To support the free and open dissemination of research findings and information on alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. To encourage open access to peer-reviewed articles free for all to view.

For full versions of posted research articles readers are encouraged to email requests for "electronic reprints" (text file, PDF files, FAX copies) to the corresponding or lead author, who is highlighted in the posting.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Effect of topiramate treatment on ethanol consumption in rats
Psychopharmacology Online First 13 October 2009

Results from clinical studies have shown that topiramate effectively reduces alcohol consumption in a population of heavy-drinking alcohol-dependent humans.

Topiramate treatment produced a modest, but persistent (average of 5 days), reduction in ethanol consumption in P rats, and this effect did not vary with level of consumption. Topiramate did not affect ethanol consumption in either group of Wistar rats.

The results from this study establish in a rodent model that topiramate effectively and persistently reduces ethanol consumption and suggests that its efficacy may depend on genetic vulnerability but not level of drinking.

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The genetics of addiction
By Claudia Wallis, contributor
October 16, 2009

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Why do some people get hooked on drugs and alcohol, while others can party hard and walk away? We tend to think it's a matter of willpower or moral fiber, but it has more to do with a roll of the genetic dice.

Large-scale studies of twins provide strong evidence that addiction ranks "among the most heritable of mental illnesses," says Dr. David Goldman, who heads the Laboratory of Neurogenetics at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. . . . . .

Alcohol consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease in postmenopausal women with diabetes: Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study
European Journal of Nutrition Online First 13 October 2009

Although several observational studies have consistently reported an inverse association between moderate alcohol consumption and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), it is yet not well established if this association also exists among people with type 2 diabetes.

The aim of this study is to evaluate the association between the frequency and quantity of alcohol intake and the risk of developing CHD among postmenopausal women with diabetes.

Moderate alcohol consumption of postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes may have a benefit on CHD similar to that seen in postmenopausal nondiabetic women. The potential risks of alcohol on noncardiac outcomes may need consideration when recommending alcohol to women with diabetes.

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Alcohol Acutely Increases Vascular Reactivity together with Insulin Sensitivity in Type 2 Diabetic Men
Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes Online First 15 October 2009

Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with increased insulin sensitivity and reduced cardiovascular risk.
We hypothesized that this relates to a direct effect of alcohol and therefore investigated whether acute alcohol intake altered insulin sensitivity or endothelial function in patients with type 2 diabetes. .

We conclude that alcohol intake acutely increases endothelium-dependent brachial artery vasodilation in patients with type 2 diabetes together with insulin sensitivity.

This acute effect might explain some beneficial effects of low alcohol consumption in epidemiological observations.

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GAIN Coordinating Center
2008 Data from CSAT Now Available

We are pleased to announce that the 2008 Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) data sets are ready for use by grantees and others interested in using them for secondary analysis. This article provides basic information about the number and type of records included in these two types of data sets and how to access them.
. . . . . . .

Substance use among non-fatally injured patients attended at emergency departments in Spain
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Volume 105, Issue 3, 1 December 2009, Pages 194-201

To describe the prevalence of recent use of alcohol, medication, and illegal drugs among patients who attended emergency departments (EDs) as a result of suffering an injury due to any external mechanism and to identify factors associated with alcohol and drug use.

A high proportion of injured patients who were treated in an EDs tested positive for psychoactive drugs. Routine testing at trauma departments would maximize the identification of patients who may benefit from referral to specialized addiction treatment centers, or brief interventions.

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An IRT-based measure of alcohol trait severity and the role of traitedness in trait validity: A reanalysis of Project MATCH data
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Volume 105, Issue 3, 1 December 2009, Pages 177-184

With the variability among alcohol users in mind, Project MATCH hypothesized several treatment matching relationships based on alcohol severity and alcohol dependence, but found limited effects.

However, it is possible that the existing examinations of Project MATCH data did not fully characterize the nature of severity of alcohol dependence, as these analyses have examined dependence severity as an additive symptom count similar to the diagnostic strategy represented in the DSM-IV.

We examined dependence severity as a latent trait hypothesized to have a characteristic developmental progression using Item Response Theory (IRT), and examined the implications of this approach to severity scaling in the Project MATCH data.

Overall, findings did not support the incremental utility of a latent trait representation of alcohol severity.

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My alcoholic father
Isabel Ashdown
The Guardian, Saturday 17 October 2009

Isabel Ashdown's father was an alcoholic – it killed him when he was only 50. To the outside world, he was charming and charismatic but at home, his unpredictable rages meant the family lived in a continual state of tension . . . . . .


Friday, October 16, 2009

Cot death warning on sharing bed with baby misinterpreted – expert
Sarah Boseley, health editor
The Guardian, Friday 16 October 2009

Parents who sleep with their baby in their bed are not risking a cot death unless they smoke, drink or take drugs, a leading academic said yesterday. Peter Fleming, professor of infant health and developmental physiology in Bristol, said he felt "quite uncomfortable" over reports of a study published this week that had misinterpreted the finding.

The study, by researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Warwick, was published online in the British Medical Journal. Some reports on the research this week took the line that bed sharing with a baby was dangerous in itself.
. . . . . .
Screening Adolescents for Substance Use–Related High-Risk Sexual Behaviors
Journal of Adolescent Health Volume 45, Issue 5, November 2009, Pages 473-477

This analysis was undertaken to determine whether adolescents who screened positive for high-risk substance use with the CRAFFT questions were also more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors than their peers, and to determine the test–retest reliability of a substance use–related sexual risk behaviors inventory.

Clinicians should pay special attention to counseling CRAFFT-positive adolescents regarding use of condoms and the risks associated with sexual activity with multiple partners, while intoxicated, or with an intoxicated partner.

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Racial Differences in the Relationship Between Alcohol Consumption in Early Adulthood and Occupational Attainment at Midlife
AJPH First Look, published online ahead of print Oct 15, 2009

We assessed the relationship between alcohol consumption in young adulthood (ages 18–30 years) and occupational success 15 years later among Blacks and Whites.

Heavy drinking during young adulthood was negatively associated with labor market success at midlife, especially among Blacks.

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Toward a Theory of Motivational Interviewing
Am Psychol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2009 October 9.
Published in final edited form as:
Am Psychol. 2009 September; 64(6): 527–537.

The widely-disseminated clinical method of motivational interviewing (MI) arose through a convergence of science and practice. Beyond a large base of clinical trials, advances have been made toward “looking under the hood” of MI to understand the underlying mechanisms by which it affects behavior change. Such specification of outcome-relevant aspects of practice is vital to theory development, and can inform both treatment delivery and clinical training.

An emergent theory of MI is proposed, emphasizing two specific active components: a relational component focused on empathy and the interpersonal spirit of MI, and a technical component involving the differential evocation and reinforcement of client change talk

A resulting causal chain model links therapist training, therapist and client responses during treatment sessions, and post-treatment outcomes.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Role of Brief Motivational Intervention on Self-Efficacy and Abstinence in a Cohort of Patients with Alcohol Dependence
The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine Volume 39, Number 3 / 2009 Pages: 313 - 323

Brief interventions are effective in reducing heavy drinking in the general population but few studies examined whether it is also effective in alcohol dependent patients, and whether brief intervention increases self-efficacy.

We found that brief motivational interventions had no effect on days of abstinence, nor on self-efficacy, but that high self-efficacy was consistently correlated with a longer period of abstinence, at all assessment-points.

Self-efficacy appears to be a crucial prognosis factor, and is not influenced by brief motivational interventions. Other types of specific psychotherapy, probably more intensive, may be more efficient in alcohol-dependent patients than motivational interventions.

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Alcoholism Isn’t What It Used to Be: New Research on the Nature and Diagnosis of Alcohol Use Disorders

Mark Willenbring, M.D., Director, Division of Treatment and Recovery Research
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIH
December 12, 2007

View Archived Presentation and Slide Show
Runtime: 103 minutes
(Please note: Audio and slide presentation begins at the 45 second mark)

NIAAA Spectrum
Volume 1, Issue 1 September 2009


01 Alcoholism Isn’t What It Used To Be

03 Alcohol "Flush" Signals Increased Cancer Risk Among East Asians

04 Estimating Blood Alcohol Levels in Children

05 How NOT To Raise a College Binge Drinker

06 Lancet Series Examines Alcohol’s Impact on Global Health

07 "Happyhour" Gene Hints at New Alcohol Treatment

08 Young, Tech-Savvy, and Drinking Too Much

CHARTICLE Alcohol Use Disorders Surpass Drug Use Disorders

PHOTO ESSAY How Can a See-Through Fish Help Advance Alcohol Research?

5 QUESTIONS WITH... Dr. Bridget Grant

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Performance measurement for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders
Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy 2009, 4:18

Co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders (COD) are the norm rather than the exception. It is therefore critical that performance measures are developed to assess the quality of care for individuals with COD irrespective of whether they seek care in mental health systems or substance abuse systems or both.

To be successful performance measures need to be developed in such a way that they align with needs of administrators and providers. Policymakers need to work with all stakeholders to establish a concrete agenda for developing, piloting and implementing performance measures that include COD. Future research could begin to consider strategies that increase our ability to use administrative coding in mental health and substance use disorder systems to efficiently capture quality relevant clinical data.

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Behavioral family counseling for substance abuse: A treatment development pilot study
Addictive Behaviors Volume 35, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 1-6

Substance-dependent patients (N = 29) living with a family member other than a spouse were randomly assigned to equally intensive treatments consisting of either (a) Behavioral Family Counseling (BFC) plus Individual-Based Treatment (IBT) or (b) IBT alone.

The present results show BFC is a promising method for retaining patients in treatment, increasing abstinence, and reducing substance use. These results also provide support for larger scale, randomized trials examining the efficacy of behavioral family counseling for patients living with family members beyond spouse.

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Adverse childhood events as risk factors for substance dependence: Partial mediation by mood and anxiety disorders
Addictive Behaviors Volume 35, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 7-13

Adverse childhood events (ACEs) are associated with negative health outcomes. We examined ACEs as risk factors for substance dependence (SD) and the mediating effects of mood and anxiety disorders on the relations between ACEs and SD risk.

ACEs appear to contribute additively to the risk of SD, with mood and anxiety disorders in the causal path for a portion of this risk. The identification and effective treatment of mood and anxiety disorders associated with ACEs could reduce the risk of developing SD.

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Substance use among late adolescent urban youths: Mental health and gender influences
Addictive Behaviors Volume 35, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 30-34

This paper explores gender and mental health influences on alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use among late adolescent urban youths.

Specifically, we examine whether rates of substance use differ by gender, whether mental health indices differ by gender and are predictive of substance use, and whether gender moderates the relationship between mental health and substance use.

Study findings provide evidence that among late adolescent youths living in urban areas, poorer mental health status is associated with increased substance use. Evidence of a moderating effect of gender on the relationship between mental health and substance use was not significant.

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Comorbidity of generalized anxiety disorder and alcohol use disorders among individuals seeking outpatient substance abuse treatment
Addictive Behaviors Volume 35, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 42-45

The present study sought to address a gap in the literature by providing preliminary evidence of the prevalence and clinical characteristics of comorbid generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and alcohol use disorders (AUD) in a front-line outpatient substance abuse clinic.

Study findings provide initial evidence that GAD may be a prevalent and relevant factor among individuals with AUD seeking outpatient substance abuse treatment.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Myths Of Alcohol Use In Ghana

Alcohol, an oxygenated hydrocarbon, is both a food and a drug. It is food because it gives some energy when the body works on it, even though more energy than what it gives is required to break down its waste.

It is a drug because it affects the body chemically and the body breaks it down. Alcohol is said to be psychoactive as it alters the structure and function of the brain to produce its mind, altering effects such as mood changes and social disinhibition by removing shyness and causing ‘talkativeness’.

In Ghana, a lot of misconceptions, which I refer to as myths, surround the (mis)use of alcohol. These misconceptions are explored in the following paragraphs. . . . . .
Alcohol and Co-Sleeping Affect Risk for SIDS
ABC News Medical Unit
Oct. 14, 2009

Study Unravels Why Bed Sharing Raises SIDS Risk in Some Cases but Not Others

Dave Taylor, a Boulder, Colo. father of three school-age kids, is one of the growing number of people who ignored pediatricians' warnings against bed-sharing as a way to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.

I have three kids and they have all survived their babyhood and we co-slept with all three of them," Taylor, author of the Attachment Parenting Blog,, said of his children who are now 12, 9 and 5. "It started out with baby cuddling with mamma and, as they got bigger, they took over the bed. The real issue is room in the bed."

Since the 1990s "Back to Sleep" campaign reduced SIDS deaths by 50 percent, a laundry list of new advisories for parents such as removing pillows or blankets has halved the rate of SIDS once again.

But new research out of England suggests that the risks for SIDS are more nuanced than once thought.

"The findings suggest that much of the risk associated with co-sleeping may be explained by the circumstances in which the SIDS infants were found," Peter S. Blair of the University of Bristol said in a study published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal. . . . . . .


Hazardous cosleeping environments and risk factors amenable to change: case-control study of SIDS in south west England
BMJ Published 13 October 2009,

To investigate the factors associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) from birth to age 2 years, whether recent advice has been followed, whether any new risk factors have emerged, and the specific circumstances in which SIDS occurs while cosleeping (infant sharing the same bed or sofa with an adult or child).

The median age at death (66 days) was more than three weeks less than in a study in the same region a decade earlier. Of the SIDS infants, 54% died while cosleeping compared with 20% among both control groups. Much of this excess may be explained by a significant multivariable interaction between cosleeping and recent parental use of alcohol or drugs (31% v 3% random controls) and the increased proportion of SIDS infants who had coslept on a sofa (17% v 1%).

One fifth of SIDS infants used a pillow for the last sleep (21% v 3%) and one quarter were swaddled (24% v 6%). More mothers of SIDS infants than random control infants smoked during pregnancy (60% v 14%), whereas one quarter of the SIDS infants were preterm (26% v 5%) or were in fair or poor health for the last sleep (28% v 6%). All of these differences were significant in the multivariable analysis regardless of which control group was used for comparison. The significance of covering the infant’s head, postnatal exposure to tobacco smoke, dummy use, and sleeping in the side position has diminished although a significant proportion of SIDS infants were still found prone (29% v 10%).

Many of the SIDS infants had coslept in a hazardous environment. The major influences on risk, regardless of markers for socioeconomic deprivation, are amenable to change and specific advice needs to be given, particularly on use of alcohol or drugs before cosleeping and cosleeping on a sofa.

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Alcohol Consumption and Development of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: A Population-Based Study
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 September; 6(9): 2426–2435.

This retrospective population-based study evaluated the effects of alcohol consumption on the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Alcohol consumption was quantified based on patient and/or family provided information at the time of hospital admission. ARDS was defined according to American-European consensus conference (AECC).

This population-based study confirmed that excessive alcohol consumption is associated with higher risk of ARDS.

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Neurogenetic studies of alcohol addiction
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 October 12; 363(1507): 3201–3211.

Neurogenetic studies of alcohol dependence have relied substantially on genetic animal models, particularly rodents.

Studies of inbred strains, selectively bred lines and mutants bearing genes whose function has been targeted for over or under expression are reviewed. Studies focused on gene expression changes are the most recent contributors to this literature, and some genetic effects may work through epigenetic mechanisms In a few instances, interesting parallels have been revealed between genetic risk in humans and studies in non-human animal models.

Future approaches are likely to be increasingly complex

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Evidence-based treatments of addiction
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 October 12; 363(1507): 3277–3286.

Both pharmacotherapy and behavioural treatment are required to relieve the symptoms of addictive disorders.

This paper reviews the evidence for the benefits of pharmacotherapy and discusses mechanisms where possible. Animal models of addiction have led to some medications that are effective in reducing symptoms and improving function but they do not produce a cure.

Addiction is a chronic disease that tends to recur when treatment is stopped; thus, long-term treatment is recommended.

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Genetics of addictions: strategies for addressing heterogeneity and polygenicity of substance use disorders
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 October 12; 363(1507): 3213–3222.

Addictions are common psychiatric disorders that exert high cost to the individual and to society. Addictions are a result of the interplay of multiple genetic and environmental factors. They are characterized by phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity as well as polygenicity, implying a contribution of different neurobiological mechanisms to the clinical diagnosis. Therefore, treatments for most substance use disorders are often only partially effective, with a substantial proportion of patients failing to respond.

To address heterogeneity and polygenicity, strategies have been developed to identify more homogeneous subgroups of patients and to characterize genes contributing to their phenotype. These include genetic linkage and association studies as well as functional genetic analysis using endophenotypes and animal behavioural experimentation.

Applying these strategies in a translational context aims at improving therapeutic response by the identification of subgroups of addiction patients for individualized, targeted treatment strategies.

This article aims to discuss strategies addressing heterogeneity and polygenicity of substance use disorders by presenting results of recent research on genetic and environmental components of addiction. It will also introduce the European IMAGEN study that aims to integrate methodical approaches discussed in order to identify the genetic and neurobiological basis of behavioural traits relevant to the development of addictions.

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Seeing double: Meeting the challenge of dual diagnosis

A third of mental health users, half of substance misuse service users and 70 per cent of prisoners are subject to dual diagnosis.

The report, published by the NHS Confederation and the National Mental Health Development Unit, looks at the challenges posed to the NHS by people who have either developed problems with alcohol or drugs because of a pre-existing mental health condition, or have had a mental health condition caused by misusing alcohol or drugs.

It addresses the way provision of services for mental health and drug and alcohol misuse have developed separately and looks at how stronger links between the two, along with better workforce development and awareness, can provide a better service and potentially save money.The report references research, which has shown service users with a dual diagnosis typically use NHS services more and cost more.

The report cites a study of services in South London, which found a greater proportion of patients with dual diagnosis used the support of community psychiatric nurses, inpatient care and emergency clinics.

Their analysis found dual diagnosis patients had significantly higher core' psychiatric service costs (a difference of £1,362) and non-accommodation service costs (£1,360) than patients without a dual diagnosis.

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Augmented Stress-Induced Alcohol Drinking and Withdrawal in Mice Lacking Functional Natriuretic Peptide-A Receptors
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on October 13, 2009

Preclinical and clinical data suggest an involvement of atrial natriuretic peptides (ANP) in alcohol-associated psychopathology. We now present first data on alcohol drinking behaviour in mice lacking a functional natriuretic peptide-A (NPR-A) receptor.

Whereas basal alcohol intake did not differ between NPR-A mutants and wild-type littermates, NPR-A mutants showed an increased stress-induced alcohol intake and aggravated neurobehavioural symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Mice lacking a functional NPR-A receptor represent a useful model to study the role of the ANP system in alcohol-associated pathology. To study the role of the natriuretic NPR-A gene for the modulation of risk of alcohol-related disorders, NPR-A-related polymorphisms should be targeted in clinical studies.

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University Students in Recovery: Implications of Different Types of Recovery Identities and Common Challenges
Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, Volume 27, Issue 4 October 2009 , pages 426 - 441

Students who are in recovery from alcohol and other drug addictions face special challenges in a university setting, yet we know little about how they negotiate recovery maintenance within this context.

This study focuses on recovery identity, exploring how the negotiation of recovery maintenance differs depending on the type of identity.

Qualitative analyses indicated that the college experience differs in some ways with the type of recovery identity, but also that certain challenges are salient for all students.

Implications are discussed for program development and for practitioners who work with recovering students on college campuses.

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Current and Previous Residents of Self-Governed Recovery Homes: Characteristics of Long-Term Recovery
Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, Volume 27, Issue 4 October 2009 , pages 442 - 452

Environmental and social factors are increasingly recognized as critical aspects of recovery from alcohol and other drug abuse over the long term.

This study surveyed with quantitative and qualitative methodology current (n = 79) and previous (alumni) adult residents (n = 29) of self-governed, mutually supportive recovery homes for alcohol and other drug abuse.

Both groups perceived their recovery environment positively, maintained stable employment, and experienced improvements in their family relationships since being in the recovery homes. Alumni and current residents tended to stay very involved in recovery activities. Alumni were also highly involved in their previous recovery communities, and were in more beneficial circumstances than current residents based on survey results.

Implications for future research are discussed.

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Anxiety as a Predictor of Age at First Use of Substances and Progression to Substance Use Problems Among Boys
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology Online First October 10, 2009

Ths study examined associations of generalized and social anxiety with (1) age at first use of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana and (2) interval from first use to first problem use of each substance.

Participants were 503 males who comprised the youngest cohort (first assessed in the first grade) of the Pittsburgh Youth Study, a longitudinal community-based study of boys. Annual assessments of generalized and social anxiety, delinquency, and substance use from first grade through high school were included.

Both types of anxiety predicted earlier first use of alcohol and tobacco, and generalized anxiety predicted earlier first use of marijuana. Both types of anxiety predicted the progression from first use to problems related to marijuana. The effect of generalized anxiety tended to be significant above and beyond the effect of delinquency, while the effect of social anxiety on risk for first use of substances was not.

Overall, the associations between anxiety and substance use and related problems depend on the class of substance and the type of anxiety.

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Pharmacologic interventions for pregnant women enrolled in alcohol treatment programs
Source: Cochrane Library
Date published: 13/10/2009

by: Sheetal Ladva

Excessive alcohol use during pregnancy has been associated with adverse maternal and neonatal effects. It is therefore important to develop and evaluate effective interventions during this important time in a woman's life. To our knowledge there have been no systematic reviews of randomised control trials (RCT) in this population.

To evaluate the effectiveness of pharmacologic interventions in pregnant women enrolled in alcohol treatment programs for improving birth and neonatal outcomes, maternal abstinence and treatment retention.

Search strategy
We searched the Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol Group's Trial register (August 2008) ; MEDLINE (1.1950 to 6.2008) ; EMBASE (1.1974 - 8.2008); CINAHL (1.1982-6.2008); PsycInfo (1.1806-6.2008), and reference lists of articles.

Selection criteria
We sought to include randomised or quasi-randomised studies comparing any pharmacologic intervention versus other pharmacologic treatment alone or in association with psychosocial treatment, placebo, non-intervention or psychosocial intervention.

Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion in the review. Included studies were to be assessed using standardized data extraction and quality assessment forms. No suitable trials were identified.

Main results
The search strategy identified 793 citations. Twenty-three citations were deemed relevant for full text review; an additional ten articles were retrieved through hand searching references, for a total of thirty-three articles. Following full text review no articles met the inclusion criteria. Data extraction and assessment of methodological quality were therefore not possible.

Authors' conclusions
The review question remains unanswered as there were no randomised control trials found relevant to the topic. There is a need for high quality research to determine the effectiveness of pharmacologic interventions in pregnant women enrolled in alcohol treatment program.
Moderate Alcohol Intake and Risk of Functional Decline: The Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Volume 57 Issue 10, Pages 1767 - 1775

To investigate the prospective relationship between alcohol consumption and incident mobility limitation.

Lifestyle-related characteristics mainly accounted for the association between moderate alcohol intake and lower risk of functional decline over time. These findings do not support a direct causal effect of alcohol intake on physical function.

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Alcohol Use in New Zealand
Key Results of the 2007/08 New Zealand Alcohol and Drug Use Survey

Summary of publication

This report presents the key findings about alcohol use and alcohol-related harm among New Zealand adults, from the 2007/08 New Zealand Alcohol and Drug Use Survey. The survey measured alcohol and drug use among over 6,500 New Zealanders aged 16–64 years from August 2007 to April 2008.

The report covers past-year alcohol use, frequency of drinking, harms related to people's own drinking and to other people's drinking, and help sought for alcohol use. A separate publication will report the findings about the use of other recreational drugs by New Zealand adults.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Alcohol is the most commonly used recreational drug in New Zealand, with 85% of adults (aged 16–64 years) having had an alcoholic drink in the past year.

  • The prevalence of risky drinking is high among New Zealanders. Six in ten people who drank alcohol in the past year had consumed enough alcohol to feel drunk at least once in the past year, while one in ten had done so on a weekly basis.

  • Alcohol-related harm continues to be a social and health issue in New Zealand. Some of the most common harmful effects experienced by people in the past year due to their own alcohol use were harmful effects on their friendships or social life (7%), having had days off work or school (6%) and injuring themselves (5%).

  • Youth, Maori men and women, Pacific men, and people living in more deprived neighbourhoods were more likely to drink higher amounts than recommended, to engage in risky drinking behaviours, and to experience more harm due to alcohol use

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Alcohol control policies and alcohol consumption by youth: a multi-national study
Addiction Volume 104 Issue 11, Pages 1849 - 1855

The study examined relationships between alcohol control policies and adolescent alcohol use in 26 countries.

\More comprehensive and stringent alcohol control policies, particularly policies affecting alcohol availability and marketing, are associated with lower prevalence and frequency of adolescent alcohol consumption and age of first alcohol use.

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Alcoholics Anonymous: Key Research Findings from 2002–2007
Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 27:349–367, 2009

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programs represent an affordable and widely accessible community-based resource forthe estimated 18 million Americans with alcohol-related disorders.

While substantiating information regarding 12-step programs remains challenging due to their autonomous structure and emphasis on anonymity, an ever increasing body of research provides a wealth of data regarding AA’s efficacy, mechanisms of change, and viability for various special populations.

This review presents key empirical findings from 2002 to 2007 in these areas, as well as proposes recommendations for future research.

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State by State Analysis of Alcopops Law

Alcopops are sweet, bubbly drinks, a marketer's dream for getting youth hooked on alcohol. To make matters worse, alcopops manufacturers aren't even being honest about how their products are made. Although industry claims alcopops are "flavored beers," the products don't taste or look like beer. Unfortunately, in many states, alcopops are being sold as beer, making them cheap and more available than if the products were properly classified as distilled spirits. Indeed, in many states, alcopops should be taxed and sold as spirits (at much higher rates) because they do in fact contain spirits. Over the past several years, Marin Institute has been leading a fight with the makers of alcopops in states all over the country to increase the taxes on these harmful products and help get them out of the reach of young people. This map depicts the current status of alcopops law state by state. Click on an icon in the map's legend to learn more about what is happening in your state
Genetic approaches to addiction: genes and alcohol
Addiction. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2009 September 1.
Published in final edited form as:
Addiction. 2008 September; 103(9): 1414–1428.

Alcoholism is a chronic relapsing disorder with an enormous societal impact. Understanding the genetic basis of alcoholism is crucial to characterize individuals' risk and to develop efficacious prevention and treatment strategies.

We examined the available scientific literature to provide an overview of different approaches that are being integrated increasingly to advance our knowledge of the genetic bases of alcoholism. Examples of genes that have been shown to influence vulnerability to alcoholism and related phenotypes are also discussed.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bipolar disorder comorbid with alcoholism: A 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy study
Journal of Psychiatric Research Article in Press 8 October 2009

Alcoholism is highly prevalent among bipolar disorder (BD) patients, and its presence is associated with a worse outcome and refractoriness to treatment of the mood disorder. The neurobiological underpinnings that characterize this comorbidity are unknown. We sought to investigate the neurochemical profile of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) of BD patients with comorbid alcoholism.

In the primary comparison, non-alcoholic BD patients had higher glutamate concentrations compared to alcoholic BD patients. In secondary comparisons integrating interactions between gender and alcoholism, non-alcoholic BD patients presented significantly higher glutamate plus glutamine (Glu + Gln) than alcoholic BD patients and HC. These results appeared to be driven by differences in male subjects.

Alcoholic BD patients with additional drug use disorders presented significantly lower myo-inositol than BD patients with alcoholism alone. The co-occurrence of BD and alcoholism may be characterized by neurochemical abnormalities related to the glutamatergic system and to the inositol second messenger system and/or in glial pathology.

These abnormalities may be the neurochemical correlate of an increased risk to develop alcoholism in BD, or of a persistently worse clinical and functional status in BD patients in remission from alcoholism, supporting the clinical recommendation that efforts should be made to prevent or early diagnose and treat alcoholism in BD patients.

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Nice backs minimum pricing on alcohol to cut harmful drinking
Owen Bowcott and Denis Campbell, Tuesday 13 October 2009

The government's expert advisory body on medical treatment is recommending imposing minimum prices on alcohol as a means of combating "hazardous and harmful drinking".

Draft proposals put out for consultation by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) today put it on a political collision course with the Department of Health.

The recommendation, hidden away on page 16 of a 78-page advisory document on public health, will stir up public controversy over the issue, adding to the growing list of doctors and politicians in favour of price controls. . . . . . .

Alcohol-use disorders (prevention): consultation on the draft guidance

NICE is developing public health programme guidance (Alcohol-use disorders: preventing the development of hazardous and harmful drinking).

All registered stakeholders for the above public health programme guidance are invited to comment on the draft guidance.

Consultation dates: 13 October 2009 - 10 November 2009
Please provide all responses to this draft guidance using the Stakeholder Comments Form (ensuring all relevant fields are completed, including your organisation's name) and forwarding this by 5pm on Tuesday 10 November at the very latest to

The draft guidance sets out the provisional recommendations that have been developed. . . . . .


Monday, October 12, 2009

The association between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and early-onset alcohol dependence: A retrospective study
Indian J Psychiatry. 2008 Oct–Dec; 50(4): 262–265.

Early onset (EO) alcohol dependence (AD) has been found to represent a subtype of alcoholism with a distinct profile and prognosis compared to late onset (LO) alcohol dependence. Externalizing disorders, especially attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that may continue as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, residual type (ADD, RT) in adulthood, may increase susceptibility to early-onset AD.

The results of this study are consistent with previous research that shows a high incidence of ADHD in early-onset alcoholics. This may have important management implications.

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