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, February 16, 2008

Shock. 29(3):377-383, March 2008.

This study examined whether acute alcohol (EtOH) intoxication before burn injury potentiates postburn intestinal tissue damage and whether neutrophils have any role in the damage under those conditions.

Male rats (~250 g) were gavaged with EtOH to achieve a blood EtOH level of approximately 100 mg/dL or with saline and received either approximately 12.5% or approximately 25% total body surface area (TBSA) burn or sham injury. Rats were killed at 4 or 24 h after injury, and various parameters were measured.

As compared with sham animals, burn injury alone (regardless of size) resulted in a significant increase in intestinal tissue myeloperoxidase (MPO; an index of neutrophil infiltration) activity and IL-18 levels 4 h after injury. Furthermore, rats receiving 25% TBSA, but not 12.5%, burn exhibited intestine edema. The IL-18 and MPO activity were normalized at 24 h after injury in rats receiving 12.5% TBSA burn, whereas these parameters remained elevated at 24 h in rats with 25% burn.

The presence of EtOH in rats at the time of burn injury exacerbated the levels of IL-18, MPO activity, and edema at 4 and 24 h after burn injury. Treatment of rats with anti-IL-18 antibodies or with antineutrophil antiserum prevented the increase in the above parameters after EtOH and burn injury, except that the depletion of neutrophils did not prevent the IL-18 increase.

In summary, these findings suggest that acute EtOH intoxication exacerbates postburn intestinal tissue damage after burn injury, and that it is, in part, neutrophil mediated.

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The Dose-Response Relationship of Adolescent Religious Activity and Substance Use: Variation Across Demographic Groups
Health Education & Behavior, Vol. 35, No. 1, 22-43 (2008)

This article addresses two inconsistent findings in the literature on adolescent religious activity (RA) and substance use: whether a dose-response relationship characterizes the association of these variables, and whether the association varies by grade, gender, ethnicity, family structure, school type, and type of substance.

Multinomial logistic regression analyses of a large, diverse data set of high school students in metropolitan Columbus, Ohio ( n = 33,007), found marked differences in alcohol, marijuana, and cigarette use among youths who never, occasionally, or regularly participated in RA.

Weekly RA was consistently associated with less substance use, yet occasional RA sometimes was associated with greater use.

Four groups accounted for variations in the RA-substance use relationship: African American youths, younger White youths, 12th-grade White males, and 12th-grade White females.

Researchers should avoid assuming the RA-substance use relationship is dose-response and consider the implications of this complexity for theory and practice.

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American Public Health Association

135th APHA Conference, Washington, DC Nov. 3-7, 2007

4289.0: Alcohol industry 101: Understanding the major players, Michele Simon, JD, MPH,

Michele Simon

Download presentation ( Powerpoint)

Global Trade Events at APHA November 2007


Quantitative chiral analysis of salsolinol in different brain regions of rats genetically predisposed to alcoholism
Journal of Chromatography B, Article in Press, Corrected Proof 17 Jan 2008

A method to determine the catecholamine content in putamen (CPU) and midbrain (MB) regions of the brain of alcohol-preferring rats (P) is presented with a focus on the low-level detection of S,R-salsolinol, a metabolite of dopamine and a putative alcoholism marker.

The developed strategy allows both quantitative profiling of related catecholamines and the enantiomeric separation and quantification of the S- and R-salsolinol isomers and their ratios. The described LC/MS strategy simplifies the current methodology that typically employs GC–MS by eliminating the need for derivatization.

The data also suggest an increase in the non-enzymatic formation of salsolinol as a consequence of ethanol exposure.

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The Price of Alcohol: A Consideration of Contextual Factors
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 30 (10) , 1734–1742

The current study considers the determinants of prices charged for alcoholic beverages by on-premise and off-premise outlets in Alaska.

Alcohol outlet densities, a surrogate measure for local retail competition, are expected to be negatively associated with prices while costs associated with distribution are expected to be positively related to prices. Community demographic and economic characteristics may affect observed local prices via the level of demand, retail costs borne by retailers, or the quality of brands offered for sale.

Outlet density per roadway mile was unrelated to price for both on- and off-premise establishments, either across or between beverage types. In contrast, overall distribution costs did appear to be related to alcohol price. The demographic and economic variables, as a group, were significantly related to observed prices.

More attention needs to be directed to the manner in which sellers and buyers behave relative to alcoholic beverages. Alcohol demand remains responsive to prices; yet, consumers have considerable latitude in determining the price that they pay for alcohol.

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Acute Alcohol Tolerance Is Intrinsic to the BKCa Protein, but Is Modulated by the Lipid Environment
J. Biol. Chem., Vol. 283, Issue 8, 5090-5098, February 22, 2008

Ethanol tolerance, in which exposure leads to reduced sensitivity, is an important component of alcohol abuse and addiction. The molecular mechanisms underlying this process remain poorly understood.

The BKCa channel plays a central role in the behavioral response to ethanol in Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila .

In neurons, ethanol tolerance in BKCa channels has two components: a reduced number of membrane channels and decreased potentiation of the remaining channels .

Here, heterologous expression coupled with planar bilayer techniques examines two additional aspects of tolerance in human BKCa channels. 1) Is acute tolerance observed in a single channel protein complex within a lipid environment reduced to only two lipids? 2) Does lipid bilayer composition affect the appearance of acute tolerance?

We found that tolerance was observable in BKCa channels in membrane patches pulled from HEK cells and when they are placed into reconstituted 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylethanolamine/1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylserine membranes. Furthermore, altering bilayer thickness by incorporating the channel into lipid mixtures of 1,2-dioleoyl-3-phosphatidylethanolamine with phosphatidylcholines of increasing chain length, or with sphingomyelin, strongly affected the sensitivity of the channel, as well as the time course of the acute response.

Ethanol sensitivity changed from a strong potentiation in thin bilayers to inhibition in thick sphingomyelin/1,2-dioleoyl-3-phosphatidylethanolamine bilayers.

Thus, tolerance can be an intrinsic property of the channel protein-lipid complex, and bilayer thickness plays an important role in shaping the pattern of response to ethanol. As a consequence of these findings the protein-lipid complex should be treated as a unit when studying ethanol action.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

News Release - Researchers at Guze Symposium to explore links between alcohol and suicide

By Jim Dryden

Feb. 15, 2008 -- Experts in alcoholism and suicide from around the United States will present their research Feb. 21 at the 8th Annual Samuel B. Guze Symposium on Alcoholism at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. This year's event focuses on "Alcohol, Suicide and Suicidality."
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Association of Alcohol Dehydrogenase 2 and Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 2 Genotypes with Fasting Plasma Glucose Levels in Japanese Male and Female Workers
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on January 23, 2008

The objective was to clarify the effect of alcohol dehydrogenase 2 (ADH2) and aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) genotypes on the diabetic risk in Japanese workers.

In using two-way analysis of variance to manipulate ADH2 and ALDH2 genotypes and alcohol intake (>70 g/week for men and >35 g/week for women), the FPG level after the adjustment for age, BMI, smoking habit, and another genotype was significantly higher in the men with ADH2*1/1 genotype than in those with the other genotypes, but there was no significant difference in the FPG level between the men with and without ALDH2*1/1 genotype.

In contrast, the women with ALDH2*1/1 genotype had significantly lower FPG levels than those with the other genotypes, but there was no significant difference in the FPG level between the women with and without ADH2*1/1 genotype. Also, a significant interaction between ethanol intake and ALDH2 genotypes was seen only in the women.

These findings suggest that genotypes of ADH2 and ALDH2 can modify the diabetic risk, irrespective of amounts of alcohol consumed. Also, there may be sex differences in the effect of these enzyme genotypes on glucose metabolism.

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Damping the Desire to Drink

By Greg Miller
ScienceNOW Daily News

14 February 2008

For some alcoholics, booze provides an addictive thrill. For others, alcohol is a balm for stress and anxiety. A new study identifies a drug that may be particularly effective for treating the latter group. The drug, which blocks receptors for a neurotransmitter involved in stress responses, substantially reduced cravings in a group of rehabilitating alcoholics.

The most widely used drug for treating alcoholism is naltrexone, which blocks feel-good opioid receptors in the brain. But recent research has found that naltrexone tends to work best for the roughly 20% of alcoholics who start drinking early--before age 25--and who get hooked on alcohol because of the kick they get from drinking, says Markus Heilig, a researcher at the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Maryland. The drug is less effective for the other 80% of alcoholics, who typically develop alcohol dependency later in life and drink mainly to relieve anxiety. Heilig and colleagues hypothesized that drugs that blunt stress responses in the brain might be more useful for treating this more common kind of addiction.

In a paper published online today in Science, the team describes experiments with a drug that blocks a receptor for substance P, a neurotransmitter involved in signaling pain and stress. The drug, known as LY686017, had proved safe in previous clinical trials for depression but hadn't been effective enough to continue development, Heilig says. The researchers selected 50 volunteers, all recovering alcoholics who'd scored high on a questionnaire that measures anxiety, and gave half a daily dose of LY686017; the other half got a placebo pill.

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2006 Highlights: Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS)

This report presents summary results from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) for 2006. The report provides information on the demographic and substance abuse characteristics of the 1.8 million annual admissions to treatment for abuse of alcohol and drugs in facilities that report to individual State administrative data systems [Table 1a].

This summary report is issued in advance of the full TEDS report for 1996-2006. It includes demographic data and all items from the TEDS Minimum Data Set. The full report also will include data from the Supplemental Data Set, State data, and State rates.
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Neurokinin 1 Receptor Antagonism as a Possible Therapy for Alcoholism
Published Online February 14, 2008 Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1153813

Alcohol dependence is a major public health challenge in need of new treatments. As alcoholism evolves, stress systems in the brain play an increasing role in motivating continued alcohol use and relapse.

Here, we investigated the role of the neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R), a mediator of behavioral stress responses, in alcohol dependence and treatment.

In preclinical studies, mice genetically deficient in NK1R showed a marked decrease in voluntary alcohol consumption and had an increased sensitivity to the sedative effects of alcohol.

In a randomized controlled experimental study, we treated recently detoxified alcoholic inpatients with an NK1R antagonist (LY686017; n = 25) or placebo (n = 25).

LY686017 suppressed spontaneous alcohol cravings, improved overall wellbeing, blunted cravings induced by a challenge procedure, and attenuated concomitant cortisol responses. Brain functional magnetic resonance imaging responses to affective stimuli likewise suggested beneficial LY686017 effects.

Thus, as assessed by these surrogate markers of efficacy, NK1R antagonism warrants further investigation as a treatment target in alcoholism.

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Drugs and Society in Africa

Announcement & Call for Participation

The Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA), a leading non-profit organization devoted to research on psychoactive substance abuse and the prevention of substance-related health and social problems in Africa, announces its eighth biennial international conference. Researchers, health care professionals, policymakers, other experts and students interested in all issues related to alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs are invited to participate in this important conference.

Conference Announcement (DOC)
Alcohol Group Pays $240,000 for Lobbying

Global Alcohol Producers Pays Akin Gump $240,000 in 2007 to Lobby World Health Organization

February 15, 2009

NEW YORK (Associated Press) - The Global Alcohol Producers Group paid Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld $240,000 in 2007 to lobby on alcohol-related issues at the World Health Organization.

The group spent $120,00 in the second half of 2007 to lobby the Washington-based WHO, according to a disclosure form posted online Tuesday by the Senate's public records office.

Global Alcohol Producers also paid Akin Gump $120,000 during the first six months of 2007 to lobby on the same issue.

Molson Coors Brewing Co., Constellation Brands Inc., Great Britain's SABMiller PLC, Japan's Asahi Breweries Ltd. and 12 other spirits companies are members of Global Alcohol Producers Group.

The trade group was formed to lobby the WHO as it prepared a report on ways to reduce alcohol-related injuries and deaths for the 2007 World Health Assembly.

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Alcohol Intake and Colorectal Cancer: A Comparison of Approaches for Including Repeated Measures of Alcohol Consumption.
Epidemiology. 19(2):258-264, March 2008.

In numerous studies, alcohol intake has been found to be positively associated with colorectal cancer risk. However, the majority of studies included only one exposure measurement, which may bias the results if long-term intake is relevant.

During follow-up, 868 members of the cohort experienced colorectal cancer. Baseline, updated, and cumulative average alcohol intakes were positively associated with colorectal cancer, with only minor differences among the approaches.

These results support moderately increased risk for intake >30 g/d and weaker increased risk for lower intake. The hazard ratio for baseline alcohol intake was 1.07 (95% confidence interval = 1.02-1.11) per 10 g/d increase, which was similar for updated and cumulative average alcohol intake.

Consistent moderate and high alcohol intake showed increased risk, and the relative risk decreased slightly with longer latency time. Alcohol frequency was positively associated with cancer risk among men with alcohol intake above 15 g/d.

Alcohol intake was positively associated with colorectal cancer, with minor differences among analytic approaches (which may be attributable to low intraindividual variation during follow-up).

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Drink giant's ads appear on YouTube... but it denies targeting teens
15th February 2008

Britain's biggest drinks firm is targeting young drinkers by placing commercials on YouTube - the website popular with teenagers.

Yet the boss of Diageo, which makes alcopop-style drinks such as Smirnoff Ice, insists it is not cashing in on the underage taste for alcohol.

Chief executive Paul Walsh yesterday denied claims from police that the drinks industry is to blame for Britain's binge-drinking culture.

However, the company later admitted using websites such as YouTube and MySpace, which have vast teenage audiences, to promote its best-selling alcopop.
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How stores pile alcohol high and sell it cheap 15th February 2008
15th February 2008

Supermarkets are selling alcohol at a loss to pull in customers.

They are offering shoppers savings worth millions, particularly around the time of sporting events and national holidays.

Evidence supplied to a Competition Commission inquiry suggests the big four - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons - sold an estimated £100million worth of beer, wines and spirits below cost at the time of the World Cup in 2006.

Recent promotions of cheap lager and cider have brought down the cost of alcohol to below the prices charged for some bottled water.
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Drinks chief sceptical of tax on alcohol

By Alistair Gray
Published: February 15 2008

An increase in alcohol tax would do little to deter binge drinking, Diageo's chief executive said yesterday, amid rising concerns in the industry that the government will respond to campaign pressure by raising duty.
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Female drinkers also benefit from couples therapy

The latest in what family therapy experts have called an "impressive"1 series of US studies on behavioural couples therapy for substance misuse found that the benefits extended to female drinkers. The approach differs from other family therapies in its focus on concretely changing behaviour so that the couple respond positively to each other, in particular so that every day the substance misuser’s partner rewards behaviour conducive to sobriety.

As previously documented in Findings (Nugget 10.2), the approach has benefited (both in terms of substance use problems and family life) men using alcohol, and men and women using primarily opiates or cocaine, but until this latest study had not been tested on female drinkers.
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Predicting alcohol-related harms from licensed outlet density: A feasibility study

The overall aim of this feasibility study was to progress the development of an Australian model sensitive to local risk factors to help authorities determine appropriate liquor outlet densities for minimising alcohol-related harms within communities.

Download: Monograph_28.pdf


Cut crime with drink tax, Gordon Brown told

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:21am GMT 15/02/2008

Alcohol should be made more expensive to cut down on violent crime, Gordon Brown's own advisers have suggested.

The Strategy Unit, which is part of the Cabinet Office, has also told him that increasing taxes on drinks would curb domestic violence and reduce traffic accidents and injuries in the workplace.

The recommendation is contained in a briefing paper. The unit's conclusions come amid growing political unease about the effects of cheap alcohol.

Shops selling lager more cheaply than water are fuelling violent crime and social disorder, a senior police officer said this week.

The 137-page report, entitled Achieving Culture Change: A Policy Framework was presented to Cabinet ministers last month.

The report says: "Alcohol consumption has been shown to be sensitive both to availability and price. Increasing the price of alcohol has the potential to reduce road accidents, work injuries, violent crime and abuse."

Ministers are studying the relationship between the price and consumption of alcohol, and are expected to report in the summer.
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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Achieving Culture Change: A Policy Framework

This draft discussion paper looks at how government policy can be used to encourage particular courses of action and behaviour in cases where powerful cultural factors are at work. The traditional behaviour change approach has been to use a combination of incentives, legislation and regulation in an attempt to encourage and persuade the public into adopting different forms of behaviour.

However we know that these will be less effective at doing so where cultural factors – for example our attitudes, values, aspirations and sense of self–efficacy – are pointing in the opposite direction. This draft discussion paper sets out the state of knowledge about “culture change” and how this can be practically used to inform policy development. It is relevant to a wide range of government objectives, including educational attainment, social mobility and opportunity, healthy living, environmental sustainability, and maintaining thriving communities.

It was also recently discussed at a Strategy Unit lunchtime seminar, the slides from which are available below, together with the draft discussion paper.

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Prolactin response to fenfluramine in abstinent, alcohol-dependent patients
Addiction Biology Online Early 14 February 2008

It has been suggested that serotonin (5HT) function is abnormal in alcoholics even during abstinence. The prolactin response to fenfluramine (PRF) is generally believed to reflect the activity of the 5HT system and has been previously used to investigate 5HT activity in a variety of conditions, including alcoholism. The origin of the cortisol (CORT) response to fenfluramine is less clear.

The objectives of this paper are to examine the prolactin (PRL) and CORT response to dl-fenfluramine in a large cohort of males with alcohol dependence who had been abstinent for 3 weeks, and to compare this with an age-matched control group.

No significant difference was found in PRF between abstinent, alcoholic patients and controls (F = 2.7, d.f. = 1.115, P = 0.10). CORT response was significantly lower in abstinent alcoholics than in controls (F = 10.0, d.f. = 1.116, P = 0.002).

The results suggest no clear difference in 5HT function between abstinent alcoholics and healthy controls.

The reduced CORT response in abstinent alcoholics further supports evidence of hypofunction of the adrenocortical system in this group.

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A microdialysis study of extracellular levels of acamprosate and naltrexone in the rat brain following acute and repeated administration.
Addiction Biology 13 (1) , 70–79

Acamprosate and naltrexone are widely used in the treatment of alcoholism. However, numerous studies in rodents have shown differential effects of these compounds on alcohol consumption and/or relapse-like behavior following acute versus repeated administration.

In order to determine if these differential behavioral effects could be attributable to changes in extracellular levels of these compounds, we used in vivo microdialysis to monitor extracellular levels of acamprosate and naltrexone in the rat medial prefrontal cortex following acute and repeated intraperitoneal administration.

For acute treatment, animals received a single administration of acamprosate (100 or 300 mg/kg) or naltrexone (1 or 3 mg/kg). For repeated treatment, animals received once daily treatment with saline, acamprosate (300 mg/kg) or naltrexone (3 mg/kg) for 10 days before a subsequent challenge with the compound according to their respective pretreatment group.

Following acute administration, peak dialysate concentrations of each compound were dose-dependent, observed within 1 hour of administration, and were found to be in the low micromolar range for acamprosate and in the low to mid-nanomolar range for naltrexone.

Pretreatment with acamprosate, but not naltrexone, for 10 days resulted in higher dialysate concentrations of the compound relative to saline-pretreated controls.

Thus, repeated administration of acamprosate, but not naltrexone, results in augmented extracellular levels of the compound in the brain relative to saline-pretreated controls, which may explain the need for repeated administration of acamprosate in order to observe effects on alcohol consumption and/or relapse.

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Models and Signal Processing for an Implanted Ethanol Bio-Sensor
Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on, Volume: 55, Issue: 2, Part 1, pp. 6030613

The understanding of drinking patterns leading to alcoholism has been hindered by an inability to unobtrusively measure ethanol consumption over periods of weeks to months in the community environment.

An implantable ethanol sensor is under development using microelectromechanical systems technology. For safety and user acceptability issues, the sensor will be implanted subcutaneously and, therefore, measure peripheral-tissue ethanol concentration.

Determining ethanol consumption and kinetics in other compartments from the time course of peripheral-tissue ethanol concentration requires sophisticated signal processing based on detailed descriptions of the relevant physiology.

A statistical signal processing system based on detailed models of the physiology and using extended Kalman filtering and dynamic programming tools is described which can estimate the time series of ethanol concentration in blood, liver, and peripheral tissue and the time series of ethanol consumption based on peripheral-tissue ethanol concentration measurements.

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Alcohol losing out to drugs in addiction strategy, claims MSP
SNP backbencher and former GP Ian McKee has called for a rethink of government policy linking drug and alcohol abuse.

The Lothians MSP believes Scotland's network of Alcohol and Drug Action Teams has led to a concentration on drugs at the expense of dealing with alcohol.

And he argues there is little logic in bracketing the two together after health chiefs estimated only around ten per cent of cases have both drug and alcohol problems.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hospitals treat 8,000 drunk children each year
By Christopher Hope, Home Affairs Correspondent

The number of school-age children needing medical treatment after binge drinking has soared by nearly 40 per cent in just six years.

New figures show 22 under-18s were admitted to hospital in England every day in the first full year after 24-hour drinking was introduced to pubs and bars.

The statistics come amid rising concern about the scale of alcohol abuse by teenagers.
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News Release - New work programme for NICE

Monday 11 February 2008 14:14
Department of Health (National)

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is being asked to develop new clinical and public health guidance as part of its 15th work programme.

The Institute's technology appraisal, clinical guideline and public health work programmes are referred by the Department of Health. Topics for referral include both new and emerging health technologies as well as drugs, devices and procedures that are already being used but there is variation in the way they are used.

Dawn Primarolo, the Minister with responsibility for Public Health and NICE said:

"This work programme shows the Government's continued commitment to ensuring that NICE tackles a wide range of issues that are important to the NHS and important to patients and their carers.

"NICE is being asked to produce guidance on severe mental illness in conjunction with substance misuse. We have also asked NICE to develop joint public health and clinical guidance on alcohol use disorders that will not only cover prevention and early identification but also initial management.

"As part of its technology appraisal programme, NICE will produce guidance on a number of new cancer drugs and a new drug for the treatment of venous thromboembolism."

The NHS is required to make drugs available throughout England and Wales where NICE advises that they are clinically and cost effective.

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Education and race-ethnicity differences in the lifetime risk of alcohol dependence
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2008;62:224-230

While lower socioeconomic status (SES) is related to higher risk for alcohol dependence, minority race-ethnicity is often associated with lower risk.

This study attempts to clarify the nature and extent of social inequalities in alcohol dependence by investigating the effects of SES and race-ethnicity on the development of alcohol dependence following first alcohol use.

Compared with non-Hispanic white people, age-adjusted and sex-adjusted risks of alcohol dependence were lower among black people (odds ratio (OR) = 0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.63 to 0.78), Asians (OR = 0.65, CI = 0.49 to 0.86) and Hispanics (OR = 0.68, CI = 0.58 to 0.79) and higher among American Indians (OR = 1.37, CI = 1.09 to 1.73).

Individuals without a college degree had higher risks of alcohol dependence than individuals with a college degree or more; however, the magnitude of risk varied significantly by race-ethnicity ({chi}2 for the interaction between education and race-ethnicity = 19.7, df = 10, p = 0.03); odds ratios for less than a college degree were 1.12, 1.46, 2.24, 2.35 and 10.99 among Hispanics, white people, black people, Asians, and American Indians, respectively. There was no association between education and alcohol dependence among Hispanics.

Race-ethnicity differences in the magnitude of the association between education and alcohol dependence suggest that aspects of racial-ethnic group membership mitigate or exacerbate the effects of social adversity.

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Dietary Patterns, Supplement Use, and the Risk of Symptomatic Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: Results from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial
American Journal of Epidemiology Advance Access published online on February 7, 2008

This study examined dietary risk factors for incident benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in 4,770 Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (1994–2003) placebo-arm participants who were free of BPH at baseline.

BPH was assessed over 7 years and was defined as medical or surgical treatment or repeated elevation (>14) on the International Prostate Symptom Score questionnaire. Diet, alcohol, and supplement use were assessed by use of a food frequency questionnaire.

There were 876 incident BPH cases (33.6/1,000 person-years). The hazard ratios for the contrasts of the highest to lowest quintiles increased 31% for total fat and 27% for polyunsaturated fat and decreased 15% for protein (all ptrend <> of alcoholic beverages (0 vs. ≥2/day: hazard ratio (HR) = 0.67) and vegetables (<1 alt="≥" src="/math/ge.gif" border="0">4/day: HR = 0.68) and higher in daily (vs. <1/week) hr =" 1.38)."> no associations of supplemental antioxidants with risk, and there was weak evidence for associations of lycopene, zinc, and supplemental vitamin D with reduced risk.

A diet low in fat and red meat and high in protein and vegetables, as well as regular alcohol consumption, may reduce the risk of symptomatic BPH.

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Prenatal Alcohol Exposure: Foetal Programming, the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis and Sex Differences in Outcome
Journal of Neuroendocrinology (OnlineAccepted Articles) 8 Feb 2008

Prenatal exposure to alcohol has adverse effects on offspring neuroendocrine and behavioural functions. Alcohol readily crosses the placenta, thus directly affecting developing foetal endocrine organs. In addition, alcohol-induced changes in maternal endocrine function can disrupt the normal hormonal interactions between the pregnant female and foetal systems, altering the normal hormone balance, and indirectly, affecting the development of foetal metabolic, physiological and endocrine functions.

The present review focuses on the adverse effects of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) on offspring neuroendocrine function, with particular emphasis on the HPA axis, a key player in the stress response. The HPA axis is highly susceptible to programming during foetal and neonatal development.

Here, we review data from our laboratory and others demonstrating that alcohol exposure in utero programmes the foetal HPA axis such that HPA tone is increased throughout life. Importantly, we show that while alterations in HPA responsiveness and regulation are robust phenomena, occurring in both male and female offspring, sexually dimorphic effects of alcohol are frequently observed.

We present updated findings on possible mechanisms underlying differential effects of alcohol on male and female offspring, with special emphasis on effects at different levels of the HPA axis, and on modulatory influences of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) hormones and serotonin.

Finally, possible mechanisms underlying foetal programming of the HPA axis, and the long-term implications of increased exposure to endogenous glucocorticoids for offspring vulnerability to illnesses or disorders later in life are discussed.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Testing association in the presence of linkage using the GRE and multiple markers
Genetic Epidemiology, Early View 12 Feb 2008

It has recently been shown that testing for association in the presence of linkage using a score test based on a gamma random effects (GRE) model is substantially more powerful than using the Family-Based Association Test.

A reason for the increased power lies in better specification of the within family correlation structure, induced by linkage. The GRE, as presented in (Jonasdottir et al. [2007] Genet Epidemiol. 31:528-540), only considers one marker at a time and does not readily handle missing parental information.

Here we extend the GRE to incorporate information from more than one marker. This extension leads to a haplotype GRE test and also to efficient handling of missing data on parental genotypes.

We show that the haplotype GRE, the H-GRE, is substantially more powerful than the haplotype FBAT, the Haplotype-Based-Association Test.

We demonstrate the usefulness of the extended GRE, by reanalyzing the collaborative study on the genetics of alcoholism data, allowing for missing parental information

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Acculturation and Alcohol Treatment in Ethnic Minority Populations Assessment Issues and Implications
Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly Volume: 25 Issue: 4, pp. 47 - 61

The roles of culture and ethnicity are crucial for understanding the relevance of personal and social factors involved in the drinking patterns of individuals. Research has shown that acculturative stress is associated with poorer health outcomes and may be linked to problematic drinking.

This article briefly outlines issues including the construct of acculturation, measuring acculturation, and understanding the implications that it has with alcohol use in ethnic minorities.

A study is presented that illustrates the association between acculturation and drinking patterns in older White and Hispanic veterans. Greater levels of past drinking were associated with more acculturation into the mainstream U.S. society for the Hispanic veterans. For the White veterans, greater levels of past drinking were associated with greater perceived discrimination and less comfort in mainstream U.S. society.

Based on the literature, implications for clinical treatment are presented. Clinicians are called upon to understand the worldview of their clients and engage in culturally sensitive alcohol treatments.

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Telecounseling in Rural Areas for Alcohol Problems
Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly Volume: 25 Issue: 4, pp. 31 - 45

The prevalence of alcohol problems is roughly equal in urban and rural communities. In rural areas, however, treatment options for people with problem drinking tend to be limited at best.

One way to reach rural populations is to deliver alcohol counseling services via telephone or interactive televideo links, called telecounseling in this paper. Telecounseling can overcome not only the geographic barriers to treatment, but also concerns with confidentiality and stigma, which may be particularly salient in small rural communities.

This approach to service delivery may be particularly important in areas with large rural and frontier regions.

This paper reports on current use of common long-distance methodologies, their strengths and limitations.

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Helping Clients Feel Welcome Principles of Adapting Treatment Cross-Culturally
Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly: Volume: 25 Issue: 4, pp. 11 - 30

Empirically supported interventions (ESIs) for treating substance problems have seldom been made available to or tested with minority populations. Dissemination of ESIs may help reduce the disproportionate health disparities that exist. However, ESIs may require some adaptation to be effective with minority populations. One ESI, motivational interviewing (MI), appears to be particularly culturally congruent for Native American communities.

We worked with Native American community members and treatment providers to adapt MI for Native communities. Reflecting their feedback and suggested amendments, we created and disseminated an intervention manual to improve the accessibility of MI within Native communities.

To help guide practitioners working with Native American clients, we used focus-group methodology to explore communication patterns for negotiating change. Native American treatment providers expressed comfort with and enthusiasm for integrating MI into their current practices. Recommendations for adaptations ranged from simple to complex changes.

The unique value and challenges of collaboration between academic and community members are presented from each author's perspective.

This culturally adapted MI manual will likely improve the accessibility and adoption ofMI practices as well as encourage controlled, clinical trials with Native communities.

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Telescoped trajectories from alcohol initiation to disorder in children of alcoholic parents.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 2008 Feb Vol 117(1) 63-78

The current study tested whether and why children of alcoholics (COAs) showed telescoped (adolescent) drinking initiation-to-disorder trajectories as compared with non-COAs.

Using longitudinal data from a community-based sample, the authors confirmed through survival analyses that COAs progressed more quickly from initial adolescent alcohol use to the onset of disorder than do matched controls.

Similar risks for telescoping were evident in COAs whose parents were actively symptomatic versus those whose parents had been previously diagnosed. Stronger telescoping effects were observed for COAs whose parents showed comorbidity for either depression or antisocial personality disorder.

Both greater externalizing symptoms and more frequent, heavier drinking patterns at initiation failed to explain COAs' risk for telescoping, although externalizing symptoms were a unique predictor of telescoping. This risk for telescoping was also evident for drug disorders.

These findings characterize a risky course of drinking in COAs and raise important questions concerning the underlying mechanisms and consequences of telescoping in COAs

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Press Release - Tackling harm caused by alcohol is at the heart of new strategy

Tackling the harm caused by alcohol is at the heart of a new 10 year substance misuse strategy issued for consultation today (Monday 11 February) by Minister for Social Justice and Local Government, Dr Brian Gibbons.
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Consultation - Working Together to Reduce Harm - The Substance Misuse Strategy for Wales 2008-2018

Date consultation commenced: 11/02/2008

End of consultation: 13/05/2008

This consultation sets out and invites views on our new substance misuse strategy, entitled “Working Together to Reduce Harm”. It is a 10 year strategy which aims to set out a clear national agenda for tackling and reducing the harms associated with substance misuse in Wales.

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Residents tackle alcohol issues

12 February 2008

People in Brechin are taking steps to tackle the alcohol problems affecting their area.

A year-long initiative is being set up, which will see community members identify specific issues and then draw up action plans to deal with them.

The Brechin Healthy, Happy Community Project will see professionals work with locals to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol misuse.

It also aims to bring about a cultural change in attitudes to drinking.
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Money tight for alcohol treatment

Jill Stark
February 13, 2008

TEN times more money was spent fighting illicit drug use than preventing alcohol abuse under the Howard government.

Alcohol kills three times more Australians than all illicit drugs, but new figures reveal that only $1.2 million was dedicated to harmful drinking in 2005-06 — compared to almost $11 million for other drugs.
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Dose-related effects of red wine and alcohol on hemodynamics, sympathetic nerve activity, and arterial diameter
Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 294: H605-H612, 2008

The cardiovascular benefits of light to moderate red wine consumption often have been attributed to its polyphenol constituents. However, the acute dose-related hemodynamic, vasodilator, and sympathetic neural effects of ethanol and red wine have not been characterized and compared in the same individual.

We sought to test the hypotheses that responses to one and two alcoholic drinks differ and that red wine with high polyphenol content elicits a greater effect than ethanol alone.

One drink of wine and ethanol increased blood alcohol to 38 ± 2 and 39 ± 2 mg/dl, respectively, and two drinks to 72 ± 4 and 83 ± 3 mg/dl, respectively. Wine quadrupled plasma resveratrol (P <>P <> affected blood pressure.

One drink had no heart rate effect, but two drinks of wine increased heart rate by 5.7 ± 1.6 beats/min; P <> 0.3 l/min after one drink of ethanol and wine (both P <> but increased after two drinks of ethanol (+0.8 ± 0.3 l/min) and wine (+1.2 ± 0.3 l/min) (P < 0.01).

One alcoholic drink did not alter muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA), while two drinks increased MSNA by 9–10 bursts/min (P < 0.001).

Brachial artery diameter increased after both one and two alcoholic drinks (P <> and the second wine dose attenuated (P = 0.02), flow-mediated vasodilation.

One drink of ethanol dilates the brachial artery without activating sympathetic outflow, whereas two drinks increase MSNA, heart rate, and cardiac output.

These acute effects, which exhibit a narrow dose response, are not modified by red wine polyphenols.

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