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 31, 2011

A novel SNP in COMT is associated with alcohol dependence but not opiate or nicotine dependence: a case control study

It is well established that COMT is a strong candidate gene for substance use disorder and schizophrenia. Recently we identified two SNPs in COMT (rs4680 and rs165774) that are associated with schizophrenia in an Australian cohort. Individuals with schizophrenia were more than twice as likely to carry the GG genotype compared to the AA genotype for both the rs165774 and rs4680 SNPs. Association of both rs4680 and rs165774 with substance dependence, a common comorbidity of schizophrenia has not been investigated.

To determine whether COMT is important in substance dependence, rs165774 and rs4680 were genotyped and haplotyped in patients with nicotine, alcohol and opiate dependence.

The rs165774 SNP was associated with alcohol dependence. However, it was not associated with nicotine or opiate dependence. Individuals with alcohol dependence were more than twice as likely to carry the GG or AG genotypes compared to the AA genotype, indicating a dominant mode of inheritance. The rs4680 SNP showed a weak association with alcohol dependence at the allele level that did not reach significance at the genotype level but it was not associated with nicotine or opiate dependence. Analysis of rs165774/rs4680 haplotypes also revealed association with alcohol dependence with the G/G haplotype being almost 1.5 times more common in alcohol-dependent cases.

Our study provides further support for the importance of the COMT in alcohol dependence in addition to schizophrenia. It is possible that the rs165774 SNP, in combination with rs4680, results in a common molecular variant of COMT that contributes to schizophrenia and alcohol dependence susceptibility. This is potentially important for future studies of comorbidity. As our participant numbers are limited our observations should be viewed with caution until they are independently replicated.

Read Full Article (PDF)

Friday, December 30, 2011


The aim of this study was to investigate the potential capability of an alcalase-hydrolyzed corn protein and fractions with different molecular mass (Mm) to facilitate alcohol metabolism by activating hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH).

Results showed that corn peptide (CP) fraction with Mm fewer than 1,000 Da (CP < 1,000) exhibited the highest activity to activate ADH in vitro.

The fraction administration (200 mg/kg body weight) with Mm fewer than 5,000 Da (CP < 5,000) demonstrated maximum ability to decrease blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in mice. There was a 45.1% reduction in BAC compared with that of the control group.

Moreover, there was a strong linear relationship between BAC elimination rate and hepatic ADH activation rate (r = 0.9961).

CP's potent capability to facilitate alcohol metabolism could be mainly correlated with the activation of hepatic ADH by hydrophobic CP with low Mm. CP's ·OH scavenging activity may also have synergistic contribution to the oxidative stress release.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Genome-Wide Association Study in Bipolar Patients Stratified by Co-Morbidity

Bipolar disorder is a severe psychiatric disorder with high heritability. Co-morbid conditions are common and might define latent subgroups of patients that are more homogeneous with respect to genetic risk factors.

In the Caucasian GAIN bipolar disorder sample of 1000 cases and 1034 controls, we tested the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms with patient subgroups defined by co-morbidity.

Bipolar disorder with psychosis and/or substance abuse in the absence of alcohol dependence was associated with the rare variant rs1039002 in the vicinity of the gene phosphodiesterase 10A (PDE10A) on chromosome 6q27 (p = 1.7×10−8). PDE10A has been implicated in the pathophysiology of psychosis. Antagonists to the encoded protein are currently in clinical testing. Another rare variant, rs12563333 (p = 5.9×10−8) on chromosome 1q41 close to the MAP/microtubule affinity-regulating kinase 1 (MARK1) gene, approached the genome-wide level of significance in this subgroup. Homozygotes for the minor allele were present in cases and absent in controls. Bipolar disorder with alcohol dependence and other co-morbidities was associated with SNP rs2727943 (p = 3.3×10−8) on chromosome 3p26.3 located between the genes contactin-4 precursor (BIG-2) and contactin 6 (CNTN6). All three associations were found under the recessive genetic model. Bipolar disorder with low probability of co-morbid conditions did not show significant associations.

Conceptualizing bipolar disorder as a heterogeneous disorder with regard to co-morbid conditions might facilitate the identification of genetic risk alleles. Rare variants might contribute to the susceptibility to bipolar disorder.

Read Full Article (PDF)

Neuroticism and extraversion personality traits, health behaviours, and subjective well-being: the Fukuoka Study (Japan)

We evaluated personality dimensions captured by an abbreviated 8-item questionnaire and examined associations of the personality traits with health behaviours and subjective well-being (SWB) measures.

The subjects were 11,554 participants in the Kyushu University Fukuoka Cohort Study who completed a self-administered questionnaire inquiring health behaviours, morbidity, personality, and SWB. Personality was assessed by using a questionnaire appeared to capture neuroticism and extraversion traits, and SWB-related variables were assessed with 3 single-item questions.

Neuroticism was negatively and extraversion was positively associated with BMI. Extraversion, but not neuroticism, was positively associated with smoking and alcohol drinking. After multivariate adjustment, neuroticism was strongly associated with each of 3 SWB measures. The multivariate-adjusted odds ratios for the highest versus lowest quintile of neuroticism were 6.09 (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.05–7.33) for perceived stress; 0.21 (95% CI, 0.18–0.25) for good health condition; and 0.26 (95% CI, 0.22–0.31) for life satisfaction. Extraversion showed no clear association with the SWB measures.

The neuroticism and extraversion scales were associated with health behaviours and BMI differently. The neuroticism scale, but not the extraversion scale, was strongly associated with higher perception of stress, poorer perceived health, and lower satisfaction with life in a Japanese population.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Ego depletion increases ad-lib alcohol consumption: Investigating cognitive mediators and moderators.

When self-control resources are depleted (“ego depletion”), alcohol-seeking behavior becomes closely associated with automatic alcohol-related processing biases (e.g., Ostafin, Marlatt, & Greenwald, 2008).

The current study aimed to replicate and extend these findings, and also to investigate whether the effects of ego depletion on drinking behavior would be mediated by temporary impairments in executive function or increases in impulsivity.

Eighty heavy social drinkers (46 female) initially completed measures of automatic approach tendencies (stimulus response compatibility [SRC] task) and attentional bias (visual probe task) elicited by alcohol-related cues. Participants were then exposed to either an ego depletion manipulation or a control manipulation, before completing a bogus taste test in order to assess ad-lib alcohol consumption. In a subsequent testing session, we examined effects of the ego depletion manipulation (vs. control manipulation) on 3 aspects of executive function (inhibitory control, phonemic fluency, and delay discounting).

Results indicated that the ego depletion manipulation increased ad-lib drinking, relative to the control manipulation. Automatic approach tendencies, but not attentional bias, predicted ad-lib drinking, although this effect was not moderated by ego depletion.

Ego depletion had inconsistent effects on measures of executive function and impulsivity, and none of these measures mediated the effect of ego depletion on ad-lib drinking. However, the effect of ego depletion on ad-lib drinking was mediated by self-reported effort in suppressing emotion and thoughts during the manipulation.

Implications for the effects of self-control strength on drinking behavior, and cognitive mediators of these effects, are discussed.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

The separate and combined effects of alcohol and nicotine on anticipatory anxiety: A multidimensional analysis

Individuals who smoke cigarettes are significantly more likely to smoke more when they drink alcohol. Indeed, smoking and drinking appear strongly linked, at both between- and within-person levels of analyses. Anecdotal evidence further suggests that alcohol consumption in combination with smoking cigarettes reduces anxiety, yet the mechanisms by which this may occur are not well understood.

The current study assessed the separate and combined effects of alcohol and nicotine on self-reported and psychophysiological (startle eyeblink magnitude) indices of anxiety.

Results indicated that alcohol provided anxiolytic benefits alone and in combination with nicotine, as evidenced by significant reductions in startle eyeblink magnitude.

According to self-reported anxiety, alcohol and nicotine exerted a conjoint effect on diminishing increases in anxiety subsequent to a speech stressor.

These data highlight the importance of studying both the separate and combined effects of these two widely used substances, as well as the advantages of employing a multimodal assessment of emotional response.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

The stress-response dampening hypothesis: How self-esteem and stress act as mechanisms between negative parental bonds and alcohol-related problems in

The stress dampening model (Marlatt, 1987; Sayette, 1993; Sher, 1987) suggests certain individuals may use alcohol to escape from their negative life experiences.

Pathological reasons for drinking (e.g. using alcohol as a means to cope) reflect the degree to which individuals are motivated to use alcohol in order to dampen or alleviate the stress they are experiencing (Johnson, Schwitters, Wilson, Nagoshi, & McClearn, 1985).

Direct and mediational links among parental bonds (rejection, care, overprotection, autonomy, and neglect), self-esteem, stress, pathological reasons for drinking, and alcohol-related problems were explored. A Structural Equation Model with (405 students; 164 women, 241 men) college students was examined.

Three path mediational analyses revealed several mediated pathways.

Greater feelings of perceived father/mother neglectfulness (i.e. offspring feeling parents do not show up for them) were indirectly linked to more alcohol-related problems (e.g. indicative of alcohol use or dependence in emerging adulthood) through increased stress and pathological reasons for drinking.

Furthermore, higher levels of father rejection (i.e. perception of feeling unwanted) were indirectly linked to more pathological reasons for drinking through low self-esteem and increased stress.

However, greater feelings of mother care (affectionate and attentive) were indirectly linked to fewer pathological reasons for drinking through higher self-esteem and lower levels of stress.

Moreover, high self-esteem was found to be indirectly linked to fewer alcohol-related problems through decreased stress and pathological reasons for drinking.

These findings suggest several specific pathways for using alcohol to self-medicate (i.e. consume alcohol for a specific purpose) or dampen feelings of stress.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Impaired control over alcohol use: An under-addressed risk factor for problem drinking in young adults?

Impaired control over alcohol use may be defined as “a breakdown of an intention to limit consumption in a particular situation” (Heather, Tebbutt, Mattick, & Zamir, 1993, p. 701) and has long been considered an important feature of alcohol dependence.

Evidence suggests impaired control is highly relevant to young adult problem drinking. In the natural history of problem drinking, impaired control tends to develop early and may predict alcohol-related problems prospectively in undergraduates. Impaired control over alcohol use may be a facet of generalized behavioral undercontrol specifically related to drinking.

In particular, impaired control is theoretically and empirically related to impulsivity. The question of whether impaired control represents a facet of impulsivity or a related but separate construct requires further study.

However, theoretical arguments and empirical evidence suggest that there are unique qualities to the constructs. Specifically, existing data suggest that self-report measures of impaired control and impulsivity over alcohol use relate distinctly to problem drinking indices in young adults.

Several lines of future research concerning impaired control are suggested, using the impulsivity literature as a guide.

We conclude that impaired control is a valuable construct to the study of young adult problem drinking and that measures of impaired control should be included in more young adult alcohol studies.

The extent to which impaired control over the use of other substances and impaired control over engagement in other addictive behaviors are clinically relevant constructs requires additional study.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

The Relationship of Alexithymia to Emotional Dysregulation Within an Alcohol Dependent Treatment Sample

Difficulties regulating emotions have implications for the development, maintenance, and recovery from alcohol problems.

One construct thought to impede the regulation of emotion is alexithymia. Alexithymia is characterized by difficulties identifying, differentiating and expressing feelings, a limited imagination and fantasy life, and an externally-oriented thinking style (e.g., prefer talking about daily activities rather than feelings).

Given that poor emotion regulation skills have been found to predict posttreatment levels of alcohol use, and that several defining characteristics of alexithymia bear similarity to deficits in emotion regulation skills, it is possible that alexithymia may predict poorer alcohol treatment outcomes.

Thus, the present study first examined the relationship of alexithymia to several other emotion regulation measures and then investigated the impact of alexithymia on attrition and alcohol treatment outcomes in men and women (N = 77) enrolled in a 12-week cognitive-behavioral intervention for alcohol dependence.

At baseline, higher scores on alexithymia were associated poorer emotion regulation skills, fewer percent days abstinent, greater alcohol dependence severity, and several high-risk drinking situations. Alexithymia was unrelated to attrition and to level of alcohol consumption at posttreatment

Overall, the construct of alexithymia is shown to be related to several theoretically-related constructs (e.g., emotion regulation, mindfulness) but demonstrated a limited relationship to drinking outcomes in those seeking treatment for alcohol dependence.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Baclofen promotes alcohol abstinence in alcohol dependent cirrhotic patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and alcoholic liver disease (ALD), either alone or in combination, count for more than two thirds of all liver diseases in the Western world. There is no safe level of drinking in HCV-infected patients and the most effective goal for these patients is total abstinence.

Baclofen, a GABAB receptor agonist, represents a promising pharmacotherapy for alcohol dependence (AD). Previously, we performed a randomized clinical trial (RCT), which demonstrated the safety and efficacy of baclofen in patients affected by AD and cirrhosis.

The goal of this post-hoc analysis was to explore baclofen's effect in a subgroup of alcohol-dependent HCV-infected cirrhotic patients.

Any patient with HCV infection was selected for this analysis. Among the 84 subjects randomized in the main trial, 24 alcohol-dependent cirrhotic patients had a HCV infection; 12 received baclofen 10 mg t.i.d. and 12 received placebo for 12-weeks.

With respect to the placebo group (3/12, 25.0%), a significantly higher number of patients who achieved and maintained total alcohol abstinence was found in the baclofen group (10/12, 83.3%; p = 0.0123).

Furthermore, in the baclofen group, compared to placebo, there was a significantly higher increase in albumin values from baseline (p = 0.0132) and a trend toward a significant reduction in INR levels from baseline (p = 0.0716).

In conclusion, baclofen was safe and significantly more effective than placebo in promoting alcohol abstinence, and improving some LFTs (i.e. albumin, INR) in alcohol-dependent HCV-infected cirrhotic patients. Baclofen may represent a clinically relevant alcohol pharmacotherapy for these patients.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Effect of the increase in “alcopops” tax on alcohol-related harms in young people: a controlled interrupted time series

To measure alcohol-related harms to the health of young people presenting to emergency departments (EDs) of Gold Coast public hospitals before and after the increase in the federal government “alcopops” tax in 2008.

Interrupted time series analysis over 5 years (28 April 2005 to 27 April 2010) of 15–29-year-olds presenting to EDs with alcohol-related harms compared with presentations of selected control groups.

Proportion of 15–29-year-olds presenting to EDs with alcohol-related harms compared with (i) 30–49-year-olds with alcohol-related harms, (ii)15–29-year-olds with asthma or appendicitis, and (iii) 15–29-year-olds with any non-alcohol and non-injury related ED presentation.

Over a third of 15–29-year-olds presented to ED with alcohol-related conditions, as opposed to around a quarter for all other age groups. There was no significant decrease in alcohol-related ED presentations of 15–29-year-olds compared with any of the control groups after the increase in the tax. We found similar results for males and females, narrow and broad definitions of alcohol-related harms, under-19s, and visitors to and residents of the Gold Coast.

The increase in the tax on alcopops was not associated with any reduction in alcohol-related harms in this population in a unique tourist and holiday region. A more comprehensive approach to reducing alcohol harms in young people is needed.

Read Full Article (PDF)


This year’s Christmas in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been labelled ‘the bloodiest’ Christmas ever in Port Moresby with two deaths, four life threatening cases and several injuries from alcohol related cases.

This remark was made by chief of emergency medicine and director of emergency at the Port Moresby General Hospital Dr Sam Yockopua.

He said that they were expecting even the worst in the New Year celebrations citing that if worse come to worse, they were prepared to shut down and walk out.

And he has called for a total ban on alcohol during the week leading to the New Year celebrations. > > > > Read More

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Do 12-step meeting attendance trajectories over 9 years predict abstinence?

This study grouped treatment-seeking individuals (n = 1825) by common patterns of 12-step attendance using 5 waves of data (75% interviewed Year 9) to isolate unique characteristics and use-related outcomes distinguishing each class profile.

The “high” class reported the highest attendance and abstention.

The “descending” class reported high baseline alcohol severity, long treatment episodes, and high initial attendance and abstinence, but by Year 5, their attendance and abstinence dropped.

The “early-drop” class, which started with high attendance and abstinence but with low problem severity, reported no attendance after Year 1.

The “rising” class, with fairly high alcohol and psychiatric severity throughout, reported initially low attendance, followed by increasing attendance paralleling their abstention.

Last, the “low” and “no” classes, which reported low problem severity and very low/no attendance, had the lowest abstention.

Female gender and high alcohol severity predicted attendance all years.

Consistent with a sustained benefit for 12-step exposure, abstinence patterns aligned much like attendance profiles.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Perceptions About Genetic Testing for the Susceptibility to Alcohol Dependence and Other Multifactorial Diseases

Beliefs, attitudes, and preferences about the risk and benefits of genetic testing are important determinants of willingness to undergo testing.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the perceived importance of genetic testing for alcohol dependence compared with other multifactorial diseases among African Americans.

Surveys were conducted with 258 participants using the Genetic Psycho-Social Implications (GPSI) questionnaire to evaluate several areas of hypothetical genetic testing for alcohol dependence. Respondents were divided into two groups: those who perceived testing for alcohol dependence to be equally important as testing for cancer and those who did not. Using chi-square, the groups' responses were compared for nine GPSI items measuring beliefs about the severity of alcohol dependence, general benefits of genetic testing, and specific benefits of genetic testing for diabetes, hypertension, or a disease affecting a family member.

Nearly 86% of respondents believed that genetic testing for alcoholism was equally as important as testing for cancer. Those who reported parity of importance of alcohol dependence and cancer screening were more likely to believe that alcoholism is a deadly disease (p<0.001) and genetic testing influences health (p<0.001). Conclusion: African Americans reported favorable attitudes and beliefs in possible availability of susceptibility genetic testing for alcohol dependence. The perceived importance of testing for alcohol dependence was associated with beliefs about the severity of alcoholism and certain benefits of genetic testing in general.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Cameron eyes up minimum pricing says The Telegraph

The Prime Minister David Cameron is reportedly instructing officials to look at minimum pricing options, the much debated population level policy approach to reducing alcohol-related harm. Although Whitehall officials say no decision has yet been made, a Daily Telegraph report suggests measures could be outlined in the forthcoming national alcohol strategy expected in February 2012.

Cameron is reported to have instructed Whitehall officials to look at options to achieve a minimum price by either tax restructuring or, as currently being sought in Scotland, a standard minimum price per unit. Both could face difficulties under EU law as minimum pricing opponents state it breaches competition law, whilst the IFS recently advised lobbying for EU law changes to achieve tax restructuring for this purpose. > > > > Read More

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Attrition in Web-Based Treatment for Problem Drinkers

Web-based interventions for problem drinking are effective but characterized by high rates of attrition. There is a need to better understand attrition rates in order to improve the completion rates and the success of Web-based treatment programs.

The objectives of our study were to (1) examine attrition prevalence and pretreatment predictors of attrition in a sample of open-access users of a Web-based program for problem drinkers, and (2) to further explore attrition data from our randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the Web-based program.

Attrition data from two groups of Dutch-speaking problem drinkers were collected: (1) open-access participants enrolled in the program in 2009 (n = 885), and (2) RCT participants (n = 156). Participants were classified as noncompleters if they did not complete all 12 treatment sessions (9 assignments and 3 assessments). In both samples we assessed prevalence of attrition and pretreatment predictors of treatment completion. Logistic regression analysis was used to explore predictors of treatment completion. In the RCT sample, we additionally measured reasons for noncompletion and participants’ suggestions to enhance treatment adherence. The qualitative data were analyzed using thematic analysis.

The open-access and RCT group differed significantly in the percentage of treatment completers (273/780, 35.0% vs 65/144, 45%, χ21 = 5.4, P = .02). Logistic regression analysis revealed a significant contribution of treatment readiness, gender, education level, age, baseline alcohol consumption, and readiness to change to predict treatment completion. The key reasons for noncompletion were personal reasons, dissatisfaction with the intervention, and satisfaction with their own improvement. The main suggestions for boosting strategies involved email notification and more flexibility in the intervention.

The challenge of Web-based alcohol treatment programs no longer seems to be their effectiveness but keeping participants involved until the end of the treatment program. Further research should investigate whether the suggested strategies to improve adherence decrease attrition rates in Web-based interventions. If we can succeed in improving attrition rates, the success of Web-based alcohol interventions will also improve and, as a consequence, their public health impact will increase.

Read Full Article

EUCAM meeting March 29-30, 2012

EUCAM organizes in cooperation with PARPA its fourth conference on alcohol marketing in Europe 29 and 30 March 2012 in Warsaw, Poland. The EUCAM contact persons of Public Health NGOs, governmental organizations and research institutes are invited to participate.

The topic of the training will be:

-Alcohol and sport sponsoring

-Training how to monitor alcohol marketing effectively

> > > > Read More

Monday, December 26, 2011

Oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (OTSCC): alcohol and tobacco consumption versus non-consumption. A study in a Portuguese population

There has been an increase in the incidence of carcinoma of the tongue, particularly among alcohol and tobacco non-users. However, the number of studies that would allow a better understanding of etiological factors and clinical features, particularly in the Portuguese population, is very limited.

This study was based on patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the anterior two thirds of the tongue that were treated at the Department of Head and Neck Surgery of the “Instituto Portugues de Oncologia de Lisboa - Francisco Gentil” (IPOLFG) in Lisbon, Portugal, between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2009.

The patients were divided in alcohol and tobacco users and non-users in order to evaluate the differences between these 2 groups based on gender, age, tumor location, denture use, and tumor size, metastasis and stage. Of the 354 cases, 208 were users and 146 were non-users.

The main location in both groups was the lateral border of the tongue. Denture use showed no significant effect in both study groups.

It was possible to conclude that patients who did not drink or smoke were older and presented with smaller tumor size, lower incidence of ganglion metastasis and lower tumor stage compared with alcohol and tobacco users.

Read Full Article (PDF)

Working with Older Drinkers


Evidence suggests that a significant and growing number of older people are at risk of alcohol-related harm:

• 20% of men and 10% of women aged 65 and over exceed recommended drinking guidelines and 3% of men and 0.6% of women aged 65-74 are alcohol dependent

• There has been a steady increase in the amount of alcohol consumed by older age groups in recent years.

• Consumption patterns suggest that the ‘baby-boomer’ cohort is likely to have higher levels of alcohol consumption in old age than previous cohorts of older people.

Increased alcohol consumption coupled with the projected increase in the population of older people
will place increasing pressure on substance misuse and health and social care services. However, little is known about the nature of the problem and what strategies and treatment approaches work best with older drinkers. The aim of this study was to address this deficit by synthesising relevant published literature, insight from substance misuse practitioners who specialise in working with older people and the perspectives of older people with alcohol problems.

Read Full Alcohol Insight (PDF)

Clustering of multiple healthy lifestyles among older Korean adults living in the community

Despite the predictive value of combined healthy lifestyles in maintaining physical and cognitive functioning in late life, little is known about the clustering patterns of healthy lifestyle behaviors in older people. The aim of the present study was to examine the prevalence, clustering and population characteristics of adherence to multiple health behaviors in community-dwelling older Korean adults.

The study population consisted of a nationally representative sample of 4165 Korean adults aged 65 years and older in 2006. Healthy lifestyles, defined as adherence to recommended guidelines, included non-smoking, no heavy drinking, physical activity and healthy weight. Combinations of behavioral patterns and prevalence odds ratios for pairwise clusters were analyzed. Multinomial logistic regression was used to identify demographic and health-related characteristics associated with the number of adherence to guideline recommendations.

Those who adhered to all four guideline recommendations constituted the minority (11.7%). More women than men engaged in a higher number of healthy lifestyles. Clustering was more pronounced in men for whom no heavy alcohol drinking and physical activity centered around non-smoking. In women, clustering patterns were less obvious. Men, those with low levels of education, income and wealth, and the functionally impaired were less likely to adhere to multiple healthy lifestyles.

Clustering of healthy lifestyles, especially among older men, supports the potential benefit of a multiple behavior change approach. Health promotion efforts should target the socially disadvantaged and functionally compromised segment of the older population presenting low adherence to recommended behaviors.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Beyond Primary Prevention of Alcohol Use: A Culturally Specific Secondary Prevention Program for Mexican Heritage Adolescents

Classroom-based primary prevention programs with adolescents are effective in inhibiting the onset of drug use, but these programs are not designed to directly address the unique needs of adolescents at higher risk of use or already using alcohol and other drugs.

This article describes the initial efficacy evaluation of a companion psychosocial small group program which aims at addressing the needs of Mexican heritage students identified by their teachers as being at higher risk for substance use or already experimenting with alcohol and other drugs.

The adolescent (7th grade) small group curricula,
REAL Groups, is a secondary prevention program which supplements the primary classroom-based substance use prevention program, keepin’ it REAL.

Following a mutual aid approach, a total of 109 7th grade students were referred by their teachers and participated in the
REAL Groups. The remaining 252 7th grade students who did not participate served as the control group. To account for biased selection into REAL Groups, propensity score matching (PSM) was employed. The estimated average treatment effect for participants’ use of alcohol was calculated at the end of the 8th grade.

Results indicate that alcohol use decreased among students who participated in the
REAL Groups relative to matched students who did not participate.

These findings suggest that
REAL Groups may be an effective secondary prevention program for higher-risk Mexican heritage adolescents.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Alcohol New - 52/2011 - Alcohol Ups Aggression in Present-Focused Drinkers
Getting drunk increases aggression in people who have one particular personality trait: the inability to consider the future consequences of current behavior, according to new research.
Read more
MarketWatch (USA) - Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) Charts Alcohol Industry's Digital Marketing, Questions Adequacy of Industry's Self-Regulation to Avoid Exposing Youth to "Alcohol Experience"
The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health today released a four-part YouTube movie ( ) charting the alcohol industry's push into digital marketing and raising questions whether the industry's self-regulation is adequately protecting underage youth from exposure to the "alcohol experience" available on social marketing platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
Read more
Reuters (Philippines) - Philippines to review alcohol taxes after WTO ruling
The Philippines will review taxes on foreign alcohol products following a World Trade Organisation decision that the current system was discriminatory and the trade minister said the government will look at how to assist affected local distillers.
Read more (UK) - Hidden alcohol problem among elderly
A growing number of older people are exceeding the recommended alcohol limit, many of whom only develop harmful drinking habits when faced with bereavement, tedium and other stresses of retirement.
Read more
aidsmap - Alcohol increases desire for sex without condoms: systematic review
Alcohol consumption has an impact on the intention of individuals to have unprotected sex, according to the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis published in the journal Addiction.
Read more
Scottish Daily Record (Scotland) - Plan for minimum alcohol prices will be contested in court admits Nicola Sturgeon
LEGISLATION for a minimum unit price for alcohol is "almost certain" to meet a legal challenge, the Health Secretary has said.
Read more
Scotsman (Scotland) - One in seven children ‘drinking regularly’
THE scale of Scotland’s under-age alcohol problem was laid bare yesterday when a new survey showed that more than one third of 15 year-olds and one in seven 13 years olds admitted that they had taken a drink in the previous week.
Read more
Vibe Ghana (Ghana) - Chief alarmed at rate of alcohol consumption in Builsa
The Nasuing Naab, Alex Azantilow, Regent of the Builsa Traditional Area, on Wednesday said alcohol consumption among the people is assuming an alarming proportion and affecting the manpower of the area.
Read more
The Stir - Alcohol Hits Women Way Harder Than Men
You know how your husband can drink a few beers and not even blink, whereas you're wearing the proverbial lampshade after only a glass and a half of wine? A new study has underscored what we all know to be true: Alcohol affects women much more dramatically than it does men.
Read more
The New Age Online (South Africa) - Presidential adviser’s blood ‘free of alcohol’
“The police are in sh*t. Blood sample results are back, alcohol in my blood: zero. I told them, banyile ngekhe ndibayeke.” So tweeted President Jacob Zuma’s adviser, Zizi Kodwa, on Tuesday.
Read more
Daily Mail (UK) - A taste for champers! Cuts-hit BBC ran up a £366,000 bill on alcohol in five years
BBC executives were last night accused of ‘living it up on the licence fee’ after it emerged that the Corporation has spent £366,000 on alcohol in the past five years.
Read more
Irish Times (Ireland) - No cheery side to excessive drinking at Christmas time
HOW OFTEN have you heard it said that drinking is part of our culture, part of our social norm, part of our economy? There’s reality and truth in this. You’re not a bad person if you like a drink, or for that matter if you don’t, and the Irish pub is a venue to be preserved as part of our natural heritage.
Read more
Medscape - Help for Drinking Unpopular During Minor Injury Treatment
Patients presenting at minor injuries units (MIUs) in the United Kingdom may often fit the profile of "hazardous"" drinkers, making such settings ideal for interventions and advice to support problem drinking, according to a pilot study published online December 21 in Emergency Medicine Journal.

IIPS Scotland: Calling time on hazardous drinking: minimum pricing and behaviour change

The IIPS held a breakfast briefing to consider how we can influence and change one of the most significant public health issues in Scotland today. Through new research, we used the example of Scotland’s problematic drinking culture to bring to life behaviour change theory, and examine the possible effects of minimum pricing.

At this event, we were joined by Dr Bruce Ritson who responded to our presentation, in which we:

  1. Considered the culture of drinking in Scotland, reflecting on the current strategy for behaviour change,
  2. Presented the findings of new research into attitudes towards minimum pricing and examine the reported effect this may have on drinking behaviour,
  3. Reviewed research into attitudes towards alcohol, setting tFont sizehis in the wider context, highlighting areas in which we can further influence a change in behaviour.
> > > > Read More

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Acute alcohol consumption is associated with increased interatrial electromechanical delay in healthy men

Acute alcohol consumption can cause atrial fibrillation in patients with, and without, heart disease. Increased atrial electromechanical delay (EMD) has been associated with atrial fibrillation. We evaluated the atrial conduction properties by tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) echocardiography in healthy men following acute alcohol intake.

Thirty healthy male volunteers were included in this study. Baseline ECG, heart rate, blood pressure, and TDI echocardiographic findings were compared to readings take one hour after drinking six 12-oz cans of beer (76.8 g of ethanol).

Although the blood pressure and heart rate remained similar before and one hour after alcohol intake, Pmax and Pd values were significantly prolonged (114.2 ± 10.4 vs 100.8 ±
± 10.6, p = 0.002; 50.6 ± 9.6 vs 34.5 ± 8.8, p < 0.0001). Interatrial EMD was significantly
increased after drinking alcohol compared to the baseline (19.8 ± 9.2 vs 14.0 ± 5.5 ms, p < 0.0002).

Acute moderate
alcohol intake was associated with an increased interatrial EMD obtained by TDI echocardiography. This finding may help explain how these patients express increased susceptibility to atrial fibrillation.

Read Full Article (PDF)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Different guidelines for different countries? On the scientific basis of low-risk drinking guidelines and their implications

The scientific evidence for low-risk drinking guidelines was examined in a narrative review focusing on three points: definition of exposure, the best way to select outcomes and risk relations and how to determine thresholds.

With respect to exposure, at least two dimensions should be incorporated: average volume of alcohol consumption and patterns of irregular heavy drinking occasions.

Mortality should be selected as the most severe outcome, and a disaggregated approach should be adopted incorporating the regional demographic and cause of death structure.

Finally, our plea is for establishing a general threshold for acceptable risk on a societal level rather than ad hoc specific committees setting norms for specific risks. Acceptable thresholds will be different if the risk is to oneself or to others.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

News Release - "Hazardous" drinking in minor injuries unit similar to that of emergency care

“Hazardous” drinking in minor injuries unit similar to that of emergency care. The number and profile of “hazardous” drinkers turning up to an urban minor injuries unit is similar to that seen in emergency care, suggesting these units may be equally suitable for targeted interventions on alcohol, according to research from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London.

Minor injuries units—which offer rapid treatment to patients with less serious injuries—were developed to ease the pressures faced by emergency care departments, where around one in five patients has a minor injury.

Dr Robert Patton, from the Addictions Department at the Institute of Psychiatry and first author of the study, says: "Although MIUs are not set up to specifically treat alcohol problems, this pilot study demonstrates they are an appropriate location to identify patients who might benefit from some help or advice about their drinking, and suggests that with appropriate training MIU staff could then direct them toward appropriate services."

The researchers collected data from adults attending a major London hospital’s minor injuries unit (MIU) over a period of four weeks. The research was published online in Emergency Medicine Journal. > > > > Read More

Hazardous drinking among patients attending a minor injuries unit: a pilot study

Excessive alcohol consumption increases the likelihood of accidental injury. This pilot study reports on the prevalence of hazardous drinkers presenting to a minor injuries unit. The proportion of hazardous drinkers is broadly similar to that found in emergency departments, suggesting that such units could also host alcohol intervention and brief advice activities.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

SAMHSA’s Definition and Guiding Principles of Recovery – Answering the Call for Feedback

As part of SAMHSA’s efforts to provide stakeholders the opportunity to comment on the working definition of recovery and related guiding principles, several public feedback forums were run during the period August 12- 26, 2011. In addition to the forums, feedback was also submitted via the comments on the Recovery Defined – Give Us Your Feedback blog post.

The response to our request for feedback was tremendous and clearly demonstrated the field’s interest and concern on this important issue. The blog post received 259 comments. The two forums combined had over 1,000 participants, nearly 500 ideas, and over 1,200 comments on the ideas. Over 8,500 votes were also cast in support of the ideas on the forums.

SAMHSA appreciates the many thoughtful responses and suggestions received. All ideas were given careful consideration, and suggestions were incorporated into the final definition and principles (see below). Of particular note, we have added a preamble to the definition and principles emphasizing that there are many different pathways to recovery, and we have highlighted the importance of hope as the catalyst to the recovery process.

SAMHSA will disseminate the definition and principles as a resource to policy-makers, systems administrators, providers, practitioners, consumers, peers, family members, advocates, and others. The definition and principles are intended to help with the design, measurement, and reimbursement of services and supports to meet the individualized needs of those with mental disorders and substance use disorders. > > > > Read More

Acquisition, expression, and reinstatement of ethanol-induced conditioned place preference in mice: effects of exposure to stress and modulation by me

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors mediate some of the rewarding and motivational effects of ethanol, including relapses. Relapses are common in drug addicts during abstinence when exposure to any stressor ensues.

However, the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the ethanol- and stress-induced reinstatement of ethanol-induced conditioned place preference has not yet been explored. Therefore, the present study investigated the influence of mecamylamine, a nicotinic acetylcholine receptors antagonist on acquisition, expression, and reinstatement of ethanol-induced conditioned place preference in adult male Swiss mice.

The results revealed that mecamylamine (0.1–10 µg/mouse, intracerebroventricularly) dose dependently prevented the development, expression, and reinstatement of ethanol-induced conditioned place preference.

Further, acute treatment with mecamylamine blocked the restraint stress and forced swim stress-induced reinstatement of ethanol-induced conditioned place preference.

All of these treatments had no influence on the locomotor activity. Therefore, it is concluded that mecamylamine blocks the acquisition, expression and reinstatement of conditioned reinforcing effects of ethanol without per se reinforcing or aversive influence.

This ability of mecamylamine might be a potential advantage in the treatment of alcoholism.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Learn more about signs, treatments, and what you can do about FASDs. > > > > Read More

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Call for Abstracts for the 2012 Student Poster Showcase Award Contest

What is the student poster award contest?
The American Public Health Association, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Section features a poster contest to students in the field of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. The 2012 contest will be the fifth contest of its kind. Unlike other abstract submissions, there are only a very limited number of slots open for consideration. During the program planning process, abstract reviewers will determine which of the submissions are eligible for a slot in the contest. If chosen, posters will be reviewed and judged at the APHA conference in San Francisco by experts in their respective fields (alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs) and one poster in each category will be recognized with an award.

What are the criteria for awards? Several features are important for a good poster. Below you’ll find the criteria by which the posters are scored and judged:
  • Innovation and Importance: what is new, creative, ground-breaking about the project? How important is the work for ATOD and/or public health in general?
  • Project Design and Implementation: quality and level of detail and fit of method with the project aims. How was the project conducted to achieve its goals?
  • Implications and Generalizability: How well are implications for practice or policy discussed? Are results broad enough to change the way the field thinks or acts?
  • Quality of Communication—is the poster well organized, graphically interesting, appealing to the eye, self explanatory and clearly presented?
  • During the session, is the presenter able to supplement the poster with a brief and clear presentation in person?
  • Overall Rating: is the whole greater or lesser than its component parts (above)?

Read Full Anouncement (PDF)

Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner's Guide

This pocket guide is condensed from the NIAAA Guide, Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide. It was produced in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Read Full Pocket Guide (PDF)

Interrelationship of substance use and psychological distress over the life course among a cohort of urban African Americans

Substance use and psychological problems are major public health issues because of their high prevalence, co-occurrence, clustering in socio-economically disadvantaged groups, and serious consequences. However, their interrelationship over time is not well understood.

This study identifies and compares the developmental epidemiology from age 6 to 42 of substance use and psychological distress in a population of African American men and women. Data come from the Woodlawn study, a longitudinal study of an urban community cohort followed since 1966. We use structural equation modeling to examine pathways between substance use (i.e., alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine) and psychological distress over time by gender.

We find significant continuity from adolescence to midlife for substance use and for psychological distress, as well as significant correlations within time periods between substance use and psychological distress, particularly among women. We also find greater adolescent substance use predicts psychological distress in young adulthood for men, but no cross-lag associations for women. Women's adolescent psychological distress and substance use are linked uniquely to that of their mothers. Findings show additional gender differences in the developmental etiology of substance use and psychological distress.

Findings demonstrate the continuity of substance use and psychological distress over time; the contemporaneous relationships between psychological distress and substance use within time periods, and minimal cross-lagged relationships. Findings also show that adolescent substance use may set boys on a pathway of long-term psychological distress, thus adding to evidence of negative consequences of frequent use.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail: