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, July 10, 2010

A Variable-Number-of-Tandem-Repeats Polymorphism in the Dopamine D4 Receptor Gene Affects Social Adaptation of Alcohol Use Investigation of a Gene-Env

Research suggests that people adapt their own drinking behavior to that of other people. According to a genetic-differences approach, some individuals may be more inclined than others to adapt their alcohol consumption level to that of other people.

Using a 3 (drinking condition) × 2 (genotype) experimental design (N = 113), we tested whether susceptibility to alcohol-related cues (i.e., seeing someone drink) was related to the variable number of tandem repeats in exon 3 of the D4 dopamine receptor gene.

A strong gene-environment interaction showed that participants carrying at least one copy of the 7-repeat allele consumed substantially more alcohol in the presence of a heavy-drinking individual than did participants without this allele.

This study highlights that individual variability in sensitivity to other people’s drinking behavior may be attributable to genetic differences. Carrying the 7-repeat allele may increase the risk for heavy alcohol use or abuse in the company of heavy-drinking peers.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Dissociation of Genetic and Hormonal Influences on Sex Differences in Alcoholism-Related Behaviors

Differences between men and women in alcohol abuse prevalence have long been attributed to social and hormonal factors. It is, however, becoming apparent that sex differences in substance dependence are also influenced by genetic factors.

Using a four
core genotype mouse model that enables dissociation of chromosomal and gonadal sex, we show that habitual responding for alcohol reinforcement is mediated by sex chromosome complement independent of gonadal phenotype.

After moderate instrumental training,
chromosomal male (XY) mice became insensitive to outcome devaluation, indicating habitual responding. Chromosomal female (XX) mice remained sensitive to outcome devaluation, signifying goal-directed behavior. There was no effect of gonadal phenotype on habitual responding. Conversely, alcohol drinking was predicted by gonadal phenotype independent of sex chromosome complement.

These results
indicate that different alcoholism-related behaviors are determined independently by gonadal and chromosomal sex.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


US state alcohol sales compared to survey data, 1993–2006

Assess long-term trends of the correlation between alcohol sales data and survey data.

Analyses of state alcohol consumption data from the US Alcohol Epidemiologic Data System based on sales, tax receipts or alcohol shipments. Cross-sectional, state annual estimates of alcohol-related measures for adults from the US Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System using telephone surveys.

State-level per capita annual alcohol consumption estimates from sales data. Self-reported alcohol consumption, current drinking, heavy drinking, binge drinking and alcohol-impaired driving from surveys. Correlation coefficients were calculated using linear regression models.

State survey estimates of consumption accounted for a median of 22% to 32% of state sales data across years. Nevertheless, state consumption estimates from both sources were strongly correlated with annual r-values ranging from 0.55–0.71. State sales data had moderate-to-strong correlations with survey estimates of current drinking, heavy drinking and binge drinking (range of r-values across years: 0.57–0.65; 0.33–0.70 and 0.45–0.61, respectively), but a weaker correlation with alcohol-impaired driving (range of r-values: 0.24–0.56). There were no trends in the magnitude of correlation coefficients.

Although state surveys substantially underestimated alcohol consumption, the consistency of the strength of the association between sales consumption and survey data for most alcohol measures suggest both data sources continue to provide valuable information.

These findings support and extend the distribution of consumption model and single distribution theory, suggesting that both sales and survey data are useful for monitoring population changes in alcohol use.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Friday, July 9, 2010

Alcohol dependence and harmful alcohol use: guideline consultation

This guideline is one of three pieces of NICE guidance addressing alcohol-use disorders. The present guideline addresses the management of alcohol dependence and harmful alcohol use in people 10 years and older including: assessment, pharmacological interventions, psychological and psychosocial interventions, and settings of assisted withdrawal and rehabilitation.

Read Full Guideline (PDF)


siRNA-mediated GABAB receptor at early fetal rat brain upon acute and chronic ethanol exposure: Down regulation of PKA and p-CREB expression

To observe the modulatory role of GABAB1R upon ethanol's effect during early brain development, we studied the effects of chronic maternal (10% ethanol during pregnancy) and acute (in vitro) ethanol exposure on the neuronal protein kinase A (PKA-) and phosphorylation of cAMP-response element binding protein (p-CREB), using a system where GABAB1R were specifically knocked down in the primary cells cultured at gestational day (GD) 12.5.

The results showed that upon acute and chronic ethanol treatment the GABA
B1R expression was decreased and further decreased when GABAB1R was transfection with siRNA, while increased upon exposure of baclofen, and baclofen plus phaclofen treatment.

PKA expression was also decreased with acute and chronic ethanol treatment, whereas it showed increase upon exposure of baclofen and baclofen with phaclofen.

Furthermore, intracellular Ca
2+ concentration was increased upon ethanol, baclofen, phaclofen exposure but showed decrease in GABAB1R siRNA group.

Finally, these effects could lead to changes of p-CREB expression, which showed same expression pattern as PKA.

We speculate that GABA
BR activity upon ethanol exposure could modulate intracellular calcium homeostasis and the expressional changes of PKA and p-CREB, which cause various negative effects on fetal brain development and modulation of GABABR upon ethanol exposure may underlying cause of ethanol's effects.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Wine in Moderation Programme Implementation Report 2008-2009

By adopting, in 2006, a comprehensive action plan to tackle alcohol related harm, the European Union proposed a strategic approach to tackling alcohol abuse. The EU set up, in 2007, the Alcohol and Health Forum which brings together all stakeholders committed to contributing to the fight against alcohol related harm.

As a member of the Alcohol and Health Forum, the wine sector has designed and adopted the Wine in Moderation Programme (WIM), which is built around four key objectives:

Objective 1: Disseminating throughout the entire wine sector a common message about moderation, using targeted communication materials, including brochures and presentations.

Objective 2: Educating key actors and consumers about responsible consumption, through targeted education programmes, to encourage cultural change and to make moderation fashionable.

Objective 3: Promoting responsible commercial communications, through the adoption of a common code of conduct for commercial communication, building on national self-regulatory codes.

Objective 4: Sharing best practice across the EU, by making all relevant scientific information available, and by stimulating identification of priority areas for additional independent research on health, social and cultural aspects of wine drinking in Europe.

Read Full Report (PDF)


Thursday, July 8, 2010

WHO: ILLICIT liquor stoking alcoholism

The World Health Organisation [WHO] says that about half of all the alcohol consumed in sub-Saharan Africa is produced illegally.

According to a WHO statement issued recently, 90 per cent of consumption in Tanzania and 85 per cent in Kenya comes from the unregistered market.

The WHO added that the informal brewing market in Africa is worth an estimated $3 billion [Sh4.2 trillion] annually.
Read More > > > >


Appropriate Research Designs for Evaluating Community-level Alcohol Interventions: What Next?

The aim of this study was to explore the logistical and methodological strengths and weaknesses of some of the more common research designs which can be used to evaluate the impact of system- or population-level approaches for reducing alcohol-related harms.

This paper identifies studies that have evaluated system or population approaches to reduce alcohol-related harms. It highlights the tension caused by a desire for the most rigorous research designs, such as randomized controlled trials (RCTs), the most potentially efficacious interventions and the practical problems in applying the RCT to population-level research. Alternative research designs, which possess methodological rigour and are more feasible, are identified and described. The design with the strongest methodological characteristics and feasibility in allowing the evaluation of population interventions is considered to be the multiple baseline.

The multiple baseline design addresses potential problems of sample sizes, selection bias, the suitability and baseline stability of outcome measures, statistical analyses and the practicalities of conducting rigorous research in system- or population-level settings.

The multiple baseline design has the capacity to allow methodologically and statistically stringent evaluations with relatively small sample sizes, low cost and fewer of the complications imposed by RCTs. Like all research designs it has limitations, but arguably represents the most practical and methodologically rigorous approach to the evaluation of system- or population-level strategies.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Sex difference in alcoholism: Who is at a greater risk for development of alcoholic complication?

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are among the major medical problems afflicting both men and women. While men display a higher prevalence for alcoholism, it is women who suffer a much greater risk for alcoholism-associated bodily damage. Although women generally consume less alcohol compared to men, females usually suffer more severe brain and other organ damage following binge or chronic alcohol abuse.

Although many biological (i.e., genetic risk and neurological abnormalities) and psychosocial (i.e., impact of positive drinking expectancies, personality characteristics and deviance proneness) factors appear to impact men and women equally. These factors especially social and environmental, physiological, genetic and neurobiological ones have been demonstrated to contribute to the sex difference in response to alcohol intake, as well as the development of alcoholic complications.

A number of neurotransmitters and growth factors may be partially involved in these differences between men and women. The mesolimbic dopamine system is implicated in the development of addictive behaviors. Differences in dopamine receptor density are found between sexes where gonadal steroid hormones may play a role. Inhibitory GABAergic and stimulatory glutamatergic systems also act as neuromodulators in the brain and differences in their specific receptors have been identified between men and women (particularly GABAA receptors and NMDA receptors).

Given the variety of factors contributing to the sex difference in response to alcohol intake, alcoholism treatment should take sex dimorphism into consideration.

Furthermore, future research needs to be directed towards a better understanding of the mechanism of action of alcohol in both men and women

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Alcoholism and coagulating gland: Androgen and insulin like growth factor-1 receptor features

The aim of this work was to characterize the structural and molecular changes in the coagulating gland from rats submitted to long-term alcohol treatment, as well as the possibility of recovery of these parameters after interrupting the alcohol administration.

Ten Wistar and twenty UChB rats were divided into: Control group received tap water; Alcoholic group received 10% (v/v) ethanol daily for 150 days; and Abstinent group, received 10% (v/v) ethanol daily for 120 days and then tap water like the control for another 30 days. After 150 days, samples from the coagulating glands were processed for morphological and immunohistochemical analyses.

The results showed atrophied epithelium and hypertrophied stroma, especially in the alcoholic group. Intensed androgen receptor (AR) immunolocalization was verified in the epithelium and weak in the stroma of the control group in relation to the other groups. Intensed insulin-like growth factor receptor-1 (IGFR-1) immunolocalization was verified in the stroma of the alcoholic and abstinent groups.

Thus, it could be concluded that the excessive alcohol consumption caused morphological and molecular changes in the coagulating gland, characterizing the inverse relation of AR and IGFR-1 localization.

The alcohol was an important factor in cellular mitosis occurrence, which could be fundamental element involved in glandular lesions.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Dual efficacy of delta opioid receptor selective ligands for ethanol drinking and anxiety

Alcoholism and anxiety disorders have a huge impact on society, and afflict 17.6 million and 40 million people in the USA, respectively. A strong co-morbidity exists between alcoholism and anxiety disorders. Indeed, alcohol withdrawal-induced anxiety is a primary contributing factor for relapse, and anxiolytics are a common adjuvant therapy prescribed for treatment-seeking alcoholics.

It is thought that the use of alcohol to self-medicate and relieve anxiety contributes to the development of addiction. Treatment for anxiety disorders and alcoholism exist but are not universally effective.

The delta opioid receptor (DOR) plays a role in both alcohol consumption and anxiety making it a very interesting clinical target. Two pharmacologically distinct DORs have been described: DOR1 and DOR2.

We find here that the relative specificity of DOR agonists for DOR1 or DOR2, can greatly impact the effects they exert on ethanol consumption and anxiety.

The DOR1 agonist TAN-67, while not effective in decreasing anxiety-like behavior in naive mice, has anxiolytic-like properties in ethanol-withdrawn mice.

In contrast, a less subtype selective agonist, SNC80, while also reducing anxiety-like behavior, increases ethanol consumption. Additionally, we found that the conical anxiolytic diazepam is a less effective anxiolytic in ethanol-withdrawn mice than in naive mice.

Together, our findings suggest that selective DOR agonists can decrease anxiety-like behavior, and are more effective than diazepam at reducing ethanol consumption. We believe the dual efficacy of DOR1 agonists makes these receptors an interesting therapeutic target for treatment-seeking alcoholics.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Substance Use among American Indian or Alaska Native Adults

A new national study reveals that the rate of past month alcohol use (i.e., at least one drink in the past 30 days) among American Indian or Alaska Native adults is significantly lower than the national average for adults (43.9 percent versus 55.2 percent).

The study, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), also shows that American Indian or Native Alaska adults have a rate of past month binge alcohol drinking (i.e., five or more drinks on the same occasion - on at least one day in the past 30 days) well above the national average (30.6 percent versus 24.5 percent).

The level of past month illicit drug use was also found to be higher among American Indian or Alaska Native adults than the overall adult population (11.2 percent versus 7.9 percent).
Among the study’s other significant findings:
  • Eighteen percent of American Indian or Alaska Native adults needed treatment for an alcohol or illicit drug use problem in the past year, nearly twice the national average (9.6 percent).
  • 1 in 8 (12.6 percent) American Indian or Alaska Native adults who were in need of alcohol or illicit drug treatment in the past year received it at a specialty facility - about the same as the national average (10.4 percent).
  • American Indian or Alaska Native adults' past month substance use rates drop significantly in older age groups - for example, illicit drug use levels drop from 25.4 percent in the 18 to 25 age group to 4.1 percent in those 50 and older. This pattern is also seen in the general adult population.
Read Full Report


Alcohol consumption on the rise in Quebec: Study

Alcohol consumption has jumped nearly 20 per cent in Quebec since 1994, according to a provincial health board that is calling on the government to consider tying liquor prices to alcohol content.

New research from the Quebec Institute for Public Health has found that alcohol consumption per capita has increased by 19.1 per cent in the province between 1994 and 2008, climbing from 6.8 litres in pure alcohol equivalent to 8.1 litres a year.

Researchers noted that Quebec has now caught up with the Canadian average of 8.2 litres of alcohol consumption per year.

Read More > > > >


Higher prices for cheap booze cuts binge drinking, Sask.finds

The Saskatchewan provincial government says its solution to cut down on public drunkenness and binge drinking — making cheap booze more expensive — is working.

The increase in the cost of discount booze in Saskatchewan has helped curb public intoxication in areas where the products are consumed the most, officials said.

In the inner-city Riversdale neighbourhood of Saskatoon, sales of cheap booze have plummeted since new pricing came into effect earlier this year, said officials with the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority.

The price of 36 products that have disproportionately high alcohol content — including high-alcohol beer, cheap wine and ciders — rose by as much as 40 per cent in April when the province revamped prices.

Read More > > > >


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A personality-based description of maturing out of alcohol problems: Extension with a Five-Factor model and robustness to modeling challenges

To examine the relation of changes in Five-Factor personality traits (i.e., extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience; Costa & McCrae, 1985), drinking motives, and problematic alcohol involvement in a cohort of college students (N = 467) at varying risk for alcohol use disorders from ages 21 to 35.

Parallel process latent growth models were estimated to determine the extent that prospective changes in personality and alcohol problems covaried as well as the extent to which drinking motives appeared to mediate these relations.

Changes in neuroticism and conscientiousness covaried with changes in problematic alcohol involvement. Specifically, increases in conscientiousness and decreases in neuroticism were related to decreases in alcohol from ages 21 to 35, even after accounting for marriage and/or parenthood.

Change in coping (but not enhancement) motives specifically mediated the relation between changes in conscientiousness and alcohol problems in addition to the relation between changes in neuroticism and alcohol problems.

Personality changes, as assessed by a Five-Factor model of personality, are associated with “maturing out” of alcohol problems. Of equal importance, change in coping motives may be an important mediator of the relation between personality change and the "maturing out" of alcohol problems.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


No anti-junk food laws, health secretary promises

Beer companies, confectionary firms and crisp-makers will be asked to fund the government's advertising campaign to persuade people to switch to a healthier lifestyle and, in return, will not face new legislation outlawing excessively fatty, sugary and salty food, the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, announced today.

In a move condemned by campaigners as the government "rolling over on their backs in front of the food lobby", Lansley told a conference of public health experts that he wanted a new partnership with food and drink firms. In exchange for a "non-regulatory approach", the private sector would put up cash to fund the Change4Life campaign to improve diets and boost levels of physical activity among young people.

Read More > > > >



Marin Institute appreciates the opportunity to comment on the 2010 Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Founded in 1987, Marin Institute is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the public from alcohol-related harm. We advance policies to reduce over-consumption and monitor alcohol industry practices that undermine public health and safety.

this background, Marin Institute is uniquely qualified to comment on the Committee’s recommendations for the 2010 Guidelines, and to help ensure that any changes made to the Guidelines are made in the interest of public health and safety.

We are extremely concerned about the alcohol recommendations contained in the Report. They suggest that increased daily consumption is safe; that the uncertain health benefits from alcohol consumption outweigh the known risks; and that public health messages should include alcohol consumption for both patients and the general public. All of these suggestions are not only questionable, but also potentially dangerous. Moreover, they represent a significant departure from previous recommendations but without nearly sufficient scientific basis to justify such a shift. > > > >

Read Full Comments (PDF)


Defining the "Moderate" in Moderate Alcohol Consumption

The U.S. government is considering a proposal to redefine the definition of moderate alcohol consumption in its federal Dietary Guidelines. It may sound like a small change, but it's an important marker.

Every five years, the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services review the U.S. Dietary Guidelines under congressional mandate. The goal is to update the national nutritional guidelines according to the latest scientific research. Such guidelines can have important effects on federal programs. Before the formal guidelines are published, a committee of appointed external experts gathers to draft recommendations for any changes. The 13-member committee that reviewed the 2010 guidelines released their report June 15.

The basic upper threshold for moderate alcohol intake hasn't changed since the third version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was published in 1990: Up to one drink per day for women and two for men. But one of the suggestions by the advisory committee for the 2010 version, duBolde out later this year, is to define moderation as an average daily intake of up to one drink for women and two for men, with no more than three drinks for women on a single day and four for men.

Read More > > > >


Ethnicity and alcohol: a review of the UK literature

The Government's alcohol strategy, 'Safe. Sensible. Social.', recommends assessing and developing provision for black and minority ethnic groups. This review explores differences in drinking patterns by ethnicity and the cultural and social contexts around alcohol use.

The review:

  • describes drinking levels as reported in national surveys and local research;
  • considers why drinking rates among ethnic groups may change over time;
  • examines help-seeking, support and service provision for minority ethnic groups;
  • examines how services are equipped to respond to the needs of minority ethnic groups

Read Full Report (PDF)


Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) was established jointly by the Secretaries of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Committee’s task was to advise the Secretaries of USDA and HHS on whether revisions to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines were warranted, and if so, to recommend updates to the Guidelines. The DGAC immediately recognized that, on the basis of the vast amount of published research and emerging science on numerous relevant topics, an updated report was indeed needed.

The 2010 DGAC Report is distinctly different from previous reports in several ways. First, it addresses an American public of whom the majority are overweight or obese and yet under-nourished in several key nutrients. Second, the Committee used a newly developed, state-of-the-art, web-based electronic system and methodology, known as the Nutrition Evidence Library (NEL), to answer the majority of the scientific questions it posed. The remaining questions were answered by data analyses, food pattern modeling analyses, and consideration of other evidence-based reviews or existing reports, including the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were the starting place for most reviews. If little or no scientific literature had been published on a specific topic since the 2005 Report was presented, the DGAC indicated this and established the conclusions accordingly.

A third distinctive feature of this Report is the introduction of two newly developed chapters. The first of these chapters considers the total diet and how to integrate all of the Report’s nutrient and energy recommendations into practical terms that encourage personal choice but result in an eating pattern that is nutrient dense and calorie balanced. The second chapter complements this total diet approach by integrating and translating the scientific conclusions reached at the individual level to encompass the broader environmental and societal aspects that are crucial to full adoption and successful implementation of these recommendations.

The remainder of this Executive Summary provides brief synopses of these and all of the other chapters, which reviewed current evidence related to specific topics and presents the resulting highlights that comprise the fundamental essence of this report.


An average daily intake of one to two alcoholic beverages is associated with the lowest all-cause mortality and a low risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease among middle-aged and older adults. Despite this overall benefit of moderate alcohol consumption, the DGAC recommends that if alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation, and only by adults.

Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as average daily consumption of up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men, with no more than three drinks in any single day for women and no more than four drinks in any single day for men. One drink is defined as 12 fl. oz. of regular beer, 5 fl. oz. of wine, or 1.5 fl. oz. of distilled spirits.

The DGAC found strong evidence that heavy consumption of four or more drinks a day for women and five or more drinks a day for men has harmful health effects.

A number of situations and conditions call for the complete avoidance of alcoholic beverages.

Read Section 7: Alcohol (PDF)

USDA Press Release ― June 15, 2010 (PDF)



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The scope of costs in alcohol studies: Cost-of-illness studies differ from economic evaluations

Alcohol abuse results in problems on various levels in society. In terms of health, alcohol abuse is not only an important risk factor for chronic disease, but it is also related to injuries. Social harms which can be related to drinking include interpersonal problems, work problems, violent and other crimes. The scope of societal costs related to alcohol abuse in principle should be the same for both economic evaluations and cost-of-illness studies. In general, economic evaluations report a small part of all societal costs. To determine the cost- effectiveness of an intervention it is necessary that all costs and benefits are included.

The purpose of this study is to describe and quantify the difference in societal costs incorporated in economic evaluations and cost-of-illness studies on alcohol abuse.

To investigate the economic costs attributable to alcohol in cost-of-illness studies we used the results of a recent systematic review (June 2009). We performed a PubMed search to identify economic evaluations on alcohol interventions. Only economic evaluations in which two or more interventions were compared from a societal perspective were included. The proportion of health care costs and the proportion of societal costs were estimated in both type of studies.

The proportion of healthcare costs in cost-of-illness studies was 17% and the proportion of societal costs 83%. In economic evaluations, the proportion of healthcare costs was 57%, and the proportion of societal costs was 43%.

The costs included in economic evaluations performed from a societal perspective do not correspond with those included in cost-of-illness studies. Economic evaluations on alcohol abuse underreport true societal cost of alcohol abuse. When considering implementation of alcohol abuse interventions, policy makers should take into account that economic evaluations from the societal perspective might underestimate the total effects and costs of interventions.

Read Full Article (PDF)


Motor response programming and movement time in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure

The present experiment assessed motor response programming and movement time in children with histories of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure (PEA).

Alcohol-exposed children between the ages of 7 and 17 years were classified into two groups: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS: n=9) and children with PEA (PEA: n=19) but who did not have the defining characteristics of FAS.

The FAS and PEA children were compared with non–alcohol-exposed children (NC: n=23) when completing two tasks: a simple reaction time task (RT alone condition) and a reaction plus movement task (RT+Move condition). The movement involved responding to an imperative stimulus signal and depressing three target buttons in a set sequence. Participants completed 24 trials each for the RT alone and RT+Move response conditions.

Results indicated no significant differences in performance among FAS, PEA, and NC groups during the RT alone condition. However, during the RT+Move condition, the FAS group produced significantly longer and more variable RTs than the PEA and NC groups, which produced comparable RTs.

The FAS group also produced significantly slower movement times when moving to all three targets, whereas movement time variability did not significantly differ as a function of group.

The observed results indicate children with FAS experience deficits in response programming and movement time production.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


MK-801 administration during neonatal ethanol withdrawal attenuates interpositus cell loss and juvenile eyeblink conditioning deficits

Binge-level doses of ethanol have been demonstrated to severely disrupt the cerebellum and cerebellum-dependent tasks when administered to rodent subjects during the early postnatal period. N-methyl-d-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor-mediated excitotoxicity associated with ethanol withdrawal has been implicated as a significant component contributing to neurotoxic effects resulting from early ethanol exposure, and studies using MK-801 (dizocilpine) have reported protection from ethanol-induced damage.

The present study examined whether the administration of MK-801 during ethanol withdrawal would ameliorate ethanol-associated cell death in the interpositus nucleus of the cerebellum and behavioral deficits in a cerebellar dependent task.

Long Evans rat pups were treated with ethanol (5.25
g/kg) in a binge-like manner on postnatal day 6 using intragastric intubation. Subjects then received an injection of MK-801 (0.5mg/kg) or vehicle during withdrawal, 30h after ethanol exposure. Rats were then trained on an eyeblink classical conditioning task as juveniles (40 days of age), and cerebellar interpositus nucleus numbers were assessed after conditioning.

Ethanol-exposed subjects exhibited reductions in neuronal populations and behavioral deficits during eyeblink conditioning.

However, MK-801 administration significantly attenuated observed deficiencies, suggesting a protective effect resulting from MK-801 treatment during ethanol withdrawal.

These results support the role of NMDA receptor-mediated excitotoxicity as a component mechanism by which ethanol produces teratogenicity.

Additionally, our findings support previous reports that have shown correlations between dependent measures of eyeblink classical-conditioning behavior and unbiased cell counts in the interpositus nucleus.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Low–moderate prenatal alcohol exposure and risk to child behavioural development: a prospective cohort study

To examine the association of fetal alcohol exposure during pregnancy with child and adolescent behavioural development.

The Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study recruited 2900 pregnancies (1989–91) and the 14-year follow up was conducted between 2003 and 2006.

Tertiary obstetric hospital in Perth, Western Australia.

The women in the study provided data at 18 and 34 weeks of gestation on weekly alcohol intake: no drinking, occasional drinking (up to one standard drink per week), light drinking (2–6 standard drinks per week), moderate drinking (7–10 standard drinks per week), and heavy drinking (11 or more standard drinks per week).

Longitudinal regression models were used to analyse the effect of prenatal alcohol exposure on Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) scores over 14 years, assessed by continuous z-scores and clinical cutoff points, after adjusting for confounders.

Their children were followed up at ages 2, 5, 8, 10 and 14 years. The CBCL was used to measure child behaviour.

Light drinking and moderate drinking in the first 3 months of pregnancy were associated with child CBCL z-scores indicative of positive behaviour over 14 years after adjusting for maternal and sociodemographic characteristics. These changes in z-score indicated a clinically meaningful reduction in total, internalising and externalising behavioural problems across the 14 years of follow up.

Our findings do not implicate light–moderate consumption of alcohol in pregnancy as a risk factor in the epidemiology of child behavioural problems.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:


Study analysing possible changes in the minimum rates and structures of excise duties on alcoholic beverages

In 2004, the Commission produced a report which recommended that the minimum rates of duty laid down in 1992 should be revalorised to take account of the inflation that has occurred since then (COM(2004) 223 final).

The report also noted problems in the classification and categorisation of alcoholic products for excise purposes such that, in some cases, the same product was classified under different categories (and hence subject to different taxation) in different Member States.

The overarching objective of the present study is to examine whether the current structures of alcohol taxation and the minimum rates laid down for the various categories are adequately supporting the effective functioning of the internal market, or whether distortions are caused and adaptations would be appropriate.

The study has two main specific aims, namely to provide an:

�� Assessment of the current burdens of taxation and economic relationships between the different types of alcoholic beverages in different Member States;

�� Assessment of the economic impact on the particular beverages and on the different Member States of potential changes to the alcohol directives compared to the current status quo.

Read Full Study (PDF)


Monday, July 5, 2010

SENATE DEMOCRATS UNVEIL KEY PIECE OF BUDGET SOLUTION: Multi-Year Restructuring Plan Saves Billions While Providing Quality Services Effectively

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny (D-San Diego), Chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, today provided a detailed outline of the Senate Democratic Restructuring Budget Proposal which is a key piece to solving this year’s budget as well out year deficits.

2010 Restructuring Proposal

Part I – Improving Public Safety (Account #1)

Goal: Restore the ability of local communities to provide safe streets and improve outcomes for families impacted by drug and alcohol abuse.

Transfer Community-Based Public Safety Programs from State to Counties (up to $1.6 billion over 4 years):

Public Safety Sub-Account #1:

A. Shift state juvenile parole services to counties (modified version of Governor’s May Revision proposal).

B. Shift certain low-level criminal offenders (primarily drug and property crime offenders) to counties for both incarceration and community supervision (modified version of Governor’s May Revision proposal).

C. Maintain existing funding for COPS/Juvenile Justice program (set to expire in 2011-12).

Public Safety Sub-Account #2:

D. Shift Drug Medi-Cal programs to counties.

E. Shift Offender Treatment Program to counties.

F. Restore Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act Funding to counties.

G. Shift Drug Court Program to counties.

Also, eliminate the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP); transfer any necessary remaining functions to other state agencies (such as Department of Health Care Services), and add one ADP oversight position to HHS Agency.

Senate Democrats Restructuring Overview Handout