An international website dedicated to providing current information on news, reports, publications,and peer-reviewed research articles concerning alcoholism and alcohol-related problems throughout the world. Postings are provided by international contributors who monitor news, publications and research findings in their country, geographical region or program area of interest. All postings are entered without editorial or contributor opinion or comment.
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.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Enhanced Sensitivity to Attenuation of Conditioned Reinstatement by the mGluR2/3 Agonist LY379268 and Increased Functional Activity of mGluR2/3 in Rat
Recent findings implicate group II metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR2/3) in the reinforcing and dependence-inducing actions of ethanol and identify these receptors as treatment targets for alcoholism.
Here, we investigated the effects of mGLuR2/3 activation on conditioned reinstatement in rats with different ethanol-dependence histories and examined dependence-associated changes in the functional activity of mGluR2/3. Following ethanol self-administration training and conditioning procedures, rats were made ethanol dependent, using ethanol vapor inhalation, under three conditions: a single intoxication and withdrawal episode (SW), repeated cycles of intoxication and withdrawal (RW), or no intoxication (CTRL). At 1 week after removal from ethanol vapor, self-administration resumed until stable baseline performance was reached, followed by extinction of operant responding and reinstatement tests.
Post-withdrawal self-administration was increased in the RW group, but all groups showed conditioned reinstatement. The mGluR2/3 agonist LY379268 dose -dependently reduced reinstatement in all groups, but was more effective at low doses in the SW and RW groups.
The highest dose of LY379268 tested reduced spontaneous locomotor activity and operant responding maintained by a non-drug reinforcer, without differences among groups. The heightened sensitivity to the effects of LY379268 in rats with an ethanol-dependence history was therefore specific to behavior motivated by ethanol-related stimuli.
Both the SW and RW groups showed elevated [35S]GTPγS binding in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) and bed nucleus of stria terminalis (BNST), relative to the CTRL group.
The findings implicate changes in mGluR2/3 functional activity as a factor in ethanol dependence and support treatment target potential of mGlu2/3 receptors for craving and relapse prevention.
Read Full Abstract
Request Reprint E-Mail: email@example.com
Evidence for the Role of Histamine H3 Receptor in Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol Reward in Mice
Recent research suggests that histamine H3 receptor (H3R) antagonism may diminish motivational aspects of alcohol dependence.
We studied the role of H3Rs in alcohol-related behaviors using H3R knockout (KO) mice and ligands.
H3R KO mice consumed less alcohol than wild-type (WT) mice in a two-bottle free-choice test and in a ‘drinking in the dark’ model. H3R antagonist ciproxifan suppressed and H3R agonist immepip increased alcohol drinking in C57BL/6J mice. Impairment in reward mechanisms in H3R KO mice was confirmed by the lack of alcohol-evoked conditioned place preference. Plasma alcohol concentrations of H3R KO and WT mice were similar. There were no marked differences in brain biogenic amine levels in H3R KO mice compared with the control animals after alcohol drinking.
In conclusion, the findings of this study provide evidence for the role of H3R receptor in alcohol-related behaviors, especially in alcohol drinking and alcohol reward. Thus, targeting H3Rs with a specific antagonist might be a potential means to treat alcoholism in the future.
Read Full Text (PDF)
Rally for Recovery! 2011
This September, join Faces & Voices in speaking out with a unified voice to deliver the power and proof of recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. We’re excited about all of the walks, rallies, art festivals and other events that are taking place as Recovery Month gets underway. People in recovery, family members, friends and allies including elected and appointed officials and media personalities will be participating. Sandra Huffman’s journey is nearing its end as she continues her walk from Florida to Washington, DC and then on to Philly after a short detour to the McShin Foundation to get out of the path of Hurricane Irene.
We’ll see you standing up and speaking out at this year’s National Rally for Recovery! hub event on September 24th in Philadelphia or in your community.
Register for Philadelphia’s PRO-ACT Recovery Walks! here.
Find an event near you here.
Rally for Recovery! online here.
And this year, you can watch Faces & Voices national hub event – PRO-ACT’s Recovery Walks! – live on the 24th. Bookmark this site and tune in at 9:00 am to watch and download video from other Recovery Month events as well.
Our goal this year is over 100,000 people at events all across the country including events in the UK, where the United Kingdom Recovery Federation will be holding a Recovery Summit and 3rd National Recovery Walk. Find out more on our International Recovery Resources Guide where UK speakers will be posting on our blog later this month. > > > > Read More
MiR-497 and miR-302b regulate ethanol induced neuronal cell death through BCL2 and cyclin D2
In chronic alcoholism, brain shrinkage and cognitive defects due to neuronal death are well established, though the sequence of molecular events has not been fully explored yet.
We explored the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in ethanol induced apoptosis of neuronal cells. Ethanol sensitive miRNAs in SH-SY5Y, a human neuroblastoma cell line were identified using real time PCR based Taqman Low Density Arrays (TLDA).
Long-term exposure to ethanol (0.5 percent v/v for 72 hours) produced a maximum increase in expression of miR-497 (474 folds) and miR-302b (322 folds). Similar to SH-SY5Y, long term exposure to ethanol induced miR-497 and miR-302b in IMR-32, another human neuroblastoma cell line.
Using in silico approaches, BCL2 and cyclin D2 (CCND2) were identified as probable target genes of these miRNAs. Co-transfection studies with 3-UTR of these genes and miRNA mimics have demonstrated that BCL2 is direct target of miR-497 and CCND2 is regulated negatively by either miR-302b or miR-497.
Over-expression of either miR-497 or miR-302b reduced expression of their identified target genes and increased caspase-3 mediated apoptosis of SH-SY5Y cells. However, over-expression of only miR-497 increased reactive oxygen species formation, disrupted mitochondrial membrane potential and induced cytochrome C release (mitochondria related events of apoptosis).
Moreover, ethanol induced changes in miRNAs and their target genes were substantially prevented by pre-exposure to GSK-3B inhibitors.
In conclusion, our studies have shown that ethanol induced neuronal apoptosis follows both mitochondria mediated (miR-497 and BCL2 mediated) and non-mitochondria mediated (miR-302b and CCND2 mediated) pathway.
Read Full Text (PDF)
Beliefs and Practices of Pediatric Emergency Physicians and Nurses Regarding Counseling Alcohol-Using Adolescents: Can Counseling Practice Be Predicte
The objectives of the study were to investigate the attitudes and practices of pediatric emergency department (PED) physicians (MDs), MD extenders (MD's assistants [PAs], nurse practitioners [NPs]), and nurses (RNs) regarding their counseling of alcohol-using adolescent PED patients and to determine which, if any, PED clinician characteristics predict current counseling practice.
An Internet-based survey of PED clinicians (MDs, PAs, NPs, and RNs) from 11 academic US PEDs was conducted. Respondents were asked about their counseling training, current counseling practices, confidence in their counseling skills, importance of counseling, attitudes and beliefs about counseling, and demographic information. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine the relationship between clinician characteristics and counseling practice.
Counseling practice was strongly associated with one's profession; PED MDs/PAs/NPs reported significantly higher rates of counseling alcohol-using adolescents than PED RNs. These 2 groups differed significantly in terms of counseling training and experience. Counseling training and experience remained significant predictors of counseling practice, even after controlling for profession and other covariates. Both groups had similar views on the importance of counseling, confidence in their ability to counsel, and counseling substance-using adolescent PED patients.
Pediatric ED MDs/PAs/NPs differ significantly from PED RNs in their counseling training, experience, and practice. These findings have important implications for the training and support necessary to successfully implement PED counseling. Specifically, formal training in counseling during professional schooling and garnering counseling experience after completing training may be critical factors in promoting PED counseling.
Request Reprint E-Mail:
Alcohol-use disorder severity predicts first-incidence of depressive disorders
Previous studies suggest that alcohol-use disorder severity, defined by the number of criteria met, provides a more informative phenotype than dichotomized DSM-IV diagnostic measures of alcohol use disorders. Therefore, this study examined whether alcohol-use disorder severity predicted first-incident depressive disorders, an association that has never been found for the presence or absence of an alcohol use disorder in the general population.
In a national sample of persons who had never experienced a major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymia, manic or hypomanic episode (n=27 571), we examined whether a version of DSM-5 alcohol-use disorder severity (a count of three abuse and all seven dependence criteria) linearly predicted first-incident depressive disorders (MDD or dysthymia) after 3-year follow-up. Wald tests were used to assess whether more complicated models defined the relationship more accurately.
First-incidence of depressive disorders varied across alcohol-use disorder severity and was 4.20% in persons meeting no alcohol-use disorder criteria versus 44.47% in persons meeting all 10 criteria. Alcohol-use disorder severity significantly predicted first-incidence of depressive disorders in a linear fashion (odds ratio 1.14, 95% CI 1.06–1.22), even after adjustment for sociodemographics, smoking status and predisposing factors for depressive disorders, such as general vulnerability factors, psychiatric co-morbidity and subthreshold depressive disorders. This linear model explained the relationship just as well as more complicated models.
Alcohol-use disorder severity was a significant linear predictor of first-incident depressive disorders after 3-year follow-up and may be useful in identifying a high-risk group for depressive disorders that could be targeted by prevention strategies.
Read Full Abstract
Request Reprint E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Headache is associated with lower alcohol consumption among medical students
The aim of this study was to investigate the association between headache and alcohol consumption among medical students.
480 medical students were submitted to a questionnaire about headaches and drinking alcohol. Headache was assessed by ID-Migraine and functional disability was evaluated with MIDAS. The evaluation of alcohol consumption was assessed with Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT).
There was significantly lower proportion of students with drinking problem among students with headache. This occurred both among students classified as having migraine and among those who had non-migrainous headache. There was not a correlation between functional disability of headache and AUDIT score.
Our data suggest that having headache leads to a reduction in alcohol consumption among medical students regardless the degree of headache functional impact.
Read Full Text (PDF)
News Release - Youth drug use in Indiana: Upward trend in marijuana use, smokeless tobacco
Alcohol use by Indiana sixth- through 12th-graders has declined, but findings from the 21st Annual Survey of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use also revealed a continuing increase in marijuana and smokeless tobacco use.
The survey, conducted by the Indiana Prevention Resource Center at Indiana University Bloomington and funded by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration's Division of Mental Health and Addiction, questioned 168,801 students in public and private schools. Researchers found that the reported use of marijuana is on the rise for grade seven as well as grades nine through 12. Marijuana use among youth in grade eight has decreased, which signals the end of an upward trend that occurred from 2008-2010 in monthly marijuana use. > > > > Read More
News Release - NIH-supported studies show online course helps reduce harmful college drinking
An online alcohol prevention course can help reduce harmful drinking among college freshmen, but the benefits in the fall don't last through the spring, according to a study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Led by Mallie J. Paschall, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Berkeley, Calif., the research evaluated the effectiveness of a commercially available Internet-based alcohol misuse prevention course known as AlcoholEdu. The researchers had no connection with the company that developed and sells the course.
"Our findings indicate that this course can be a useful component of an overall strategy that combines campus-wide and environmental interventions to prevent harmful drinking by college students," says Dr. Paschall. > > > > Read More
Evaluation of an Internet-Based Alcohol Misuse Prevention Course for College Freshmen: Findings of a Randomized Multi-Campus Trial
Internet-based alcohol misuse prevention programs are now used by many universities. One popular 2- to 3-hour online course known as AlcoholEdu for College is typically required for all incoming freshmen and thus constitutes a campus-level strategy to reduce student alcohol misuse.
Multi-campus study to evaluate the effectiveness of an Internet-based alcohol misuse prevention course.
RCT with 30 universities: 21 entered the study in Fall 2007, nine in Fall 2008. Fifteen were randomly assigned to receive the online course and the other 15 were assigned to the control condition. The course was implemented by intervention schools during the late summer and/or fall semester. Cross-sectional surveys of freshmen were conducted at each university, beginning prior to the intervention in Spring 2008–2009; post-intervention surveys were administered in Fall 2008–2009 and Spring 2009–2010.
Public and private universities of varying sizes across the U.S. Random samples of 200 freshmen per campus were invited to participate in online surveys for the evaluation. Overall survey response rates ranged from 44% to 48% (M ≈ 90 participants per campus).
The online course includes five modules; the first four (Part I) are typically offered in the late summer before matriculation, and the fifth (Part II) in early fall. Course content includes defining a standard drink, physiologic effects of alcohol, the need to monitor blood alcohol level, social influences on alcohol use, alcohol laws, personalized normative feedback, and alcohol harm-reduction strategies. Students must pass an exam after Part I to advance to Part II.
Past-30-day alcohol use, average number of drinks per occasion, and binge drinking.
Multilevel intent-to-treat analyses indicated significant reductions in the frequency of past-30-day alcohol use (beta = –0.64, p<0.05) and binge drinking (beta = –0.26, p<0.05) during the fall semester immediately after completion of the course. However, these effects did not persist when assessed in the spring semester. Post hoc comparisons suggested stronger course effects on these outcomes at colleges with higher rates of student course completion. No course effects were observed for average number of drinks per occasion or prevalence of binge drinking, regardless of the campus course completion rate.
This study provides initial evidence that the Internet-based alcohol misuse prevention course has beneficial short-term effects on hazardous drinking behavior among first-year college students, which should be reinforced through effective environmental prevention strategies.
Read Full Abstract
Request Reprint E-Mail: email@example.com
NICE alcohol commissioning guidance and quality standards
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) have released alcohol commissioning guidance to support attainment of the new alcohol quality standard.
The guidance builds on:
- NICE CG115 - alcohol dependence and harmful alcohol use
- NICE PH24 - alcohol-use disorders - preventing harmful drinking
- NICE CG 100 - alcohol-use disorders: physical complications
- Supporting resources including alcohol pathways and further tools. > > > > Read More
Joint Meeting of the NIDA and NIAAA Councils - September 2011
|View event:||You will be able to view the event at http://videocast.nih.gov when the event is live.||
|Air date:|| Monday, September 12, 2011, 10:00:00 AM
Time displayed is Eastern Time, Washington DC Local
|iCalendar:||Add an upcoming event to your calendar.|
|Description:||NIDA and NIAAA councils will be meeting with Dr. Collins in Wilson Hall|
|Author:||Dr. Francis Collins, NIH Director|
|CIT File ID:||None|
|CIT Live ID:||10367|
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Editorial - Alcohol-related brain damage: a 21st-century management conundrum
Alcohol-related brain damage has a growing impact on service provision. Despite the benefit of therapeutic interventions and a relatively good prognosis in the context of service provision, few services exist.
Both national and local initiatives are required in order to provide psychosocial rehabilitation for this marginalised group of patients.
Read Full Abstract
Request Reprint E-Mail:
Affective disorders, anxiety disorders and the risk of alcohol dependence and misuse
It is unclear whether common affective disorders and anxiety disorders increase the risk of alcohol dependence and alcohol misuse.
To investigate whether affective disorders and anxiety disorders increase the risk of alcohol dependence and alcohol misuse.
This study is a retrospective cohort study based on data collected from the 2007 Australia Mental Health and Well-Being survey. Both Poisson and logistic regression models were used for multivariate analysis.
Participants with affective disorders (relative risk (RR) = 5.46, 95% CI 4.08–7.31 for alcohol dependence within 5 years of onset; RR = 2.77, 95% CI 1.93–3.99 after first 5 years) and anxiety disorders (RR = 3.33, 95% CI 2.37–4.68 for alcohol dependence within first 5 years of onset; RR = 3.56, 95% CI 2.72–4.64 after first 5 years) were at higher risk of alcohol misuse and alcohol dependence.
Common affective disorders and anxiety disorders may increase the risk of alcohol dependence and alcohol misuse among the Australian population.
Request Reprint E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Next Generation Sequencing Technologies and Medical Sequencing Approaches for Complex Disorders - NIAAA-NIDA Satellite Symposium
NIAAA-NIDA Satellite Symposium
The purpose of this satellite meeting is to develop consensus research strategy based on new developments in sequencing technologies or next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies. The production of large numbers of low cost sequence data makes the NGS platform useful for many applications especially human genomics. A group of investigators and NIAAA staff would convene to review and discuss NGS technologies and strategies to elucidate the application of this approach to the identifcation of genes conferring vulnerability to alcohol dependence. This workshop would present the current development of this rapidly advancing field thereby informing both investigators and the NIAAA community of the most significant findings and best research methods. The outcome would be the identifcation of the best research opportunities for alcohol investigators and the identifcation of the areas most deserving of support from NIAAA.
At the XIX World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics
Omni Shoreham Hotel
September 10, 2011
Government should consider raising tax on alcohol, says report
ALCOHOL ABUSE IN Ireland has cost the State €3.7 billion up to the year 2007, according a study on the issue by the HSE.
The report states that the government has to foot the bill for the consequences of alcohol abuse across a variety of sectors – from health issues to work-related accidents. The study shows that the Department of Justice, alone, spends 13 per cent of its budget directly on dealing with alcohol-related crime.
It says that alcohol consumption in Ireland has doubled between 1970 and 2003 – one the largest increases in the world during that period. Ireland also has one of the highest levels of underage drinking in the developed world and one of the worst records for binge drinking, according to the study. > > > > Read More
Protecting the unborn baby from alcohol, 7 September 2011, European Parliament, Brussels
Under the patronage of the President of the European Parliament Prof Jerzy Buzek
Hosted by MEP Elzbieta Lukacijewska (EPP, Poland)
Key note speaker European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Mr John Dalli
Place: European Parliament – Brussels
Date: Wednesday 7th September
Time: 12h30 – 15h00
Room: A3 E2
This event is jointly organized by European Alcohol Policy Alliance (Eurocare) and the Polish State Agency for Prevention of Alcohol-Related Problems (PARPA) to mark International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Day.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is the leading known cause of birth defects and developmental disorders in the EU.
Unfortunately, many women are not aware that throughout pregnancy, even at low levels of exposure, alcohol interferes with the normal development and can seriously damage the unborn child. Case studies across Europe show there are a substantial number of women who continue to drink during pregnancy, it ranges from 25% in Spain to 35%-50% in the Netherlands and even higher rates in the UK or Ireland (79%). > > > > Read More
News Release - Prison alcohol rehabilitation urgently needed to cut crime
RAPt, the largest provider of drug and alcohol treatment programs in prisons in England and Wales, is urging Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to plug the yawning gap between the level of offender alcohol addiction, and treatment availability in UK prisons.
Over a third (34%) of prisoners assessed by drug/alcohol advice services in prison are severely dependent on alcohol*. However there are currently only three intensive treatment programs for alcohol dependent male prisoners in the entire prison system.
Primary Care Trusts are currently assessing the levels of substance misuse among prisoners after being given responsibility for commissioning prison rehab programs**. RAPt Chief Executive Mike Trace has written to chief executives and public health directors to urge them to seize this rare opportunity to shape services that address alcohol misuse and crime. > > > > Read More
Global Actions 31 August 2011
· In Colombia, 14 cities are participating in the PACTOS seminar in Bogotá. Global Actions is partnering with “PACTOS por la Vida,” a program of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Colombia, Fondo de Prevención Vial, and the Ministry of Social Protection, developed to promote responsible drinking and reduce drink driving. The seminar will focus on best practices in program planning and evaluation. In addition to the 6 cities originally on board (Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Ibagué, and Neiva), the cities of Villavicencio, Campoalegre, Cartagena, Hobo, Maicao, Rivera, San Andres, and Bogotá will now participate as observers
. Global Actions in Focus: Self-Regulation in Trinidad and Tobago
On August 18-19, Global Actions and the Trinidad & Tobago Beverage Alcohol Alliance (TTBAA) hosted a two-day training session on self-regulation in Port-of-Spain. Participants included managing directors and brand marketing teams from TTBAA member companies, TTBAA staff, and local advertising agencies. Leading beer, wine, and spirits companies in Trinidad and Tobago adopted a Code of Conduct on Advertising and Marketing of Beverage Alcohol Products in November 2009.
Participants reviewed the results of a 2011 ICAP-commissioned compliance audit of the TTBAA Code. International advertising regulation expert Geoffrey Draughn described the audit as “an exercise to get people thinking and talking, to identify potential problems before they arise. In addition, said Draughn, “monitoring of advertising allows a self-regulatory organization to take action on its own initiative and play a proactive role in ensuring marketing code compliance.”
“The TTBAA membership is to be applauded for seizing the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to responsible marketing practices,” said Brett Bivans, ICAP Vice President. “Although covering a small number of marketing communications, this review highlights the progress TTBAA members have made in bringing this Code alive in a systematic way: through regular handling of complaints, review of its provisions, regular reports to its membership and stakeholders, and its commitment to this audit.”
ICAP staff also briefed members of the TTBAA Code Review Board, comprised of representatives from the Judiciary, the Ministry of Health, the Advertising Agencies Association, and the Chamber of Commerce. The workshop underscored the commitment of TTBAA and its members to further strengthen their alignment with best practices and global standards for responsible marketing while recognizing how such principles apply to the local culture, lifestyle, traditions, and national concerns of Trinidad and Tobago.
What’s Happening Next
· China: September 16-18, Drink drive training workshop for local staff in Xi’an, followed by enhanced enforcement workshop for traffic police September 21-22. Similar workshops will take place in Nanjing on September 20-22 and September 24-25.
· Nigeria: September 20-21, Capacity-building program for the Lagos-Apapa intervention. · Mexico: September 28-29, Drink drive summit in Mexico City, co-hosted with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Public Security.
· Ukraine: World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) will be participating in a self-regulation conference in Kiev on September 30.
Role of acute ethanol exposure and TLR4 in early events of sepsis in a mouse model
Sepsis is a major cause of death worldwide. The associated risks and mortality are known to significantly increase on exposure to alcohol (chronic or acute). The underlying mechanisms of the association of acute ethanol ingestion and poor prognosis of sepsis are largely unknown.
The study described here was designed to determine in detail the role of ethanol and TLR4 in the pathogenesis of the sepsis syndrome. The effects of acute ethanol exposure and TLR4 on bacterial clearance, spleen cell numbers, peritoneal macrophage numbers, and cytokine production were evaluated using wild-type and TLR4 hyporesponsive mice treated with ethanol and then challenged with a nonpathogenic strain of Escherichia coli.
Ethanol-treated mice exhibited a decreased clearance of bacteria and produced lesser amounts of most pro-inflammatory cytokines in both strains of mice at 2h after challenge.
Neither ethanol treatment nor a hyporesponsive TLR4 had significant effects on the cell numbers in the peritoneal cavity and spleen 2h postinfection.
The suppressive effect of acute ethanol exposure on cytokine and chemokine production was more pronounced in the wild-type mice, but the untreated hyporesponsive mice produced less of most cytokines than untreated wild-type mice.
The major conclusion of this study is that acute ethanol exposure suppresses pro-inflammatory cytokine production and that a hyporesponsive TLR4 (in C3H/HeJ mice) decreases pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, but the cytokines and other mediators induced through other receptors are sufficient to ultimately clear the infection but not enough to induce lethal septic shock.
In addition, results reported here demonstrate previously unknown effects of acute ethanol exposure on leukemia inhibitory factor and eotaxin, and provide the first evidence that interleukin (IL)-9 is induced through TLR4 in vivo.
Read Full Abstract
Request Reprint E-Mail: email@example.com
Faulty signaling in brain increases craving for sugar and drugs
"Our data indicate that the brain becomes hypersensitive to rewards when this co-signaling of glutamate and dopamine does not function. Lower doses than normal are enough to increase the propensity to ingest the substance, and this is true of both sugar and cocaine," says Åsa Mackenzie, associate professor of neuroscience at Uppsala University and the researcher who led the study.
Addiction disorders are a major social problem, and we lack sufficient knowledge of how they arise and how various substances impact the brain. The brain's reward system gives us feelings of pleasure and happiness, for example when we have eaten or drunk something good, had sex, or worked out. This pleasure arises when certain signal substances, primarily dopamine, are released in the brain. But this reward system can be "kidnapped" by other rewarding substances, such as alcohol and abuser drugs like cocaine. They provide feelings of reward initially, but they are so strong that nerve cells in the system are rewired, and addiction occurs. More natural substance, such as food rich in sugar, can also produce addiction-like conditions.
The Uppsala researchers and their colleagues have recently shown that dopamine cells in the reward system can send signals in cooperation with glutamate, so called co-signaling. Its physiological role was not previously known, however. For instance, how important is it for the inclination to ingest reward substances?
In studies of mice that lack the ability to send the above signals because their glutamate transporter, so-called VGLUT, has been inactivated, the scientists studied how prone the mice were to ingest sugar and cocaine. The results showed that they both ingested more and responded to lower dosages than control mice. > > > > Read More
Enhanced Sucrose and Cocaine Self-Administration and Cue-Induced Drug Seeking after Loss of VGLUT2 in Midbrain Dopamine Neurons in Mice
The mesostriatal dopamine (DA) system contributes to several aspects of responses to rewarding substances and is implicated in conditions such as drug addiction and eating disorders. A subset of DA neurons has been shown to express the type 2 Vesicular glutamate transporter (Vglut2) and may therefore co-release glutamate.
In the present study, we analyzed mice with a conditional deletion of Vglut2 in DA neurons (Vglut2f/f;DAT-Cre) to address the functional significance of the glutamate–DA cophenotype for responses to cocaine and food reinforcement. Biochemical parameters of striatal DA function were also examined by using DA receptor autoradiography, immediate-early gene quantitative in situ hybridization after cocaine challenge, and DA-selective in vivo chronoamperometry.
Mice in which Vglut2 expression had been abrogated in DA neurons displayed enhanced operant self-administration of both high-sucrose food and intravenous cocaine. Furthermore, cocaine seeking maintained by drug-paired cues was increased by 76%, showing that reward-dependent plasticity is perturbed in these mice.
In addition, several lines of evidence suggest that adaptive changes occurred in both the ventral and dorsal striatum in the absence of VGLUT2: DA receptor binding was increased, and basal mRNA levels of the DA-induced early genes Nur77 and c-fos were elevated as after cocaine induction. Furthermore, in vivo challenge of the DA system by potassium-evoked depolarization revealed less DA release in both striatal areas.
This study demonstrates that absence of VGLUT2 in DA neurons leads to perturbations of reward consumption as well as reward-associated memory, features of particular relevance for addictive-like behavior.
Read Full Abstract
Request Reprint E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
News Release - UO to educate incoming students about alcohol and substance abuse issues
Starting this month, all incoming first-year and transfer students under the age of 21 at the University of Oregon will be asked to take AlcoholEdu for College, a web-based alcohol abuse prevention program.
AlcoholEdu is used by more than 500 colleges and universities in the U.S. to inform students about responsible alcohol behaviors and sexual assault issues. The UO's goal in adopting the training program is to reduce the negative consequences of alcohol misuse and abuse on campus and reduce the incidents of unwanted sexual behavior.
According to Jennifer Summers, UO's new director of substance abuse prevention and student success, the online alcohol abuse prevention program will inform students about responsible alcohol behaviors and sexual assault issues, as well as help students make healthy and safe choices as they transition to their new home away from home. > > > > Read More
Poor parenting increases likelihood of binge drinking at ages 16 and 34
A study of over 15,000 children by Demos says parenting style is one of the most important and statistically reliable influences on whether a child will drink responsibly in adolescence and adulthood - see Demos press release and blog.
The findings appear to support the recent JRF report that emphasised the importance of parents in influencing teenager's drinking, and research reviews assessing parenting interventions. > > > > Read More
The Link Between Intimate Partner Violence, Substance Abuse and Mental Health in California
This policy brief presents findings on the linkages between intimate partner violence (IPV), emotional health and substance use among adults ages 18-65 in California.
Using data from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), researchers found that of the 3.5 million Californians who reported ever being the victim of intimate partner violence (IPV), more than half a million (594,000) reported experiencing recent symptoms of "serious psychological distress," which includes the most serious kinds of diagnosable mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression. Adult victims of IPV were more than three times as likely as unexposed adults to report serious psychological distress in the past year. Victims of IPV were also far more likely than non-victims to engage in coping strategies, such as seeking mental health care or binge drinking. These disturbing findings can aid strategies to identify, intervene with and assist IPV victims who experience emotional and/or substance use problems.
Read Full Policy Brief (PDF)
Beneficial and harmful effects of alcohol exposure on Caenorhabditis elegans worms
Alcoholic beverages are consumed widely throughout the world. While the harmful effects of alcoholism are well recognized, the beneficial effects of moderate alcohol consumption to human health remain debatable.
In this study, we investigated the effects of long-term ethanol exposure on nematode Caenorhabditis elegans worms.
At high concentrations (4%), ethanol significantly impaired mobility, reduced fertility, and shortened lifespan.
Interestingly, at low concentrations (1–2%), it extended lifespan, accompanied with a slower decline of mobility during aging, although it slightly impaired development, fertility, and chemotaxis. The lifespan-prolonging effects of ethanol at the low concentrations were seen in normal worms exposed to ethanol from egg, young larva, and young adult stages but were not observed in age-1 and sir-2.1 mutant worms.
Our study demonstrated hormetic effects of ethanol and further established C. elegans as a suitable animal model to study ethanol related problems.
Read Full Abstract
Request Reprint E-Mail: email@example.com
Alcohol Use and Popularity: Social Payoffs From Conforming to Peers' Behavior
Although many economic analyses of adolescents have examined the costs of risky behaviors, few have investigated the gains that young people derive from such actions, particularly in terms of social payoffs for complying with peer behavior.
This paper studies the relationship between adolescents' use of alcohol (relative to that of their peers) and popularity at school. We use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a rich and nationally representative survey with detailed information on social networks.
Our findings suggest that adolescents are socially rewarded for conforming to their peers' alcohol use and penalized (to a lesser degree) for increasing their consumption above that of their peers. Male adolescents are rewarded for keeping up with their peers' drinking and for getting drunk. Female adolescents are rewarded for drinking per se, but not necessarily for keeping up with their peers.
The results offer new information on peer influence and have implications for substance abuse interventions at school and in the community.
Request Reprint E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org