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, June 20, 2009

Reducing harm in drinking environments

This fact sheet was prepared as part of the Focus on Alcohol Safe Environments (FASE) project co-financed by the European Commission. It discusses alcohol-related harm in European drinking environments and how this can be prevented.

Read Full Fact Sheet (PDF)


An evaluation of the Young Persons' Alcohol Intervention Programme in the Wirral: an interim report

The Young Person’s Alcohol Intervention Programme (YPAIP) was established in Wirral to provide referrals to those arrested or stopped by police for an alcohol-related offence to a local support service for young people. This is delivered through Response (established as part of the Children and Young People’s Department).Representatives from Response attempt to contact individual young people and/or their parents to assess their needs and deliver appropriate interventions. The Centre for Public Health were invited to evaluate the service. This interim report presents analysis of the existing data from Police and Response.

Read Report (PDF)
Alcohol and Risk of Breast Cancer by Histologic Type and Hormone Receptor Status in Postmenopausal Women
American Journal of Epidemiology Advance Access published online on June 18, 2009

Moderate consumption of alcohol was associated with breast cancer, specifically hormone receptor-positive tumors.

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Genetic Variability and Collective Social Norms: The Case of Binge Drinking

This paper explores how collective social norms can have individual-level genetic foundation. Our study is the first we know to report a plausible link between genetically founded individual preferences in a fraction of a population and social norms governing behavior of all individuals.

As our motivating example, we focus on patterns of Excessive Drinking in Social Situations (EDSS) across Europe that are possibly triggered by genetically caused variations in personality. The genetic trait is shyness, which correlates with eye color.

We present empirical results indicating that alcohol consumption in social situations correlate with eye color and a model which suggests that conditions exist in which EDSS can emerge as a strategy in a larger fraction of the population than is genetically redisposed to EDSS.

In addition, our model shows that alcohol taxes may be counter-productive in controlling the emergence of EDSS as a social norm.

Read Full Paper (PDF)

WHA passes social determinants resolution
Øystein Bakke

The WHO member states keeps the Social Determinants of Health process on track by passing a resolution based on the commission report at the World Health Assembly last month. The Health Assembly next year will discuss a proposed global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol.

Corporate Social Responsibility: the New Marketing Tool

Recent trends in alcohol advertising and promotion can be found on this page of EUCAM. After an introduction of the new trend, possible risks of the trend are described, which is followed by examples of marketing practices from in outside the European continent.

Read Full Report (PDF)

The burden of alcohol-related ill health in the United Kingdom
Journal of Public Health Advance Access published online on June 3, 2009

We estimate that alcohol consumption was responsible for 31 000 deaths in the UK in 2005 and that alcohol consumption cost the UK NHS £3.0 billion in 2005–06. Alcohol consumption was responsible for 10% of all disability adjusted life years in 2002 (male: 15%; female: 4%) in the UK.

Alcohol consumption is a considerable public health burden in the UK. The comparison of the health and economic burden of various lifestyle factors is essential in prioritizing and resourcing public health action.

Request Reprint E-Mail:


The Price of Everything, The Value of Nothing: A (Truly) External Review Of BERL’s Study Of Harmful Alcohol and Drug Use

In March 2009, Business and Economic Research Limited ("BERL") published “Costs of Harmful Alcohol and Other Drug Use,” a report jointly commissioned by the Ministry of Health and ACC. BERL was asked to measure the costs of drug and alcohol abuse to New Zealand society, but not to evaluate specific interventions. BERL calculated annual social costs of alcohol and illicit drug consumption of $6.8 billion, including $4.8 billion in social costs from alcohol alone. The report was cited by Law Commission President Sir Geoffrey Palmer as evidence in support of greater regulation, gaining considerable media coverage.

We find substantial flaws in BERL’s method that together account for well over 90% of BERL’s calculated costs of alcohol use. Corrected external costs of alcohol use amount to $662 million and are roughly matched by the $516 million collected in alcohol excise taxes. The BERL report is wholly inadequate for use in assisting policy development.

Read Full Working Paper (PDF)

Alcohol and Suicide Among Racial/Ethnic Populations --- 17 States, 2005--2006
MMWR Weekly June 19, 2009 / 58(23);637-641

During 2001--2005, an estimated annual 79,646 alcohol-attributable deaths (AAD) and 2.3 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) were attributed to the harmful effects of excessive alcohol use (1). An estimated 5,800 AAD and 189,667 YPLL were associated annually with suicide (1). The burden of suicide varies widely among racial and ethnic populations in the United States, and limited data are available to describe the role of alcohol in suicides in these populations.

To examine the relationship between alcohol and suicide among racial/ethnic populations, CDC analyzed data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) for the 2-year period 2005--2006 (the most recent data available).

This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that the overall prevalence of alcohol intoxication (i.e., blood alcohol concentration [BAC] at or above the legal limit of 0.08 g/dL) was nearly 24% among suicide decedents tested for alcohol, with the highest percentage occurring among American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) (37%), followed by Hispanics (29%) and persons aged 20--49 years (28%).

These results indicate that many populations can benefit from comprehensive and culturally appropriate suicide-prevention strategies that include efforts to reduce alcohol consumption, especially programs that focus on persons aged <50>

The effect of ethanol on human brain metabolites longitudinally characterized by proton MR spectroscopy
Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism (2009) 29, 891–902

Fronto-mesial and cerebellar ethanol concentrations over time were similar as determined by the LCModel analysis of spectral data.

Alcohol-induced changes of fronto-mesial creatine, choline, glucose, inositol and aspartate levels for 5.792.94 mins upon ingestion as well as cerebellar choline and inositol levels for 8.642.98 mins past exposure.

Closely associated with ethanol concentrations, supratentorial creatine, choline, inositol and aspartate levels decreased after ethanol administration, whereas glucose levels increased. Similarly, infratentorial choline and inositol concentrations were negatively correlated with ethanol levels over time. There were no changes in N-acetyl-aspartate levels upon alcohol exposure.

Furthermore, no influence of ethanol on brain water integrals was detected. Ethanol consumption may directly increase oxidative stress and the neuronal vulnerability to it.

In addition, our results are compatible with ethanol-induced cell membrane modifications and alternative energy substrate usage upon alcohol

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

GABRR1 and GABRR2, encoding the GABA-A receptor subunits 1 and 2, are associated with alcohol dependence
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics Published Online: 17 Jun 2009

The genes encoding several GABA-A receptor subunits, including GABRA2, have been associated with alcoholism, suggesting that variations in gaba signaling contribute to risk. Therefore, as part of a comprehensive evaluation of the GABA receptor genes, we evaluated the potential association of GABRR1 and GABRR2, which encode the 1 and 2 subunits of the pentameric GABA-A/GABA-C receptors. GABRR1 and GABRR2 lie in a head to tail orientation spanning 137 kb on chromosome 6q14-16.

We genotyped 73 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), covering both genes and extending 31 kb upstream of GABRR2 and 95 kb downstream of GABRR1, in a sample of 1923 European Americans from 219 multiplex alcohol-dependent families. Family-based association analyses demonstrated that SNPs in both GABRR1 and GABRR2 were significantly associated with alcohol dependence.

Among the associated SNPs was rs282129, a coding SNP (Met430Thr) in GABRR2. Secondary analysis using a median split for age of onset suggests that the association is strongest when the analysis is focused upon those with earlier onset of alcohol dependence.

Haplotypes in each gene were significantly overtransmitted to family members who did not meet criteria for alcohol dependence and a haplotype in GABRR2 was significantly overtransmitted to family members who met a broader definition of alcoholism as well as DSM-IV dependence.

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Too much too young - alcohol misuse report
London Assembly Reports - Health and Public Services
June 2009

Our report reveals that the capital’s 11-15 year olds now drink the equivalent of 180,000 bottles of lager every week – and the amount they drink is on the rise. The investigation found a lack of senior leadership both locally and regionally means efforts to tackle the problem are not always effectively prioritised or co-ordinated. To address this, the Committee believes the Mayor and local leaders need to focus more effort on tackling alcohol.

Read Full Report (PDF)

News Release - Finnish Parliament raises alcohol tax by 10 pct

The Finnish Parliament on Monday approved a ten per cent increase in alcohol taxes. The higher tax rate is expected to raise alcohol prices by an average of 4.5 per cent from the beginning of October. . . . . .
Read Full Release
Alcohol industry differs on ‘higher’ taxation
By JUSTUS ONDARI Posted Wednesday, June 17 2009

The alcohol industry has petitioned the government over the new tax measures on wines and spirits contained in the 2009 Budget as the implications of the proposals presented to Parliament last week dawn on various sectors. . . . . .


Crossing Our Lines:
Working Together to Reform the U.S. Health System

Crossing Our Lines is a bipartisan agreement for comprehensive health reform reached by Senators Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, and Bob Dole. It is the culmination of an inclusive year-and-a-half effort that included strategic outreach to key health care stakeholders, a series of state-based public policy forums, and months of personal deliberations by the Leaders.

Pg. 53 Ensuring Budget Neutrality—Guarantee that the entire reform package is budget neutral by paying for the remaining cost of approximately $200 billion . . . . .

. . . . . Congress could choose from among the following proposals, or others, to offset the remaining deficit:

. . . . . Increase cigarette and alcohol taxes

Read Full Report (PDF)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The ANKK1 Kinase Gene and Psychiatric Disorders
Neurotoxicity Research Volume 16, Number 1 / July, 2009 pp.50-59

The TaqIA single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, rs1800497), which is located in the gene that codes for the putative kinase ANKK1 (ANKK1) near the termination codon of the D2 dopamine receptor gene (DRD2; chromosome 11q22–q23), is the most studied genetic variation in a broad range of psychiatric disorders and personality traits. A large number of individual genetic association studies have found that the TaqIA SNP is linked to alcoholism and antisocial traits.

Current data show that the TaqIA polymorphism may be a marker of both DRD2 and ANKK1 genetic variants. ANKK1 would belong to a family of kinases involved in signal transduction. This raises the question of whether signaling players intervene in the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders. Basic research on the ANKK1 protein and its putative interaction with the D2 dopamine receptor could shed light on this issue.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:
High Level of α-Synuclein mRNA in Peripheral Lymphocytes of Patients with Alcohol Dependence Syndrome
Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine Volume 146, Number 5 / November, 2008 pp.609-611
The content of mRNA for α-synuclein (a key protein of the dopaminergic system) was elevated in the peripheral lymphocytes of patients with alcohol dependence syndrome. Increased level of α-synuclein mRNA was not associated with changes in the expression of NR4A2 gene encoding Nurrl, one of the main transcription factors of dopaminergic neurons.
Request Reprint E-Mail:
Selective detection of phosphatidylethanol homologues in blood as biomarkers for alcohol consumption by LC-ESI-MS/MS
Journal of Mass Spectrometry Published Online: 12 Jun 2009

A new validated method for the quantitation of the abnormal phospholipid phosphatidylethanol (PEth) - a biomarker for ethanol uptake - has been developed by LC-ESI-MS/MS following miniaturised organic solvent extraction and reversed phase chromatography with phosphatidylbutanol (PBut) as internal standard.

Because of its higher sensitivity, there is a potential to detect single heavy drinking by LC-MS/MS, when PEth is formed in very low concentrations.

This opens a new field of application of PEth to uncover single or multiple heavy drinking at a lower frequency and with a larger window of detection in blood than before by HPLC/ELSD or by use of other direct markers, e.g. ethyl glucuronide or ethyl sulfate.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:
News Release - Alcohol advertising needs to be restricted to protect young people

The National Youth Council of Ireland are launching a unique report tomorrow (Tuesday June 9th) at 12pm entitled “Get ‘em Young – Mapping young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing in Ireland.” The report will be launched in Buswells Hotel by Senator Joe O’Toole and will show the prevalence of alcohol marketing across the country and its impact on young people.

This report is the first of its kind in Ireland as it involves young people recording their experience of alcohol advertising and marketing in their own surroundings.

Read Full Release

Read Full Report (PDF)
Alcohol’s Good for You? Some Scientists Doubt It
Published: June 15, 2009

By now, it is a familiar litany. Study after study suggests that alcohol in moderation may promote heart health and even ward off diabetes and dementia. The evidence is so plentiful that some experts consider moderate drinking — about one drink a day for women, about two for men — a central component of a healthy lifestyle.

But what if it’s all a big mistake? . . . . .


Monday, June 15, 2009

Evaluating a Comprehensive Campus-Community Prevention Intervention to Reduce Alcohol-Related Problems in a College Population
J. Stud Alcohol Drugs, Supplement No. 16: 21-27, 2009

This article evaluates Western Washington University's Neighborhoods Engaging with Students project--a comprehensive strategy to decrease disruptive off-campus parties by increasing student integration into and accountability to the neighborhoods in which they live.

The results suggest that alcohol control measures can be effective in reducing problematic drinking in college settings. These findings strongly support conducting a replication with greater power and a more rigorous design

Request Reprint E-Mail:
NIAAA's Rapid Response to College Drinking Problems Initiative: Reinforcing the Use of Evidence-Based Approaches in College Alcohol Prevention
J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, Supplement No. 16: 5-11, 2009

College drinking remains a daunting problem on many campuses, but evidence-based strategies--such as those described in this supplement--provide hope that more effective solutions can be found. The Rapid Response initiative has helped solidify the necessary link between research and practice in college alcohol prevention and treatment.

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Magnitude of and Trends in Alcohol-Related Mortality and Morbidity Among U.S. College Students Ages 18-24, 1998-2005
J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, Supplement No. 16: 12-20,2000
The persistence of college drinking problems underscores an urgent need to implement prevention and counseling approaches identified through research to reduce alcohol-related harms among college students and other young adults.

Request reprint E-Mail:
News Release - Concerns about health and looks are driving thousands to cut back on alcohol

Men are worried that drinking too much alcohol will affect their appearance according to a new survey for the Know Your Limits campaign published today.

Released during Men's Health Week, the statistics show that watching the waistline is no longer only the preserve of women, with more than one in three men (37%) claiming they would reduce their drinking to cut down on the number of calories they consume. Only money-saving (44%) is a bigger incentive.

Read Full News Release


Red wine consumption and risk of prostate cancer: The California Men's Health Study
International Journal of Cancer
Published Online: 11 Jun 2009

Neither red wine nor total alcohol consumption were associated with prostate cancer risk in this population of moderate drinkers.

Request Reprint E-Mail: