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, April 5, 2008

Ministers to enforce minimum prices on alcohol
By Patrick Sawer


The Government is set to force supermarkets to raise the price of alcoholic drinks in a bid to cut down on binge-drinking.

Ministers are preparing to enforce a minimum price for beer, wine and spirits in the face of growing anger over discount selling of alcohol as a "loss leader" by the big supermarkets.

The Office of Fair Trading is understood to have cleared the move, as long as the Government can prove "exceptional" circumstances - such as a link between alcohol and violence, and the supermarkets' failure to act.

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker has held talks to see how minimum prices are enforced overseas.

One system being considered is that used in Canada, where experts establish the minimum price alcohol should be sold to prevent it causing harm to society.
. . . . . .

Read Full Article


Ban on cheap booze: Ministers are ready to impose minimum prices on stores to battle binge culture
4th April 2008

Massive discounts on supermarket alcohol could end soon.

The Government has lost patience with the big chains for failing to raise prices to try to curb the binge-drinking culture.

Some drinks, including alcopops, can be bought this weekend for prices lower than they were before the Budget added 4p to a pint of beer and 14p on a bottle of wine.

Ministers are now preparing to rip up competition law and set a minimum price for booze.
. . . . . . .

Read Full Article



The first symposium of the three-part series is entitled:


Getting Back to Basics:

Using Basic Behavioral Research to

Study Mechanisms of Clinical Change

Matthew K. Nock, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Psychology

Harvard University

Translation Science Framework:

Using Basic Behavioral Research to Identify

Clinically Significant Mechanisms of Behavioral Change

Marsha E. Bates, Ph.D.

Research Professor

Center for Alcohol Studies

Rutgers University

Click Here to Play Video.  This video is world accessible. Getting at Why People Change
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Matthew Nock, Harvard, Marsha Bates, Rutgers and Mark Willenbring, NIAAA
Total Running Time: 01:59:37

Category: Special

Podcasts available here

Read Full Announcement


Interagency Coordinating Committee on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (ICCFAS) Spring 2008 Meeting

Event: Interagency Coordinating Committee on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (ICCFAS) Spring 2008 Meeting

5635 Fishers Lane, Terrace Level
Rockville, Maryland 20852

Start Date: 5/15/2008 9:00 AM
End Date: 5/15/2008 4:00 PM

Event Details:

Hosted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

5635 Fishers Lane, Terrace Level, Rockville, Maryland 20852

The program will consist of:

1. Updates of FASD-relevant activities of ICCFAS Member

2. Reports of recent and upcoming activities of the ICCFAS Work
Groups on Education, Justice Issues, and Women, Drinking,
and Pregnancy

3. A Scientific Panel Discussion on Evidence-based Practice and

To register for the public meeting on Thursday, May 15, 2008
(There is no registration fee.):


Friday, April 4, 2008

Morning press briefing from 3 April 2008

Alcohol Duty

Asked whether the Prime Minister had any comment on Gerry Sutcliffe's criticisms of the Budget and the fact that plans for an escalation on alcohol duty was going to damage pubs, the PMS said that he had not seen the comments from Gerry Sutcliffe and neither had the Prime Minister. Without knowing their full context, he would be reluctant to comment on them.


Alcohol Alerts
Number 74 January 2008

Alcohol Research: A Lifespan Perspective
Alcohol use and the risk for alcohol-related problems change over the lifespan. College students and young adults, who often drink large quantities of alcohol at one time, are more likely to experience problems such as alcohol poisoning, drunk-driving crashes, and assaults; whereas, older individuals who drink even moderately while taking certain medications run the risk of harmful drug interactions. Additionally, patterns of alcohol use may differ across the human lifespan—for example, adolescents who begin drinking prior to age 14 are more likely to develop a serious problem with alcohol later in life. Understanding how alcohol influences people across different life stages is important, especially when designing effective approaches for diagnosing, treating, and preventing alcohol abuse and dependence and their related problems.
In 2006, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) published the Five-Year Strategic Plan, The NIAAA Strategic Plan for Research. The Five-Year Plan introduces a new organizing principle for alcohol research studies: A Lifespan Perspective. This new perspective gives researchers a framework within which to examine how alcohol affects people at different stages of development and how different stages of development affect drinking behaviors.
The Five-Year Plan examines the current state of alcohol research—what we know about alcohol-related issues—within a Lifespan Perspective, and suggests opportunities for new research and outreach based on these findings. Since 2006, the Five-Year Plan has been revised once, and NIAAA will continue to provide updates to reflect new and emerging research opportunities. This Alcohol Alert presents some of the findings and opportunities outlined in the latest version of the Five-Year Plan.

Read Full Alcohol Alert (PDF)

Health Guide - Alcoholism
Friday, April 4, 2008

Alcoholism is an illness marked by drinking alcoholic beverages at a level that interferes with physical health, mental health, and social, family, or occupational responsibilities.

Alcoholism is divided into 2 categories: dependence and abuse.

People with alcohol dependence, the most severe alcohol disorder, usually experience tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance is a need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or the desired effect. Withdrawal occurs when alcohol is discontinued or intake is decreased. Alcohol dependents spend a great deal of time drinking alcohol, and obtaining it.

Alcohol abusers may have legal problems such as drinking and driving. They may also have problems with binge drinking (drinking 6 or more drinks at one sitting).

People who are dependent on or abuse alcohol continue to drink it despite evidence of physical or psychological problems. Those with dependence have more severe problems and a greater compulsion to drink.
. . . . . .

Read Full Article


Brain renin angiotensin in disease
J Mol Med, Online early 2 Apr 2008

A brain renin angiotensin system (RAS) and its role in cardiovascular control and fluid homeostasis was at first controversial. This was because a circulating kidneyderived renin angiotensin system was so similar and well established.

But, the pursuit of brain RAS has proven to be correct. In the course of accepting brain RAS, high standards of proof attracted state of the art techniques in all the new developments of biolo1gy. Consequently, brain RAS is a robust concept that has enlightened neuroscience as well as cardiovascular physiology and is a model neuropeptide system. Molecular biology confirmed the components of brain RAS and their location in the brain.

Transgenic mice and rats bearing renin and extra copies of angiotensinogen genes revealed the importance of brain RAS. Cre-lox delivery in vectors has enabled pinpoint gene deletion of brain RAS in discrete brain nuclei.

The new concept of brain RAS includes ACE-2, Ang1–7, and prorenin and Mas receptors. Angioten in II (ANG II) generated in the brain by brain renin hs many neural effects. It activates behavioral effects by selective activation of ANG II receptor subtypes in different locations. It regulates sympathetic activity and baroreflexes and contributes to neurogenic hypertension.

New findings implicate brain RAS in a much wider range of neural effects. We review brain RAS involvement in Alzheimer’s disease, stroke memory, and learning alcoholism stress depression. There is growing evidence to consider developing treatment strategies for a variety of neurological disease states based on brain RAS.

Read Full Text (PDF)
Press Release - New Presidential Leadership Award to Recognize College Presidents for Work Deemphasizing Role of Alcohol on Campus

$50,000 award supported by seven leading higher education organizations

BOSTON(BUSINESS WIRE)For the first time, higher education will recognize a college or university president for innovative leadership in the area of alcohol prevention. The Presidential Leadership Award will recognize a president who has given freely of time and energy to create an environment where learning and campus life are not undermined by the misuse of alcohol.

“Stemming alcohol abuse is not something that college and university presidents can do alone, but their active leadership is essential,” said Dan Levin, Vice President for Publications at the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), and Editor of Trusteeship Magazine. “We hope this award will embolden presidents across the nation to make this issue a priority.”
. . . . . .

Read Full Press Release
News Release - Developing guidance on the prevention and early identification of alcohol use disorders in adults and young people

4 Apr 2008

Applications wanted for Community Members to join the Programme Development Group

The Patient and Public Involvement Programme and the Centre for Public Health Excellence are looking for applications from members of the public (including those involved in community groups or voluntary organisations) to sit on the group developing guidance on “the prevention and early identification of alcohol use disorders in adults and young people”. This guidance is likely to focus on what increases the risk of people misusing alcohol and what works well in managing harmful drinking.

Community members of this group will play a key role in making sure that the views and experiences of people affected by alcohol related problems inform the guidance's development and its recommendations to the NHS, local authorities and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors.

All members of Programme Development Groups have equal status, which reflects the relevance and importance of their different expertise and experience. They include public health professionals and researchers, as well as community members. All Group members need to attend regular meetings and undertake background reading.
. . . . . .

Read Full News Release


News Release - Alcohol and malt liquor availability and promotion higher in African American inner cities

Study begs questions of inner city health

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (April 2, 2008) – It appears that living in a poor neighborhood with a high concentration of African Americans is associated with greater alcohol availability and promotion – especially malt liquor – according to a recent study by University of Minnesota researchers.

The study found that poor neighborhoods with high concentrations of African Americans had higher homicide rates and significantly greater numbers of off-premise alcohol outlets, 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor in coolers, and storefront ads promoting malt liquor than other neighborhoods. Researchers also found that the average price of a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor was $1.87, or less than a gallon of milk.

Malt liquor is a concern in inner cities because of its cheap price, high alcohol content, association with heavier drinking, and its link to aggressive behavior that can result in public safety issues, said Rhonda Jones-Webb, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Public Health and principal investigator of the study. The cheap price of malt liquor also makes it especially available to inner-city youth, she added.
. . . . . . .

Read Full News Release


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Temperament, character, and dissociation among detoxified male inpatients with alcohol dependency
Journal of Clinical Psychology, Early view 2 Apr 2008

The aim of this study was to determine possible relationships of pathological dissociation with temperament, character, and concurrent psychopathological features in a consecutive series of male alcohol-dependent patients.

Beside higher scores on anxiety, depression, and alcoholism scales, a larger proportion of dissociative group reported childhood abuse, suicide attempts, and self-mutilation than did the nondissociative group. They also had higher scores of novelty seeking and harm avoidance, but lower scores of persistence, self-directedness, and cooperativeness.

Trait anxiety, depression, and severity of alcoholism predicted dissociative experiences; however, none of the temperament or character measures did.

Rather than being a derivative of temperament or character features, dissociative experiences of male alcohol-dependent patients are associated with overall concurrent psychopathology.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:
Scientists Find Genetic Factor in Stress Response Variability

Inherited variations in the amount of an innate anxiety-reducing molecule help explain why some people can withstand stress better than others, according to a new study led by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“Stress response is an important variable in vulnerability to alcohol dependence and other addictions, as well as other psychiatric disorders,” noted NIAAA Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D. “This finding could help us understand individuals’ initial vulnerability to these disorders.”

Scientists led by David Goldman, M. D., chief of the NIAAA Laboratory of Neurogenetics, identified gene variants that affect the expression of a signaling molecule called neuropeptide Y (NPY). Found in brain and many other tissues, NPY regulates diverse functions, including appetite, weight, and emotional responses.

“NPY is induced by stress and its release reduces anxiety,” said Dr. Goldman. “Previous studies have shown that genetic factors play an important role in mood and anxiety disorders. In this study, we sought to determine if genetic variants of NPY might contribute to the maladaptive stress responses that often underlie these disorders.” A report of the findings appears online today in Nature.

. . . . . . .

Read Full News Release
Scientists Link Chromatin Modifications with Alcohol Withdrawal Anxiety

Changes to genetic material in the brain may help induce the anxiety that is characteristic of alcohol withdrawal, according to a new study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The finding points to possible therapies to prevent withdrawal-related anxiety, a driving force behind alcohol use among dependent individuals.

. . . . . . .

Read Full News Release __________________________________________________________________
The Pervading Influence of Alcoholic Liver Disease in Hepatology
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on April 2, 2008

Rising levels of alcohol consumption in the UK are leading to substantial increases in morbidity and mortality from liver disease. Drinking is starting at an earlier age with binging an increasing common pattern, and women are overtaking men in the consumption.

Manifestations of liver damage range from fatty liver to end-stage cirrhosis, but it is the increasing number of cases presenting with an acute alcoholic hepatitis (AAH) that are the cause for greatest concern.

Development of well-validated prognostic scoring systems (Maddrey Modified Discriminant Function, Glasgow Alcohol Score) makes it possible to select those patients with AAH who are most likely to respond to corticosteroids.

The results of early pilot studies of a number of anti-TNF agents are encouraging and with infliximab, reduction in portal pressure has been demonstrated to be consequent on controlling inflammatory processes in the liver.

For those deteriorating to the stage of liver failure, artificial liver support with MARS is of value in correcting major pathophysiological disturbances and as a bridge to liver transplantation, the results of which both for end-stage alcoholic cirrhosis and for AAH—of which there is limited experience, are excellent.

Even as the stringent regulatory measures needed to control rising alcohol consumption are introduced by government, the burden of liver disease in the UK will remain high for years to come.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:
Chronic Liver Disease—An Increasing Problem: A Study of Hospital Admission and Mortality Rates in England, 1979–2005, with Particular Reference to Alcoholic Liver Disease
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on April 2, 2008

To determine time trends in hospital admissions for chronic liver disease in England between 1989/1990 and 2002/2003, mortality rates in England and Wales between 1979 and 2005, and the influence of alcohol-related disease on these trends.

Hospital episode statistics for admissions in England were obtained from the Information Center for Health and Social Care and mortality data for England and Wales from the Office for National Statistics.

Hospital admission rates for chronic liver disease increased by 71% in males and 43% in females over the study period. This increase was largely due to alcoholic liver disease, admission rates for which more than doubled between 1989/1990 and 2002/2003. While there was a smaller rise for chronic viral hepatitis B and C, admission rates declined for hepatitis A, autoimmune hepatitis, and primary biliary cirrhosis. Mortality rates for chronic liver disease more than doubled between 1979 and 2005. Two thirds of these deaths were attributable to alcohol-related liver disease in 2005. The highest rate of alcoholic liver disease mortality was in the 45–64 age group, and the largest percentage increase between 1979 and 2005 occurred in the 25–34 age group.

Hospital admissions and mortality in England from chronic liver disease are increasing. The underlying reasons are complex, but alcohol-induced liver disease makes a major contribution. There are clear social and health implications if the trend continues and addressing alcohol-related liver disease should be a public health priority.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprinxt E-Mail:
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism


The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead agency in this country for research on alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and other health effects of alcohol. This document, the NIAAA Strategic Plan for Research, 2008-2013 sets forth a fundamental organizing principle for alcohol research studies and describes research opportunities to deepen and broaden our understanding of alcohol use and alcohol use disorders/

Read Full Strategic Plan

European Alcohol Policy Conference

The third in a series of European Alcohol Policy conferences will take place in Barcelona, 3rd-5th April 2008. The conference, which is supported by the Ministry of Health of Spain and the Ministry of Health of Slovenia, will be hosted by the Health Department of the Government of Catalonia, the Institute of Public Health of Slovenia and the Building Capacity Project. It is co-financed by the European Commission, the Health Department of the Government of Catalonia, the Institute of Public Health of Slovenia, the Directorate of Health and Social Affairs of Norway, ACTIS Norway, and IOGT-NTO Sweden. It is co-sponsored by the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization and Eurocare, the European Alcohol Policy Alliance.

Download final conference programme
Download conference flyer

Conference Home Page

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Psychologists Discuss Underage Drinking Research on Capitol Hill

On November 15, Science GRO staff, working in conjunction with the Addiction, Treatment and Recovery (ATR) Caucus in the House of Representatives, held the first educational briefing sponsored by the Friends of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) coalition. Dr. Steve Breckler, APA's Executive Director for Science, provided introductory remarks and noted the timeliness of the topic of underage drinking.

Breckler said, “We have learned a tremendous amount about alcohol use across the lifespan, and today we’ll hear a summary of research as it pertains to one critical age group—our children. Importantly, we’ll not only hear about the nature and extent of the problem, but also about promising interventions.”
. . . . . .

Read Full APA Report


Genetic variation in human NPY expression affects stress response and emotion
advance online publication 2 April 2008

Understanding inter-individual differences in stress response requires the explanation of genetic influences at multiple phenotypic levels, including complex behaviours and the metabolic responses of brain regions to emotional stimuli.

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is anxiolytic1, 2 and its release is induced by stress3. NPY is abundantly expressed in regions of the limbic system that are implicated in arousal and in the assignment of emotional valences to stimuli and memories4, 5, 6.

Here we show that haplotype-driven NPY expression predicts brain responses to emotional and stress challenges and also inversely correlates with trait anxiety.

NPY haplotypes predicted levels of NPY messenger RNA in post-mortem brain and lymphoblasts, and levels of plasma NPY.

Lower haplotype-driven NPY expression predicted higher emotion-induced activation of the amygdala, as well as diminished resiliency as assessed by pain/stress-induced activations of endogenous opioid neurotransmission in various brain regions.

A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP rs16147) located in the promoter region alters NPY expression in vitro and seems to account for more than half of the variation in expression in vivo.

These convergent findings are consistent with the function of NPY as an anxiolytic peptide and help to explain inter-individual variation in resiliency to stress, a risk factor for many diseases.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail: _____________________________________________________________
Sixth Grade Students Who Use Alcohol: Do We Need Primary Prevention Programs for "Tweens"?
Health Education & Behavior Feb 26, 2008

Young adolescent alcohol users drink at higher rates than their peers throughout adolescence and appear to be less amenable to intervention.

This study compares those who reported alcohol use in the past year to those who reported no use in a multiethnic, urban sample of sixth graders in 61 schools in Chicago in 2002 (N = 4,150).

Demographic, behavioral, intrapersonal, and socioenvironmental factors were identified based on behavioral theories and potential mediators of the Project Northland Chicago intervention. Single and multiple regression models were created for users and nonusers to determine associations between these factors and alcohol use behavior and intentions.

The multiple regression models explained 35% and 56% of the variance in alcohol use behavior and intentions between students for nonusers and users, respectively.

Results suggest that primary prevention programs for alcohol use should occur prior to sixth grade, particularly for the substantial group at high risk for early use.

Read Full Abstract

Reprint Request E-Mail:

Media release - Calling time as hospital admissions due to alcohol increase by 50%

Hospital admissions specifically due to alcohol increased by more than 50% in the South West between 2001 and 2005, according to a report published today (2 April 2008) by the South West Public Health Observatory.

The report also highlighted that an estimated three quarters of a million (728,500) people aged 16-64 in the region drink to hazardous levels and that around 119,000 are dependent drinkers.

Hospital admissions due to alcohol for women (aged under 75) are higher than the England average, although men are still most likely to suffer death or illness due to alcohol.

The severity of the problem is brought into even sharper focus when looking at the effects of alcohol on young people. The report highlights that young people are increasingly at risk. Between 1998 and 2004, the number of under 18 year-olds admitted to hospital due to acute intoxication increased by 60% and by 140% in those aged 18-24. With this growing number of young people being treated for alcohol misuse, there is the possibility that they will have greater health problems as they get older.
. . . . . .
Read Full Media Release
Brain Chromatin Remodeling: A Novel Mechanism of Alcoholism
The Journal of Neuroscience, April 2, 2008, 28(14):3729-3737

The treatment of alcoholism requires the proper management of ethanol withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, to prevent further alcohol use and abuse.

In this study, we investigated the potential role of brain chromatin remodeling, caused by histone modifications, in alcoholism.

We found that the anxiolytic effects produced by acute alcohol were associated with a decrease in histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity and increases in acetylation of histones (H3 and H4), levels of CREB (cAMP-responsive element binding) binding protein (CBP), and neuropeptide Y (NPY) expression in the amygdaloid brain regions of rats.

However, the anxiety-like behaviors during withdrawal after chronic alcohol exposure were associated with an increase in HDAC activity and decreases in acetylation of H3 and H4, and levels of both CBP and NPY in the amygdala. Blocking the observed increase in HDAC activity during alcohol withdrawal with the HDAC inhibitor, trichostatin A, rescued the deficits in H3 and H4 acetylation and NPY expression (mRNA and protein levels) in the amygdala (central and medial nucleus of amygdala) and prevented the development of alcohol withdrawal-related anxiety in rats as measured by the elevated plus maze and light/dark box exploration tests.

These results reveal a novel role for amygdaloid chromatin remodeling in the process of alcohol addiction and further suggest that HDAC inhibitors may be potential therapeutic agents in treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:
News Release - Yale Study Suggests Evolutionary Source of Alcoholism’s Accidental Enemy

New Haven, Conn. — Some change in the environment in many East Asian communities during the past few thousand years may have protected residents from becoming alcoholics, a new genetic analysis conducted by Yale School of Medicine researchers suggests.

The study by Hui Li and others in the laboratory of Kenneth Kidd, professor of genetics, psychiatry and ecology & evolutionary biology, will be released April 2, in the journal PloS One.

Scientists have long known that many Asians carry variants of genes that help regulate alcohol metabolism. Some of those genetic variants can make people feel uncomfortable, sometimes even ill, when drinking small amounts of alcohol. As a result of the prevalence of this gene, many, but not all, communities in countries such as China, Japan and Korea have low rates of alcoholism.
. . . . . . .

Read Full News Release


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ethnic Related Selection for an ADH Class I Variant within East Asia
PLoS ONE 3(4): e1881.

The alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH) are widely studied enzymes and the evolution of the mammalian gene cluster encoding these enzymes is also well studied. Previous studies have shown that the ADH1B*47His allele at one of the seven genes in humans is associated with a decrease in the risk of alcoholism and the core molecular region with this allele has been selected for in some East Asian populations. As the frequency of ADH1B*47His is highest in East Asia, and very low in most of the rest of the world, we have undertaken more detailed investigation in this geographic region.

The selection distribution is more significantly correlated with the frequency of the derived ADH1B regulatory region polymorphism than the derived amino-acid altering allele ADH1B*47His. Thus, the real focus of selection may be the regulatory region. The obvious ethnicity-related distributions of ADH1B diversities suggest the existence of some culture-related selective forces that have acted on the ADH1B region.

Read Full Text (PDF)


Decreased Volume of the Brain Reward System in Alcoholism
Biological Psychiatry , Article in Press, Corrected Proof 28 Mar 2008

Reinforcement of behavioral responses involves a complex cerebral circuit engaging specific neuronal networks that are modulated by cortical oversight systems affiliated with emotion, memory, judgment, and decision making (collectively referred to in this study as the “extended reward and oversight system” or “reward network”). We examined whether reward-network brain volumes are reduced in alcoholics and how volumes of subcomponents within this system are correlated with memory and drinking history.

Morphometric analysis was performed on magnetic resonance brain scans in 21 abstinent long-term chronic alcoholic men and 21 healthy control men, group-matched on age, verbal IQ, and education. We derived volumes of total brain and volumes of cortical and subcortical reward-related structures including the dorsolateral-prefrontal, orbitofrontal, cingulate cortices, and the insula, as well as the amygdala, hippocampus, nucleus accumbens septi (NAc), and ventral diencephalon.

Morphometric analyses of reward-related regions revealed decreased total reward-network volume in alcoholic subjects. Volume reduction was most pronounced in right dorsolateral-prefrontal cortex, right anterior insula, and right NAc, as well as left amygdala. In alcoholics, NAc and anterior insula volumes increased with length of abstinence, and total reward-network and amygdala volumes correlated positively with memory scores.

The observation of decreased reward-network volume suggests that alcoholism is associated with alterations in this neural reward system. These structural reward system deficits and their correlation with memory scores elucidate underlying structural-functional relationships between alcoholism and emotional and cognitive processes.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:
Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the January-September 2007 National Health Interview Survey

9. Alcohol consumption

bullet graphicFigure 9.1. Percentage of adults aged 18 years and over who had 5 or more drinks in 1 day at least once in the past year: United States, 1997-September 2007

bullet graphicFigure 9.2. Percentage of adults aged 18 years and over who had 5 or more drinks in 1 day at least once in the past year, by age group and sex: United States, January-September 2007

bullet graphicFigure 9.3. Age-sex-adjusted percentage of adults aged 18 years and over who had 5 or more drinks in 1 day at least once in the past year, by race/ethnicity: United States, January-September 2007

bullet graphicData tables for Figures 9.1-9.3

Download (PDF)


Quantity and Frequency of Alcohol Use among Underage Drinkers


  • SAMHSA's 2005 and 2006 National Surveys on Drug Use & Health were combined to examine the quantity and frequency of alcohol use among drinkers under the legal age, i.e., drinkers aged 12 to 20.
  • Based on combined data from SAMHSA's 2005 to 2006 National Surveys on Drug Use & Health, an annual average of 28.3% of underage drinkers (10.8 million persons aged 12 to 20) drank alcohol in the past month.
  • Underage drinkers who drank in the past month used alcohol an average of 5.9 days in the past month and consumed an average of 4.9 alcoholic drinks per day on the days they drank in the past month.
  • Person under the legal age consumed, on average, more drinks per days on the days they drank in the past month than drinkers of legal age (4.9 drinks vs. 2.8 drinks).

Download Full Report (PDF)


Monday, March 31, 2008

Know Your Limits update - pilot reports

The Know Your Limits campaign team funded by the Home Office and Department of Health has published its latest update - Stakeholder Update 8 . It summarises new pilots that have specifically targeted students, the night time economy and young men.
. . . . . .

Read Full Alcohol Policy UK Posting


In Debate - Specialised alcohol treatment services are a luxury the NHS cannot afford
The British Journal of Psychiatry (2008) 192: 245-247

Is alcoholism an illness or merely a self-inflicted indulgence? Can we afford specialist alcohol treatment services? Do they even work? Should the tax payer foot the bill? Is the lack of such services `perverse'? In this lively debate Drs Carnwath and Luty weigh up the pros and cons of controlling the effects of `our favourite drug'.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Addiction, Volume 103 Issue 4 Page 604-605, April 2008

Some years ago a colleague noted that in France the population had performed the reverse of the biblical miracle of turning water into wine. By treating wine as a necessary component of most meals and many other social occasions, and downplaying the intoxicating properties of alcohol and the damage related to it, despite high consumption rates, it appeared that wine was routinely being transformed into water.

As reported in the paper by Messiah and colleagues [1] and elsewhere [2], France ia among several countries, including Italy [3], that have experienced a dramatic decline in their per capita consumption rate in recent decades. The intensive alcohol control and harm reduction campaign from the early 1990s [4, 5] appears to have reinforced this decline and also produced greater awareness of alcohol-relate issues.

Thus the modern-day miracle of turnng wine into water, has been upstaged, it appears, by two subsequent miracles, that of reducing the volume of alcohol that needs to be transformed, along with increased awareness of the negative potency of alcoholic beverages.

Read Full Text (PDF)

Validation of the alcohol, smoking and substance involvement screening test (ASSIST)
Addiction, Online early 29 Mar 2008

The concurrent, construct and discriminative validity of the World Health Organization's Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) were examined in a multi-site international study.

Measures included the ASSIST; the Addiction Severity Index-Lite (ASI-Lite); the Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS); the MINI International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI-Plus); the Rating of Injection Site Condition (RISC); the Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST); the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT); the Revised Fagerstrom Tolerance Questionnaire (RTQ); and the Maudsley Addiction Profile (MAP).

Concurrent validity was demonstrated by significant correlations between ASSIST scores and scores from the ASI-Lite (r = 0.76–0.88), SDS (r = 0.59), AUDIT (r = 0.82) and RTQ (r = 0.78); and significantly greater ASSIST scores for those with MINI-Plus diagnoses of abuse or dependence (P <>r = 0.48–0.76). Discriminative validity was established by the capacity of the ASSIST to discriminate between substance use, abuse and dependence. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was used to establish cut-off scores with suitable specificities (50–96%) and sensitivities (54–97%) for most substances.

The findings demonstrated that the ASSIST is a valid screening test for identifying psychoactive substance use in individuals who use a number of substances and have varying degrees of substance use.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:
Rural, regional and remote health: indicators of health status and determinants of health Rural health series no. 9

This report focuses on a comprehensive range of health issues concerning people living in rural, regional and remote Australia. It includes information relating to health status (such as rates of chronic disease, injury and mental health) and determinants of health (such as tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, nutrition and physical activity) and is the 9th report in the AIHW's Rural health series.

Summary of alcohol findings

From the 2004–05 NHS:

• Males in Inner Regional and Other areas (Outer Regional and Remote) were significantly more (1.2 and 1.4 times as) likely than those in Major Cities to report risky or high-risk alcohol consumption.

• Females in All regional/Remote areas were equally likely as those in Major Cities to report risky or high-risk alcohol consumption.

This inter-regional pattern is broadly similar to that seen in previous years. However, the prevalence of such alcohol consumption has increased in all areas, particularly for females. For example, in 2004–05 males and females in Major Cities were significantly more (respectively, 1.4 and 1.9 times as) likely to report risky or high-risk alcohol consumption than in 1995.

Data from the 2004 NDSHS showed males outside Major Cities were significantly more likely to drink in quantities risking harm in the short and long term.

In All remote areas, people appeared more likely to consume alcohol in quantities risking harm in the short term than those in Major Cities.

Indigenous Australians were significantly more (1.3 times as) likely to consume alcohol in hazardous or harmful quantities than people living in Major Cities.

Indigenous Australian males in Inner Regional areas appeared more likely to consume alcohol in hazardous or harmful quantities compared with those in Major Cities, while females in these areas appeared less likely to consume in these quantities. Otherwise, interregional variation appeared to be relatively small.

Download Full Report (PDF)
News Update - Underage drinking research
28 March 2008

Across the North West, over 80 percent of 15-16 year olds surveyed drank alcohol

A joint study by LJMU's Centre for Public Health, Trading Standards North West and the Home Office (North West) examines the amounts of alcohol consumed by 9,833 15-16 year olds in the North West and the health and social problems linked to this consumption.

The summary report, 'Risky Drinking in North West School Children and its Consequences: A Study of Fifteen and Sixteen Year Olds', can be downloaded from:

Key findings show:

  • Across the North West, over five sixths (84%) of 15-16 year olds surveyed drank alcohol. This is a decrease of around 4% from 2005. However, there has been an increase in the proportion of underage drinkers who drink in public places (bars, clubs, streets, parks) and the proportion drinking frequently (two or more times a week).
  • The authors conservatively estimate that 15-16 year olds in the North West drink around 84 million units a year in total. This is equivalent to 44 bottles of wine (or 177 pints of beer) per year for every 15 and 16 year old in the region, or 67 bottles of wine (269 pints of beer) per year for each 15 and 16 year old that drinks at least once a month.
  • Of the 190,000 15 and 16 year olds in the region, results suggest that around 57,000 binge drink (drinking five or more drinks in one session) at least weekly. Levels range from around a third of 15 and 16 year old drinkers bingeing at least weekly in the most affluent areas to around 40% in the poorest.
  • Across the North West, just under half of 15 and 16 year olds surveyed drank at least once a week. Of these, 40% of females and 42% of males had been involved in violence following drinking. Further, 15 and 16 year old drinkers that live in the poorest areas of residence were around 45% more likely to have been involved in alcohol-related violence than those in the most affluent areas.
  • Binge drinkers are also more likely to be involved in alcohol-related violence. For instance, those who binge drink three or more times a week are more than five times more likely to be involved in alcohol-related violence than individuals who drink but do not binge.
  • Heavy drinking patterns were also associated with higher levels of smoking.
  • Over a third of 15 and 16 year old drinkers report buying their own alcohol. These individuals were more likely to binge drink as well as to drink frequently and drink in public places.
Read Full News Update

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with reduced long-term cardiovascular risk in patients following a complicated acute myocardial infarction
International Journal of Cardiology Article in Press , Corrected Proof 26 Mar 2008

The impact on prognosis of alcohol use in patients with coronary artery disease remains uncertain. We related alcohol use to all-cause mortality, cardiovascular (CV)-mortality and hospitalization in patients following a complicated myocardial infarction (MI).

In the OPTIMAAL trial, 5477 patients from 7 Western European countries with heart failure and/or evidence of left ventricular dysfunction following MI were recruited. Following randomization median 3 days, patients were asked to assess their average alcohol consumption prior to the index infarction. Patients were stratified by the frequency of the use of alcohol into either non-users (n = 2160), moderate users (1–7 drinks/week, n = 2753) and heavy users (> 7 drinks/week, n = 545) and related to prespecified clinical outcomes in the groups.

A total of 5477 patients were included in the trial. During the follow-up period of 2.7 years 946 deaths were reported. Adjusted for age and smoking status, patients with moderate use of alcohol had 24% lower risk of all-cause death than abstainers. There was no significant difference between non-drinkers and heavy drinkers with regard to survival following adjustment for age and smoking status.

Our results demonstrate a strong positive association between moderate alcohol use and survival in a cohort of patients following complicated MI. Both heavy drinkers and abstainers had poorer prognosis, with no significance difference between those 2 groups.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail: