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, March 26, 2011

Dysfunctional gene splicing as a potential contributor to neuropsychiatric disorders

Alternative pre-mRNA splicing is a major mechanism by which the proteomic diversity of eukaryotic genomes is amplified. 

Much akin to neuropsychiatric disorders themselves, alternative splicing events can be influenced by genetic, developmental, and environmental factors. 

Here, we review the evidence that abnormalities of splicing may contribute to the liability toward these disorders. 

First, we introduce the phenomenon of alternative splicing and describe the processes involved in its regulation. 

We then review the evidence for specific splicing abnormalities in a wide range of neuropsychiatric disorders, including psychotic disorders (schizophrenia), affective disorders (bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder), suicide, substance abuse disorders (cocaine abuse and alcoholism), and neurodevelopmental disorders (autism). 

Next, we provide a theoretical reworking of the concept of “gene-focused” epidemiologic and neurobiologic investigations. 

Lastly, we suggest potentially fruitful lines for future research that should illuminate the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of alternative splicing abnormalities in neuropsychiatric disorders.

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The effects of beverage type on homicide rates in Russia, 1970–2005

Previous research from Western Europe and North America has suggested that consuming different types of alcoholic beverage may have differing effects on homicide rates both within and between countries. 

The aim of this study was to examine the relation between the consumption of different beverage types and homicide rates in Russia across the later-Soviet and post-Soviet periods.
Age-standardised male and female homicide data for the period 1970–2005 and data on beverage-specific alcohol sales were obtained from the Russian State Statistical Committee (Rosstat). Time series analysis (autoregressive integrated moving average modelling) was used to examine the relation between the sale (consumption) of different alcoholic beverages and homicide rates.
Total alcohol consumption and vodka consumption as measured by sales were significantly associated with both male and female homicide rates: a 1 L increase in overall alcohol sales would result in a 5.9% increase in the male homicide rate and a 5.1% increase in the female homicide rate. The respective figures for vodka were 16.4% and 14.3%. The consumption of beer and wine was not associated with changes in homicide rates.
Our findings suggest that the consumption of distilled spirits has had an especially detrimental impact on lethal violence in Russia from at least 1970 onwards. In order to reduce homicide rates in this context, alcohol policy should focus on reducing overall consumption as well as attempting to shift the beverage preference away from distilled spirits.

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Alcohol Ingestion and Age of Death in Hanging Suicides

Retrospective review of 100 consecutive, nondecomposed cases of suicide because of hanging was conducted at Forensic Science SA, Australia. 

Alcohol was detected in 38 cases (38%). The percentage of victims who had ingested alcohol significantly decreased with age (r2 = 0.81), with alcohol detected in 57.1% of those aged ≤24 years, compared to 28.5% of those aged between 55 and 64 years, and 0% of those aged ≥65 years. 

A similar linear relationship between alcohol ingestion and age was found for cases with blood alcohol levels >0.05 g/100 mL (r2 = 0.73). 

The mean ages of those with detectable alcohol (35.2 years) levels >0.05 g/100 mL (35.1 years) and levels >0.1 g/100 mL (37.2 years) were all significantly less than in those with no detectable alcohol (44.4 years) (p < 0.005, <0.005, <0.05 respectively). 

A clear relationship between alcohol ingestion and younger age was shown in hanging suicides.

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Alcoholism and partner aggression among gay and lesbian couples

The link between alcoholism and intimate partner violence (IPV) among heterosexual couples has received a great deal of attention in both the scientific and lay press. 

However, relative to heterosexual couples, IPV among alcohol-disordered homosexual couples has been grossly understudied. Despite the limited knowledge based on this topic, previous studies suggest that homosexual couples may experience more problematic drinking behaviors, higher rates of IPV, and in general, display more negative factors associated with treatment-seeking behaviors than heterosexual couples. 

In addition, because the study of alcoholism and IPV among homosexuals is a relatively new phenomenon, research on alcohol use patterns, dyadic adjustment, and partner violence is greatly lacking. 

Thus, the purpose of this review is to describe the prevalence of these comorbid conditions among lesbian and gay couples, discuss the link between alcohol misuse and partner violence in this population, identify factors that may reduce treatment-seeking behavior among same sex couples, and describe possible treatment approaches.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Binge Drinking --- United States, 2009

Excessive alcohol use is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States (1) and was responsible for approximately 79,000 deaths and 2.3 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) in the United States each year during 2001--2005.* Binge drinking, defined as consuming four or more alcoholic drinks on one or more occasion for women and five or more drinks on one or more occasion for men, was responsible for more than half of these deaths and for two thirds of YPLL (2). More than half of alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinks (3). Healthy People 2010 (HP2010) (objective no. 26-11c) called for reducing the prevalence of binge drinking among adults (4). An overarching national health goal is to eliminate health disparities among different segments of the population.

To assess binge drinking by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, education level, income level, and disability status at the individual level, as well as geographic disparities in binge drinking at the state level, CDC analyzed data from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) on binge drinking prevalence, frequency (i.e., the average number of binge drinking episodes), and intensity (i.e., the average largest number of drinks consumed by binge drinkers). 
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Risk Factors for Alcohol-specific Hospitalizations and Deaths: Prospective Cohort Study

To study the risk factors for hospitalizations and deaths due to alcohol-specific diagnoses.
Representative samples of men (n = 4431) aged 15–69 at the baseline interviews in September 1969, 1976 and 1984 were pooled. Follow-up was 16.3 years or to the first end-point. The main outcome measure was hospitalization (main cause) or death (underlying or contributory cause) due to an alcohol-specific diagnosis.  

There were altogether 216 men with either hospitalization or death with an alcohol-specific diagnosis. This outcome was positively associated with smoking, overall alcohol intake, being an ex-drinker and being divorced or widowed. Similar associations and relative risk estimates were found when cases of alcohol dependence were excluded and when focusing on alcohol psychosis or on alcohol-specific diseases of the stomach, liver and pancreas.
Cigarette smoking, overall alcohol intake, being an ex-drinker and marital status associate with alcohol-specific hospitalizations and deaths and can predict these outcomes. 

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Gender differences in the impact of families on alcohol use: A lagged longitudinal study of early adolescents

From the pre-teen to the mid-teen years, rates of alcohol use and misuse increase rapidly. Cross-sectional research shows that positive family emotional climate (low conflict, high closeness) is protective, and there is emerging evidence that these protective mechanisms are different for girls versus boys. 

To explore gender differences in the longitudinal impact of family emotional climate on adolescent alcohol use and exposure to peer drinking networks.
Three-wave two-level (individual, within-individual over time) ordinal logistic regression with alcohol use in the past year as the dependent measure and family variables lagged by one year. Setting: Adolescents completed surveys during school hours. Participants: 855 Australian students (modal age 10-11 years at baseline) participating in the International Youth Development Study (Victoria, Australia). 

These included emotional closeness to mother/father, family conflict, parent disapproval of alcohol use, and peer alcohol use.  

For girls, the effect of emotional closeness to mothers on alcohol use was mediated by exposure to high-risk peer networks. Parent disapproval of alcohol use was protective for both genders, but this effect was larger for boys versus girls, and there was no evidence that peer use mediated this effect. Peer drinking networks showed stronger direct risk effects than family variables.

Family factors unidirectionally impact on growth in adolescent alcohol use and effects vary with child gender.

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Similar profile of cognitive impairment and recovery for Aboriginal Australians in treatment for episodic or chronic alcohol use

The cognitive impairment and recovery associated with chronic alcohol abuse and subsequent abstinence is well understood. However the recovery profile following heavy episodic or ‘binge’ use, which is common amongst some Australian Aboriginal users, has not been thoroughly investigated and no empirical studies have examined chronic use in this population. 
To identify and compare cognitive impairment and recovery associated with chronic and episodic alcohol use among Aboriginal Australians. 
Residential alcohol treatment programs in northern Australia. 
Forty chronic alcohol users, 24 episodic users and 41 healthy controls (M age = 34.24; SD = 9.73).
Cognitive assessments of visual motor, attention, memory, learning and executive functions at baseline (start of treatment), then 4 weeks and 8 weeks later. Reassessment of 31% of participants an average of 11 months later (SD = 4.4) comparing those who remained abstinent (n = 5), those who relapsed (n = 11) and healthy controls (n = 19).
At baseline, chronic and episodic alcohol users showed impaired visual motor, learning, memory and executive functions. With the exception of visual motor impairment, all deficits had improved to normal levels within 4 weeks. Visual motor deficits had normalised within 11 months. Performances did not differ at any time between chronic and episodic alcohol groups.
Episodic drinking was associated with similar patterns of impairment and recovery as chronic alcohol use. Most cognitive deficits recovered within the first month of abstinence while persisting visual motor problems recovered within one year.
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Measuring Alcohol Craving: Development of the Alcohol Craving Questionnaire

To develop a measure of craving based on the Elaborated Intrusion (EI) theory of desire and to examine the construct, concurrent and discriminant validity of the instrument.
Patients from a hospital alcohol and drug outpatient service (N = 230), participants in a randomised controlled trial (N = 219) and students in a university-based study of alcohol craving (N = 202) were recruited.
The Alcohol Craving Experience questionnaire (ACE) was developed to measure sensory aspects of craving (imagining taste, smell or sensations of drinking and intrusive cognitions associated with craving) when craving was maximal during the previous week (ACE-S: Strength), and to assess frequency of desire-related thoughts in the past week (ACE-F: Frequency). All participants completed the ACE and the AUDIT. The OCDS and the DASS were completed by hospital patients and randomised control trial participants.
Exploratory factor analysis on the ACE-S and ACE-F resulted in a three-factor structure representing Imagery, Strength and Intrusion. An attempt to confirm this factor structure required a reduction in items (two from ACE-S, five from ACE-F) before a good fit to the three-factor model was obtained. Concurrent validity with the OCDS, with severity of alcohol dependence and with depression, anxiety and stress was demonstrated. The ACE discriminated between clinical and non-clinical populations and between those at higher risk of alcohol dependence and those at lower risk.
A new scale, the Alcohol Craving Experience (ACE) questionnaire, based on the Elaborated Intrusion theory of desire appears to capture key constructs of the theory and correlate with indices of alcohol dependence.

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Surveying the range and magnitude of alcohol's harm to others in Australia

This study aims to document the adverse effects of drinkers in Australia on people other than the drinker. 

In a national survey of Australia, respondents described the harmful effects they experienced from drinkers in their households, family and friendship networks, as well as workplace and community settings.

Problems experienced because of others’ drinking were ascertained via computer-assisted telephone interviews. Respondent and drinker socio-demographic and drinking 
pattern data were recorded. 

A total of 70% of respondents were affected by strangers’ drinking and experienced nuisance, fear or abuse, and 30% reported that the drinking of someone close to them had negative effects, although only 14% were affected by such a person “a lot”. Women were more affected by someone they knew in the household or family, whilst men were more affected by strangers, friends and co-workers. Young adults were consistently the most negatively affected across the majority of types of harm. 

Substantial proportions of Australians are affected by other people's drinking, including that of their families, friends, co-workers and strangers. These harms range in magnitude from noise and fear to physical abuse, sexual coercion and social isolation.

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Long-Term Exogenous Melatonin Treatment Modulates Overall Feed Efficiency and Protects Ovarian Tissue Against Injuries Caused by Ethanol-Induced Oxidative Stress in Adult UChB Rats

Chronic ethanol intake leads to reproductive damage including reactive oxygen species formation, which accelerates the oxidative process. Melatonin is known to regulate the reproductive cycle, food/liquid intake, and it may also act as a potent antioxidant indoleamine. 

The aim of this study was to verify the effects of alcoholism and melatonin treatment on overall feed efficiency and to analyze its protective role against the oxidative stress in the ovarian tissue of UChB rats (submitted to 10% [v/v] voluntary ethanol consumption).
Forty adult female rats (n = 10/group) were finally selected for this study: UChB Co: drinking water only; and UChB EtOH: drinking ethanol at 2 to 6 ml/100 g/d + water, both receiving 0.9% NaCl + 95% ethanol 0.04 ml as vehicle. Concomitantly, UChB Co + M and UChB EtOH + M groups were infused with vehicle + melatonin (100 μg/100 g body weight/d) intraperitoneally over 60 days. All animals were euthanized by decapitation during the morning estrus (4 am).
Body weight gain was reduced with ethanol plus melatonin after 40 days of treatment. In both melatonin-treated groups, it was observed a reduction in food-derived calories and liquid intake toward the end of treatment. The amount of consumed ethanol dropped during the treatment. Estrous cycle was longer in rats that received both ethanol and melatonin, with prolonged diestrus. Following to oxidative status, lipid hydroperoxide levels were higher in the ovaries of ethanol-preferring rats and decreased after melatonin treatment. Additionally, antioxidant activities of superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase activity, and glutathione reductase activity were increased in melatonin-treated groups.
We suggest that melatonin is able to affect feed efficiency and, conversely, it protects the ovaries against the oxidative stress arising from ethanol consumption.

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Ten-Year Trends (1992 to 2002) in Sociodemographic Predictors and Indicators of Alcohol Abuse and Dependence Among Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics in the United States

The objective of this paper is to examine 10-year trends (1992 to 2002) in the number and type of indicators of DSM-IV abuse and dependence among whites, blacks, and Hispanics in the United States.
Data are from the 1991 to 1992 National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey (NLAES; = 42,862) and the 2001 to 2002 National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC; = 43,093). Both surveys used multistage cluster sample procedures to select respondents 18 years of age and older from the U.S. household population.
Increases in the prevalence of alcohol abuse between 1992 and 2002 seem associated with a rise in the prevalence of the indicator for “hazardous use.” which usually means reports of driving after drinking. The decrease in dependence was not associated with changes in a particular indicator. In addition, both in 1992 and 2002, 12.3 to 15.4% of the men and 5.2 to 7.9% of the women were diagnostic “orphans.” These respondents reported 1 or 2 indicators of alcohol dependence as present.
The observed trends in number and types of indicators of DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence were probably triggered by a complex interplay between individuals’ volume and pattern of drinking and reactions from the drinkers’ social environment. The close association between hazardous use of alcohol and the prevalence of abuse deserves further discussion. A medical diagnostic category should not be so dependent on a criterion that may be influenced by social situations. It is necessary to understand more about diagnostic “orphans” to better design interventions to address their problems.

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Alcohol-Induced Modulation of Rictor and mTORC2 Activity in C2C12 Myoblasts

The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase controls cell growth, proliferation, and metabolism through 2 distinct multiprotein complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2. We reported that alcohol (EtOH) inhibits mTORC1 activity and protein synthesis in C2C12 myoblasts. However, the role that mTORC2 plays in this process has not been elucidated. In this study, we investigated whether mTORC2 functions as part of a feedback regulator in response to EtOH, acting to maintain the balance between the functions of Akt, mTORC2, and mTORC1.
C2C12 myoblasts were incubated with EtOH for 18 to 24 hours. Levels of various mTORC2 proteins and mRNA were assessed by immunoblotting and real-time PCR, respectively, while protein–protein interactions were determined by immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting. An in vitro mTORC2 kinase activity assay was performed using Akt as a substrate. The rate of protein synthesis was determined by 35S-methionine/cysteine incorporation into cellular protein.
EtOH (100 mM) increased the protein and mRNA levels of the mTORC2 components rictor, mSin1, proline-rich repeat protein 5, and Deptor. There was also an increased association of these proteins with mTOR. EtOH increased the in vitro kinase activity of mTORC2, and this was correlated with decreased binding of rictor with 14-3-3 and Deptor. Reduced rictor phosphorylation at T1135 by EtOH was most likely due to decreased S6K1 activity. Knockdown of rictor elevated mTORC1 activity, as indicated by increased S6K1 phosphorylation and protein synthesis. Likewise, there were decreased amounts and/or phosphorylation levels of various mTORC1 and mTORC2 components including raptor, proline-rich Akt substrate 40 kDa, mSin1, Deptor, and GβL. Activated PP2A was associated with decreased Akt and eukaryotic elongation factor 2 phosphorylation. Collectively, our results provide evidence of a homeostatic balance between the 2 mTOR complexes following EtOH treatments in myoblasts.
EtOH increased the activity of mTORC2 by elevating levels of various components and their interaction with mTOR. Decreased rictor phosphorylation at T1135 acts as mTORC1-dependent feedback mechanisms, functioning in addition to the insulin receptor substrate-I/PI3K signaling pathway to regulate protein synthesis.

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Ethanol, Acetaldehyde, and Estradiol Affect Growth and Differentiation of Rhesus Monkey Embryonic Stem Cells

The timing of the origins of fetal alcohol syndrome has been difficult to determine, in part because of the challenge associated with in vivo studies of the peri-implantation stage of embryonic development. Because embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are derived from blastocyst stage embryos, they are used as a model for early embryo development.
Rhesus monkey ESC lines (ORMES-6 and ORMES-7) were treated with 0, 0.01, 0.1, or 1.0% ethanol, 1.0% ethanol with estradiol, or 0.00025% acetaldehyde with or without estradiol for 4 weeks.
Although control ESCs remained unchanged, abnormal morphology of ESCs in the ethanol and acetaldehyde treatment groups was observed before 2 weeks of treatment. Immunofluorescence staining of key pluripotency markers (TRA-1-81 and alkaline phosphatase) indicated a loss of ESC pluripotency in the 1.0% ethanol group. ORMES-7 was more sensitive to effects of ethanol than ORMES-6.
Estradiol appeared to increase sensitivity to ethanol in the ORMES-6 and ORMES-7 cell line. The morphological changes and labeling for pluripotency, proliferation, and apoptosis demonstrated that how ethanol affects these early cells that develop in culture, their differentiation state in particular. The effects of ethanol may be mediated in part through metabolic pathways regulating acetaldehyde formation, and while potentially accentuated by estradiol in some individuals, how remains to be determined.

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Reporting Bias in the Association Between Age at First Alcohol Use and Heavy Episodic Drinking

Given the weight placed on retrospective reports of age at first drink in studies of later drinking-related outcomes, it is critical that its reliability be established and possible sources of systematic bias be identified. 

The overall aim of the current study is to explore the possibility that the estimated magnitude of association between early age at first drink and problem alcohol use may be inflated in studies using retrospectively reported age at alcohol use onset.
The sample was comprised of 1,716 participants in the Missouri Adolescent Female Twin Study who reported an age at first drink in at least 2 waves of data collection (an average of 4 years apart). Difference in reported age at first drink at Time 2 versus Time 1 was categorized as 2 or more years younger, within 1 year (consistent), or 2 or more years older. The strength of the association between age at first drink and peak frequency of heavy episodic drinking (HED) at Time 1 was compared with that at Time 2. The association between reporting pattern and peak frequency of HED was also examined.
A strong association between age at first drink and HED was found for both reports, but it was significantly greater at Time 2. Just over one-third of participants had a 2 year or greater difference in reported age at first drink. The majority of inconsistent reporters gave an older age at Time 2 and individuals with this pattern of reporting engaged in HED less frequently than consistent reporters.
The low rate of HED in individuals reporting an older age at first drink at Time 2 suggests that the upward shift in reported age at first drink among early initiates is most pronounced for light drinkers. Heavy drinkers may therefore be overrepresented among early onset users in retrospective studies, leading to inflated estimates of the association between early age at initiation and alcohol misuse.

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Path of socialization and cognitive factors’ effects on adolescents’ alcohol use in Taiwan

The purpose of this study was to explore the direct and indirect effects of alcohol-related socialization factors and cognitive factors on adolescent alcohol use in a country with a low prevalence of drinking.

Data were obtained from the 2006 phase of the Child and Adolescent Behaviors in Long-term Evolution (CABLE) project, at which time the study participants were in grade nine(aged 14–15 years). Data from 1,940 participants were analyzed. The main study variables included the current alcohol use of each adolescent, alcohol expectations, alcohol refusal efficacy, alcohol use among parents and peers, attitudes of the parents toward underage drinking, and peer encouragement of drinking. Path analysis was conducted to examine whether parental and peer socialization factors had direct effects on adolescent alcohol use, or whether they acted indirectly via cognitive factors.

Among the participants, 19.54% had used alcohol in the previous month. Path analysis demonstrated that father, mother and peer alcohol use directly influenced alcohol use in adolescents. Alcohol use by mothers, attitudes of mothers toward underage drinking, peer drinking and peer encouragement of drinking had indirect effects on adolescent alcohol use that were mediated by cognitive factors.

This study demonstrated that alcohol-related socialization factors could directly influence adolescent drinking behavior and had indirect effects on alcohol use that were mediated by cognitive factors partially. Parents and peers play important roles in preventing adolescent alcohol use. Establishing appropriate alcohol expectations and strengthening alcohol refusal skills could aid in decreasing alcohol use in adolescents.

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Alcohol disorder amongst forcibly displaced persons in northern Uganda

Alcohol use may be a coping mechanism for the stressors related to forced displacement. The aim of this study was to investigate levels and determinants of alcohol disorder amongst internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northern Uganda.

A cross-sectional survey with 1206 adult IDPs was conducted in Gulu and Amuru districts. Alcohol disorder was measured using the AUDIT instrument. Multivariate logistic regression was used to explore demographic, socio-economic, displacement and trauma exposure determinants of alcohol disorder.

The prevalence of probable alcohol disorder was 17% of all respondents, and 66% amongst those who drank alcohol once a month or more frequently. Factors associated with alcohol disorder included men compared to women, older age, and experiencing a higher number of traumatic events. These findings can help identify potentially vulnerable groups and target responses more effectively.

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CHRM2, Parental Monitoring, and Adolescent Externalizing Behavior Evidence for Gene-Environment Interaction

Psychologists, with their long-standing tradition of studying mechanistic processes, can make important contributions to further characterizing the risk associated with genes identified as influencing risk for psychiatric disorders. 

We report one such effort with respect to CHRM2, which codes for the cholinergic muscarinic 2 receptor and was of interest originally for its association with alcohol dependence.

We tested for association between CHRM2 and prospectively measured externalizing behavior in a longitudinal, community-based sample of adolescents, as well as for moderation of this association by parental monitoring. 

We found evidence for an interaction in which the association between the genotype and externalizing behavior was stronger in environments with lower parental monitoring. 

There was also suggestion of a crossover effect, in which the genotype associated with the highest levels of externalizing behavior under low parental monitoring had the lowest levels of externalizing behavior at the extreme high end of parental monitoring. 

The difficulties involved in distinguishing mechanisms of gene-environment interaction are discussed.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Job Strain, Depressive Symptoms, and Drinking Behavior Among Older Adults: Results From the Health and Retirement Study

To examine the relationship between job strain and two indicators of mental health, depression and alcohol misuse, among currently employed older adults.

Data come from the 2004 and 2006 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (N = 2,902). Multivariable logistic regression modeling was used to determine the association between job strain, indicated by the imbalance of job stress and job satisfaction, with depression and alcohol misuse. 

High job strain (indicated by high job stress combined with low job satisfaction) was associated with elevated depressive symptoms (odds ratio [OR] = 2.98, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.99–4.45) relative to low job strain after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, labor force status, and occupation. High job stress combined with high job satisfaction (OR = 1.93) and low job stress combined with low job satisfaction (OR = 1.94) were also associated with depressive symptoms to a lesser degree. Job strain was unrelated to either moderate or heavy drinking. These associations did not vary by gender or age. 

Job strain is associated with elevated depressive symptoms among older workers. In contrast to results from investigations of younger workers, job strain was unrelated to alcohol misuse. These findings can inform the development and implementation of workplace health promotion programs that reflect the mental health needs of the aging workforce. 

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2011 Alcohol Awareness Month Faith Community Bulletin Insert

The 2011 Alcohol Awareness Month (April) faith community bulletin insert is designed for use by churches, temples and mosques for their Sunday/Sabbath-day bulletins, newsletters or bulletin boards. The 5 1/2" X 8 1/2" double-sided informational sheet provides: information about the disease of alcoholism, effectiveness of evidence-based treatment, what persons can do to become more informed about this disease, and what faith communities can do to provide support to their members.

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Psychotherapeutic Medications 2011

Psychotherapeutic Medications 2011:  What Every Counselor Should Know was originally developed as a companion piece to the Mid-America ATTC systems change curriculum, A Collaborative Response: Addressing the Needs of Consumers with Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders.  

This booklet is an excellent reference document for clinicians, containing information on generic and brand names, their purpose, usual dose and frequency, side effects, potential for abuse and dependence, emergency conditions, and cautions.  

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Commentary - Parenting in the Context of Addiction Recovery: Critical Research Questions

The emergence of recovery as an organizing paradigm in the addictions field is spurring calls for the development of a national recovery research agenda. 

This article identifies research questions of great concern to parents in recovery, parents of recovering adolescents, addiction professionals, and recovery support specialists seeking to include parent-focused interventions within the treatment and post-treatment recovery support process. 

Effectively addressing parenting as a treatment and recovery support issue will require mobilizing people in recovery to help shape a recovery research agenda that includes parenting as a prominent focus of research activity.

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Gambling and Problem Gambling Across the Lifespan

Two national U.S. telephone surveys of gambling were conducted, an adult survey (age 18 and over, N = 2,631) in 1999–2000 and a youth (age 14–21, N = 2,274) survey in 2005–2007. The data from these surveys were combined to examine the prevalence of any gambling, frequent gambling and problem gambling across the lifespan. 
These types of gambling involvement increased in frequency during the teens, reached a high level in the respondents’ 20s and 30s, and then fell off in as the respondents aged. 
The notion that gambling involvement generally, and especially problem gambling, is most prevalent during the teens was not supported. 
A comparison of the age patterns of gambling involvement and alcohol involvement showed that alcohol involvement peaks at a younger age than gambling involvement; and thus, the theory that deviant behaviors peak at an early age applies more to alcohol than to gambling.
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The prevalence and characteristics of alcohol-related presentations to emergency departments in rural Australia

The burden of harm associated with alcohol misuse is disproportionately high in rural areas of Australia, and a considerable proportion of this burden is borne by the health system. The health impact of alcohol in rural areas has been measured in terms of the contribution of alcohol to hospital inpatient admissions and mortality rates, despite many more alcohol-related cases presenting to emergency departments (EDs). 

This study aims to estimate the proportion of presentations to EDs in rural Australia that are alcohol-related and to identify the associated patient and presentation characteristics. 

Patients aged ≥14 years presenting to four EDs in rural NSW were assessed on two measures: (1) Clinician judgement of alcohol consumption, and (2) patient self-report of alcohol consumption in the 6 h preceding the onset of their condition. 

Preliminary analyses revealed sample selection biases in two of the EDs, and these samples were consequently excluded from further analyses. In the two remaining EDs, 46% of presentations were assessed, of which 9% were identified as alcohol-related. Presentations for mental disorders, those with more urgent triage categories and those occurring on weekends or at night were more often alcohol-related. 

The prevalence of alcohol-related ED presentations observed was at the lower end of the documented range, probably due to methodological differences and limitations, as well as geographic variation. Despite this, alcohol-related presentations were associated with a substantial impact on the ED. Policies and programs to reduce the impact of alcohol on rural emergency departments are needed. 

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News Release - Why Some Kids Are Harmed by Mother's Alcohol, But Others Aren't

Exposure to alcohol in the womb doesn’t affect all fetuses equally. Why does one woman who drinks alcohol during pregnancy give birth to a child with physical, behavioral or learning problems -- known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder -- while another woman who also drinks has a child without these problems?

One answer is a gene variation passed on by the mother to her son, according to new Northwestern Medicine research. This gene variation contributes to a fetus’ vulnerability to even moderate alcohol exposure by upsetting the balance of thyroid hormones in the brain.

The Northwestern Medicine study with rats is the first to identify a direct genetic mechanism of behavioral deficits caused by fetal alcohol exposure. The study is published today in the FASEB Journal.   > > > >  Read More

Supporting partnerships to reduce alcohol harm: key findings, recommendations and case studies from the Alcohol Harm Reduction National Support Team

This document records the methodology and findings of the Alocohol Harm Reduction National Support Team. It provides collated and aggregated information about what the team have recommended in visited areas, with the intention to provide readers with helpful information to draw upon in their current work. It also contains signposting, case studies and examples of good practice.

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NICE Guideline - Psychosis with coexisting substance misuse

This guideline offers best practice advice on the assessment and management of people with psychosis and coexisting substance misuse.
Psychosis is a condition that affects a person’s mental state, including their thoughts, mood and behaviour. The symptoms of psychosis are:
  • hallucinations – hearing voices and sometimes seeing things that are not really there
  • delusions – having fixed beliefs that are false but which the person believes in completely.
Substance misuse is a broad term encompassing, in this guideline, the harmful use of any psychotropic substance, including alcohol and either legal or illicit drugs. Use of such substances is harmful when it has a negative effect on a person’s life, including their physical and mental health, relationships, work, education and finances or leads to offending behaviour.

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Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the January–September 2010 National Health Interview Survey

In this release, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) updates estimates for 15 selected health measures based on data from the January–September 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and presents estimates from 1997 through 2009 for comparison. The 15 Early Release measures are being published prior to final data editing and final weighting, to provide access to the most recent information from NHIS. The estimates will be updated as each new quarter of NHIS data becomes available.

9. Alcohol consumption 

  • Figure 9.1. Percentage of adults aged 18 years and over who had five or more drinks in 1 day at least once in the past year: United States, 1997–September 2010
  • Figure 9.2. Percentage of adults aged 18 years and over who had five or more drinks in 1 day at least once in the past year, by age group and sex: United States, January–September 2010
  • Figure 9.3. Age-sex-adjusted percentage of adults aged 18 years and over who had five or more drinks in 1 day at least once in the past year, by race/ethnicity: United States, January–September 2010
  • Data tables for Figures 9.1–9.3

Developing a Web-Based Health Promotion Intervention: A Case Study From a Brief Motivational Alcohol Program

Public health researchers and practitioners reporting findings from intervention studies seldom report in depth the processes of intervention development. 

However, such information would be useful for several reasons: (a) it would help guide the development of new interventions and refinement or revision of existing ones, (b) it would provide a framework and methodology on which other health practitioners and researchers could build, and (c) it would increase transparency of the development process and enhance the interpretation of the intervention’s effects. 

The purpose of this article is to begin addressing the “black box” of Web-based intervention development by presenting the method for developing a Web-based, brief, motivational alcohol intervention program that has shown evidence of efficacy for college students, called Michigan Prevention & Alcohol Safety for Students.

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Increased ethanol intake and preference in cyclin D2 knockout mice

Inhibitory effects of passive ethanol exposure on brain neurogenesis have been extensively documented in animal models. In contrast, a role of brain neurogenesis in ethanol self-administration has not been addressed, as yet. 

The aim of the present study was to assess intake of, and preference for, ethanol solutions [2-16% (v/v)] in a mouse model of adult neurogenesis deficiency based on permanent knockout (KO) of cyclin D2. Wild-type (WT) and cyclin D2 KO mice did not differ in 2% and 4% ethanol intake. 

The KO group consumed significantly more ethanol in g/kg when offered with 8% or 16% ethanol as compared to the WT controls. The WT and KO mice did not differ in 2% ethanol preference but the KO group showed a significantly higher preference for 4-16% ethanol. 

Animal and human studies have suggested that the low level of response to the sedative/hypnotic effects of alcohol is genetically associated with enhanced alcohol consumption. 

However, in the present study, there were no between-genotype differences in ethanol-induced loss of righting reflex. 

Previous reports have also suggested that high ethanol intake is genetically associated with the avidity for sweets and better acceptance of bitter solutions. However, the KO and WT mice consumed similar amounts of saccharin solutions and the KOs consumed less quinine (i.e. bitter) solutions as compared to the WTs. 

In conclusion, the present results may indicate that cyclin D2 and, possibly, brain neurogenesis is involved in central regulation of ethanol intake in mice.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Joint Meeting of the NIDA and NIAAA Councils - April 2011

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Air date: Monday, April 11, 2011, 10:00:00 AM
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Description: NIDA and NIAAA councils will be meeting with Dr. Collins in Wilson Hall
Author: Dr. Collins
Runtime: 210 minutes