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, October 18, 2008

Women 'unaware of alcohol threat'

Friday, 17 October 2008

Women do not know about one of the biggest health risks linked to drinking too much - a raised chance of breast cancer, says a survey.

While most knew that excessive alcohol intake could lead to liver disease or liver cancer, fewer than one in five linked it to breast cancer.

The YouGov survey of nearly 2,000 men and women was described as "shocking" by health minister Dawn Primarolo.

An estimated four million UK women drink more than recommended levels.
. . . . .

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Do Patients With Alcohol Dependence Respond to Placebo? Results From the COMBINE Study
J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs 69: 878-884, 2008

The purpose of this study was to examine the nature of the effect of placebo medication plus accompanying medical management in the treatment of alcohol dependence.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism COMBINE (Combining Medications and Behavioral Interventions) study, a randomized controlled double-blind trial of 1,383 alcohol-dependent patients, compared combinations of medications (acamprosate [Campral] and naltrexone [ReVia]) and behavioral therapy (medical management and specialist-delivered behavioral therapy) for alcohol dependence.

This report focuses on a subset of that study population (n = 466) receiving (1) specialized behavioral therapy alone (without pills), (2) specialized behavioral therapy + placebo medication + medical management, or (3) placebo + medical management.

During 16 weeks of treatment, participants receiving behavioral therapy alone had a lower percentage of days abstinent (66.6%) than did the participants receiving placebo and medical management (73.1%) or those receiving specialized behavioral therapy + placebo + medical management (79.4%). The group receiving behavioral therapy alone relapsed to heavy drinking more often (79.0%) than those receiving behavioral therapy + placebo + medical management (71.2%).

This report focuses on potential explanations for this finding. The two groups of participants receiving placebo + medical management were more likely to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings during treatment (32.7% and 32.0% vs 20.4%) and were less likely to withdraw from treatment (14.1% and 22.9% vs 29.3%).

There appeared to be a significant "placebo effect" in the COMBINE Study, consisting of pill taking and seeing a health care professional. Contributing factors to the placebo response may have included pill taking itself, the benefits of meeting with a medical professional, repeated advice to attend Alcoholics Anonymous, and optimism about a medication effect.

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Three-year changes in adult risk drinking behavior in relation to the course of alcohol-use disorders.
J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2008 Oct;69(6):866-77.

This study examines the associations between the course of alcohol-use disorder (AUD) and changes in average daily volume of ethanol intake, frequency of risk drinking, and maximum quantity of drinks consumed per day over a 3-year follow-up interval in a sample of U.S. adults.

There were positive changes in all consumption measures associated with developing an AUD and negative changes associated with remission of an AUD, even among individuals who continued to drink. Increases and decreases associated with onset and offset of dependence exceeded those associated with onset/ offset of abuse only, and the decreases associated with full remission from dependence exceeded those associated with partial remission.

There were few changes in consumption among individuals whose AUD status did not change. Interactions of AUD transitions with other factors indicate that development of an AUD is associated with a greater increase in consumption among men, possibly reflecting their greater total body water and lower blood alcohol concentration in response to a given dose of ethanol, and among individuals with high baseline levels of consumption.

Changes in consumption associated with onset and offset of AUD are substantial enough to have important implications for the risk of associated physical and psychological harm.

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Toward DSM-V: An Item Response Theory Analysis of the Diagnostic Process for DSM-IV Alcohol Abuse and Dependence in Adolescents
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 47(11):1329-1339, November 2008.

Item response theory analyses were used to examine alcohol abuse and dependence symptoms and diagnoses in adolescents. Previous research suggests that the DSM-IV alcohol use disorder (AUD) symptoms in adolescents may be characterized by a single dimension.

The present study extends prior research with a larger and more comprehensive sample and an examination of an alternative diagnostic algorithm for AUDs.

Approximately 5,587 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 years from adjudicated, clinical, and community samples were administered structured clinical interviews. Analyses were conducted to examine the severity of alcohol abuse and dependence symptoms and the severity of alcohol use problems (AUDs) within the diagnostic categories created by the DSM-IV.

Although the DSM-IV diagnostic categories differ in severity of AUDs, there is substantial overlap and inconsistency in AUD severity of persons across these categories. Item Response Theory-based AUD severity estimates suggest that many persons diagnosed with abuse have AUD severity greater than persons with dependence. Similarly, many persons who endorse some symptoms but do not qualify for a diagnosis (i.e., diagnostic orphans) have more severe AUDs than persons with an abuse diagnosis. Additionally, two dependence items, "tolerance" and "larger/longer," show differences in severity between samples.

The distinction between DSM-IV abuse and dependence based on severity can be improved using an alternative diagnostic algorithm that considers all of the alcohol abuse and dependence symptoms conjointly.

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Canadians spend $18 billion a year on beer and liquor, consuming about six times more beer than wine. A sampling of statistics on Canadians' drinking habits.
High Spirits: Main page

SNP rank-and-file back alcohol crackdown

By Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Editor
17 Oct 2008

Grassroots SNP members have backed the party's controversial proposals for cracking down on alcohol abuse after coming under pressure from ministers not to "tie their hands".

Delegates overwhelmingly backed a Scottish Executive consultation on the measures, but were split over whether to support a plan to raise the minimum age for buying alcohol in supermarkets and off-licences from 18 to 21.

The SNP's youth wing, Young Scots For Independence, put forward an amendment arguing that the proposal will "do little to tackle the real problem with Scotland's relationship with the bottle" and demonise young people.

However, that was defeated by 131 votes to 190 at the party conference in Perth after Alex Salmond, the First Minister, pointedly appeared on the platform to cast his ballot.

. . . . . .

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Friday, October 17, 2008

More congregations create addiction ministries

125 Unitarian Universalist congregations now offer ministries to people struggling with addiction.
By Donald E. Skinner
Fall 2008 8.18.08

The cover story of the summer 2004 issue of UU World profiled the Rev. Dr. Denis Meacham’s drive to help congregations develop ministries to those who struggle with addictions. When Meacham started his own addictions ministry at First Parish in Brewster, Massachusetts, in 2000, there were no others. Today around 125 congregations have such ministries and a move is underway to gain official recognition and support for addictions ministry from the Unitarian Universalist Association.
. . . . .

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Psychiatric comorbidity in older long-term abstinent alcoholics
Addictive Behaviors Volume 33, Issue 12, December 2008, Pages 1564-1571

We compared 89 older abstinent alcoholics (OAA, mean abstinence of 14.8 years), to 53 age and gender-comparable older non-alcoholic controls (ONC) with regard to lifetime and current psychiatric diagnoses, lifetime psychiatric symptom counts, and psychological measures in the mood, anxiety, and externalizing disorder domains. We compared these findings with our previously reported results in analogous middle-aged samples (MAA versus MNC).

OAA had more lifetime psychiatric and mood disorder diagnoses than ONC. They also had more lifetime symptoms and psychological test evidence of psychiatric disorder in all domains. However, OAA were less different from ONC than were MAA from MNC on most psychiatric and psychological measures. In both studies, differences between alcoholics and controls were dramatically larger in the externalizing compared with the mood and anxiety domains, and there was little evidence that psychiatric comorbidity measures impacted abstinence duration.

The finding that OAA had less psychiatric illness than MAA may involve a combination of selective survivorship, selection bias, and cohort differences. Although selection bias may be present in clinical studies of samples of any age, it is a more potent problem in older samples.

However, given these potential biases, our results underestimate psychiatric comorbidity in OAA, strengthening our finding of increased psychiatric disorder in OAA versus ONC.

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Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2006-07: findings from the National Minimum Data Set

AIHW bulletin no. 65

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2006-07: findings from the National Minimum Data Set presents data on publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment services and their clients, including information about the types of drugs for which treatment is sought and the types of treatment provided. The data contained in this bulletin are derived from the comprehensive AODTS-NMDS 2006-07 annual report.

In 2006–07:
  • 633 government-funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies provided 147,325 closed treatment episodes.
  • Most treatment episodes (95%) were for people seeking assistance about their own drug use. The remaining episodes were provided to people who were concerned about someone else’s drug use.
  • The median age of persons receiving treatment for their own drug use was 31 years.
  • Around one-third of all closed treatment episodes were for clients aged 20–29 years, while more than one-quarter were for clients aged 30–39 years.
  • Male clients accounted for two-thirds of all closed treatment episodes.
  • In 10% of treatment episodes, the clients were of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.
  • Overall, alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern reported (42%), followed by cannabis (23%), opioids (14%, with heroin accounting for 11%) and amphetamines (12%). These proportions are very similar to those seen in previous years.
  • Indigenous clients reported the same leading principal drugs of concern as the whole treatment population.
  • Clients are able to nominate more than one drug of concern. When all reported drugs of concern are considered, more than half (57%) of all episodes included alcohol as a drug of concern, while 44% of episodes included cannabis as a drug of concern.
  • Nationally, counselling was the most common form of main treatment provided (38% of treatment episodes), followed by withdrawal management (17%) and assessment only (15%).
  • The length of treatment episodes was highly varied and influenced by the type of treatment received. For example, where counselling was the main treatment type provided, the median duration of treatment was 43 days.
  • Most treatment episodes ended either because treatment was completed (54%) or because the client ceased to participate without notice to the treatment provider (17%).

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Ethanol Enhances Reactivated Fear Memories
Neuropsychopharmacology (2008) 33, 2912–2921

Although ethanol has been shown to impair acquisition of memory, its effect on consolidated memories is not clear. Recent reports revealed that memory retrieval converted consolidated memory into a labile state and initiated the reconsolidation process.

In the present study, we have demonstrated the effect of ethanol on reactivated fear memory. We used contextual fear conditioning where rats were conditioned with mild footshock, re-exposed to the training context for 2 min, immediately injected with ethanol or saline, and finally tested 48 h after re-exposure.

Ethanol-treated groups demonstrated longer freezing and the effect lasted for 2 weeks. Reactivation is necessary for this effect. Injection of ethanol itself did not induce a fearful response. Reactivated and ethanol-treated rats exhibited longer freezing than non-reactivated controls, suggesting that ethanol does not inhibit the memory decline but facilitates the fear memory. Two minute re-exposures induced no or little extinction. The effect of ethanol was specific for 2-min reactivation, which induces reconsolidation. Moreover, we found that picrotoxin inhibited the memory enhancement that was produced by ethanol administered just after the reactivation.

These studies demonstrate that ethanol enhances reactivated contextual fear memories via activation of GABAA receptors.

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Escalated Aggression after Alcohol Drinking in Male Mice: Dorsal Raphé and Prefrontal Cortex Serotonin and 5-HT1BReceptors
(2008) 33, 2888–2899

A significant minority of individuals engages in escalated levels of aggression after consuming moderate doses of alcohol (Alc). Neural modulation of escalated aggression involves altered levels of serotonin (5-HT) and the activity of 5-HT1B receptors.

The aim of these studies was to determine whether 5-HT1B receptors in the dorsal raphé (DRN), orbitofrontal (OFC), and medial prefrontal (mPFC) cortex attenuate heightened aggression and regulate extracellular levels of 5-HT.

Approximately 60% of the mice were more aggressive after drinking Alc, confirming the aggression-heightening effects of 1.0 g/kg Alc. Infusion of 1 mug CP-94,253 into the DRN reduced both aggressive and motor behaviors. However, infusion of 1 mug CP-94,253 into the mPFC, but not the OFC, after Alc drinking, increased aggressive behavior. In the mPFC, reverse microdialysis of CP-94,253 increased extracellular levels of 5-HT; levels decreased immediately after the perfusion. This 5-HT increase was attenuated in self-administering mice.

These results suggest that 5-HT1B receptors in the mPFC may serve to selectively disinhibit aggressive behavior in mice with a history of Alc self-administration.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Childhood Mental Ability and Adult Alcohol Intake and Alcohol Problems: The 1970 British Cohort Study
American Journal of Public Health, 10.2105/AJPH.2007

We examined the potential relation of mental ability test scores at age 10 years with alcohol problems and alcohol intake at age 30 years.

We used data from a prospective observational study involving 8170 members of a birth cohort from Great Britain born in 1970. Data included mental ability scores at age 10 years and responses to inquiries about alcohol intake and problems at age 30 years.

After adjustment for potential mediating and confounding factors, cohort members with higher childhood mental ability scores had an increased prevalence of problem drinking in adulthood. This association was stronger among women (odds ratio [OR]1 SD increase in ability=1.38; 95%confidence interval [CI]=1.16, 1.64) than men (OR)1 SD increase in ability=1.17; CI=1.04, 1.28; P for interaction=.004). Childhood mental ability was also related to a higher average intake of alcohol and to drinking more frequently. Again, these gradients were stronger among women than among men.

In this large-scale cohort study, higher childhood mental ability was related to alcohol problems and higher alcohol intake in adult life. These unexpected results warrant examination in other studies.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ethanol Regulation of D1 Dopamine Receptor Signaling is Mediated by Protein Kinase C in an Isozyme-Specific Manner
(2008) 33, 2900–2911

Ethanol consumption potentiates dopaminergic signaling that is partially mediated by the D1 dopamine receptor; however, the mechanism(s) underlying ethanol-dependent modulation of D1 signaling is unclear.

We now show that ethanol treatment of D1 receptor-expressing cells decreases D1 receptor phosphorylation and concurrently potentiates dopamine-stimulated cAMP accumulation. Protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitors mimic the effects of ethanol on D1 receptor phosphorylation and dopamine-stimulated cAMP levels in a manner that is non-additive with ethanol treatment. Ethanol was also found to modulate specific PKC activities as demonstrated using in vitro kinase assays where ethanol treatment attenuated the activities of lipid-stimulated PKCitalic gamma and PKCdelta in membrane fractions, but did not affect the activities of PKCalpha, PKCbeta1, or PKCalt epsilon. Importantly, ethanol treatment potentiated D1 receptor-mediated DARPP-32 phosphorylation in rat striatal slices, supporting the notion that ethanol enhances D1 receptor signaling in vivo.

These findings suggest that ethanol inhibits the activities of specific PKC isozymes, resulting in decreased D1 receptor phosphorylation and enhanced dopaminergic signaling.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Proof-of-concept human laboratory study for protracted abstinence in alcohol dependence: effects of gabapentin
Addiction Biology Published Online: 13 Oct 2008

There is a need for safe medications that can effectively support recovery by treating symptoms of protracted abstinence that may precipitate relapse in alcoholics, e.g. craving and disturbances in sleep and mood. This proof-of-concept study reports on the effectiveness of gabapentin 1200 mg for attenuating these symptoms in a non-treatment-seeking sample of cue-reactive, alcohol-dependent individuals.

Subjects were 33 paid volunteers with current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV alcohol dependence and a strength of craving rating 1 SD or greater for alcohol than water cues. Subjects were randomly assigned to gabapentin or placebo for 1 week and then participated in a within-subjects trial where each was exposed to standardized sets of pleasant, neutral and unpleasant visual stimuli followed by alcohol or water cues.

Gabapentin was associated with significantly greater reductions than placebo on several measures of subjective craving for alcohol as well as for affectively evoked craving. Gabapentin was also associated with significant improvement on several measures of sleep quality. Side effects were minimal, and gabapentin effects were not found to resemble any major classes of abused drugs.

Results suggest that gabapentin may be effective for treating the protracted abstinence phase in alcohol dependence and that a randomized clinical trial would be an appropriate next step.

The study also suggests the value of cue-reactivity studies as proof-of-concept screens for potential antirelapse drugs.

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Genetic association between −93A/G polymorphism in the Fyn kinase gene and alcohol dependence in Spanish men
European Psychiatry Article in Press 11 October 2998

Fyn tyrosine kinase is a member of the Scr family that phosphorylates the NR2A and NR2B subunits of the NMDA receptors reducing the inhibitory effects of ethanol and therefore may regulate the individual sensitivity to ethanol.

To investigate whether there is any relationship between the polymorphism at position −93 of the Fyn kinase gene and the susceptibility to develop alcoholism.

We studied the distribution of genotypes and alleles of the polymorphism −93A/G (137346 T/C) in the 5′ UTR region of the fyn gene in 207 male heavy drinkers (119 with alcohol dependence and 88 with alcohol abuse) and 100 control subjects from Castilla y León (Spain).

The frequency of G allele carriers was higher in alcohol dependents than in alcohol abusers (47.9% vs 30.6%; p = 0.015; OR = 2.077; 95% CI 1.165–3.704).

Our results show that the −93G allele of Fyn kinase gene is associated with higher risk to develop alcohol dependence in Spanish men.

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NSW to consider new drinking laws

October 14, 2008

Being drunk would no longer be a defence for committing a crime, and pubs and clubs would be closed at 2am under tough new anti-drinking laws being considered by the NSW government.

In an attempt to curb alcohol-related crime, within weeks the NSW cabinet will consider a range of new drinking laws, The Daily Telegraph says.

According to a leaked cabinet minute, intoxication would no longer be a defence or mitigating factor in committing a crime, particularly in the case of assault.

Pubs, clubs and bottle shops would be forced to close at 2am, and home delivery of alcohol would be banned to crack down on teenage drinking.

In addition, under-18s caught drinking would have their driver's licences suspended, and a demerit system would be put in place to punish venues which repeatedly breached the new laws.
. . . . . .
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Resveratrol alleviates alcoholic fatty liver in mice
Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol
295: G833-G842, 2008

Alcoholic fatty liver is associated with inhibition of sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) and AMP-activated kinase (AMPK), two critical signaling molecules regulating the pathways of hepatic lipid metabolism in animals. Resveratrol, a dietary polyphenol, has been identified as a potent activator for both SIRT1 and AMPK.

In the present study, we have carried out in vivo animal experiments that test the ability of resveratrol to reverse the inhibitory effects of chronic ethanol feeding on hepatic SIRT1-AMPK signaling system and to prevent the development of alcoholic liver steatosis.

Resveratrol treatment increased SIRT1 expression levels and stimulated AMPK activity in livers of ethanol-fed mice. The resveratrol-mediated increase in activities of SIRT1 and AMPK was associated with suppression of sterol regulatory element binding protein 1 (SREBP-1) and activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor {gamma} coactivator {alpha} (PGC-1{alpha}). In parallel, in ethanol-fed mice, resveratrol administration markedly increased circulating adiponectin levels and enhanced mRNA expression of hepatic adiponectin receptors (AdipoR1/R2).

In conclusion, resveratrol treatment led to reduced lipid synthesis and increased rates of fatty acid oxidation and prevented alcoholic liver steatosis. The protective action of resveratrol is in whole or in part mediated through the upregulation of a SIRT1-AMPK signaling system in the livers of ethanol-fed mice.

Our study suggests that resveratrol may serve as a promising agent for preventing or treating human alcoholic fatty liver disease.

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Association of Alcohol Consumption With Brain Volume in the Framingham Study
Arch Neurol. 2008;65(10):1363-1367.

While adults who drink low to moderate amounts of alcohol have lower rates of cardiovascular disease than other adults, the effect of alcohol on the brain is less clear. There is evidence that drinking large amounts of alcohol is related to brain atrophy. It is uncertain what the effects of low to moderate consumption might be.

To determine whether consumption of smaller amounts of alcohol negatively affects brain volume or is protective in reducing the well-documented age-related decline in brain volume.

Total cerebral brain volume (TCBV) was computed, correcting for head size. Multivariate linear regression models were used to evaluate the association between 5 categories of alcohol consumption (abstainers, former drinkers, low, moderate, high) and TCBV, adjusting for age, sex, education, height, body mass index (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared), and the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile. Pairwise comparisons were also conducted between the alcohol consumption groups.

A total of 1839 subjects from the Framingham Offspring Study who had magnetic resonance imaging of the brain between 1999 and 2001.

Most participants reported low alcohol consumption, and men were more likely than women to be moderate or heavy drinkers. There was a significant negative linear relationship between alcohol consumption and TCBV (r = –0.25; P < .001). This relationship was modified by sex, with alcohol consumption having a stronger association with TCBV in women than in men (r = –0.29 vs –0.20).

In contrast to studies on cardiovascular disease, this study found that moderate alcohol consumption was not protective against normal age-related differences in total brain volume. Rather, the more alcohol consumed, the smaller the total brain volume.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Dissociations between motor timing, motor coordination, and time perception after the administration of alcohol or caffeine
Psychopharmacology Online First 10 October 2008

The impacts of psychoactive drugs on timing have usefully informed theories of timing and its substrates.

The objectives of the study are to test the effects of alcohol and caffeine on the explicit timing involved in tapping with the implicit timing observed in the coordinated picking up of an object, and with the temporal discrimination.

Participants in the “alcohol” experiment (N = 16) received placebo, “low” (0.12 g/kg or 0.14 g/kg for women/men, respectively) or “high” (0.37 g/kg or 0.42 g/kg, respectively) doses of alcohol, and those in the “caffeine” experiment (N = 16) received placebo, 200 or 400 mg caffeine. Time production variability was measured by repetitive tapping of specified intervals, and sources of variance attributable to central timer processes and peripheral motor implementation were dissociated. The explicit timing in tapping was compared with the implicit timing in the coordinated picking up of an object. Time perception was measured as discrimination thresholds for intervals of similar duration. Drug effects on reaction time were also measured.

For tapping, alcohol significantly increased timer variability, but not motor variability; it did not affect coordination timing in the grip-lift task. Conversely, for time perception, the low dose of alcohol improved temporal discrimination. Caffeine produced no effects on any of the timing tasks, despite significantly reducing reaction times.

The effects of alcohol argue against a common clock process underlying time interval perception and production in the range below 1 s. In contrast to reaction time measures, time perception and time production appear relatively insensitive to caffeine.

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Negative symptoms are associated with less alcohol use, craving, and “high” in alcohol dependent patients with schizophrenia
Schizophrenia Research Volume 105, Issue 1, Pages 201-207

Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) frequently co-occur with and exacerbate schizophrenia, yet the specific relationships between schizophrenia symptoms and alcohol use remain unclear.

PANSS scores were correlated with measures of alcohol and other substance use in patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and AUDs entering a trial of monitored naltrexone treatment. Data were analyzed from the first 80 participants; 55% had schizophrenia and 45% had schizoaffective disorder. All had AUDs; 95% had alcohol dependence and 5% alcohol abuse; 34% also had cannabis abuse/dependence and 31% cocaine abuse/dependence.

PANSS Negative scores were inversely correlated with Addiction Severity Index alcohol composite scores, alcohol craving, quality of alcohol “high” (euphoria), and with frequency of cannabis use. An exploratory analysis indicated that the negative symptoms that may most strongly correlate with less alcohol use, craving and/or euphoria were passive/apathetic social withdrawal, blunted affect, difficulty in abstract thinking, and stereotyped thinking. Higher PANSS Composite scores, indicating the predominance of positive over negative PANSS symptoms, correlated with more alcohol craving and cannabis use. Higher PANSS General scores were associated with more alcohol craving.

These findings extend previous reports of the association of negative schizophrenia symptoms with less alcohol and substance use to patients with AUDs and indicate that this relationship also includes less alcohol craving and less alcohol euphoria. The findings may also provide some initial evidence that specific negative symptoms may be keys to these relationships

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'Free drinks for women' offers may be banned

• Draft industry code sent to bar and restaurant owners
• Licensees say they need it 'like a hole in the head

Sam Jones and Robert Booth
Monday October 13 2008'

Bars could be banned from offering free alcohol to women and restaurants may be obliged to serve wine in glasses with marked measures under new proposals being considered by the government, it emerged yesterday.

The moves are intended to cut public drunkenness - and its attendant health and social problems - by encouraging people to drink sensibly.

Other initiatives under consideration include the compulsory display of health warnings wherever alcohol is sold, curbs on free wine, whisky and beer tastings and a ban on drinking games.

. . . . . .

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Study explores what works best to address alcohol related disorder

A new report prepared for the Government Office for London by South Bank University has been released entitled ‘What works’ to tackle alcohol-related disorder?: An examination of the use of ASB tools and powers in London. The study considers all tools and powers currently being used in London and makes recommendations on the best application of these in addressing alcohol related disorder in a range of contexts. The report highlights that varied approaches work best to address disorder resulting from street drinking, the night time economy, licensed premises/off-licenses/outdoor drinking and disorder related to events such as festivals and football matches.

. . . . . .

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Predictors of Sexual Debut at Age 16 or Younger
Archives of Sexual Behavior Online First 10 October 2008

The present study examined the extent to which variables within the self system (i.e., symptoms of alcohol dependence and conduct disorder, gender, race, and metropolitan status) and the familial system (i.e., having an alcohol dependent biological parent or second-degree relative, religious background, educational background of parents, and being born to a teenage mother) were associated with sexual debut at 16 years old or earlier.

Participants were 1,054 biological relatives, aged 18–25 years, of alcohol dependent probands who participated in the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism project. Comparison participants (N = 234) without alcohol dependent biological parents were also evaluated. Clinical and sociodemographic variables were assessed by structured, personal interviews. Parental history of alcohol dependence was evaluated by direct interview of parents in most cases and family history in uninterviewed parents.

In a multivariate survival analysis, increased risk of becoming sexually active at 16 years of age or earlier was significantly associated with 6 of the 10 predictor variables, including race, one or more alcohol dependence symptoms, and/or one or more conduct disorder symptoms. Having an alcohol dependent biological parent or second-degree relative (e.g., aunt, uncle, or grandparent), educational background of mother, and being born to a teenage mother were also significantly associated with increased risk.

These results provide evidence that specific variables in the self and familial systems of influence are important in predicting sexual debut at 16 years old or earlier.

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