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 1, 2012

Craving is being considered for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) DSM-5. However, little is known of its genetic underpinnings — specifically, whether genetic influences on craving are distinct from those influencing DSM-IV alcohol dependence.

Analyses were conducted in a sample of unrelated adults ascertained for alcohol dependence (N = 3976). Factor analysis was performed to examine how alcohol craving loaded with the existing DSM-IV alcohol dependence criteria. For genetic analyses, we first examined whether genes in the dopamine pathway, including dopamine receptor genes (DRD1, DRD2, DRD3, DRD4) and the dopamine transporter gene (SLC6A3), which have been implicated in neurobiological studies of craving, as well as alpha-synuclein (SNCA), which has been previously found to be associated with craving, were associated with alcohol craving in this sample. Second, in an effort to identify novel genetic variants associated with craving, we conducted a genomewide association study (GWAS). For variants that were implicated in the primary analysis of craving, we conducted additional comparisons — to determine if these variants were uniquely associated with alcohol craving as compared with alcohol dependence. We contrasted our results to those obtained for DSM-IV alcohol dependence, and also compared alcohol dependent individuals without craving to non-dependent

Twenty-one percent of the full sample reported craving alcohol. Of those reporting craving, 97.3% met criteria for DSM-IV alcohol dependence with 48% endorsing all 7 dependence criteria. Factor analysis found a high factor loading (0.89) for alcohol craving. When examining genes in the dopamine pathway, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DRD3 and SNCA were associated with craving (p < 0.05). There was evidence for association of these SNPs with DSM-IV alcohol dependence (p < 0.05) but less evidence for dependence without craving (p > 0.05), suggesting that the association was due in part to craving. In the GWAS, the greatest evidence of association with craving was for a SNP in the integrin alpha D (ITGAD) gene on chromosome 7 (rs2454908; p = 1.8 × 10− 6). The corresponding p-value for this SNP with DSM-IV alcohol dependence was similar (p = 4.0 × 10− 5) but was far less with dependence without craving (p = 0.02), again suggesting the association was due to alcohol craving. Adjusting for dependence severity (number of endorsed criteria) attenuated p-values but did not eliminate association.

Craving is frequently reported by those who report multiple other alcohol dependence symptoms. We found that genes providing evidence of association with craving were also associated with alcohol dependence; however, these same SNPs were not associated with alcohol dependence in the absence of alcohol craving. These results suggest that there may be unique genetic factors affecting craving among those with alcohol dependence.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Trends in Substance Abuse Preceding Stroke Among Young Adults

Approximately 5% of strokes occur in adults aged 18 to 44 years. Substance abuse is a prevalent risk factor for stroke in young adults. We sought to identify trends in substance abuse detection among stroke patients. 
Using a population-based design, we sought to identify all patients aged 18 to 54 years experiencing a stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic) in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Study region during 1993 to 1994, 1999, and 2005. Demographic and clinical characteristics and substance use data were obtained retrospectively from chart review and adjudicated by physicians. 
The number of young patients identified with a stroke increased from 1993 to 1994 (297) to 2005 (501). Blacks (61% vs 51%;   The trend was significant for illegal drug use (3.8% in 1993 vs 19.8% in 2005) and ever smoking (49% in 1993 vs 66% in 2005). Documentation of both cocaine and marijuana use increased over time. In 2005, half of young adults with a stroke were current smokers, and 1 in 5 abused illegal drugs.
Substance abuse is common in young adults experiencing a stroke. The observed increase in substance abuse is contributing to the increased incidence of stroke in young adults. Patients aged younger than 55 years who experience a stroke should be routinely screened and counseled regarding substance abuse.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Taxing for health

Taxing products that harm health has long been part of the public health's armamentarium to reduce the impact of harmful corporate practices. As the global economic crisis continues and the austerity mentality feeds government hunger for new sources of support, politicians look for streams of revenue that can win public support. Recent media coverage of several political debates about taxes designed to promote health illustrate the potential and pitfalls of this strategy.  > > > >  Read More

Global Actions November 28, 2012

Key Recent Milestones:

· Mexico: Global Actions met with the National Chamber for the Tequila Industry in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Approximately 30 members of the tequila chamber were in attendance. ICAP’s Denise Bussio gave a presentation on the WHO Global Strategy, and Global Actions Country Manager Mariana Guerra presented the drink driving project in Puebla, followed by a question and answer session.

Global Actions in Focus: Progress in Colombia

colombia1small.jpgGlobal Actions Colombia completed phase one of the “Patrullero Project” drink driving awareness and training series in the cities of Quibdo and Chia.

A “Don’t Drink and Drive” seminar was held on November 14 and 15, 2012 in Quibdo. Mayor-In-Charge Jose Oscar Cordoba welcomed 254 participants including representatives from the Quibdó Director of External Cooperation, Office of the Mayor, the Quibdo Police Force, the Secretaries of Health, Mobility, Transit, and Education, faculty and students of the Universidad Tecnologica del Chocó, hospital administrators, and the Quibdo Job Training Authority (SENA).

quibdo1.jpgPost-workshop evaluations showed a 35% increase in knowledge of Alcohol Basics, Colombian Drink Drive Laws, Traffic Statistics, and Alcohol Consumption Patterns. A follow-up meeting to plan future cooperation is set for mid-December in Quibdo.

On November 17, Chía Mayor Guillermo Varela convened a ceremony for police and transit officials to recognize those who completed phase one of Project Patrullero. Participants included Chia police officers, Chia Secretary of Mobility & Transit officials, and members of the Chía Fire and First Aid Service.

At the ceremony, Global Actions Country Manager Mario Alberto Lleras signed an Agreement of Cooperation with Chía Secretary of Mobility Daniel Santana and presented two laptop computers to aid operations at sobriety checkpoints.

“Global Actions advisors visited sobriety checkpoints in September 2012 and observed the need for license verification capability,” said Lleras. “The computers will improve efficiency and increase the number of driver inspections at future checkpoints.”

What’s Happening Next:

· Nigeria: Global Actions Nigeria will complete the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing of petrol tanker drivers along the Lagos-Apapa and Abuja-Lakoja roads in December 2012. This campaign is part of the drink driving initiative in Nigeria.

Press Release - $182.5 Billion Alcohol Tax Proposed to President Obama

 Alcohol Justice presented President Barack Obama, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and key Congressional budget leaders with a plan today to raise up to $182.5 billion in new revenue over the next 10 years. The proposal’s key element – a substantial alcohol tax for beer, wine and spirits – has the potential to fill 11.8% of the $1.55 trillion new revenue portion of the President’s stated $4 trillion deficit reduction goal.

“Alcohol taxes should at least reimburse the federal government for the cost of alcohol-related health and public safety services,” stated Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director/CEO of Alcohol Justice in his letter to the nation’s budget leaders.

Alcohol Justice released a detailed economic analysis of four scenarios for alcohol tax increases, starting from $11.9 billion new revenues over ten years by simply adjusting alcohol taxes for inflation. At the high end, Alcohol Justice strongly recommends increasing taxes a dime per drink on spirits, 15 cents for beer, and 18 cents for wine, totaling $183.5 billion when indexed for inflation. Since 1991 the federal government has lost $57 billion in revenues for failing to index alcohol taxes to inflation. The proposal also promotes taxing beer and wine like spirits, based on ethyl alcohol proof volume, a public health improvement that links taxes to harm.

“We’ll fall off the fiscal cliff without a beer barrel tax increase,” Livingston added. “We believe the $182.5 billion in new revenue is a fair contribution to deficit reduction that will help us avoid more onerous taxes or spending cutbacks. We would bet President Obama and Congressional leaders a case of non-alcoholic cider that any poll will show beer taxes more favorable than eliminating the mortgage deduction or gutting Medicare.”

A peer-reviewed study of alcohol harm estimated that alcohol consumption annually costs American society $223.5 billion (2006 estimate), of which government’s cost is $94.2 billion. The article, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2011, shows alcohol is unlike other commodities because it causes harm to the general public and costs to government through its consumption.  > > > >  Read More

The virtuous tax: Lifesaving and crime-prevention effects of the 1991 federal alcohol-tax incre

The last time that federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages were increased was 1991. The changes were larger than the typical state-level changes that have been used to study price effects, but the consequences have not been assessed due to the lack of a control group.

Here we develop and implement a novel method for utilizing interstate heterogeneity to estimate the aggregate effects of a federal tax increase on rates of injury fatality and crime.

We provide evidence that the relative importance of alcohol in violence and injury rates is directly related to per capita consumption, and build on that finding to generate estimates.

A conservative estimate is that the federal tax (which increased alcohol prices by 6% initially) reduced injury deaths by 4.5%, (6,480 deaths), in 1991, and had a still larger effect on violent crime.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:
Request Reprint
Read Full

larger effect on violent crime.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Canada Needs Minimum Alcohol Prices to Reduce Harm: New Research Series

New alcohol pricing research upholds the call for minimum pricing and confirms that changes to price policy can reduce alcohol-related harm in Canada.

Written by Gerald Thomas, Senior Research and Policy Analyst with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), the alcohol pricing series examines drinking trends in Canada, the retail environment, and existing price policies in six provinces. It endorses the price policy recommendations first proposed in the 2007 report, Reducing Alcohol-Related Harm in Canada: Toward a Culture of Moderation, which provides the framework for Canada’s national alcohol strategy.

“Addressing alcohol-related harm in Canada requires a targeted approach aimed at the regular heavy and high-risk drinkers, as well as a population-wide approach to address the large number of people who sometimes drink in risky ways,” explained Mr. Thomas.

Research has shown that price policies can reduce alcohol consumption and correspondingly the likelihood of injuries, violence, cancers and even death.

One of the reports’ key recommendations is for the provinces and territories to consistently implement minimum alcohol pricing to remove inexpensive sources of alcohol from the market. While some provinces have had minimum pricing in place for decades, implementation of this policy is not consistent across Canada.  > > > >  Read More

Modular exchange of substrate-binding loops alters both substrate and cofactor specificity in a member of the aldo-keto reductase superfamily

Substrate specificity in the aldo-keto reductase (AKR) superfamily is determined by three mobile loops positioned at the top of the canonical (α/β)8-barrel structure. These loops have previously been demonstrated to be modular in a well-studied class of AKRs, in that exchanging loops between two similar hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases resulted in a complete alteration of substrate specificity (Ma,H. and Penning,T.M. (1999) Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA, 96, 11161–11166). 

Here, we further examine the modularity of these loops by grafting those from human aldose reductase (hAR) into the hyperthermostable AKR, alcohol dehydrogenase D (AdhD), from Pyrococcus furiosus

Replacement of Loops A and B was sufficient to impart hAR activity into AdhD, and the resulting chimera retained the thermostability of the parent enzyme. However, no active chimeras were observed when the hAR loops were grafted into a previously engineered cofactor specificity mutant of AdhD, which displayed similar kinetics to hAR with the model substrate dl-glyceraldehyde. 

The non-additivity of these mutations suggests that efficient turnover is more dependent on the relative positioning of the cofactor and substrate in the active site than on binding of the individual species. 

The ability to impart the substrate specificities of mesostable AKRs into a thermostable scaffold will be useful in a variety of applications including immobilized enzyme systems fobioelectrocatalysis and fine chemical synthesis.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Theta event-related synchronization is a biomarker for a morbid effect of alcoholism on the brain that may partially resolve with extended abstinence

Analyzing the induced (non-stimulus-phase-locked) EEG activity elicited by targets in a three-condition visual oddball task, Fein and colleagues have shown increased theta band event-related synchronization (ERS) in two different samples of long-term abstinent alcoholics (LTAA) compared with age- and gender-comparable controls. 

The theta ERS effect in alcoholics was also shown to be independent of, and opposite in direction to, the reduced amplitude evoked (stimulus-phase-locked) activity typically found in alcoholics and those at genetic risk of developing alcoholism. 

This study extends these findings by applying time-frequency analysis to target stimulus event-related EEG to compare evoked and induced theta activity in 43 LTAA and 72 nonalcoholic controls with a group of 31 alcoholics who just recently initiated abstinence from alcohol (between 6- and 15-week abstinent; referred to as short-term abstinent alcoholics, STAA). 

Results demonstrated that (1) evoked theta power was reduced to the same degree in STAA and LTAA compared with nonalcoholic control participants, while (2) induced theta activity, measured by theta ERS, was increased in both STAA and LTAA relative to controls, but was also increased in STAA relative to LTAA. The STAA and LTAA groups did not differ on measures of alcohol use severity or family history of alcohol problems. 

These results, coupled with previous findings that show a relationship between stronger theta ERS and increased memory load and attention allocation, suggest that increased theta ERS may be a biomarker for a detrimental effect of chronic alcohol abuse on the brain – a detriment that may recover, at least partially, with extended abstinence.

Read Full Article    (PDF)

Alcohol pricing

We will introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol.

The availability of cheap alcohol has been a key contributing factor in the development of this country's binge-drinking culture.

The government will no longer tolerate the sale of heavily discounted alcohol which leads to irresponsible behaviour and unacceptable levels of crime and health harms.

Alcohol has been so heavily discounted that it is now possible to buy a can of lager for as little as 20p and a two litre bottle of cider for £1.69  

Reduce alcohol consumption

Minimum unit pricing will tackle the issue of excessive alcohol consumption and heavily discounted alcohol sold in supermarkets and off-licences. This approach aims to reduce alcohol consumption and curb practices such as 'pre-loading' before a night out.

We will consult on this proposal and a ban on multi-buy discounts in the forthcoming months. We will update these pages when more information is available.   > > > >   Read More

The minimal evidence for minimum pricing

In a new Adam Smith Institute report released today, statistician John C. Duffy and ASI fellow Christopher Snowdon assess the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model, the basis for minimum alcohol pricing policy. Their findings are summarized here:
1. The Conservative Party and the Scottish National Party have both stated their intention of introducing a minimum floor price for alcohol, levied at around 50p per unit. Advocates of minimum pricing claim that the policy will significantly reduce alcohol consumption and the problems associated with hazardous drinking.
2. Estimates of how minimum pricing will affect health outcomes have overwhelmingly come from a single computer model—the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model. This paper argues that the model is based on unreasonable assumptions which render its figures meaningless.
3. Amongst the problems with the Sheffield model is its false assumption that heavy drinkers are more likely to reduce their consumption of alcohol as a result of a price rise. Its calculations are based on controversial beliefs about the relationship between per capita alcohol consumption and rates of alcoholrelated harm. Its assumptions about the relationship between price and c

onsumption have frequently been refuted by real world evidence.
4. The Sheffield model provides figures without estimates of error and ignores statistical error in the alcohol-harm relationship. Data is drawn from different populations and applied to England and Scotland as if patterns of consumption and harm are the same in all countries. When data is not available, the model resorts to what is essentially numerology. Insufficient data is provided for the model to be recreated and tested by third parties.
5. The model ignores the likely effects of minimum pricing on the illicit alcohol trade, it disregards the health benefits of moderate drinking and fails to take account of the secondary poverty created by regressive price rises. The decline in alcohol consumption seen in Britain in recent years has not led to the outcomes predicted by the model.
6. We conclude that predictions based on the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model are entirely speculative and do not deserve the exalted status they have been afforded in the policy debate.

Download the report.

Per-capita Alcohol Consumption and All-cause Male Mortality in Australia, 1911–2006

Given the variety of relationships found between alcohol consumption and health using individual data (both negative and positive), the likely impact of changes in population-level alcohol consumption on health at the population level is not clear. This paper uses historical data from 1911 to 2006 to assess the relationship between changes in per-capita alcohol consumption on total male mortality in Australia. 

A longitudinal aggregate study using Australian per-capita alcohol consumption and mortality data from 1911 to 2006. Analysis is undertaken using autoregressive integrated moving average time-series methodigs.

Per-capita pure alcohol consumption has a snificant association with male all-cause mortality, with an increase (decrease) of 1 l per-capita per year associated with a 1.5% increase (decrease) in male mortality (controlling for female mortality and smoking rates). The association between per-capita consumption and mortality was significant for all age groups, with a particularly strong effect among 15–29 year olds. 

These results place Australia in the group of countries for which a positive association between per-capita alcohol consumption and total mortality can be demonstrated. Thus, despite the beneficial effects of alcohol consumption on health found in many studies, increases in consumption at the population level in Australia are associated with declines in population health. Thus, per-capita alcohol consumption in Australia is a significant contributor to rates of male mortality, particularly among young adults, suggesting an interaction between per-capita consumption and risky episodic drinking. The policies aiming to reduce population-level alcohol consumption and episodic risky drinking have the potential to substantially improve population-health outcomes in Australia, particularly among young men.                  

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Alcohol-Induced Changes in Cerebral Blood Flow and Cerebral Blood Volume in Social Drinkers

Although it is known that alcohol has vasoactive properties, previous studies have not investigated the relationship between cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebral blood volume (CBV) after alcohol consumption. The aim of this study was to investigate effects of alcohol on CBF and CBV, both globally and regionally, in social drinkers. 

The method of choice was dynamic susceptibility contrast magnetic resonance imaging (DSC-MRI). Eight males were scanned twice on two separate days; once after consumption of alcohol (blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%) and once sober. 

The results showed an average increase of CBF after alcohol consumption, both in grey matter (GM) and in white matter (WM), with a CBFBAC of 0.08%/CBFbaseline ratio of 1.2. Regional increases in CBF were seen in areas close to where the large brain-feeding blood vessels enter the brain, in the thalamus region and in the frontal brain regions. The lowest CBF changes were seen in the occipital brain regions. There was also an increase in CBV after alcohol consumption, in particular across WM regions. 

In conclusion, a BAC of 0.08% causes both an average increase in global and regional CBF. There was stronger correlation between alcohol-induced changes in CBF and CBV in WM than in GM, suggesting the vasculature in the WM to be relatively more affected than the GM. Simultaneous measurements of CBF and CBV after acute alcohol intoxication in social drinkers are important in basic human neuroscience research to elucidate and understand brain physiology in the presence of exogenous neuro-pharmaceutical manipulations.                  

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Genotype Modulates Age-Related Alterations in Sensitivity to the Aversive Effects of Ethanol: An 8 Inbred Strain Analysis of Conditioned Taste Aversion

Adolescent individuals display altered behavioral sensitivity to ethanol, which may contribute to the increased ethanol consumption seen in this age-group. However, genetics also exert considerable influence on both ethanol intake and sensitivity. 

Thus far there is little research assessing the combined influence of developmental and genetic alcohol sensitivities.

Sensitivity to the aversive effects of ethanol using a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) procedure was measured during both adolescence (P30) and adulthood (P75) in 8 inbred mouse strains (C57BL/6J, DBA/2J, 129S1/SvImJ, A/J, BALB/cByJ, BTBR T+tf/J, C3H/HeJ, and FVB/NJ). 

Adolescent and adult mice were water deprived, and subsequently provided with access to 0.9% (v/v) NaCl solution for 1h. Immediately following access mice were administered ethanol (0, 1.5, 2.25, 3g/kg, ip). This procedure was repeated in 72h intervals for a total of 5 CTA trials. 

Sensitivity to the aversive effects of ethanol was highly dependent upon both strain and age. Within an inbred strain, adolescent animals were consistently less sensitive to the aversive effects of ethanol than their adult counterparts. However, the dose of ethanol required to produce an aversion response differed as a function of both age and strain. 

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

News Release - Detox Facility Can Be Good Alternative to ER

Certain very inebriated patients may be safely transported by emergency medical service (EMS) ambulance crews to a detoxification center rather than the ER, with minimal adverse events. A study of a protocol for pre-hospital evaluation and disposition of uncomplicated inebriates was published online Wednesday in Annals of Emergency Medicine (“EMS Triage and Transport of Intoxicated Individuals to a Detoxification Facility Instead of an Emergency Department”).

“Widespread use of this type of protocol has the potential to provide significant financial savings for the U.S. health care system,” said lead study author David Ross, DO FACEP, an emergency physician with Penrose-St.Francis Health Services and medical director of American Medical Response in Colorado Springs, Colo. “This population is very frequently transported to the ER by EMS or police, consuming a disproportionate share of resources and contributing to ER overcrowding. A detoxification center is a good alternative to the ER for certain intoxicated patients who just need an appropriately staffed facility to ‘dry out.’ Our research suggests that EMS personnel can identify patients who are safe for this alternative destination.”

Between 2003 and 2005, EMS providers in Colorado evaluated inebriated patients using a 29-item checklist to determine whether patients could safely be transported to a detoxification center instead of the emergency department by paramedics. The checklist was developed by EMS officials, emergency physicians, emergency nurses and detoxification center personnel. The criteria that most commonly excluded patients from being taken to the detoxification center were inability to walk and unwillingness to cooperate with a physical exam.   > > > >  Read More

Prevention and Therapy of Alcohol Withdrawal on Intensive Care Units: Systematic Review of Controlled Trials

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) occurs in 16 to 31% of intensive care unit (ICU) patients after cessation of sedation. There exist many preventive and therapeutic strategies, but no systematic review (SR) has been published on this topic so far. We aimed to perform a synopsis of all controlled trials of AWS prevention and therapy in ICU published between 1971 and 30 March 2011 following the “Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses” (PRISMA) statement.

We performed a MEDLINE search with the terms “alcohol” AND “ICU” as well as “alcohol withdrawal” AND “intensive care.” All publications that matched our eligibility criteria were analyzed according to our predefined criteria.

We identified 6 controlled trials about AWS prevention and 8 about AWS therapy in ICUs. For AWS prevention, benzodiazepines (BZO), ethanol (EtOH), and clonidine were evaluated as single agents, and BZO, clonidine, clomethiazol and haloperidol were studied in drug combinations. All evaluated single agents and combinations were found to be effective for AWS prevention. Clomethiazol was found to be associated with a higher tracheobronchitis rate and thus disadvised for critically ill patients. For AWS therapy, BZO, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), and clomethiazol were evaluated in randomized controlled trials as single agents and phenobarbital, clonidine, and haloperidol as adjuncts. All evaluated regimens were found to be effective for AWS therapy. Overall, in the ICU, BZO were found to be superior to GHB and clomethiazol regarding safety and efficacy. Furthermore, 4 cohort trials with historical control groups evaluated the effect of the implementation of a standardized protocol of BZO therapy for AWS in ICUs. All of these 4 studies found better outcome for the intervention groups.

Based on the evidence of this SR, EtOH or BZO can be advised for AWS prevention on ICU patients with alcohol dependence, but EtOH is not allowed for therapy of AWS. AWS therapy should be standardized and based on symptom-triggered BZO administration. Alpha2-agonists and haloperidol should be added for autonomic and productive psychotic symptoms.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Alcohol News - 48/2012

Deccan Herald - Alcohol during pregnancy may alter brain structure in babies
Alcohol exposure during foetal development can change brain structure and metabolism in babies, according to a new study which used various imaging techniques.
BNN News (Latvia) - Experts: illegal alcohol combating brings results
Alcohol excise tax has been collected in the amount of 60.8 million LVL in the last nine months. This is 3% or 1.8 million LVL more than there was collected in the same period of last year. This was affected by both the summer 2012 realized excise tax rate increase of 6% and the stabilization of the consumption of legally produced alcohol.
The Independent (UK) - Cabinet split over plans for levy on alcohol
Moves to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol face a backlash from the drinks industry, economists and even Cabinet ministers.
Newcastle Herald (Australia) - Scipione 'frightened' by number of alcohol-related fatalities
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione has hit out after a weekend marred by numerous booze-fuelled incidents, including several deaths in the state.
The FINANCIAL - New test to help heavy drinkers reduce alcohol intake
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have developed a computer-based test that could help heavy drinkers reduce their alcohol consumption.
Wall Street Journal (USA) - Alcohol Firms Go Quirky When Marketing Holiday Gift Sets
Consumers in the market for a nearly $4,000 mixology set, a bottle of wine sold with matching make-up, or even a liquor bottle strapped to a bike are in luck this holiday season, as firms tackle those looking for an unusual gift. - Alcohol and automotive industries create the most engagement on Facebook
Social media networking platforms like Facebook are an important destination to reach new customers for practically any industry. In recent report released by Socialbakers, an analysis looked at pages with more than 10,000 Fans for the third quarter with Alcohol and Automotive related companies as the leaders for engagement on the site. (UK) - 'Rising tide' of liver disease due to obesity, alcohol and infections, Prof Dame Sally Davies warns
England is facing a rising tide of fatal liver disease, the Chief Medical Officer has warned, fuelled by obesity, alcohol and preventable infections.
Prague Daily Monitor (Chech Republic) - Police to have new device to check alcohol bottles in field
The Czech police will have a device with which to easily find out in the field whether a bottle may contain poisonous methyl alcohol without opening it, deputy police president Vaclav Kucera said Thursday.
Daily Nation (Kenya) - Alcohol abuse blamed for poor performance in the public service
Alcohol abuse is to blame for poor performance, lack of concentration and safety risk in the public sector, Rift Valley PC Osman Warfa said on Monday.
TopNews United States (Australia) - World’s Biggest Alcohol reduction Project
An ambitious plan, considered to be the largest till date, is said to be most rigorous one when it comes to reducing alcohol consumption in Australia. The project was launched by Kevin Humphries, Minister for Mental Health Minister for Healthy Lifestyles.
South China Morning Post (China) - Drinks makers hit by tainted alcohol claims
All liquor drinks in China contain some levels of toxic plasticisers, China’s leading alcohol association said on Monday, after tests found quantities of plasticiser up to 260 per cent over the recommended limit in a popular brand of Chinese liquor.
TVNZ (New Zealand) - Push for warning labels on alcohol
Coroner JP Ryan's call for all alcohol products to carry health warnings is being supported by Alcohol Healthwatch.
Kyiv Post (Ukraine) - Lawmakers up excise tax on alcohol and cigarettes
The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has increased excise tax on beer, alcoholic beverages and tobacco. A total of 234 MPs voted for such a decision on Tuesday. (Ireland) - Cancer and strokes give Irish women worst health in EU
IRISH women have one of the worst health records in Europe with huge numbers affected by heart disease, cancers and strokes. Females from Ireland are more likely to die from preventable diseases than their counterparts in Europe. And researchers put this down to high alcohol and cigarette consumption among women here.
IcelandReview (Iceland) - Half of Icelandic Teens Never Tried Drugs or Alcohol
More 16-year-olds in Iceland have never tried drugs or alcohol than in other European countries, or 40 percent, according to a new Europe-wide research report. Albania ranked second on the list with 32 percent, Fréttablaðið reports.
3News NZ (New Zealand) - Alcohol groups scoff at industry promotion
Groups wanting tougher alcohol laws say a social media campaign from the alcohol industry is a marketing exercise designed to increase booze sales.
FRANCE 24 (Philippines) - Philippines closer to tobacco, alcohol tax hike
The Philippines has moved closer to raising tobacco and alcohol taxes, the government said on Wednesday after the Senate passed a bill aimed at weaning millions of smokers off the habit.

FASD News - 47/2012

EurekAlert - Fetal alcohol exposure affects brain structure in children
Children exposed to alcohol during fetal development exhibit changes in brain structure and metabolism that are visible using various imaging techniques, according to a new study being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
Los Angeles Times - Pregnant women: Just don't drink, study suggests
After years of confusing and contradictory advice about alcohol consumption during pregnancy, a new study may have the final word: Just don’t drink. The study, published Wednesday in the journal PLoS ONE, reveals that even a few drinks a week by an expectant mother can lead to reductions in a child’s IQ if the child has certain genetic variations impairing their ability to break down alcohol.
Vancouver Sun (Canada) - Paradigm shift in neuroscience sparks new FASD research in B.C
Despite 40 years of research, medicine has little to offer in the way of treatments after FASD prevention fails. Doctors have long held that brain damage caused by alcohol cannot be corrected.
Maple Ridge News (Canada) - Bylaw to help prevent drinking while pregnant
If you’re curious about what’s like to live with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, have a chat with Katrina Griffin. She can explain how her early life began, when she was born at 24 weeks, spent six months in intensive care and 18 months on oxygen and how having FASD hurts her short-term memory and how she’s spent her life dealing with the condition.
University of Bristol - Even moderate drinking in pregnancy can affect a child’s IQ
Relatively small levels of exposure to alcohol while in the womb can influence a child’s IQ, according to a new study, published today in PLOS ONE, by researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Oxford using Children of the 90s study (ALSPAC) data from over 4,000 mothers and their offspring.
The Vancouver Sun - Maternal drinking casts lifelong shadow for children growing up with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
Neufeld’s daughter has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). While she grew in the womb, her birth mother drank alcohol. The substance penetrated the placenta and attacked the growing girl, leaving parts of her brain permanently shrunk, scrambled, or simply missing.
Maple Ridge News - Warning about alcohol and pregnancy
The district wants to do its part to get out the message, if you’re expecting and drinking – there is no safe limit. So part of its new business licence bylaw requires bars, restaurants and U-brew stores to post signs reminding people of the above and the dangers of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
UNSW Australia (Australia) - FASD carers carry heavy life-time burden
In an Australian first, researchers have reached out to families and carers affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) to identify gaps in existing services.
Kitchener Post - New strategies discussed at FASD forum
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) affects approximately nine in every 1,000 births, and for those children and adults, traditional methods of teaching and discipline just don’t work, according to Dan Dubovsky, a mental health professional and social worker who spoke at an FASD conference at Bingemans Monday.

The Journal of Neuroscience - A Longitudinal Study of the Long-Term Consequences of Drinking during Pregnancy: Heavy In Utero Alcohol Exposure Disrupts the Normal Processes of Brain Development
Exposure to alcohol in utero can cause birth defects, including face and brain abnormalities, and is the most common preventable cause of intellectual disabilities. Here we use structural magnetic resonance imaging to measure cortical volume change longitudinally in a cohort of human children and youth with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and a group of unexposed control subjects, demonstrating that the normal processes of brain maturation are disrupted in individuals whose mothers drank heavily during pregnancy.
PLOS One - Fetal Alcohol Exposure and IQ at Age 8: Evidence from a Population-Based Birth-Cohort Study
Observational studies have generated conflicting evidence on the effects of moderate maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy on offspring cognition mainly reflecting problems of confounding. Among mothers who drink during pregnancy fetal alcohol exposure is influenced not only by mother’s intake but also by genetic variants carried by both the mother and the fetus.
Translational Psychiatry - Stem cell therapy: social recognition recovery in a FASD model
To better understand the cellular pathogenetic mechanisms of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and the therapeutic benefit of stem cell treatment, we exposed pregnant rats to ethanol followed by intravenous administration of neural stem cells (NSCs) complexed with atelocollagen to the new born rats and studied recovery of GABAergic interneuron numbers and synaptic protein density in the anterior cingulate cortex, hippocampus and amygdala.

Second European Conference on FASD
"Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Clinical and Biological Diagnosis Screening and Follow-up"
NeuroDevNet - NeuroDevNet's FASD Project, CAPHC and PHAC Partnered for CAPHC's Webinar Series
Canadian Association of Pediatric Health Centres (CAPHC)'s Canadian Network for Child and Youth Rehabilitation (CN-CYR), in partnership with Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and NeuroDevNet, is facilitating a series of webinars to extend the discussion of FASD to include more in depth information on various areas of interest including diagnosis of FASD, interventions and service delivery models.
Helpful Teaching Techniques for use Students with FASD
NOFAS - Carolyn Szetela on FASD - Southeast Regional FASD Training Center
NOFAS - Jeanne Mahoney of ACOG - OB/GYNs & FASD

The 5th International Conference on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
This conference brings together experts from many disciplines to share international research, to discuss the implications of this research, and to promote scientific/community collaboration.
What's Working in FASD? Interventions That Are Making a Difference!
Screening and diagnosis of FASD are important issues, but if we see a positive diagnosis, what then? Join us as we take a look at what the research is telling us about what is working to help children affected FASD.

Ärzte Zeitung (Germany) - Ärzte als Aufklärer gefragt
Alkohol in der Schwangerschaft ist viel gefährlicher als Rauchen. Das Zellgift kann ein Kind bei seiner Entwicklung im Mutterleib schwer und irreversibel schädigen, betroffen ist dabei vor allem das Nervensystem.
L'Impronta L'Aquila (Italy) - Allarme della Società italiana sulla sindrome feto-alcolica, in Italia 30 mila bambini
Il 5 per cento dei bambini che nascono in Italia è affetto da sindrome feto alcolica (Fasd-una patologia legata al consumo di alcol della madre in gravidanza). Una cifra preoccupante visto che si tratta di circa 25-30 mila bambini ogni anno. Non sempre la patologia si manifesta in forma grave, cioè in una vera e propria disabilità cognitiva. (Italy) - 25 mila bimbi colpiti da sindrome feto-alcolica
Difficolta' nell'apprendimento verbale, nella memoria, nelle abilita' visuo-spaziali e logico-matematiche, nell'attenzione, nella velocita' di elaborazione delle informazioni. Questi gli handicap a cui sono condannati oltre 25 mila bambini colpiti da sindrome feto alcolica in Italia, che nascono cioe' da madri bevitrici o che hanno continuato ad assumere alcol in gravidanza.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Welcome to the Alcohol Policy Information System

The Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) provides detailed information on a wide variety of alcohol-related policies in the United States at both State and Federal levels. Detailed, state-by-state, information is available for the 33 policies listed below. APIS also provides a variety of informational resources of interest to alcohol policy researchers and others involved with alcohol policy issues.
Choose a topic below to see information on a specific policy area:

Beer Taxes
Wine Taxes
Distilled Spirits Taxes
Underage Drinking
Possession/Consumption/Internal Possession
Age of Server-On-Premises
Age of Seller-Off-Premises
Use/Lose: Driving Privileges
Hosting Underage Drinking Parties
False Identification
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits
Adult Drivers
Drivers Under 21
Recreational Boaters
Open Container
Vehicular Insurance: Losses due to Intoxication

Retail Sales
Keg Registration
Beverage Service Training
Sunday Sales
Alcohol Control Systems
Distilled Spirits-Retail
Distilled Spirits-Wholesale
Pregnancy and Alcohol
Warning Signs: Drinking During Pregnancy
Criminal Prosecution
Civil Commitment
Priority Treatment
Child Abuse/Neglect
Reporting Requirements
Health Care Services and Financing
Health Insurance: Losses due to
Intoxication ("UPPL")
Health Insurance Parity