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, May 3, 2008

India's alcohol production increasing
May 2, 2008

New Delhi, May 2:
India is one of the largest producers of alcohol in the world and there has been a steady increase in its production over the last 15 years, according to fresh statistics.

India is a dominant producer of alcohol in the South-East Asian region with 65 per cent of the total share and contributes to around seven per cent of the total alcohol beverage imports into the region.

More than two-thirds of the total beverage alcohol consumption within the region is in India, according to figures in the newly compiled Alcohol Atlas of India.
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MAOA methylation is associated with nicotine and alcohol dependence in women
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics Early View May 2008

In recent years, the role of epigenetic phenomenon, such as methylation, in mediating vulnerability to behavioral illness has become increasingly appreciated. One prominent locus at which epigenetic phenomena are thought to be in play is the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) locus.

In order to examine the role of methylation at this locus, we performed quantitative methylation analysis across the promoter region of this gene in lymphoblast lines derived from 191 subjects participating in the Iowa Adoption Studies (IAS). We analyzed the resulting data with respect to genotype and lifetime symptom counts for the more common major behavioral disorders in the IAS, antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), and substance use disorders (alcohol (AD) and nicotine dependence (ND)).

We found that methylation status was significantly associated with lifetime symptom counts for ND . We conclude that methylation of MAOA may play a significant role in common psychiatric illness and that further examination of epigenetic processes at this locus is in order.

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Peer-Group and Price Influence Students Drinking Along with Planned Behaviour
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on April 29, 2008

To examine the theory of planned behaviour (TPB), as a framework for explaining binge drinking among young adults.

Drinking alcohol was common; 39.6% of males and 35.9% of females reported binge drinking. The TPB explained 7% of the variance in intention to drink. Overall, 43% of the variance in intention, 83% of the variance in total weekly consumption and 44% of the variance in binge drinking was explained. The frequency of drinking and the drinking behaviour of friends significantly predicted intention to drink and binge drinking, respectively. Binge drinkers were influenced by peers and social-situational factors. Pressure to drink was greater for males; undergraduates were influenced by the size of the drinking group, ‘special offer’ prices, and the availability of alcohol.

The TPB appeared to be a weak predictor of student drinking but this may be a result of how constructs were measured. With friends’ drinking behaviour emerging as a significant predictor of alcohol consumption, interventions seeking to reduce excessive drinking should target the role of peers and the university environment in which drinking occurs.

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Alcohol Consumption in the Netherlands in the Last Decade: Sharp Decreases in Binge Drinking, Especially Among Youngsters
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on May 2, 2008

The aim of this study was to examine the development of alcohol consumption and ‘binge drinking’ in The Netherlands over the period 1997–2005.

Data from three national population surveys commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Health were compared.

Decreases in binge drinking have appeared, especially for youngsters, which are not explained by changes in the composition of the population according to religious orientation, and for which no other explanation can be given at present.

Trends in binge drinking in The Netherlands can vary over relatively short spaces of time.

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Association Between Alcohol Consumption and Both Osteoporotic Fracture and Bone Density
The American Journal of Medicine Volume 121, Issue 5, May 2008, Pages 406-418

Alcoholism is a risk factor for osteoporotic fractures and low bone density, but the effects of moderate alcohol consumption on bone are unknown. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the associations between alcohol consumption and osteoporotic fractures, bone density and bone density loss over time, bone response to estrogen replacement, and bone remodeling.

We pooled effect sizes for 2 specific outcomes (hip fracture and bone density) and synthesized data qualitatively for 4 outcomes (non-hip fracture, bone density loss over time, bone response to estrogen replacement, and bone remodeling). Compared with abstainers, persons consuming from more than 0.5 to 1.0 drinks per day had lower hip fracture risk (relative risk = 0.80 [95% confidence interval, 0.71-0.91]), and persons consuming more than 2 drinks per day had higher risk (relative risk = 1.39 [95% confidence interval, 1.08-1.79]). A linear relationship existed between femoral neck bone density and alcohol consumption. Because studies often combined moderate and heavier drinkers in a single category, we could not assess relative associations between alcohol consumption and bone density in moderate compared with heavy drinkers.

Compared with abstainers and heavier drinkers, persons who consume 0.5 to 1.0 drink per day have a lower risk of hip fracture. Although available evidence suggests a favorable effect of alcohol consumption on bone density, a precise range of beneficial alcohol consumption cannot be determined.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

MacAskill leads the crusade to outlaw sales of cheap alcohol
01 May 2008

TACKLING Scotland's alcohol problem and the scourge of under-age drinking has been one of the main crusades of the Scottish Government since the SNP came to power last May.

Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, has mapped out plans to clamp down on irresponsible promotions in shops in addition to measures passed by the Scottish Parliament to outlaw cheap deals in pubs.

Proposals have also been unveiled for a polluter pays" scheme that would see
supermarkets and off-licences forced to pay a levy to meet the cost of drink-related problems in local communities.

Ministers and officials have become increasingly convinced that retailers are fuelling crime and anti-social behaviour by selling cheap liquor. The levy would raise millions to be spent by local licensing boards on projects to deal with the consequences of binge drinking, such as "drunk tanks".
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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

News Release - Kenneth Warren Named NIAAA Deputy Director
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D. recently appointed Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D., as NIAAA deputy director.

“Dr. Warren has filled many leadership roles throughout his long and distinguished career at NIAAA” said Dr. Li. “His extensive experience in research and administration will serve the institute well.”

Dr. Warren joined NIAAA in 1976 as a staff member of the then Division of Research. He later became chief of the Biomedical Research Branch, and then deputy director of the Division of Extramural Research. From 1984 to 2005 he directed the Office of Scientific Affairs, whose responsibilities included peer review, grants management, committee management, scientific communications, and activities of the NIAAA National Advisory Council and Extramural Advisory Board. From 2002 to 2007 Dr. Warren served as Associate Director for Basic Research, and over the past year he has served also as acting director of the Office of Science Policy and Communications.

Dr. Warren has gained numerous honors for his leadership in the initial development and long-term involvement in NIAAA’s research program on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). He received a superior service award from the Public Health Service in 1982, and the Henry Rosett Award from the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Study Group of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) in 2002. In 2007, the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) honored Dr. Warren by placing his name into their Tom and Linda Daschle FASD Hall of Fame. Dr. Warren also received the Seixas Award from RSA in 1994.

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Understanding Alcohol Misuse in Scotland - Harmful Drinking Final Report
30 April 2008

In 2002, the Scottish Executive published its Plan for Action on Alcohol Problems, which outlined a commitment to consider the developmentof standards for the treatment and management of people with alcohol problems.1 NHS QIS contributed to this plan by establishing a short-life Alcohol Advisory Group to consider how best to support the implementation of key policies and the improvement of alcohol services. The group met between May 2004 and January 2005 and comprised membership from a range of disciplines, including policy makers, service planners, and service providers from voluntary and statutory organisations.

As part of the Alcohol Advisory Group’s work, a discussion forum involving key alcohol service providers was held in December 2004. The event provided us with a better understanding of where to focus future work. One area where there was little information was on alcohol-related attendances at Scottish emergency departments. To address this, in September 2005, NHS QIS established the Scottish Emergency Department Alcohol Audit (SEDAA) steering group to provide expert advice and formulate an appropriate contribution to the growing evidence base on alcohol problems in Scotland.

The aim of the SEDAA steering group was two-fold: to describe the burden of disease and provide descriptive epidemiology on alcohol-related presentations to emergency departments in Scotland, To facilitate this, the group commissioned the Scottish Trauma Audit Group (STAG) to undertake a two-part programme of work.

Part one focused on gathering the evidence necessary to inform and shape the SEDAA steering group’s work, including:

  • a survey of emergency department staff attitudes towards the management of patients with alcohol-related problems
  • a survey of staff views on the use of alcohol screening tools, and the compilation of a directory of locally-available alcohol services.

Part two comprised a programme of work identified by members of the steering group as requiring particular attention. A series of five timelimited audits was devised and focused on:

  • the size of the overall problem
  • alcohol-related assaults
  • alcohol-related self-harm
  • the use of intravenous B vitamins, and
  • alcohol and young people.

This report summarises the findings of this work which was carried out in 15– 20 mainland emergency departments between October 2005 and June 2007. Examples of good practice are highlighted and recommendations for further work and service improvements are made.

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Time to change - an exploratory study of motivation among untreated and treated substance abusers
Addiction Research & Theory, Volume 15, Issue 3 January 2007 , pages 247 - 261

This exploratory study examines whether the attitudes towards change and treatment of untreated non-abstinent substance abusers differ from those of patients undergoing treatment in residential care.

The sample (n = 97) consists of untreated, voluntarily and compulsorily treated substance abusers who completed a questionnaire in 2003. Attitudes were measured with scales on e.g. problem recognition, desire for help, treatment readiness and aspects of time perspectives, e.g. past, present and future orientation.

The attitudes of the three groups - untreated, voluntarily and compulsorily treated subjects - differed with respect to lifestyle change. Factor analysis of the measures revealed one component of primary interest, general willingness to change. Results show that willingness to change was correlated with other attitudinal characteristics in the three groups.

The stability of substance abusers' motivation is discussed with the focus on different social contexts' influence on change-compliant attitudes and behaviour.

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Alcopop tax props up chardy set
Siobhain Ryan and Matthew Franklin | April 30, 2008

UNIVERSITY students and young revellers will be subsidising the chardonnay set under the Rudd Government's war on alcopops.

Under the proposed new tax regime designed to cut binge drinking, labelled as wowserish by the Opposition, buyers of a four-pack of alcopops would be paying as much tax as a white-wine lover buying a reasonable $20 quaffer at the local bottle shop - about $3.70.

In terms of buzz for their buck, the wine drinker will be getting the better deal.

Their $20 bottle of white wine contains about eight standard drinks - about twice the number contained in a four-pack of pre-mixed Vodka Cruisers.

Chris Evans, professor of taxation at the University of NSW Australian School of Taxation, said the alcopops tax announced over the weekend smacked more of politics than proper tax or social policy. "I would suggest it was actually the opposite of sensible business tax reform because what it's doing is responding on an ad hoc basis to address a social problem," he said.

Despite calls from this month's 2020 Summit for a review of inconsistent taxes, the excises levied on alcohol remained out of step with the alcohol content of the drinks sold. "There's possibly the need to step back and do a general review of them," he said.
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Re-establish the National Licensing Forum
In Focus Issue 10 April 2008

In the light of recommendations from organisations such as Alcohol Focus Scotland, SHAAP and ACPOS, Dr Richard Simpson, Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, recently asked the Scottish Government that the National Licensing Forum be re-established to provide an overview of the effectiveness of the new licensing law and its local implementation.

Kenny MacAskill, Justice Minister, responded that there are already other national fora that exist at which licensing matters are discussed. He stated that because the Scottish Ministerial Advisory Committee on Alcohol Problems (SMACAP), the Alcohol Industry Partnership (AIP) and local licensing forums all exist, he was not persuaded of the need for another forum at this stage in the implementation of the Act.
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Why We Like to Drink: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of the Rewarding and Anxiolytic Effects of Alcohol
The Journal of Neuroscience, April 30, 2008, 28(18):4583-4591

People typically drink alcohol to induce euphoria or reduce anxiety, and they frequently drink in social settings, yet the effect of alcohol on human brain circuits involved in reward and emotion has been explored only sparingly.

We administered alcohol intravenously to social drinkers while brain response to visual threatening and nonthreatening facial stimuli was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Alcohol robustly activated striatal reward circuits while attenuating response to fearful stimuli in visual and limbic regions. Self-ratings of intoxication correlated with striatal activation, suggesting that activation in this area may contribute to subjective experience of pleasure and reward during intoxication.

These results show that the acute pharmacological rewarding and anxiolytic effects of alcohol can be measured with fMRI.

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Releasing the manual “Alcohol Atlas of India” prepared by the Indian Alcohol Policy Alliance (IAPA), the Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss asked the media to create awareness about the adverse social, economic and medical effects of alcohol abuse among the masses. He said the reach of media has multiplied manifold and this issue should form an important agenda of the media. Besides Shri Swami Agnivesh, Chairman, Bandua Mukuti Morcha, Dr. Vijay Chandra, Regional Advisor, WHO-SEARO, representatives from the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA) and various NGOs were also present at the function.
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WHO South East Asia Regional Office based in New Delhi, as part of its endeavour to support Member Countries in South-East Asia in the promotion of mental health and the reduction of the burden associated with mental and neurological disorders, particularly substance abuse and harm from alcohol, has come out with several innovative programmes aimed at mental health promotion and delivery of appropriate care at all levels of society.

Recently WHO SEARO has published six resourceful publications on Alcohol Control Series with the objective to empower individuals and communities to prevent harm from alcohol use and abuse and thereby achieve a sustained reduction in per capita consumption of alcohol in the region. The resourceful publications under Alcohol Control Series are:

Series 1 - Burden and Socio-Economic Impact of Alcohol (The Bangalore Study)

Series 2 -Public Health Problems Caused by Harmful Use of Alcohol (Gaining Less or Gaining More)

Series 3 - Alcohol Control Policies in the South-East Asia Region: Selected Issues

Series 4 - Alcohol Use and Abuse: What You Should Know

Series 5 - Reducing Harm from Use of Alcohol: Community Responses

Series 6 - Current Information on Use and harm from Alcohol in the WHO South-East Asia Region

Download the Publications

1 - Burden and Socio-Economic Impact of Alcohol (The Bangalore Study)

2 - Public Health Problems Caused by Harmful Use of Alcohol (Gaining Less or Gaining More)

3 – Alcohol Control Policies in the South-East Asia Region: Selected Issues

4 – Alcohol Use and Abuse: What You Should Know

5 – Reducing Harm from Use of Alcohol: Community Responses

6 – Current Information on Use and harm from Alcohol in the WHO South-East Asia Region



alcohol_atlas The Launching Ceremony of the “Alcohol Atlas of India” will be held at the Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi on 29th April 2008. Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss (Hon’ble Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Government of India) is the Chief Guest on the occasion and he will release the Manual by handing over the first copy to Dr. Vijay Chandra (WHO Regional Advisor on Mental Health & Substance Abuse for South East Asia). Swami Agnivesh (Veteran Social Activist & Chairman, Bandhua Mukti Morcha) will be the Guest of Honour. Mr. Derek Rutherford (Chairman, Global Alcohol Policy Alliance - GAPA) will deliver the Keynote Address. Dr. S. Arul Rhaj (Chairman, IAPA & President, Commonwealth Medical Association) will preside over the function.

“Alcohol Atlas of India” is the first major manual from Indian Alcohol Policy Alliance (IAPA), as part of its commitment to prevent alcohol related harm through evidence based policy intervention, advocacy and capacity building.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Escaping the Tyranny of Small Decisions: A Proposal and Pathways to Self-Destruction: How & Why People Screw Themselves Up

Click Here to Play Video.  This video is world accessible.Escaping the Tyranny of Small Decisions: A Proposal and Pathways to Self-Destruction: How & Why People Screw Themselves Up
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Category: Special
Warren Bickel, University of Arkansas and Roy Baumeister, Florida State University
Total Running Time: 01:56:03
Podcasts available here

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Big boozer, big loser

Political reporter

April 29, 2008

RAISING taxes to make all alcohol more expensive is one way to curb Australia's booze problem, a visiting academic says.

Professor Robin Room said alcohol was too cheap and readily available from a public health point of view.

"If you want to seriously do something about alcohol in Australia, then raising taxes is a good way to do it," he said.

"From a public health point of view, the higher the better.

"It's a big problem, alcohol is responsible for a lot of health and social problems."
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Time could be up for 'happy hour'

Cameron Houston and Jill Stark
April 30, 2008

THE Australian tradition of "happy hour" could be scrapped under new measures to combat binge drinking and alcohol-fuelled violence.

A crackdown on alcohol promotions that encourage people to get drunk is expected to be among a range of recommendations made by Premier John Brumby's Ministerial Taskforce on Alcohol and Public Safety.

Findings from the high-level taskforce will be released by the Premier within the next few days under the Victorian Alcohol Action Plan.

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Findings Help Explain Why People Engage in Risky Behavior While Intoxicated

Washington, DC April 29, 2008 – New brain imaging research published this week shows that, after consuming alcohol, social drinkers had decreased sensitivity in brain regions involved in detecting threats, and increased activity in brain regions involved in reward. The study, in the April 30 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, is the first human brain imaging study of alcohol’s effect on the response of neuronal circuits to threatening stimuli.

“The key finding of this study is that after alcohol exposure, threat-detecting brain circuits can’t tell the difference between a threatening and non-threatening social stimulus,” said Marina Wolf, PhD, at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, who was unaffiliated with the study. “At one end of the spectrum, less anxiety might enable us to approach a new person at a party. But at the other end of the spectrum, we may fail to avoid an argument or a fight. By showing that alcohol exerts this effect in normal volunteers by acting on specific brain circuits, these study results make it harder for someone to believe that risky decision-making after alcohol ‘doesn’t apply to me’,” Wolf said.
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Drinks producers and alcohol retailers are considering how their marketing can help to make drunkenness socially unacceptable among young adults.

Companies are being invited to support the development of an industry initiative aimed at positively influencing young adults’ drinking.

This follows a seminar on 24 April, hosted by the Portman Group, where Government and industry representatives exchanged information on existing responsible drinking campaigns.

They also examined the potential of social marketing to change the behaviour of the significant minority of young adults who drink irresponsibly.

The seminar was held as the Portman Group published a report on the social responsibility work of the major drinks producers.
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Monday, April 28, 2008

CHIS 2007 Data Collection Complete - Questionnaires Now Available for Download

CHIS conducts separate surveys for three age groups: adults (18 years of age and older); adolescents (12 to 17 years of age); and children (birth to 12 years of age).

Insurance information for adolescents is collected from the adult respondent (CHIS 2003) or from a permission-giving adult (CHIS 2001). CHIS otherwise interviews adolescents directly about their own health and behaviors.

For children under 12 years of age, CHIS interviews the adult in the household who is most knowledgeable about that child's health.

The following are technical documents that contain the actual questionnaires used in the field, including question numbers and skip patterns.

CHIS 2007
Adult Questionnaire (PDF, 822k)
Adolescent Questionnaire (PDF, 173k)
Child Questionnaire (PDF, 475k)

CHIS 2005
Adult Questionnaire (PDF, 1280k)
Adolescent Questionnaire (PDF, 426k)
Child Questionnaire (PDF, 477k)

CHIS 2003
Adult Questionnaire (PDF, 1769k)
Adolescent Questionnaire (PDF, 868k)
Child Questionnaire (PDF, 752k)

CHIS 2001
Adult Questionnaire (PDF, 733k)
Adolescent Questionnaire (PDF, 190k)
Adolescent Insurance Questionnaire (PDF, 76k)
Child Questionnaire (PDF, 269k)
CHIS-CAM Questionnaire (PDF, 111k)