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, July 10, 2009

Rapid Large-Scale Privatization and Death Rates in Ex-communist Countries: An Analysis of Stress-Related and Health System Mechanisms
International Journal of Health Services Volume 39, Number 3 / 2009 Pages: 461 - 489

During the transition to capitalism, the postcommunist countries have experienced devastating rises in mortality, although there has been considerable variation within and between countries and regions. Much of this population-level variation remains unexplained, but alcohol and psychological stress are found to be major proximal causes of rising mortality rates.

The authors show that implementation of neoliberal-inspired rapid, large-scale privatization programs ("mass privatization") was associated with significant declines in life expectancy, as well as with greater alcohol-related deaths, heart disease, and suicide rates.

The authors interpret these findings as evidence that rapid organizational reform created excess psychosocial stress, which, consistent with the public health literature, increases risk of death at the individual level. However, they also find that rapid privatization modestly contributed to a decline in health care resources, such as the number of physicians, dentists, and hospital beds per capita, although there is weak evidence that these reductions in health system capacity explain substantial differences in mortality at the country level.

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Mass Privatization and the Postcommunist Mortality Crisis (PDF)
Lifetime consumption of alcoholic beverages and risk of 13 types of cancer in men: Results from a case–control study in Montreal
Cancer Detection and Prevention Volume 32, Issues 5-6, 2009, Pages 352-362

The aim of the study was to investigate the association between lifetime consumption of alcoholic beverages and cancer risk.

For several cancers (oesophagus, stomach, colon, liver, pancreas, lung, prostate) there was evidence of increased risk among alcohol consumers compared with abstainers and occasional drinkers. For most sites, it was beer and to a lesser extent spirits consumption that drove the excess risks.

Our results support the hypothesis that moderate and high alcohol intake levels over the lifetime might increase cancer risk at several sites.

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The impact of drought on mental health and alcohol use
Ben Edwards, Matthew Gray and Boyd Hunter
Australian Institute of Family Studies and Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University

The most recent drought has been one of the most severe on record with large parts of southern and eastern Australia experiencing dry conditions since 1996. There have been few large studies that examine the impact of drought upon the mental health and alcohol use of people living in regional and rural areas of Australia or other developed countries.

We use the Rural and Regional Families study, a cross-sectional study of 8,000 people from rural and regional areas of Australia that interviewed people in areas that were in severe drought, drought, below average and above average rainfall. We compare working age people who were in drought (as defined by rainfall and also self report) to those that were not in drought. We use regression models to adjust for demographics that would not be expected to be affected by drought to estimate the impact of drought on the mental health problems, mental health, anti-depressant use for stress and alcohol use.

One of the primary mechanisms by which mental health and alcohol abuse problems arise during and after a drought is through the financial impact associated with decreased agricultural productivity in rural areas. While the drought of 2002-2007 had significant negative economic impact on the Australian economy it had particularly large effects on financial hardship in regions affected - especially among farmers (Edwards et al. 2009). We discuss our findings of the impact of drought on mental health and alcohol use in this context and the possible policy implications.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic basis for overcoming acetaldehyde-induced adverse reaction in Asian alcoholics, heterozygous for the variant ALDH2*2 gene allele
Pharmacogenetics and Genomics: POST AUTHOR CORRECTIONS, 6 July 2009

These results indicate that acetaldehyde, rather than ethanol or acetate, is primarily responsible for the observed alcohol sensitivity reactions in heterozygotic alcoholics and suggest that physiological tolerance and/or innate low sensitivity may play a crucial role in overcoming the deterring response. A potential pharmacogenetic classification of acetaldehydism and alcoholism for alcoholics carrying the different ALDH2 genotypes is proposed.

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Alcohol expectancy priming and drinking behavior: The role of compatibility between prime and expectancy content.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Vol 23(2), 2009, 329-333.

According to information-processing models of alcohol use, alcohol expectancies constitute representations in long-term memory that may be activated in the presence of drinking-related cues, thereby influencing alcohol consumption. A fundamental implication of this approach is that primed expectancies should affect drinking only for those individuals who possess the specific expectancies primed.

To test this notion, in the present study, participants were initially assessed on 3 distinct domains of positive alcohol expectancies. Approximately 1 week later, they completed an ad libitum drinking study during which only a single expectancy domain (sociability) was primed in the experimental condition.

Consistent with predictions, following exposure to sociability primes but not control primes, individuals with stronger expectancies that alcohol would enhance sociability uniquely showed increased placebo consumption of nonalcoholic beer.

These results, which demonstrate the moderating role of compatibility between the specific content of primes and that of underlying expectancies, offer new, direct support for memory network-based models of drinking behavior.

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Alcohol outcome expectancies as socially shared and socialized beliefs.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Vol 23(2), 2009, 248-259.

Alcohol expectancies are important predictors of alcohol involvement in both adolescents and adults, yet little research has examined the social origins and transmission of these beliefs. This paper examined alcohol outcome expectancies collected in a cohort-sequential longitudinal study of 452 families with children followed over seven waves.

Children increased their adoption of both the positive and negative consensual alcohol expectancies. Unconditional latent growth modeling showed that piece-wise growth models with a transition at age 12 fit the data best. Both the positive and negative consensual expectancies were adopted at a faster rate between ages 8.5 and 11.5 than between ages 12 and 13.5. For negative expectancies, there was no further growth between ages 12 and 13.5.

Taken together, these findings support the conceptualization of alcohol outcome expectancies as socially shared and transmitted beliefs.

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Acute alcohol tolerance on subjective intoxication and simulated driving performance in binge drinkers
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Vol 23(2), 2009, 238-247.

High rates of binge drinking and alcohol-related problems, including drinking and driving, occur among college students. Underlying reasons for the heightened impaired driving rates in this demographic group are not known. The authors hypothesized that acute tolerance to the interoceptive cues of intoxication may contribute to these maladaptive decisions to drive in binge drinkers.

Compared with placebo, alcohol increased ratings of intoxication and impaired multiple aspects of simulated driving performance in both binge and non-binge drinkers. During the descending phase of the blood alcohol curve, binge drinkers showed acute tolerance to alcohol’s effect on subjective intoxication, and this effect was accompanied by an increased rating of willingness to drive. By contrast, non-binge drinkers showed no acute tolerance.

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Coping-anxiety and coping-depression motives predict different daily mood-drinking relationships.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Vol 23(2), 2009, 226-237.

Individuals with different drinking motives show distinctive patterns of alcohol use and problems. Drinking to cope, or endorsing strong coping motives for alcohol use, has been shown to be particularly hazardous. It is important to determine the unique triggers associated with coping drinking.

Multilevel modeling analyses revealed that, as hypothesized, stronger initial coping-depression motives predicted higher daily depressed mood-alcohol consumption slopes. Also consistent with expectation, stronger initial coping-anxiety motives predicted higher anxious mood-alcohol consumption slopes.

We discuss how this identification of the unique mood triggers associated with each type of coping drinking motive can provide the basis for targeted interventions.

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Body mass index and alcohol consumption: Family history of alcoholism as a moderator.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Vol 23(2), 2009, 216-225.

Recent research suggests that excess food consumption may be conceptualized as an addictive behavior. Much of the evidence comes from neurobiological similarities between drug and food consumption. In addition, an inverse relation between alcohol consumption and body mass index (BMI) has been observed. Previous research has hypothesized that this inverse relation is attributable to competition between food and alcohol for similar neurotransmitter receptors.

The current study explored this neurobiological hypothesis further by examining the influence of an indicator of biological risk associated with alcohol problems (family history of alcoholism) on the relationship between alcohol and food intake.

An inverse relationship between alcohol consumption and BMI was demonstrated. An attenuation of family history effects on drinking behavior was evident for obese compared to nonobese participants.

The results suggest a neurobiological link between alcohol use and food consumption, consistent with theories characterizing excess food consumption as an addictive behavior

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Interpersonal problems and negative mood as predictors of within-day time to drinking.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Vol 23(2), 2009, 205-215.

Using data collected via handheld electronic diaries (EDs), we examined within-day associations between early-day negative moods and stress and subsequent time to drinking.

Whereas previous analyses of these data showed no associations between early-day negative moods and number of drinks consumed later in the day, here we found significant associations between negative moods and time to drinking. Associations involving negative moods, DTC, and hazard for drinking varied depending on time of day, and some mood effects were moderated by DTC.

These findings suggest that time to drinking may be more sensitive to the effects of acute negative mood states than is drinking quantity

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Gender differences in acute alcohol effects on self-regulation of arousal in response to emotional and alcohol-related picture cues.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Vol 23(2), 2009, 196-204.

Basic mechanisms through which men and women self-regulate arousal have received little attention in human experimental addiction research, although stress-response-dampening and craving theories suggest an important role of emotional arousal in motivating alcohol use. This study examined gender differences in the effects of acute alcohol intoxication on psychophysiological and self-reported arousal in response to emotionally negative, positive, and neutral, and alcohol-related, picture cues.

A statistically significant beverage group-by-gender interaction effect on psychophysiological, but not self-reported, arousal was found. The 0.1-Hz HRV responses to picture cues were suppressed by alcohol only in men. This gender-specific suppression pattern did not differ significantly across picture cue types. There were no significant gender differences in the placebo or control group.

Greater dampening of arousal by alcohol intoxication in men, compared with women, may contribute to men’s greater tendency to use alcohol to cope with stress.

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Readiness to change as a mediator of the effect of a brief motivational intervention on posttreatment alcohol-related consequences of injured emergency department hazardous drinkers.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Vol 23(2), 2009, 185-195.

Brief motivational interventions (BMIs) are usually effective for reducing alcohol use and consequences in primary care settings. We examined readiness to change drinking as a mediator of the effects of BMI on alcohol-related consequences.

Results are opposite of what would be expected from MI theory. An alternative explanation is offered as to why this finding occurred with this opportunistically recruited Emergency Department patient population.

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High School Limits and College Drinking: Parental Influence on College Students’ Alcohol Use
The DRAM Vol. 5(6)

Research indicates that alcohol abuse is linked to negative consequences (e.g., drunk driving, physical altercations, etc.) among college students (Hingson, Heeren, Winter, & Wechsler, 2005). Although previous research has shown that parental influence diminishes when adolescents enter college, more recent research suggests that parents still have some influence (Galotti & Mark, 1994; Lehr, Dilorio, Dudley, & Lipana, 2000).

This week the DRAM reviews a study that examined the impact of parental permissibility of alcohol use during late high school on alcohol use and negative drinking consequences experienced among college students (Abar, Abar, & Turrisi, 2009).

Predictive Value of Family History on Severity of Illness
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(7):738-747.

If family history is associated with clinical features that are thought to index seriousness of disorder, this could inform clinicians predicting patients' prognosis and researchers selecting cases for genetic studies. Although tests of associations between family history and clinical features are numerous for depression, such tests are relatively lacking for other disorders.

Associations between family history of a disorder and clinical features of that disorder in probands showed consistent direction of effects across depression, anxiety disorder, alcohol dependence, and drug dependence. For these disorder types, family history is useful for determining patients' clinical prognosis and for selecting cases for genetic studies.

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The acute effect of low-dose alcohol on working memory during mental arithmetic: II. Changes of nonlinear and linear EEG-complexity in the theta band, heart rate and electrodermal activity
International Journal of Psychophysiology Volume 73, Issue 2, August 2009, Pages 138-142

Nonlinear and linear methods of EEG-complexity analysis and autonomic measures were used to characterize processes accompanying performance in a mental arithmetic task challenged by low (“social”) alcohol doses. It was expected that alcohol in such doses will dampen changes of task-related EEG-synchronization in the theta band, and those of heart rate and electrodermal activity (EDA).

Task-induced significant changes of the Omega-complexity and that of SL indicate increased synchrony in the theta band, probably corresponding to working memory effort. Both of these measures proved to be sensitive for the effect of low alcohol dose although these alcohol-elicited changes were not statistically significant. Task-induced heart rate and EDA increases were further intensified by alcohol probably indicating its activating effect on these autonomic measures in the dose range studied.

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The acute effect of low-dose alcohol on working memory during mental arithmetic: I. Behavioral measures and EEG theta band spectral characteristics
International Journal of Psychophysiology Volume 73, Issue 2, August 2009, Pages 133-137

Task-related EEG changes were studied during the performance of a mental arithmetic task, as influenced by low alcohol dosages with the presumption that even “social” drinking may have detrimental effect.

No detrimental alcohol effect was seen on behavioral indices of task performance. However, the ethanol-induced moderate reduction of the task-related frontally dominant theta increase, probably corresponding to working memory demand, is a modest but clear electrophysiological sign of alcohol effect in this low-dose range.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Health profiles 2009 launched

fourth annual set of local Health Profiles

Advances in the nation's health are revealed in the fourth annual set of local Health Profiles.

Health profiles provides a snapshot of health for each local council in England using key health indicators, enabling comparison locally, regionally and over time. They are designed to help local councils and the NHS decide where to target resources and tackle health inequalities in their local area.

Key findings include:

  • Early deaths from heart disease, stroke and cancer are falling

  • More state school children spend at least two hours a week on sport or PE

  • Smoking-related deaths are falling

  • Life expectancy rises, both in affluent and disadvantaged areas, but the average length of life continues to be shorter in many disadvantaged areas

  • Average hospital stays due to alcohol related conditions rise
The 2009 version has now been published and are available here.


Functional Limitations, Socioeconomic Status, and All-Cause Mortality in Moderate Alcohol Drinkers
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Volume 57 Issue 6, Pages 955 - 962

To determine whether the survival benefit associated with moderate alcohol use remains after accounting for nontraditional risk factors such as socioeconomic status (SES) and functional limitations.

Moderate drinkers have better risk factor profiles than nondrinkers, including higher SES and fewer functional limitations. Although these factors explain much of the survival advantage associated with moderate alcohol use, moderate drinkers maintain their survival advantage even after adjustment for these factors.

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Beer consumption and the 'beer belly': scientific basis or common belief ?
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition advance online publication 24 June 2009

The term 'beer belly' expresses the common belief that beer consumption is a major determinant of waist circumference (WC). We studied the gender-specific associations between beer consumption and WC (partially in relation to body weight and hip circumference (HC) change).

Beer consumption leads to WC gain, which is closely related to concurrent overall weight gain. This study does not support the common belief of a site-specific effect of beer on the abdomen, the beer belly.

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Under the influence: The role of the alcohol industry in New York State politics

In New York, as in the nation, alcohol causes more health, social and legal problems than any other drug. Many political leaders in New York, as elsewhere, accept campaign contributions from the alcohol industry, raising doubts as to whether they can make objective decisions on alcohol policies. In this report, Corporations and Health Watch examines the influence of the alcohol industry on New York State politics.

Patient and Provider Attitudes towards Monitored Naltrexone Treatment of Alcohol Dependence in Schizophrenia
The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Published Online 8 July 2009

To describe the attitudes of patients and their mental health providers regarding participation in a controlled trial of directly monitored naltrexone (NTX) treatment for alcohol dependence in schizophrenia.

Most participants with schizophrenia liked participating in a clinical trial of directly observed naltrexone treatment for alcohol dependence, and found incentives for attendance, frequent staff contact and monitoring of drinking, and motivational counseling to be the most helpful. Most participants reported improvement in mental health and reduced drinking. Mental health providers also reported that the study was helpful, but they did not describe the same degree of benefit as did patients.

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Alcohol as a Risk Factor for Pancreatitis. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
J Pancreas (Online) 2009; 10(4):387-392.

Epidemiologic studies have suggested an association between alcohol consumption and pancreatitis, although the exact dose-response relationship is unknown. It also remains uncertain whether a threshold effect exists.

To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies on the association between alcohol consumption and the risk of pancreatitis.

As the available evidence also indicates that the relationship is biologically plausible, these results support the existence of a link between alcohol consumption and the risk of pancreatitis.

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Binge Drinking Upregulates Accumbens mGluR5–Homer2–PI3K Signaling: Functional Implications for Alcoholism
The Journal of Neuroscience, July 8, 2009, 29(27):8655-8668

The glutamate receptor-associated protein Homer2 regulates alcohol-induced neuroplasticity within the nucleus accumbens (NAC), but the precise intracellular signaling cascades involved are not known. This study examined the role for NAC metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR)–Homer2–phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling in regulating excessive alcohol consumption within the context of the scheduled high alcohol consumption (SHAC) model of binge alcohol drinking.

Consistent with the hypothesis that mGluR5–Homer–PI3K signaling may be a mechanism governing excessive alcohol intake, the "anti-binge" effects of MPEP and wortmannin were not additive, nor were they observed in the mGluR5F1128R transgenic mice. Finally, mice genetically selected for a high versus low SHAC phenotype differed in NAC mGluR, Homer2, and PI3K activity, consistent with the hypothesis that augmented NAC mGluR5–Homer2–PI3K signaling predisposes a high binge alcohol-drinking phenotype.

Together, these data point to an important role for NAC mGluR5–Homer2–PI3K signaling in regulating binge-like alcohol consumption that has relevance for our understanding of the neurobiology of alcoholism and its pharmacotherapy.

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Resveratrol protects spatial learning in middle-aged C57BL/6 mice from effects of ethanol
Behavioural Pharmacology: POST AUTHOR CORRECTIONS, 30 June 2009

Spatial learning and memory have been shown to be especially vulnerable to aging and alcohol consumption. However, moderate consumption of wine has been linked to decreases in incidences of dementia. Resveratrol, a phytoestrogen found in wine, has been shown to have neuroprotective effects against the oxidative stress of ethanol.

In this study, middle-aged C57BL/6N female mice given a combination of resveratrol (44.2 mg/kg) and a low amount of ethanol (0.71 g/kg) each day for 6 weeks performed better on the Barnes maze task for spatial learning and memory than mice consuming only the low concentration of ethanol.

The results suggest that resveratrol may protect hippocampal-dependent spatial learning from the negative effects of ethanol. However, the resveratrol-ethanol combination did not provide any additional benefit to counter aging-related deficits.

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Commentary - The Legal Drinking Age and Underage Drinking in the United States
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009;163(7):598-600.

Each year thousands of adolescents in the United States are killed, injured, or suffer other serious consequences of their own or another's underage drinking. The immense societal costs of underage drinking have made it a focus of concern among policymakers and public health officials. In 2006, the US Congress passed the Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act to help states and communities address this chronic problem. In 2007, The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking appealed to Americans to do more to stop current underage drinkers from using alcohol and to keep other adolescents from starting.

This commentary will review the magnitude and consequences of underage drinking and discuss how increasing the minimum legal drinking age has helped to reduce and prevent the harm caused by drinking among adolescents.

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Relationship Between Neighborhood Context, Family Management Practices and Alcohol Use Among Urban, Multi-ethnic, Young Adolescents
Prevention Science Published Online 21 Apr 2009

We examined relationships between alcohol-related neighborhood context, protective home and family management practices, and alcohol use among urban, racial/ethnic minority, adolesce

Results suggest inner-city parents respond to environmental risk, such that as neighborhood risk increases, so also do protective home and family management practices. Parent engagement in restricting alcohol access and improving family management practices may be key to preventive efforts to reduce alcohol use.

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Individual and Contextual Effects of School Adjustment on Adolescent Alcohol Use
Prevention Science Published Online 26 Feb 2009

This paper examines the effect of a student’s own school adjustment as well as the contextual level of school adjustment (the normative level of school adjustment among students in a school) on students’ self-reported use of alcohol.

The results demonstrate the importance of both a student’s own level of school adjustment and the normative level of school adjustment among students in the school on an adolescent’s use of alcohol. Differences in school adjustment across schools were quite strongly related to an adolescent’s own alcohol use, indicating that school adjustment is an important aspect of school climate. Initiatives aimed at improving school climate may have beneficial effects on students’ alcohol use.

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BMA continues calls for minimum pricing and advertising ban

Last week the British Medical Association (BMA) annual conference passed a motion to continue calling for a minimum price and a ban on alcohol advertising. The decision comes as previous calls to introduce minimum pricing have been rejected by the government, with the Prime Minister arguing that they would not 'punish the sensible majority'. . . . . .

Alcohol Consumption Indices of Genetic Risk for Alcohol Dependence
Biological Psychiatry Article in Press, 3 July 2009

Genetic influences accounted for 30%–51% of the variance in the alcohol measures and genetic correlations were .90 or higher for all measures, with the correlation between consumption and dependence symptoms among nondependent individuals estimated at .97 (95% confidence interval: .80–1.00).

Heaviness of consumption and AD symptoms have a high degree of genetic overlap even among nondependent individuals in the general population, implying that genetic influences on dependence risk in the general population are acting to a considerable degree through heaviness of use and that quantitative measures of consumption will likely have a useful role in the identification of genes contributing to AD.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The δ1 Opioid Receptor Is a Heterodimer That Opposes the Actions of the δ2 Receptor on Alcohol Intake
Biological Psychiatry Article in Press 3 July 2009

We show that the subtypes of the δ receptor, δ1 and δ2, have opposing effects on ethanol consumption. We find that these effects are synergistic; thereby suggesting that δ1 and δ2 receptors are distinct molecular targets. Indeed, we provide both in vitro as well as in vivo evidence that the δ1 subtype is a μ-δ heterodimer and that the δ2 subtype is most likely a δ homomer.

Together these data provide insight into the limited actions of the clinically important drug naltrexone and identify a novel target with improved specificity and efficacy for the development of new therapeutics for the treatment of alcoholism.

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The Impact of Alcohol in: Greater Manchester Fourth Quarter - May 2009

This report identifies available alcohol intelligence from across Greater Manchester. The data are separated into six categories: consumption, health related impacts of alcohol, crime, young people, and examples of interventions to tackle excessive alcohol consumption. The report contains the latest annual and quarterly data available. Where no updates have been published, the latest data published in the last quarterly report is still provided here for reference. Where data are new or updated, these are labelled as such throughout this report .

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Development and validation of the Alcoholics Anonymous Intention Measure (AAIM)
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Article in Press, 5 July 2009

Drop-out from 12-step groups is notoriously high, yet the field lacks strong models and scales for addressing this problem. We aim to determine whether the theory of planned behavior (TPB) can be applied to 12-step involvement, and to develop and validate a scale of 12-step readiness based on that theory: the Alcoholics Anonymous Intention Measure (AAIM).

Results generally support the TPB as a model of 12-step involvement and suggest specific targets for 12-step facilitation interventions within attitude, norm, and control components. Findings also support the AAIM as a tool for identifying drop-out risks and tailoring individual interventions.

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Measuring Liability for Substance Use Disorder among College Students: Implications for Screening and Early Intervention
The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Volume 35, Issue 4 July 2009 , pages 233 - 241

Heavy drinking and illicit drug use among college students has been a longstanding public health concern. Current methods to screen and identify college students at-risk for the development of substance use disorders (SUD) are somewhat limited.

This study aimed to cross-validate the work by Kirisci et al., who developed the Transmissible Liability Index (TLI), by deriving a set of items that would be potentially useful for characterizing SUD risk across multiple dimensions among college students.

The TLI-CV was significantly associated with baseline dependence and significantly higher for non-dependent individuals who later became dependent during the subsequent three years of college. These associations were observed for both sexes, Whites, Blacks/African-Americans, Asians, and other racial minorities. The sensitivity and specificity were suboptimal.

The TLI-CV advances prior research to identify college students at risk for SUD. This approach holds potential promise to identify and ultimately modify the trajectories of college students who may be at risk for the development of SUD.

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Genome-wide Association Study of Alcohol Dependence
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(7):773-784.

Alcohol dependence is a serious and common public health problem. It is well established that genetic factors play a major role in the development of this disorder. Identification of genes that contribute to alcohol dependence will improve our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie this disorder.

To identify susceptibility genes for alcohol dependence through a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and a follow-up study in a population of German male inpatients with an early age at onset.

This is the first GWAS and follow-up study to identify a genome-wide significant association in alcohol dependence. Further independent studies are required to confirm these findings.

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Ethanol-Modulated Camouflage Response Screen in Zebrafish Uncovers a Novel Role for cAMP and Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase Signaling in Behavioral Sensitivity to Ethanol
The Journal of Neuroscience, July 1, 2009, 29(26):8408-8418

Ethanol, a widely abused substance, elicits evolutionarily conserved behavioral responses in a concentration-dependent manner in vivo. The molecular mechanisms underlying such behavioral sensitivity to ethanol are poorly understood. While locomotor-based behavioral genetic screening is successful in identifying genes in invertebrate models, such complex behavior-based screening has proven difficult for recovering genes in vertebrates.

Here we report a novel and tractable ethanol response in zebrafish. Using this ethanol-modulated camouflage response as a screening assay, we have identified a zebrafish mutant named fantasma (fan), which displays reduced behavioral sensitivity to ethanol.

Positional cloning reveals that fan encodes type 5 adenylyl cyclase (AC5). fan/ac5 is required to maintain the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in the forebrain structures, including the telencephalon and hypothalamus. Partial inhibition of phosphorylation of ERK in wild-type zebrafish mimics the reduction in sensitivity to stimulatory effects of ethanol observed in the fan mutant, whereas, strikingly, strong inhibition of phosphorylation of ERK renders a stimulatory dose of ethanol sedating.

Since previous studies in Drosophila and mice show a role of cAMP signaling in suppressing behavioral sensitivity to ethanol, our findings reveal a novel, isoform-specific role of AC signaling in promoting ethanol sensitivity, and suggest that the phosphorylation level of the downstream effector ERK is a critical "gatekeeper" of behavioral sensitivity to ethanol.

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Persistent Deficits in Heart Rate Response Habituation Following Neonatal Binge Ethanol Exposure
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research1 Published Online: 10 Jun 2009

These data suggest that there are relatively long-term consequences of neonatal ethanol exposure on nonassociative memory. This impairment in habituation may be relevant to the distractibility and poor focused attention that is pervasive among humans diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

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Alcohol Abuse Enhances Pulmonary Edema in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Published Online: 1 Jul 2009

Pulmonary edema is a cardinal feature of the life-threatening condition known as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Patients with chronic alcohol abuse are known to be at increased risk of developing and dying from ARDS.

Based upon preclinical data, we hypothesized that a history of chronic alcohol abuse in ARDS patients is associated with greater quantities and slower resolution of pulmonary edema compared with ARDS patients without a history of alcohol abuse.

In patients who develop ARDS, alcohol abuse is associated with greater levels EVLW and a trend towards slower resolution of EVLW. Combined with mechanistic and preclinical evidence linking chronic alcohol consumption and ARDS, targeted therapies should be developed for these patients.

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Upregulation of Serotonin Transporter by Alcohol in Human Dendritic Cells: Possible Implication in Neuroimmune Deregulationical
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Published Online: 1 Jul 2009

Our study suggests that alcohol upregulates SERT and MAO-A by elevating cyclic AMP, which may lead to decreased concentration of 5-HT in the extracellular medium. As 5-HT is a major neurotransmitter and an inflammatory mediator, its alcohol-mediated depletion may cause both neurological and immunological deregulation.

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Alcohol-Induced Electrical Remodeling: Effects of Sustained Short-Term Ethanol Infusion on Ion Currents in Rabbit Atrium
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Published Online: 1 Jul 2009

Sustained short-term ethanol infusion in rabbits alters atrial current densities. HHS might be favored by alcohol-induced atrial electrical remodeling.

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Modulation of Brain Endocannabinoid Levels by Voluntary Alcohol Consumption in Alcohol-Preferring AA Rats
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Published Online: 1 Jul 2009

These results demonstrate that voluntary alcohol drinking modulates the levels of endocannabinoids in several brain areas implicated in alcohol reinforcement. AEA and 2-AG were differentially affected, suggesting that they could have partially separate modulatory roles. Alterations were more widespread in females than males, possibly reflecting their higher alcohol intake. Taken together, alcohol-induced release of endocannabinoids may have an important role in alcohol reinforcement and development of alcohol addiction.

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A Single, Moderate Ethanol Exposure Alters Extracellular Dopamine Levels and Dopamine D2 Receptor Function in the Nucleus Accumbens of Wistar Rats
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Published Online: 1 Jul 2009

The present results indicate that a single EtOH pretreatment at a moderate dose can increase DA neurotransmission in the NAc due, in part, to reduced D2 autoreceptor function.

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Reduction of Alcohol's Reinforcing and Motivational Properties by the Positive Allosteric Modulator of the GABAB Receptor, BHF177, in Alcohol-Preferring Rats
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Published Online: 1 Jul 2009

The present results extend to BHF177 the capacity of the 2 previously tested positive allosteric modulators of the GABAB receptor, CGP7930 and GS39783, to specifically suppress alcohol's reinforcing and motivational properties in alcohol-preferring rats.

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Social–cognitive correlates of protective drinking behaviors and alcohol-related consequenes in college students
Addictive Behaviors Article in Press 27 May 2009

Although heavy episodic drinkers are at risk to experience alcohol-related consequences, studies show that a large percentage of student drinkers do not experience problems as a result of their drinking.
The present study was a more in-depth examination of factors beyond just drinking quantity and frequency to explain why students experience consequences. The current research examined the relationship between the use of protective behaviors, alcohol use, and alcohol related consequences, as well as the relationship between attitudinal and cognitive predictors of engaging in protective behaviors when drinking.

We hypothesized there would be a significant direct effect of protective behaviors on consequences after taking into account the effect of alcohol use and that cognitive predictors, including perceived self-efficacy, perceived effectiveness, and subjective norm, would be associated with the attitude and frequency of engaging in protective behaviors.

Results supported both hypotheses, indicating good model fit for all models and significant paths between constructs .

These findings extend the literature on protective behaviors by providing insight as to their utility in preventing harm and why students choose to engage in these behaviors. Implications for interventions are also discussed.

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