld, vernoemd naar de donkergroene, plakkerige ontlasting van pasgeborenen.
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Centrum Prasowe (Poland) - I Ty możesz przeciwdziałać FAS. Zobacz, jakie to proste!
Kompania Piwowarska i Fundacja FASTRYGA poszerzają zasięg kampanii społecznej „W ciąży nie piję alkoholu”, promującej wiedzę o FAS (Płodowym Zespole Alkoholowym). Organizatorzy przygotowali materiały edukacyjne na temat zagrożeń wynikających z picia alkoholu w czasie ciąży.
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Cdon Mutation and Fetal Ethanol Exposure Synergize to Produce Midline Signaling Defects and Holoprosencephaly Spectrum Disorders in Mice

Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is a remarkably common congenital anomaly characterized by failure to define the midline of the forebrain and midface. HPE is associated with heterozygous mutations in Sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathway components, but clinical presentation is extremely variable and many mutation carriers are unaffected.

It has been proposed that these observations are best explained by a multiple-hit model, in which the penetrance and expressivity of an HPE mutation is enhanced by a second mutation or the presence of cooperating, but otherwise silent, modifier genes. Non-genetic risk factors are also implicated in HPE, and gene–environment interactions may provide an alternative multiple-hit model to purely genetic multiple-hit models; however, there is little evidence for this contention.

We report here a mouse model in which there is dramatic synergy between mutation of a bona fide HPE gene (Cdon, which encodes a SHH co-receptor) and a suspected HPE teratogen, ethanol. 

Loss of Cdon and in utero ethanol exposure in 129S6 mice give little or no phenotype individually, but together produce defects in early midline patterning, inhibition of SHH signaling in the developing forebrain, and a broad spectrum of HPE phenotypes. 

Our findings argue that ethanol is indeed a risk factor for HPE, but genetically predisposed individuals, such as those with SHH pathway mutations, may be particularly susceptible. Furthermore, gene–environment interactions are likely to be important in the multifactorial etiology of HPE.

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