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, September 12, 2009

Medvedev proposes anti-alcoholism measures
MOSCOW, September 11 (RIA Novosti)

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the government on Friday to prepare draft laws on his package of measures to counter alcohol abuse, the Kremlin said.

On August 12 the president said that measures taken so far to curb alcohol abuse and other addictions in the country had been insufficient, and ordered the government to develop new rules for the sale of alcohol.

The proposals include tougher sanctions against retailers who break alcohol sale laws, which may lead to criminal proceedings against repeat violators.

The law will also enable regional authorities to introduce restrictions on the times, conditions and locations of alcohol sales.

The measures also include a ban on selling low-alcoholic drinks in containers of more than 330 ml. . . . . . .

Screening for atypical suicide risk with person fit statistics among people presenting to alcohol and other drug treatment
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Article in Press, 12 Sep 2009

Symptoms of internalizing disorders (depression, anxiety, somatic, trauma) are the major risk factors for suicide. Atypical suicide risk is characterized by people with few or no symptoms of internalizing disorders.

In persons screened at intake to alcohol or other drug (AOD) treatment, this research examined whether person fit statistics would support an atypical subtype at high risk for suicide that did not present with typical depression and other internalizing disorders.

Person fit statistics were useful in identifying persons with atypical suicide profiles and in enlightening aspects of existing theory concerning atypical suicidal ideation.

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EEG spectral phenotypes: Heritability and association with marijuana and alcohol dependence in an American Indian community study
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Article in Press, 12 Sep 2009

Native Americans have some of the highest rates of marijuana and alcohol use and abuse, yet neurobiological measures associated with dependence on these substances in this population remain unknown.

The present investigation evaluated the heritability of spectral characteristics of the electroencephalogram (EEG) and their correlation with marijuana and alcohol dependence in an American Indian community.

These data suggest that the traits of EEG delta and high beta/gamma activity are correlated with MJ dependence and alcohol dependence, respectively, in this community sample of Native Americans.

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Alcohol and Cognitive Function: Assessment in Everyday Life and Laboratory Settings Using Mobile Phones
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Early View 9 Sep 2009

Mobile phone (cellphone) technology makes it practicable to assess cognitive function in a natural setting. We assessed this method and compared impairment of performance due to alcohol in everyday life with measurements made in the laboratory.

We found that mobile phones allowed practical research on cognitive performance in an everyday life setting. Alcohol impaired function in both laboratory and everyday life settings at relevant doses of alcohol.

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The Mammalian Circadian Clock Exhibits Acute Tolerance to Ethanol
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Early View 9 Sep 2009

Tolerance to ethanol is observed over a variety of time courses, from minutes to days. Acute tolerance, which develops over 5 to 60 minutes, has been observed for both behavioral and neurophysiological variables and may involve changes in signaling through NMDA, GABA, or other receptors.

Previous work has shown that both acute and chronic ethanol treatments modulate photic and nonphotic phase resetting of the mammalian circadian clock located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Although not specifically tested, the data thus far do not point to the development of chronic tolerance to the modulatory effects of ethanol.

Here we investigated whether acute tolerance the ethanol occurs with respect to in vitro phase modulation of the SCN clock.

Both the inhibiting and enhancing effects of ethanol on in vitro SCN clock phase resetting show acute tolerance. Additional experiments are needed to determine whether more slowly developing forms of tolerance also occur with respect to the SCN circadian clock.

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Roles of the Genetic Polymorphisms of Alcohol-Metabolizing Enzymes on the Immunology in High-Risk Drinkers
Toxicological Sciences 2009 111(2):267-276

Alcohol metabolism involves several enzymes and the individual genetic variations in the alcohol metabolism are related to the absorption, distribution, and elimination of alcohol and metabolites such as acetaldehyde. Therefore, the genetic variations of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes are responsible for the different toxicity of alcohol in several organs like liver and immunological systems.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate if the life styles such as drinking and smoking and the genetic variations of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes (ADH2, ALDH2, CYP2E1, and CAT) were associated with the immunological biomarkers.

Our results suggested that the habits of drinking, smoking, and betel chewing, and genetic variations of alcohol metabolism were associated with the immunological biomarkers.

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SNP curb on drink prices is condemned in America
12 September 2009 By Tom Peterkin

THE Scottish Government's flagship proposal to tackle the nation's alcohol problem has been attacked by US drinks companies who have urged ministers to abandon their minimum pricing policy.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States has warned that the controversial policy may contravene international rules and will affect trade.

The intervention by the national trade association representing America's leading distillers is a further setback for the policy which is at the heart of the Scottish Government's measures to crack down on alcohol abuse. . . . . . .

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Alcohol Assessment Among College Students Using Wireless Mobile Technology

J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs 70: 771-775, 2009

This study used a two-group randomized design to assess the validity of measuring self-reported alcohol consumption among college students using the Handheld Assisted Network Diary (HAND), a daily diary assessment administered using wireless mobile devices.

The study findings support the validity of wireless mobile devices as a daily assessment of alcohol use among college students.

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Subjective Stimulant and Sedative Effects of Alcohol During Early Drinking Experiences Predict Alcohol Involvement in Treated Adolescents
J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs 70: 660-667, 2009)

Research on low subjective response to alcohol has focused primarily on alcohol's sedative effects during early drinking experiences. This study examined subjective response to both stimulant and sedative effects of alcohol during initial drinking experiences as predictors of treated adolescents' severity of alcohol involvement before treatment and over 1-year follow-up.

Study findings suggest potentially important roles for both early subjective stimulant and sedative effects of alcohol in relation to adolescent alcohol involvement

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Seven Years Later: Developmental Transitions and Delinquent Behavior for Male Adolescents Who Received Long-Term Substance Treatment
J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs 70: 641-651, 2009)

Few studies have applied the "life course perspective" to the study of drug use, a noticeable omission in the field. The current study addresses this gap by examining patterns of interpersonal crime, substance use, and emotional problems over 7 years for a sample of 196 high-risk males as they transition from adolescence to young adulthood, with a specific focus on the role of transitions (living alone, employment, marrying or cohabiting with a romantic partner, graduating from high school or acquiring a General Equivalency Diploma, and becoming a parent) on these patterns.

Living independently and cohabiting were associated with decreased substance problems. Living with children was associated with increased interpersonal crime. Living away from parents was associated with an increase in substance problems following the transition and then a subsequent decrease in problems over time. No effects were found for receiving a diploma or having employment.
It is crucial to begin to understand how developmental transitions may affect high-risk adolescents' involvement in criminal behavior, substance use, and emotional problems. The current study suggests that several transitions were associated with a reduction in problems as these youth transitioned into young adulthood

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Intergenerational Transmission of Alcohol Expectancies in a High-Risk Sample
J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs 70: 675-682, 2009

The goal of the present study was to examine prospectively two interrelated processes simultaneously: (1) the intergenerational transmission of alcohol expectancies and (2) the intergenerational transmission of alcohol use.

These results suggest that fathers' alcohol-use behavior is more influential in boys' alcohol expectancy development than are fathers' expectancies and that alcohol expectancies during emerging adulthood may be one mechanism underlying the intergenerational transmission of drinking among males.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Detecting Alcohol-Related Problems in Developing Countries: A Comparison of 2 Screening Measures in India
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Early View 9 Sep 2009

There is inadequate recognition of alcohol misuse as a public health issue in India. Information on screening measures is critical for prevention and early intervention efforts. This study critically evaluated the full and shorter versions of the AUDIT and RAPS4-QF as screening measures for alcohol use disorders (AUDs) in a community sample of male drinkers in Goa, India.

All measures were efficient at detecting AUDs. When screening for alcohol-related problems among males in the general population in India, cut-off scores for screeners may need to be adjusted. Selecting an appropriate screening measure and cut-off score necessitates careful consideration of the screening context and resources available to confirm alcohol-related diagnoses.

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Prevalence and Patterns of Alcohol Consumption and Health-Risk Behaviors Among High School Students in Thailand
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Early View 0 Sep 2009

Underage drinking is a significant social and public health problem in Thailand. We report the prevalence and patterns of alcohol consumption and associated health-risk behaviors using data from a 2007–2008 national school survey.

Alcohol consumption is a serious problem among adolescents in Thailand and is strongly associated with various health-risk behaviors. Effective age- and gender-specific interventions should be implemented to discourage underage drinking and associated adverse health and social consequences.

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Sex Differences in Acoustic Startle Responses and Seizure Thresholds between Ethanol-Withdrawn Male and Female Rats
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on September 10, 2009

We have found consistent and significant sex differences in recovery from the increased seizure susceptibility observed during ethanol withdrawal (EW) in our rat model system. The main objective of the present study was to determine if sex differences in EW generalized to an additional behavioral measure startle reactivity.

Observed sex differences in the startle reactivity during EW were consistent with earlier findings comparing EW seizure risk in male and female rats. Responses of OVX suggested that both hormones and differences in brain structures between males and females have a role in these sex differences. Our findings add weight to recommendations that treatment of alcohol withdrawal in humans should consider hormonal status as well as withdrawal time.

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Computer-delivered interventions to reduce college student drinking: a meta-analysis
Addiction Early View 10 September 2009

This meta-analysis evaluates the efficacy of computer-delivered interventions (CDIs) to reduce alcohol use among college students

The effects of CDIs depended on the nature of the comparison condition: CDIs reduced quantity and frequency measures relative to assessment-only controls, but rarely differed from comparison conditions that included alcohol-relevant content. Small-to-medium within-group effect sizes can be expected for CDIs at short- and long-term follow-ups; these changes are less than or equivalent to the within-group effect sizes observed for more intensive interventions.

CDIs reduce the quantity and frequency of drinking among college students. CDIs are generally equivalent to alternative alcohol-related comparison interventions.

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Drink and drugs a leading cause of youth deaths
Sarah Boseley, health editor
The Guardian, Friday 11 September 2009

The deaths of more than 3,000 young people in the UK every year could be prevented and many are precipitated by Britain's drink and drugs culture, a leading child health expert claims.

"Britain has much higher rates of alcohol and drug misuse than many other high income countries," said Russell Viner, from the Institute of Child Health, in London, one of the authors of a global study on the scale and causes of adolescent deaths published today by the Lancet medical journal. . . . . .

Treatment, Alcoholics Anonymous, and 16-Year Changes in Impulsivity and Legal Problems Among Men and Women With Alcohol Use Disorders
J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs 70: 714-725, 2009

The link between impulsive personality traits and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) is well established. No studies, however, have investigated whether receipt of help for AUDs predicts change in impulsivity or whether such change is associated with relevant outcomes such as legal problems.

The present study examined predictive associations between the duration of help for AUDs (Alcoholics Anonymous [AA], professional treatment) and impulsivity and legal problems over 16 years in men and women with AUDs.

The results highlight the potential for AA and professional treatment to reduce the expression of impulsivity and related disinhibitory traits and legal problems in individuals with AUDs.

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A systems approach to college drinking: development of a deterministic model for testing alcohol control policies.
J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2009 Sep;70(5):805-21.

The misuse and abuse of alcohol among college students remain persistent problems. Using a systems approach to understand the dynamics of student drinking behavior and thus forecasting the impact of campus policy to address the problem represents a novel approach. Toward this end, the successful development of a predictive mathematical model of college drinking would represent a significant advance for prevention efforts.

A simple, five-state compartmental model adequately predicted the actual drinking patterns of students from a variety of campuses surveyed in the Social Norms Marketing Research Project study. The model predicted the impact on drinking patterns of several simulated interventions to address heavy episodic drinking on various types of campuses.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

p38SJ, a novel DINGG protein protects neuronal cells from alcohol induced injury and death
Journal of Cellular Physiology Early View 8 Sep 2009

Ethanol induces neuronal cell injury and death by dysregulating several signaling events that are controlled, in part, by activation of MAPK/ERK1/2 and/or inactivation of its corresponding phosphatase, PP1. Recently, we have purified a novel protein of 38 kDa in size, p38SJ, from a callus culture of Hypericum perforatum, which belongs to an emerging DINGG family of proteins with phosphate binding activity.

Here, we show that treatment of neuronal cells with p38SJ protects cells against injury induced by exposure to ethanol. Furthermore, pre-treatment of neuronal cells with p38SJ diminishes the level of the pro-apoptotic protein Bax and some events associated with apoptosis such as caspase 3 cleavage. In addition, by inducing stress, alcohol can elevate production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that leads to a decrease in the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD).

Our results showed that p38SJ restores the activity of SOD in the ethanol treated neuronal cells. These observations provide a novel biological tool for developing new approaches for preventing neuronal cell death induced by ethanol and possibly treatment of neurological disorders associated with alcohol abuse. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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A validation study of the alcohol dependence scale.
J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs 70: 689-699, 2009

The primary purpose of this study was to provide a comprehensive assessment of the underlying factor structure of the Alcohol Dependence Scale (ADS). Secondary goals included assessing concurrent validity of the total ADS and subscales derived from the factor analyses with variables related to alcohol dependence and further evaluating the validity of two proposed dichotomously scored, reduced-item ADS measures.

These findings support a three-factor solution for the ADS and its ability to assess the construct of alcohol dependence in a reliable and valid manner. The 12-item reduced ADS measure (reflecting mostly dependence-related items), as opposed to the 9-item reduced ADS measure (generally excessive drinking items), provided validity coefficients comparable to the total, 25-item ADS.

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Results from the 2008National Survey on Drug Use and Health:National Findings

This report presents the first information from the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual survey sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The survey is the primary source of information on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco in the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States aged 12 years old or older. The survey interviews approximately 67,500 persons each year.

Alcohol Use

  • Slightly more than half of Americans aged 12 or older reported being current drinkers of alcohol in the 2008 survey (51.6 percent). This translates to an estimated 129.0 million people, which was similar to the 2007 estimate of 126.8 million people (51.1 percent).

  • In 2008, more than one fifth (23.3 percent) of persons aged 12 or older participated in binge drinking. This translates to about 58.1 million people, similar to the estimate in 2007. Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the 30 days prior to the survey.

  • In 2008, heavy drinking was reported by 6.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older, or 17.3 million people. This rate was the same as the rate of heavy drinking in 2007. Heavy drinking is defined as binge drinking on at least 5 days in the past 30 days.

  • Among young adults aged 18 to 25 in 2008, the rate of binge drinking was 41.0 percent, and the rate of heavy drinking was 14.5 percent. These rates were similar to the rates in 2007.

  • The rate of current alcohol use among youths aged 12 to 17 was 14.6 percent in 2008, which is lower than the 2007 rate (15.9 percent). Youth binge and heavy drinking rates in 2008 were 8.8 percent (lower than the 9.7 percent rate in 2007) and 2.0 percent, respectively.

  • Past month and binge drinking rates among underage persons (aged 12 to 20) declined between 2002 and 2008. The rate of past month underage drinking declined from 28.8 to 26.4 percent, and the rate of past month binge drinking declined from 19.3 to 17.4 percent.

  • Past month alcohol use rates declined between 2002 and 2008 for those aged 12 or 13 (4.3 to 3.4 percent), 14 or 15 (16.6 to 13.1 percent), 16 or 17 (32.6 to 26.2 percent), and 18 to 20 (51.0 to 48.7 percent).

  • Among persons aged 12 to 20, past month alcohol use rates in 2008 were 17.2 percent among Asians, 19.0 percent among blacks, 22.9 percent among those reporting two or more races, 23.1 percent among Hispanics, 26.4 percent among American Indians or Alaska Natives, and 30.1 percent among whites.

  • In 2008, 56.2 percent of current drinkers aged 12 to 20 reported that their last use of alcohol in the past month occurred in someone else's home, and 29.6 percent reported that it had occurred in their own home. About one third (30.8 percent) paid for the alcohol the last time they drank, including 8.3 percent who purchased the alcohol themselves and 22.3 percent who gave money to someone else to purchase it. Among those who did not pay for the alcohol they last drank, 37.4 percent got it from an unrelated person aged 21 or older, 21.1 percent from another person under 21 years of age, and 21.0 percent from a parent, guardian, or other adult family member.

  • In 2008, an estimated 12.4 percent of persons aged 12 or older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year. This percentage has dropped since 2002, when it was 14.2 percent. The rate of driving under the influence of alcohol was highest among persons aged 21 to 25 (26.1 percent).\
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Prevention of alcohol-related harm in the workplace
DrugInfo Newsletter: September 2009

Total Exposure and Exposure Rate Effects for Alcohol and Smoking and Risk of Head and Neck Cancer: A Pooled Analysis of Case-Control Studies
American Journal of Epidemiology Advance Access published online on September 10, 2009
Although cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption increase risk for head and neck cancers, there have been few attempts to model risks quantitatively and to formally evaluate cancer site-specific risks.

\The authors pooled data from 15 case-control studies and modeled the excess odds ratio (EOR) to assess risk by total exposure (pack-years and drink-years) and its modification by exposure rate (cigarettes/day and drinks/day).
EOR/drink-year estimates increased through 10 drinks/day, suggesting that greater drinks/day for a shorter duration was more deleterious than fewer drinks/day for a longer duration. Above 10 drinks/day, data were limited. EOR/drink-year estimates varied by site, while drinks/day effects were homogeneous, indicating that the greater pharyngeal/oral cavity cancer risk with alcohol consumption derived from the differential effects of drink-years and not drinks/day.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Editorial - Alcohol and social marketing
BMJ 2009;339:b3646

Is it time to stop peddling the myth?

The use and abuse of alcohol in society is complex. Although international evidence shows that the main drivers of consumption are price and availability, there are many other factors that are deeply embedded in society and individual behaviours that influence how, why, and how much people drink. A recent report from the BMA, Under the influence—the damaging effect of alcohol marketing on young people, provides a fascinating overview of the links between advertising, promotion, and consumption.

Its main author, Gerard Hastings, is the first professor of social marketing in the UK and is clearly disturbed by the accumulating evidence on the links between the £800m (915m, $1313m) spent annually by the alcohol industry on marketing and the nation’s consumption. The report’s analysis of the evidence confirms that alcohol marketing is independently linked to the age of onset of drinking in young people and the amount they drink. . . . . .

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Doctors call time on alcohol promotion
(issued Tuesday 08 Sep 2009)

In a bid to tackle the soaring cost of alcohol-related harm, particularly in young people, the BMA is calling for a total ban on alcohol advertising, including sports events and music festival sponsorship. In addition, the BMA is calling for an end to all promotional deals like happy hours, two-for-one purchases and ladies’ free entry nights.

The new BMA report, “Under the Influence”, launched today (Tuesday 8 September 2009) also renews the call for other tough measures such as a minimum price per unit on alcoholic drinks and for them to be taxed higher than the rate of inflation. . . . . . .

Sex Differences in NMDA Receptor Expression in Human Alcoholics
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on September 7, 2009

The aim of this study was to assess whether chronic alcohol misuse affects N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor subunit concentrations in human cases, and whether male and female subjects respond differently.

NMDA receptor subunit expression may differentially influence male and female cirrhotic alcoholics’ susceptibility to brain damage.

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Compulsive alcohol drinking in rodents
Addiction Biology Volume 14 Issue 4, Pages 384 - 396

Upon prolonged alcohol exposure, the behaviour of an individual can gradually switch from controlled to compulsive. Our review is focused on the neurobiological mechanisms that might underlie this transition as well as the factors that are influencing it.

Animal studies suggest that temporally increased alcohol consumption during post-abstinence drinking is accompanied by a loss of flexibility of the behaviour and therefore, could serve as a model for compulsive alcohol drinking. However, studies using different alcohol-preferring rat lines in the post-abstinence drinking model suggest that high alcohol consumption does not necessarily lead to the development of compulsive drinking. This indicates the significance of genetic predisposition to compulsive behaviour.

Neuroimaging data show that chronic alcohol consumption affects the activity of several brain regions such as the extrapyramidal motor system and several areas of the prefrontal cortex including the orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate cortex. Similar changes in brain activity is seen in patients suffering from obsessive–compulsive disorder at baseline conditions and during provocation of obsessive thoughts and urge to perform compulsive-like rituals. This indicates that dysfunction of these regions may be responsible for the expression of compulsive components of alcohol drinking behaviour.

Several brain neurotransmitter systems seem to be responsible for the switch from controlled to compulsive behaviour. In particular, hypofunctioning of monoaminergic systems and hyperfunctioning of glutamatergic systems may play a role in compulsive alcohol drinking.

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The interaction between the dopamine transporter gene and age at onset in relation to tobacco and alcohol use among 19-year-olds
Addiction Biology Volume 14 Issue 4, Pages 489 - 499

Recent evidence suggests that heterogeneity in the age at onset could explain the inconsistent findings of association studies relating the dopamine transporter (DAT1) gene with alcohol and nicotine consumption.

The aim of this study was to examine interactions between two DAT1 polymorphisms and different initiation ages with regard to alcohol and tobacco consumption levels and dependence.

Results suggest that age at onset of intensive consumption moderated the association of the DAT1 gene with early adult substance use and dependence, revealing a DAT1 effect only among individuals homozygous for the 10r allele of the 40-bp VNTR who had started daily smoking or being intoxicated early in life. Equally, carriers of the T allele of the rs27072 polymorphism reporting an early age at first intoxication showed higher current alcohol consumption at age 19 years. In contrast, no interaction between rs27072 and the age at first cigarette with regard to later smoking was observed.

These findings provide evidence that the DAT1 gene interacts with an early heavy or regular drug exposure of the maturing adolescent brain to predict substance (ab)use in young adulthood. Further studies are required to confirm these findings.

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Relationship Between Potentially Modifiable Lifestyle Factors and Risk of Second Primary Contralateral Breast Cancer Among Women Diagnosed With Estrogen Receptor–Positive Invasive Breast Cancer
JCO Early Release, published online ahead of print Sep 8 2009

An outcome of considerable concern among breast cancer survivors is the development of second primary breast cancer. However, evidence regarding how potentially modifiable lifestyle factors modulate second breast cancer risk is limited.
We evaluated the relationships between obesity, alcohol consumption, and smoking on risk of second primary invasive contralateral breast cancer among breast cancer survivors.

Our population-based study adds to the limited available literature and suggests that obesity, smoking, and alcohol consumption influence contralateral breast cancer risk, affording breast cancer survivors three means of potentially reducing this risk.

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Drinkaware's £100m campaign launched

The 'biggest ever campaign aimed at 18-24 year old binge drinkers' was launched last week by the Drinkaware Trust. A briefing for the campaign said posters and materials would be featured in pubs, bars, phoneboxes, supermarkets and off licenses across the UK. The campaign’s ‘Why let good times go bad?’ logo will also feature on 13 million products, including bottles, cans and multipacks, whilst server staff will be educated in alcohol awareness. . . . . .

Ontological Discovery Environment: A system for integrating gene-phenotype associations
Genomics Article in Press 3 September 2009
The wealth of genomic technologies has enabled biologists to rapidly ascribe phenotypic characters to biological substrates. Central to effective biological investigation is the operational definition of the process under investigation.

We propose an elucidation of categories of biological characters, including disease relevant traits, based on natural endogenous processes and experimentally observed biological networks, pathways and systems rather than on externally manifested constructs and current semantics such as disease names and processes.

The Ontological Discovery Environment (ODE) is an Internet accessible resource for the storage, sharing, retrieval and analysis of phenotype-centered genomic data sets across species and experimental model systems. Any type of data set representing gene-phenotype relationships, such quantitative trait loci (QTL) positional candidates, literature reviews, microarray experiments, ontological or even meta-data, may serve as inputs. To demonstrate a use case leveraging the homology capabilities of ODE and its ability to synthesize diverse data sets, we conducted an analysis of genomic studies related to alcoholism.

The core of ODE’s gene-set similarity, distance and hierarchical analysis is the creation of a bipartite network of gene-phenotype relations, a unique discrete graph approach to analysis that enables set-set matching of non-referential data. Gene sets are annotated with several levels of metadata, including community ontologies, while gene set translations compare models across species. Computationally derived gene sets are integrated into hierarchical trees based on gene-derived phenotype interdependencies. Automated set identifications are augmented by statistical tools which enable users to interpret the confidence of modeled results.

This approach allows data integration and hypothesis discovery across multiple experimental contexts, regardless of the face similarity and semantic annotation of the experimental systems or species domain.

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Industry hits back at BMA report
8 September, 2009
By John Porter

Advertising ban would cost jobs, insists WSTA

The drinks trade has hit back at the British Medical Association's (BMA) call for strict curbs on alcohol promotion and sales.

Critics say the proposals in the
'Under the Influence' report would cost jobs without having any impact on alcohol misuse. . . . . . .

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Under the influence - the damaging effect of alcohol marketing on young people

Alcohol consumption in the UK has increased rapidly in recent years, not just among young people, but across society. The population is drinking in increasingly harmful ways and the result is a range of avoidable medical, psychological and social harm, damaged lives and early deaths. As consumption has increased, the market for alcohol has grown substantially. This has been driven by vast promotional and marketing campaigns with the UK alcohol industry spending approximately £800m annually.

Alcohol marketing communications have a powerful effect on young people and come in many forms. These include traditional advertisements on television through ubiquitous ambient advertising to new media such as social network sites and viral campaigns. The cumulative effect of this promotion is to reinforce and exaggerate strong pro-alcohol social norms. Beyond marketing communications companies use integrated consumer marketing strategies including pricing, distribution and product design to develop and manage brands. Stakeholder marketing, including partnership working and industry-funded health education, is also used by the alcohol industry as a means to influence policy makers and regulators.

This report examines the damaging effect of alcohol marketing on young people. It aims to identify effective ways of protecting young people from the influence of alcohol promotion and marketing, thereby redressing the excessively pro-alcohol social norms to which they are exposed.

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Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: A Global Perspective

The Second Expert Report involved thousands of studies and hundreds of experts from around the world. First, a task force established a uniform and scientific method to collect the relevant evidence. Next, independent research teams from universities and research centers around the world collected all relevant literature on 17 different cancers, along with research on causes of obesity, cancer survivors and other reports on chronic diseases. In the final step, an independent panel of 21 world-renowned scientists assessed and evaluated the vast body of evidence.

C H A P T E R 4 • F O O D S A N D D R I N K S

4.8 Alcoholic Drinks pp 157-171

Overall, the Panel judges that alcoholic drinks are a cause of cancers of a number of sites and that, in general, the evidence is stronger than it was in the mid-1990s. The evidence does not show any ‘safe limit’ of intake. The effect is from ethanol, irrespective of the type of drink. Ethanol is classified by the International Agency for Cancer Research as a human carcinogen.

The Panel judges as follows: The evidence that alcoholic drinks are a cause of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx, oesophagus, colorectum (men), and breast is convincing. They are probably a cause of liver cancer, and of colorectal cancer in women. It is unlikely that alcoholic drinks have a substantial adverse effect on the risk of kidney cancer.

In final summary, the evidence is that alcoholic drinks are a cause of cancers of the mouth pharynx, and larynx; the oesophagus; the colorectum in men, and the breast; and probably of iver cancer and colorectal cancer in women. It is unlikely that alcoholic drinks have a substantial adverse effect on the risk of kidney cancer.

C H A P T E R 1 2 • P U B L I C H E A L T H G O A L S A N D P E R S O N A L R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S

Recommendation 6 pg 384
If alcoholic drinks are consumed, limit consumption to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women

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Alcoholic Drinks Advertisements Compliance Survey 2008

The ASA is the UK self-regulatory body for maintaining standards in advertising. It does this by administering the mandatory advertising Codes and by actively monitoring compliance.

The Codes contain special rules for alcohol, which sit on top of the general provisions that all ads must not mislead, harm or offend. The rules for alcohol dvertisements were strengthened significantly in 2005 and are actively promoted and enforced.

The ASA has undertaken this survey to determine the compliance rate of alcohol ads with the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code) and with the BCAP TV and Radio Advertising Standards Codes (the BCAP Codes).

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Monday, September 7, 2009

The Activity of Lysosomal Exoglycosidases in Serum of Alcohol-Dependent Men Supplemented with Borage Oil Enriched with Vitamin E
Journal of Medicinal Food. August 2009, 12(4): 914-918.

The aim of this study was to determine the activity of the lysosomal exoglycosidases: α-mannosidase (MAN), α-fucosidase (FUC), and β-glucuronidase (GLUCUR) in serum of alcohol-dependent men supplemented and not supplemented with borage oil enriched with vitamin E.

Specific activity of FUC in serum of alcohol-dependent men both not supplemented and supplemented with borage oil enriched with vitamin E showed a tendency to increase, in comparison with social drinkers. Specific activity of FUC had a tendency to decrease in serum of alcohol-dependent men supplemented with borage oil enriched with vitamin E, in comparison with alcohol-dependent men not supplemented.

Thus, supplementation of alcohol-dependent men after a long-lasting drinking period with borage oil and vitamin E did not change the rate of catabolism of the oligosaccharide chains of glycoconjugates, as evaluated by serum activity of exoglycosidases.

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Sleep electroencephalogram in children with a parental history of alcohol abuse/dependence
Journal of Sleep Research Early View 7 September 2009

We examined the sleep electroencephalogram (EEG) in 9- and 10-year-old children with (PH+) and without (PH−) a parental history of alcohol abuse/dependence to determine whether sleep disturbances associated with alcohol precede the onset of alcohol use.

We found no signs of sleep disruption in sleep stages for PH+ children. Sleep EEG spectral differences, however, suggest that certain circuits responsible for 'protecting' sleep may be impaired in PH+ children, which may lead to disrupted sleep later in life.

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Bioavailability of Gallic Acid and Catechins from Grape Seed Polyphenol Extract is Improved by Repeated Dosing in Rats: Implications for Treatment in Alzheimer's Disease
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease Volume 18, Number 1 / 2009 pp, 113-124

The present study explored the bioavailability and brain deposition of a grape seed polyphenolic extract (GSPE) previously found to attenuate cognitive deterioration in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Repeated daily exposure to GSPE was found to significantly increase bioavailability (defined as plasma AUC_{0-8h}) of GA, C, and EC by 198, 253, and 282% relative to animals receiving only a single acute GSPE dose. EC and C were not detectable in brain tissues of rats receiving a single GSPE dose but reached levels of 290.7 ± 45.9 and 576.7 ± 227.7 pg/g in brain tissues from rats administered GSPE for 10 days.

This study suggests that brain deposition of GA, C, and EC is affected by repeated dosing of GSPE.

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News Release - Rate of teen binge drinking cut more than one-third by prevention system

Rates of binge drinking were 37 percent lower among eighth-grade students in communities in seven states that used a prevention system designed to reduce drug use and delinquent behavior compared to teenagers in communities that did not use the system.

Eighth graders in the towns that offered the Communities That Care prevention system also had significantly lower levels of alcohol and smokeless tobacco use and engaged in fewer delinquent behaviors, according to a new University of Washington paper being published Monday (Sept. 7) in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

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Results of a Type 2 Translational Research Trial to Prevent Adolescent Drug Use and Delinquency
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009;163(9):789-798.

To test whether the Communities That Care (CTC) prevention system reduces adolescent alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use and delinquent behavior communitywide.

The incidences of alcohol, cigarette and smokeless tobacco initiation, and delinquent behavior were significantly lower in CTC than in control communities for students in grades 5 through 8. In grade 8, the prevalences of alcohol and smokeless tobacco use in the last 30 days, binge drinking in the last 2 weeks, and the number of different delinquent behaviors committed in the last year were significantly lower for students in CTC communities.

Using the CTC system to reduce health-risking behaviors in adolescents can significantly reduce these behaviors communitywide.

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Alcohol Awareness Study 2009

In February 2009, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released new guidelines on the consumption of alcohol, the Australian Guidelines to Reduce the Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol. Guideline focuses on the consumption of alcohol by children and young people aged under 18 years.

The Salvation Army commissioned Roy Morgan Research to conduct research to help understand the public’s awareness of these guidelines and, given the guidelines’ strong advice that young people aged under 18 years abstain from drinking, the community’s practice of and attitude to underage drinking.

The results from this study suggest that the awareness of the consequences of underage drinking, as set out in the NHMRC guidelines, is low amongst Australians and in particular, young people.

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