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, December 26, 2009

Thinking about drinking: Need for cognition and readiness to change moderate the effects of brief alcohol interventions.

Research has demonstrated the efficacy of brief motivational interventions (BMI) and alcohol expectancy challenge (AEC) in reducing alcohol use and/or problems among college students. However, little is known about variables that may qualify the effectiveness of these approaches.

The present analyses tested the hypothesis that need for cognition (NFC), impulsivity/sensation seeking (IMPSS) and readiness to change (RTC) would moderate the effects of BMI and AEC.

Simple slopes analyses were used to probe these relationships and revealed that higher levels of NFC at baseline were associated with a stronger BMI effect on drinking outcomes over time. Similarly, higher levels of baseline RTC were associated with stronger AEC effects on alcohol use.

Future preventive interventions with this population may profit by considering individual differences and targeting approaches accordingly.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


A method for mapping intralocus interactions influencing excessive alcohol drinking

Excessive alcohol (ethanol) consumption is the hallmark of alcohol use disorders. The F1 hybrid cross between the C57BL/6J (B6) and FVB/NJ (FVB) inbred mouse strains consumes more ethanol than either progenitor strain.

The purpose of this study was to utilize ethanol-drinking data and genetic information to map genes that result in overdominant (or heterotic) ethanol drinking.

About 600 B6 × FVB F2 mice, half of each sex, were tested for ethanol intake and preference in a 24-h, two-bottle water versus ethanol choice procedure, with ascending ethanol concentrations. They were then tested for ethanol intake in a Drinking in the Dark (DID) procedure, first when there was no water choice and then when ethanol was offered versus water. DNA samples were obtained and genome-wide QTL analyses were performed to search for single QTLs (both additive and dominance effects) and interactions between pairs of QTLs, or epistasis.

On average, F2 mice consumed excessive amounts of ethanol in the 24-h choice procedure, consistent with high levels of consumption seen in the F1 cross. Consumption in the DID procedure was similar or higher than amounts reported previously for the B6 progenitor.

QTLs resulting in heightened consumption in heterozygous compared to homozygous animals were found on Chrs 11, 15, and 16 for 24-h choice 30% ethanol consumption, and on Chr 11 for DID. No evidence was found for epistasis between any pair of significant or suggestive QTLs.

This indicates that the hybrid overdominance is due to intralocus interactions at the level of individual QTL.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Prohibitin is expressed in pancreatic β-cells and protects against oxidative and proapoptotic effects of ethanol

Pancreatic β-cell dysfunction is a prerequisite for the development of type 2 diabetes. Alcoholism is a diabetes risk factor and ethanol increases oxidative stress in β-cells, whereas the mitochondrial chaperone prohibitin (PHB) has antioxidant effects in several cell types.

In the present study we investigated whether PHB is expressed in β-cells and protects these cells against deleterious effects of ethanol, using INS-1E and RINm5F β-cell lines.

In ethanol-treated cells, MTT reduction and ATP production decreased, whereas reactive oxygen species, uncoupling protein 2 and cleaved caspase-3 levels increased. In addition, flow cytometry analysis showed an increase of apoptotic cells. Ethanol treatment increased PHB expression and induced PHB translocation from the nucleus to the mitochondria. PHB overexpression decreased the apoptotic effects of ethanol, whereas PHB knockdown enhanced these effects. The protective effects of endogenous PHB were recapitulated by incubation of the cells with recombinant human PHB.

Thus, PHB is expressed in β-cells, increases with oxidative stress and protects the cells against deleterious effects of ethanol.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Friday, December 25, 2009

Efficacy of Physician-delivered Brief Counseling Intervention for Binge Drinkers

Binge drinking is a common pattern of alcohol use in the US. However, no studies have evaluated the effectiveness of brief interventions targeting only binge drinkers.

This study provided evidence that screening and brief counseling delivered by a primary care physician as part of regular health care significantly reduced binge drinking episodes in binge drinkers.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Brain metabolite changes in alcoholism: Localized proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study of the occipital lobe

Chronic alcoholism is associated with altered brain metabolism, morphology and cognitive abilities. Besides deficits in higher order cognitive functions, alcoholics also show a deficit in the processing of basic sensory information viz. visual stimulation.

To assess the metabolic changes associated with this deficit, 1H MRS was carried out in the occipital lobe of alcohol dependents.

A significant increase in Cho/Cr ratio (p <>

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Brief Intervention conference presentations available

A large collection of presentations covering the most up to date international research, learning and developments in the in field of brief interventions for alcohol are now available
. . . . .

Read More

Patterns of alcohol consumption in diverse rural adults populations in the Asian region

Alcohol abuse, together with tobacco use, is a major determinant of health and social well-being, and is one of the most important of 26 risk factors comparatively assessed in low and middle income countries, surpassed only by high blood pressure and tobacco.

The alcohol consumption patterns and the associations between consumption of alcohol and socio-demographic and cultural factors have been investigated in nine rural Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) located in five Asian countries.

Alcohol was rarely consumed in five of the HDSS (four in Bangladesh, and one in Indonesia). In the two HDSS in Vietnam (Chililab, Filabavi) and one in Thailand (Kanchanaburi), alcohol consumption was common in men. The mean number of drinks per day during the last seven days, and prevalence of at-risk drinker were found to be highest in Filabavi. The prevalence of female alcohol consumption was much smaller in comparison with men. In Chililab, people who did not go to school or did not complete primary education were more likely to drink in comparison to people who graduated from high school or university.

Although uncommon in some countries because of religious and cultural practices, alcohol consumption patterns in some sites were cause for concern. In addition, qualitative studies may be necessary to understand the factors influencing alcohol consumption levels between the two sites in Vietnam and the site in Thailand in order to design appropriate interventions.

Read Full Text (PDF)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A new definition of early age at onset in alcohol dependence

The accurate cut-off of an early onset of alcohol dependence is unknown. The objectives of this analysis are (1) to confirm that ages at onset variability in alcohol dependence is best described as a two subgroups entity, (2) to define the most appropriate cut-off, and (3) to test the relevancy of such distinction.

The best-fit model distinguished two subgroups of age at onset of alcohol dependence, with a cut-off point at 22 years. Subjects with an earlier onset of alcohol dependence (≤22 years old) reported higher lifetime rates of specific phobia, antisocial behaviors and nearly all addictive disorders.

The early onset of alcohol dependence is best defined as beginning before the age of 22 years.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Empirically defined subtypes of alcohol dependence in an Irish family sample

Alcohol dependence (AD) is clinically and etiologically heterogeneous. The goal of this study was to explore AD subtypes among a sample of 1221 participants in the Irish Affected Sib Pair Study of Alcohol Dependence, all of whom met DSM-IV criteria for AD.

Variables used to identify the subtypes included major depressive disorder, antisocial personality disorder, illicit drug dependence (cannabis, sedatives, stimulants, cocaine, opioids, and hallucinogens), nicotine dependence, the personality traits of neuroticism and novelty seeking, and early alcohol use.

Using latent class analysis, a 3-class solution was identified as the most parsimonious description of the data. Individuals in a Mild class were least likely to have comorbid psychopathology, whereas a severe class had highest probabilities of all comorbid psychopathology. The third class was characterized by high probabilities of major depression and higher neuroticism scores, but lower likelihood of other comorbid disorders than seen in the severe class.

Overall, sibling pair resemblance for class was stronger within than between classes, and was greatest for siblings within the severe class, suggesting a stronger familial etiology for this class.

These findings are consistent with the affective regulation and behavioral disinhibition subtypes of alcoholism, and are in line with prior work suggesting familial influences on subtype etiology.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Guidelines on the management of co-occurring alcohol and other drug and mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug treatment settings

The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing funded the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) to develop guidelines on the management of co-occurring mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment settings. The Guidelines are based on the best available evidence and draw upon the experience and knowledge of clinicians, researchers, consumers and carers.

The Guidelines aim to:
  • Increase AOD workers’ knowledge and awareness of mental health conditions.
  • Improve the confidence and skills of AOD workers working with clients with comorbid mental health conditions.
  • Provide guiding principles for working with clients with comorbid mental health conditions.
  • Improve AOD workers’ ability to identify mental health conditions.
  • Provide practical information on the management of comorbid mental health conditions.
  • Provide information regarding the treatment of comorbid mental health conditions.
  • Provide information regarding referral processes.
  • Provide resources that may be used to facilitate all of the above.
Read Full Report (PDF) - 16MB

News Release - Price hikes unlikely to reduce alcohol consumption

The urgent need to tackle Britain’s drink-fuelled violence and health problems has led to calls for a minimum retail price for alcohol. But rather than reduce consumption of alcohol, new research shows that if the price of alcohol was significantly increased in supermarkets, only 21% (just over 1 in 5) of adult British drinkers said they would buy less alcohol and spend the same amount as they do now.

The research is published today in the Wilson Drinks Report, a new research based report on industry trends and changing consumer attitudes relating to the sale and consumption of alcohol in the UK.

Although gaining support, minimum pricing may do little to cut consumption. Over half (52%) of adult drinkers said they would either spend more on the same amount of drink or look for cheaper alternatives, including switching to cheaper brands and drinks. . . . . .

Read Full Release (PDF)

Does Bingeing Affect Earnings?

While excessive drinking is associated with lower earnings through adverse health effects, absenteeism and low productivity, moderate acohol consumption has been argued to generate positive wage effects. These positive wage premiums are usually expected to arise from the social effect of drinking and the beneficial health consequences of drinking in moderation.

Using unit-record data from the Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey, this paper examines the impact of drinking patterns on individuals’ earnings, controlling for selectivity bias driven by the endogenous relationship between drinking and earnings.

In particular, a Multinomial Logit Selectivity model is estimated for four drinking statuses.

This study shows that frequent bingeing is associated with reduced earnings whilst non bingers and occasional bingers earn a positive premium over abstainers.

Further, a decomposition of the earnings differentials indicates that, across various occupations, abstainers are at least as, if not more, ‘productive’ than drinkers and frequent bingers are less ‘productive’ than non bingers and occasional bingers.

Read Full Text (PDF)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reforming Taxes and Improving Health: A Revenue-Neutral Tax

The aim of this paper is to analyse a tax reform consisting of an increment of the indirect taxes on alcohol and tobacco to finance the elimination of VAT on health and pharmaceutical services.

We first estimate an Almost Ideal Demand System for the purpose of evaluating expenditure and price elasticities. We then micro-simulate the abolition of VAT on health services combined with a increment on alcohol and tobacco excise duties, so that total revenue remains unchanged.

This reform would generate small private and social welfare gains complemented with externalities derived from the tobacco and alcohol demand cut.

Read Full Text (PDF)

Alcohol abuse and dependence symptoms: A multidimensional model of common and specific etiology

This study tested a theoretical model hypothesizing differential pathways from 5 predictors to alcohol abuse and dependence symptoms.

Social norms, perceived utility of alcohol use, and family history of alcohol problems were indirectly associated with Time 2 abuse and dependence symptoms through influencing level of alcohol consumption.

Poor behavioral control had a direct effect on alcohol abuse but not on dependence symptoms at Time 2, whereas affective lability exhibited a direct prospective effect on alcohol dependence but not on abuse symptoms.

A multigroup analysis showed that high levels of poor control increased the strength of paths from both consumption level and affective lability to abuse symptoms.

Implications for prevention of alcohol problems among college students are discussed.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Local Routes: Guidance for developing alcohol treatment pathways

This document provides good practice guidance on the development of integrated care pathways for people with alcohol problems – alcohol treatment pathways (ATPs). It is illustrated with a number of examples but is not intended to provide an exhaustive resource of off-the-shelf pathways.

Read Full Document (PDF)

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) suppresses yohimbine-induced reinstatement of alcohol seeking

Reinstatement of responding to a previously alcohol-associated lever following extinction is an established model of relapse-like behavior and can be triggered by stress exposure. Here, we examined whether neuropeptide Y (NPY), an endogenous anti-stress mediator, blocks reinstatement of alcohol-seeking induced by the pharmacological stressor yohimbine.

The analysis was focused on a network of structures previously implicated in yohimbine-induced reinstatement, comprised of central (CeA) and basolateral (BLA) amygdala and the shell of the nucleus accumbens (Nc AccS). Within this network, both yohimbine and NPY potently induced neuronal activation, and their effects were additive, presumably indicating activation of excitatory and inhibitory neuronal populations, respectively.

These results suggest that NPY selectively suppresses relapse to alcohol seeking induced by stressful events and support the NPY system as an attractive target for the treatment of alcohol addiction.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pre-announcement: First European Conference on FASD

The aim of this conference is to bring together European researchers, public health workers, and FAS-related NGOs for the first time in order to share knowledge and promote collaborations. Presentations will cover latest developments worldwide, with an emphasis on European experience:

* Latest research on FASD in Europe
* Public health and preventions
* Diagnosis and intervention
* Consequences for justice and politics

Read More


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Perceived Need for Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorders: Results From Two National Surveys

Most individuals with alcohol use disorders receive no treatment for their disorder. Past research suggests that a major reason for this is that individuals with alcohol use disorders do not perceive a need for treatment. The research presented here had two objectives. First, to provide updated estimates of the percentage of individuals with alcohol use disorders who perceive a need for treatment, and among those, the percentage who receive any treatment for alcohol use disorders. And second, to investigate the determinants of perceived need for and utilization of treatment for alcohol use disorders.

In both surveys fewer than one in nine individuals with an alcohol use disorder perceived a need for treatment. In predicting perceived need, the explanatory power of diagnostic variables was much greater than that of demographic variables. Among those with perceived need, two out of every three persons reported receiving treatment in the past year.

Our results suggest that failure to perceive need continues to be the major reason that individuals with alcohol use disorders do not receive treatment. On the other hand, among those who perceived a need, a majority received treatment. It is likely that high levels of unmet need for treatment services for alcohol use disorders will persist as long as perceived need is low. Efforts are needed to increase levels of perceived need among those with alcohol use disorders.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail: