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.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Client/General Medical Practitioner Interaction During Brief Intervention for Hazardous Drinkers: A Pilot Study
Substance Use & Misuse, Volume 44, Issue 6 May 2009 , pages 775 - 793

Brief Intervention (BI) for hazardous drinkers at a Primary Health Care (PHC) level can be implemented during the interaction between a GP and his/her client in a range of contexts and opportunities, the GP's office being a primary context. Communication skills are needed for professionals in order to deliver the BI and they should be familiar with motivational interviewing.

This pilot study, carried out during 2006-2007, observed how GPs are able to effectively communicate with their hazardous drinking clients when implementing BI

On the whole, GPs scored high regarding their effective communication skills as well as in terms of the quality of BI implemented during the interviews at their offices. The study's limitations are noted and research needed in the future is suggested

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Creating a Developmentally Sensitive Measure of Adolescent Alcohol Misuse: An Application of Item Response Theory
Substance Use & Misuse, Volume 44, Issue 6 May 2009 , pages 835 - 847

This study, funded by the US National Institute of Drug Abuse, evaluates the usefulness of item response theory (IRT) to create a developmental alcohol misuse scale.

Data were collected during 1997-2006 from 5,828 Midwestern US students who completed annual surveys at grades 7 through 11 and 2 and 4 years after high school. Seventeen alcohol misuse items were calibrated with IRT and examined for differential item functioning (DIF) across 5 study waves

Eight items displayed DIF; in most cases, properties for items assessed 2 years after high school were different from those assessed in grades 8-11. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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Prevention Program Helps Teens Override a Gene Linked to Risky Behavior
Friday, May 15, 2009

A family-based prevention program designed to help adolescents avoid substance use and other risky behavior proved especially effective for a group of young teens with a genetic risk factor contributing toward such behavior, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Georgia. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), components of the National Institutes of Health, supported the study, which appears in the May/June issue of Child Development.

For two-and-a-half years, investigators monitored the progress of 11-year-olds enrolled in a family-centered prevention program called Strong African American Families (SAAF), and a comparison group. A DNA analysis showed some youths carried the short allele form of 5-HTTLPR. This fairly common genetic variation, found in over 40 percent of people, is known from previous studies to be associated with impulsivity, low self-control, binge drinking, and substance use.

The researchers found that adolescents with this gene who participated in the SAAF program were no more likely than their counterparts without the gene to have engaged in drinking, marijuana smoking, and sexual activity. Moreover, youths with the gene in the comparison group were twice as likely to have engaged in these risky behaviors as those in the prevention group.

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Prevention Effects Moderate the Association of 5-HTTLPR and Youth Risk Behavior Initiation: Gene × Environment Hypotheses Tested via a Randomized Prevention Design
Child Development Volume 80 Issue 3, Pages 645 - 661

A randomized prevention design was used to investigate a moderation effect in the association between a polymorphism in the SCL6A4(5HTT) gene at 5-HTTLPR and increases in youths' risk behavior initiation.

Risk behavior initiation across 29 months was linked positively with the 5-HTTLPR genotype and negatively with SAAF participation. Control youths at genetic risk initiated risk behavior at twice the rate of SAAF youths at genetic risk and youths not at genetic risk in either condition.

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An interaction between DAT1 and having an alcoholic father predicts serious alcohol problems in a sample of males
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Article in Press 13 May 2009

The current study examines whether the dopamine transporter (DAT1) VNTR polymorphism and paternal alcoholism are related to serious alcohol problems.
These analyses suggest that additive and interactive effects of DAT1 and paternal alcoholism may operate differently across genders and races.

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Daily ratings measures of alcohol craving during an inpatient stay define subtypes of alcohol addiction that predict subsequent risk for resumption of drinking
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Article in Press 14 May 2009
Results suggest that non-cue induced alcohol craving may define a subtype of alcohol dependence that is less responsive to treatment and may explain heterogeneity in treatment outcomes. These results also may suggest a role for differential treatment programming to address high states of craving for alcohol.
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Screening and Brief Intervention for Substance Misuse Among Older Adults: The Florida BRITE Project
AJPH First Look, published online ahead of print May 14, 2009

We developed and examined the effectiveness of the Florida Brief Intervention and Treatment for Elders (BRITE) project, a 3-year, state-funded pilot program of screening and brief intervention for older adult substance misusers.

Prescription medication misuse was the most prevalent substance use problem, followed by alcohol, over-the-counter medications, and illicit substances. Depression was prevalent among those with alcohol and prescription medication problems. Those who received the brief intervention had improvement in alcohol, medication misuse, and depression measures.

The BRITE program effectively shaped state policy by responding to legislative mandates to address the needs of an increasing, but underserved, elder population. The pilot paved the way for obtaining a federally funded grant to expand BRITE to 21 sites in 15 counties in Florida.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gender moderation and social developmental mediation of the effect of a family-focused substance use preventive intervention on young adult alcohol abuse
Addictive Behaviors Volume 34, Issues 6-7, June-July 2009, Pages 599-605

This study examined the long-term impact of Preparing for the Drug Free Years (PDFY) on young adult alcohol abuse disorder, addressing theory-based questions about how, and for whom, the program had its effects on the outcomes.

Results showed that PDFY reduced the rate of alcohol abuse among target young women, with evidence that this effect was mediated by increased prosocial skills. The rate of alcohol abuse among PDFY group men was not significantly different from that of control group men.

Findings have implications for reducing the public health burden of alcohol abuse among young women.

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Diagnosing alcohol abuse in alcohol dependent individuals: Diagnostic and clinical implications
Addictive Behaviors Volume 34, Issues 6-7, June-July 2009, Pages 587-592

These findings suggest that diagnosing alcohol abuse among alcohol dependent patients may be clinically useful as an index of severity and higher likelihood of comorbid drug abuse and dependence. Future studies are needed to establish whether these differences are clinically significant in terms of the course of the disorder and response to treatment
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Initiating acamprosate within-detoxification versus post-detoxification in the treatment of alcohol dependence
Addictive Behaviors Volume 34, Issues 6-7, June-July 2009, Pages 581-586
Starting acamprosate at the beginning of detoxification did not improve DP outcomes. Starting acamprosate after detoxification was completed was associated with better drinking outcomes during subsequent alcohol rehabilitation treatment.
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Depressive symptoms, drinking problems, and smoking cessation in older smokers
Addictive BehaviorsVolume 34, Issues 6-7, June-July 2009, Pages 548-553

This study modeled the predictive association between depressive symptoms and smoking cessation in a sample of 442 late-middle-aged smokers; assessments occurred at four time-points across a 10-year period. In addition, the study examined the role of baseline drinking problems in moderating the relationship between depressive symptoms and smoking cessation.

Findings supported hypotheses. More depressive symptoms prospectively predicted a lower likelihood of smoking cessation. In addition, the presence of baseline drinking problems strengthened the relationship between depressive symptoms and a lower likelihood of smoking cessation.

Understanding the mechanisms underlying depression and cigarette smoking among older adults is applicable to secondary prevention and treatment and suggests additional public health benefits from treating depression in older persons

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Alcohol expectancies and drinking motives in college drinkers: Mediating effects on the relationship between generalized anxiety and heavy drinking in negative-affect situations
Addictive Behaviors Volume 34, Issues 6-7, June-July 2009, Pages 505-513

The current study tested the hypotheses that drinking to cope motives and alcohol expectancies of tension- and worry-reduction mediate the relationship between generalized anxiety (GA) and negative-affect heavy drinking in a cross-sectional sample of 782 college drinkers.

These results inform cognitive–behavioral theories and interventions for comorbid GA and alcohol use problems.

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Dopamine and Serotonin Transporter Availability During Acute Alcohol Withdrawal: Effects of Comorbid Tobacco Smoking
Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication 13 May 2009

Tobacco smoking is highly comorbid with heavy alcohol drinking, yet the interaction of tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking on brain catecholaminergic synaptic markers is unexplored. Here we evaluate the effects of alcohol drinking alone from comorbid alcohol drinking and tobacco smoking on dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) transporter availability.
During the first week of abstinence, DA and 5-HT transporter availability is higher in alcohol drinking nonsmokers but not in alcohol drinking smokers. Smoking appears to suppress neuroadaptive changes in DA and 5-HT transporters during acute withdrawal from alcohol.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

December 2008 pg.195

Option 108 Increase All Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages to $16 Per Proof Gallon

This option would standardize the base on which the federal excise tax is levied by using the proof gallon as the measure for all alcoholic beverages. The tax rate would be raised to $16 per proof gallon, thus increasing revenues by about $28 billion over the 2009–2013 period and by $60 billion over the 2009–2018 period. (Because excise taxes reduce producers’ and consumers’ income, higher excise taxes would lead to reductions in income and payroll tax revenues. The estimates shown here reflect those

A tax of $16 per proof gallon would equal about 25 cents per ounce of alcohol. Under this option, the federal excise tax on a 750-milliliter bottle (commonly referred to as a fifth) of distilled spirits would rise from about $2.14 to $2.54. The tax on a six-pack of beer would jump from about 33 cents to 81 cents, and the tax on a 750-milliliterbottle of table wine would increase by a similar amount, from about 21 cents to 70 cents.

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Alcohol intake and risk of incident psoriasis in US women: A prospective study
Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2009), Volume 129 S 63

Society for Investigative Dermatology 2009 Annual Meeting Abstract 375

The association between alcohol consumption and risk of developing psoriasis has long been suspected but has not been prospectively evaluated. Additionally, a potential risk of psoriasis associated with different types of alcoholic beverages has not been previously assessed.

We sought to determine if alcohol intake is an independent risk factor for new onset psoriasis in the Nurses Health Study 2, a cohort study in the United States consisting of 82,869 female nurses aged 27 to 44 at baseline.

We evaluated risk for incident psoriasis among participants who reported amount and type of alcohol intake. We excluded participants with a history of psoriasis prior to 1991. Over 14 years (1991-2005) we used biennial questionnaires to assess type and amount of alcohol consumption. Self-reported incident physician-diagnosed psoriasis was the main outcome measure.

We documented 955 incident cases of psoriasis. Compared with women who did not drink alcohol, the multivariate relative risk (RR) of psoriasis was 1.59 (95% CI 1.02-2.49) for alcohol consumption ≥ 30 g/week. When examined by type of alcoholic beverage, non-light beer consumption
showed the only independent association with the risk of psoriasis (multivariate RR for ≥5 drinks/wk 1.83; 95% CI 1.16-2.86); Light beer, red wine, white wine, and liquor consumption were not significantly associated with psoriasis risk.

In conclusion, non-light beer intake is associated with an increased risk of psoriasis in this population of US women. Light beer, wine, and liquor did not increase risk for psoriasis.

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Abstract Lead Author:
Greenstein Statement at Senate Finance Committee

“If Congress can step up to the plate and put together a package of offsets that pay for health care reform legislation — and health care reform then is enacted — the nation will benefit greatly for decades to come.”
Alcohol Taxes
. . . . . For these reasons, a large group of economists, including four Nobel laureates and three former presidents of the American Economics Association, issued a statement in 2005 calling for increases in excise taxes on alcohol. In addition, the National Academy of Sciences has recommended raising alcohol excise tax rates to discourage underage drinking. Similarly, a 2007 report issued by the Surgeon General noted that increasing the costs of alcohol use (i.e., raising the tax on alcohol) could influence teenagers to drink less. . . . . . .

Sunday, May 10, 2009

On the biomedicalization of alcoholism
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics Published online 8 May 2009

The shift in the prevailing view of alcoholism from a moral paradigm towards a biomedical paradigm is often characterized as a form of biomedicalization. We will examine and critique three reasons offered for the claim that viewing alcoholism as a disease is morally problematic.

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