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.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Socioeconomic differences in alcohol and drug use among Ghanaian adolescents

Socioeconomic differences in experimental alcohol use, drunkenness, marijuana use and other drug uses among adolescents in Ghana was investigated using multiple socioeconomic indicators.

A school-based cross-sectional survey of a sample representative of 12-18-year-olds (N = 1,195, response rate = 89.7%) was conducted in Ghana in 2008. Logistic regression analysis was applied to model the associations between substance use and socioeconomic status.

Use of marijuana and drugs were associated with lower material affluence while experimental alcohol use was associated with higher material affluence. Living in non-nuclear family was predictive of other drug uses and drunkenness. Other drug uses was associated with lower paternal education and occupation while drunkenness was associated with lower paternal education. Individual anticipated future social position measured by plans after graduation was the strongest predictor of experimental alcohol use, drunkenness, marijuana and other drug uses.

Interventions are need to prevent adolescence substance use especially among those in danger of discontinuing schooling and those in less affluence families.

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Joint association of glycemic load and alcohol intake with type 2 diabetes incidence in women1

Little is known about the joint association between glycemic index (GI), glycemic load (GL), and alcohol intake with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

The objective of this study was to examine whether alcohol intake alters the associations between carbohydrate quality (GI) or quality and quantity (GL) and T2D incidence in women.

Participants from the Nurses’ Health Study who were free of T2D, cardiovascular disease, or cancer (n = 81,827) at baseline in 1980 were followed for 26 y. Cumulative averages of GI, GL, total carbohydrates, and alcohol intake were calculated every 2–4 y from validated food-frequency questionnaires. Cox proportional hazard models were used to adjust for covariates.

We documented 6950 cases of T2D during follow-up. After adjustment for lifestyle and dietary factors, the positive association between GL and T2D risk was attenuated in subjects with higher alcohol intakes. RRs that compared the top and bottom quintiles of GL were 1.29 (95% CI: 1.11, 1.49; P-trend < 0.001) in women with alcohol intakes of 0 to <5 g/d, 1.34 (95% CI: 0.93, 1.92; P-trend = 0.05) in women with alcohol intakes of 5 to <15 g/d, and 0.99 (95% CI: 0.60, 1.65; P-trend = 0.82) in women with alcohol intakes ≥15 g/d (P-interaction = 0.02). However, a higher intake of alcohol did not modify the positive association between GI and T2D (P-interaction = 0.76).

Our findings suggest that a higher alcohol intake (≥15 g/d) attenuates the positive association between GL and T2D incidence.

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Alcohol and Health in Canada: A Summary of Evidence and Guidelines for Low-Risk Drinking

This document is intended for health professionals, policymakers, communication experts and members of the public who may wish to be informed about low-risk use of alcohol, whether for themselves or to advise others.

The summary of evidence provided here and the proposed Canadian Guidelines for Low-Risk Drinking have both been developed by an independent expert working group with members drawn from Canadian addiction research agencies. The document has also been significantly strengthened by a process of international peer review conducted by three invited experts on alcohol epidemiology and feedback from concerned individuals and organizations.

The Guidelines are intended to provide a basis upon which to advise all Canadians on how to minimize risks from their own and others' drinking in this complex environment.

The Guidelines also acknowledge and support personal choices made by many Canadians to not drink alcohol at all, whether for cultural, spiritual, health-related and/or other personal reasons. They are not intended to encourage individuals or communities who choose to abstain to take up drinking. High-risk groups and situations are also discussed in which either abstinence or extreme caution with alcohol intake is advised, including alcohol use during pregnancy, by youth, in association with high-risk activities (such as driving) and in combination with medication and/or other drugs. No separate guideline is provided for older Canadians, given that the major risk factors for this group (being physically unwell, using medication and reduced tolerance) are highlighted under other guidelines. While the Guidelines are intended for all Canadians, we recommend the need for consultation with Aboriginal groups for a more nuanced community- and population-specific approach in order to more fully address their sometimes diverse and complex circumstances.

The Guidelines identify three distinct types of risk from drinking:
  • situations and individual circumstances that are particularly hazardous (e.g., women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, teenagers, persons on medication) and for which abstinence or only occasional light intake is advised;
  • increased long-term risk of serious diseases caused by the consumption of alcohol over a number of years (e.g., liver disease, some cancers); and
  • increased short-term risk of injury or acute illness due to the overconsumption of alcohol on a single occasion.

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Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines

For the first time ever, Canada has one national set of low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines, with the support of federal, provincial and territorial health ministers, as well as many respected Canadian organizations.

These guidelines, intended for Canadians of legal drinking age who choose to drink alcohol, are informed by the most recent and best available scientific research and evidence. They are intended to provide consistent information across the country to help Canadians moderate their alcohol consumption and reduce their immediate and long-term alcohol-related harm. > > > > Read More

Alcohol pricing and taxation policies

Recently, a range of policies that would affect alcohol prices have been introduced or considered. Following an announcement in the March 2011 Budget, higher taxes on strong beers (above 7.5% alcohol by volume) and reduced taxes on low-strength beers (of 2.8% ABV or less) came into force in October 2011.

A ban on 'below-cost' sales of alcohol (where 'cost' is defined as the total tax - duty and VAT - due on the product) is set to be introduced for England and Wales, though the timetable is not yet clear. And following their victory in the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary election, the SNP have committed to introduce a minimum price per unit of alcohol, following an unsuccessful attempt to do so in 2010.

This Briefing Note uses detailed data recording off-licence alcohol purchases for a large sample of households to assess which types of alcohol products, retailers and consumers would be most affected by these different reforms.

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Brain-Specific Inactivation of the Crhr1 Gene Inhibits Post-Dependent and Stress-Induced Alcohol Intake, but Does Not Affect Relapse-Like Drinking

Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and its receptor, CRH receptor-1 (CRHR1), have a key role in alcoholism. Especially, post-dependent and stress-induced alcohol intake involve CRH/CRHR1 signaling within extra-hypothalamic structures, but a contribution of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis activity might be involved as well.

Here we examined the role of CRHR1 in various drinking conditions in relation to HPA and extra-HPA sites, and studied relapse-like drinking behavior in the alcohol deprivation model (ADE).

To dissect CRH
/CRHR1 extra-HPA and HPA signaling on a molecular level, a conditional brain-specific Crhr1-knockout (Crhr1NestinCre) and a global knockout mouse line were studied for basal alcohol drinking, stress-induced alcohol consumption, deprivation-induced intake, and escalated alcohol consumption in the post-dependent state.

In a second set of experiments, we tested CRHR1 antagonists in the ADE model.

Stress-induced augmentation of alcohol intake was lower in Crhr1
NestinCre mice as compared with control animals. Crhr1NestinCre mice were also resistant to escalation of alcohol intake in the post-dependent state.

Contrarily, global Crhr1 knockouts showed enhanced stress-induced alcohol consumption and a more pronounced escalation of intake in the post-dependent state than their control littermates.

Basal intake and deprivation-induced intake were unaltered in both knockout models when compared with their respective controls.

In line with these findings, CRHR1 antagonists did not affect relapse-like drinking after a deprivation period in rats.

We conclude that CRH
/CRHR1 extra-HPA and HPA signaling may have opposing effects on stress-related alcohol consumption. CRHR1 does not have a role in basal alcohol intake or relapse-like drinking situations with a low stress load.

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European Alcohol and Health Forum (EAHF) Third Monitoring Progress Report

For the second consecutive year, Milieu Ltd, as part of the COWI consortium, has been entrusted by DG SANCO with the task of assessing the quality of the monitoring activities undertaken by the members of the European Alcohol and Health Forum (EAHF). The results of this assessment are presented in this report, which may be of interest to officials in the EU institutions who deal with alcohol and health policy; to Forum members; and to a wider audience of policy-makers and researchers.

The Third Monitoring Progress Report suggests a clear improvement in the quality of information provided in the Forum members’ annual monitoring reports. As set out in the Second Monitoring Progress Report, the benefits of this improved performance in members’ monitoring practices are twofold. First, the transparency and accountability of the performance of the members increases, which might contribute to building trust amongst Forum members. Second, improvement of the monitoring reports, especially their clarity, is crucial to the Forum, as the reports communicate to the general public on the efforts carried out to reduce alcohol-related harm.

This year’s evaluation results signal that many members of the Forum have succeeded in providing clear and useful information with regard to their actions to reduce alcohol-related harm. They also suggest that the recommendations issued in previous editions of this report have been taken into account, although the uptake level varies significantly across Forum members. These results must however be considered along with a number of statistical caveats: a one-third drop in the total number of submissions is the most prominent amongst them. The lower share of final reports in the total number of submitted reports in 2011 (40.91%) compared to 2010 (48.86%) should also be taken into account, since sections nine and ten are only mandatory in final reports and the evaluation results for these two sections may appear artificially high due to statistical effects.

Notwithstanding the overall improvement observed in the 2011 evaluation, most of the critical remarks from the 2009 and 2010 evaluators remain relevant. These remarks relate to lack of understandable or sufficient information in some sections, deficient distinction between output and outcome, and persisting difficulties to find a middle ground between providing excessively detailed (and sometimes superfluous information) on the one hand, and lacking sufficient relevant information (particularly with regard to the commitment’s timeline) on the other hand.

Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the number of monitoring reports that provide little or no information concerning the commitment’s outcome and impact remains significantly high. Although the provision of this information is beyond the Forum’s minimum monitoring requirements, it is critical for the effectiveness of commitments to be appropriately understood and further reporting efforts are therefore required in this area.

Furthermore, linkages between the different aspects of the commitment, as presented in the various report sections, still need to be more clearly identified.

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Genome-wide association study of theta band event-related oscillations identifies serotonin receptor gene HTR7 influencing risk of alcohol dependence

Event-related brain oscillations (EROs) represent highly heritable neuroelectrical correlates of human perception and cognitive performance that exhibit marked deficits in patients with various psychiatric disorders.

We report the results of the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of an ERO endophenotype—frontal theta ERO evoked by visual oddball targets during P300 response in 1,064 unrelated individuals drawn from a study of alcohol dependence. Forty-two SNPs of the Illumina HumanHap 1 M microarray were selected from the theta ERO GWAS for replication in family-based samples (N = 1,095), with four markers revealing nominally significant association.

The most significant marker from the two-stage study is rs4907240 located within ARID protein 5A gene (
ARID5A) on chromosome 2q11 (unadjusted, Fisher's combined P = 3.68 × 10−6).

However, the most intriguing association to emerge is with rs7916403 in serotonin receptor gene
HTR7 on chromosome 10q23 (combined P = 1.53 × 10−4), implicating the serotonergic system in the neurophysiological underpinnings of theta EROs.

Moreover, promising SNPs were tested for association with diagnoses of alcohol dependence (DSM-IV), revealing a significant relationship with the
HTR7 polymorphism among GWAS case–controls (P = 0.008). Significant recessive genetic effects were also detected for alcohol dependence in both case–control and family-based samples (P = 0.031 and 0.042, respectively), with the HTR7 risk allele corresponding to theta ERO reductions among homozygotes.

These results suggest a role of the serotonergic system in the biological basis of alcohol dependence and underscore the utility of analyzing brain oscillations as a powerful approach to understanding complex genetic psychiatric disorders.

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Specific gene tied to abuse of alcohol

Using a pattern of brain waves associated with risk of alcoholism, Texas Biomed researchers and others have identified a gene linked to serotonin, a chemical messenger that plays a role in depression.

By starting with brain waves measured in people given specific tasks — known as event related brain oscillations — researchers first identified patterns common to those at risk of alcohol dependence. “These event-related oscillations are measures of brain activity, and have been shown to be different between people with alcoholism and a random person off the street,” said Laura Almasy, Ph.D., a geneticist at Texas Biomed. “But an important point is that they’ve also been shown to be different in children of alcoholics. These differences in brain activity are not a consequence of someone’s drinking. They’re there beforehand.” > > > > Read More

Genetic determinants of alcoholic liver disease

Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) accounts for the majority of chronic liver disease in Western countries. The spectrum of ALD includes steatosis with or without fibrosis in virtually all individuals with an alcohol consumption of >80 g/day, alcoholic steatohepatitis of variable severity in 10–35% and liver cirrhosis in approximately 15% of patients. Once cirrhosis is established, there is an annual risk for hepatocellular carcinoma of 1–2%.

Environmental factors such as drinking patterns, coexisting liver disease, obesity, diet composition and comedication may modify the natural course of ALD. Twin studies have revealed a substantial contribution of genetic factors to the evolution of ALD, as demonstrated by a threefold higher disease concordance between monozygotic twins and dizygotic twins.

With genotyping becoming widely available, a large number of genetic case-control studies evaluating candidate gene variants coding for proteins involved in the degradation of alcohol, mediating antioxidant defence, the evolution and counteraction of necroinflammation and formation and degradation of extracellular matrix have been published with largely unconfirmed, impeached or even disproved associations.

Recently, whole genome analyses of large numbers of genetic variants in several chronic liver diseases including gallstone disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) have identified novel yet unconsidered candidate genes.

Regarding the latter, a sequence variation within the gene coding for patatin-like phospholipase encoding 3 (
PNPLA3, rs738409) was found to modulate steatosis, necroinflammation and fibrosis in NAFLD. Subsequently, the same variant was repeatedly confirmed as the first robust genetic risk factor for progressive ALD.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Berzelius Symposium 84 European Debate on Evidence-based Alcohol Policy Fifth European Alcohol Policy Conference 18 – 19 October 2012 in Stockholm

The AMPHORA Project

Alcohol is the third leading risk factor for death and disability in the European Union, not only contributing to avoidable health care and criminal justice system costs, but also harming European society and the economy.

In 2006, the European Commission adopted an EU strategy to support Member States in reducing the harm caused by alcohol.

AMPHORA is a four-year €4million European alcohol policy project co-financed by the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of research of the European Commission. Coordinated by the Hospital ClĂ­nic de Barcelona (HCPB) in Spain, AMPHORA aims to bring new evidence on policies to reduce the harm done by alcohol to European citizens and societies.

The Swedish Society of Medicine will organise a symposium in October 2012 to support a dialogue between alcohol science and policy and to inform Future directions of European actions.

Welcome to Stockholm in October 2012!

More Information and Draft Programme

Flash Report High level meeting of the Committee on National Alcohol Policy and Action (CNAPA) Brussels, 17 November 2011

The 9th meeting of the Committee on National Alcohol Policy and Action (CNAPA) took place on 17 November 2011. For the first time Member States were represented at senior level, in addition to regular CNAPA members. Attendance was very high. The meeting was chaired by Despina Spanou, Principal Advisor with DG Health and Consumers and Chair of the European Alcohol and Health Forum (EAHF).
The Director-General for Health and Consumers, Paola Testori Coggi set the scene. She highlighted that it is important to take stock of what has been achieved through the current EU Alcohol Strategy and to start shaping a common vision for the Commission's work on alcohol and health after 2012. She put the work to reduce alcohol related harm in the context of recent developments such as the UN Summit on Non Communicable Diseases in which alcohol was confirmed as one of the four major risk factors. She emphasised the need to protect children and young people. Paola Testori-Coggi concluded by inviting Member States to take an active role in the evaluation of the alcohol strategy, and to provide the necessary political support for work on alcohol related harm after 2012.
> > > > Read More

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Drugs, drink, and sex – Irish teenagers on their experiences

THE EXTENT OF Irish teenagers’ experiences with drugs, alcohol and sex are unveiled in two new reports from UNICEF.

UNICEF Ireland has launched the final two reports in its Changing the Future series, which address the themes of drugs and alcohol and sexual health and behaviour respectively.

They are based on a survey carried out by UNICEF Ireland in late 2010 and the organisation says they present “a holistic snapshot of the lives of young people living in Ireland from their own perspective, and in their own words”. > > > > Read More

Global Actions November 23, 2011

Key Recent Milestones:

· ICAP and the China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association (CADIA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cooperate on the CSR survey and Global Actions self-regulation workshops.

Global Actions Spotlight: Industry Engagement

As we approach our two year anniversary, we take a look at what makes Global Actions unique, and touch on our plans for the future. “Industry has a long track record of supporting programs and policies which contribute to reducing harmful drinking,” said ICAP Vice President Brett Bivans.

“What is innovative about Global Actions initiatives is the durable collaboration and commitment between leading producers and local counterparts from government, business, and communities in low-and-middle income countries.”

ICAP President Marcus Grant agreed: “The most striking feature in my view is how engaged the CEOs were in the planning stage, and how engaged they’ve remained as the actions have unfolded.” He also emphasized partnerships. “The element of cross-sectoral collaboration is an impressive feature. None of these initiatives would work if we didn’t have people from the public health community, government, the private sector, and civil society working together.”

"We remain steadfast in our support of these initiatives and our desire to contribute to reducing the harmful effects of alcohol abuse and misuse," said Brown-Forman CEO Paul Varga ), Chairman of the group of CEOs of major beverage alcohol companies jointly sponsoring the initiatives. “The Global Actions team is bringing together a broad range of stakeholders in markets around the world, and particularly in low- and middle-income countries. While there is more work ahead of us, we are seeing these efforts gain traction and are pleased with the progress to date.”

Evaluation methods are another distinguishing feature of Global Actions. With independent research groups providing feedback on Global Actions programs, ICAP is establishing an approach to evaluation that will be useful to industry going forward. Reports will be presented at a conference around October 2012.

What’s Happening Next:

· Miami: ICAP has organized an industry meeting on self-regulation best practices in Latin America that will take place November 30-December 2.

Brain-Delivery of Zinc-Ions as Potential Treatment for Neurological Diseases: Mini Review

Homeostasis of metal ions such as Zn2+ is essential for proper brain function. Moreover, the list of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders involving a dysregulation of brain Zn2+-levels is long and steadily growing, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease as well as schizophrenia, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, depression, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Down's syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Wilson's disease and Pick's disease. Furthermore, alterations in Zn2+-levels are seen in transient forebrain ischemia, seizures, traumatic brain injury and alcoholism.

Thus, the possibility of altering Zn2+-levels within the brain is emerging as a new target for the prevention and treatment of psychiatric and neurological diseases.

Although the role of Zn2+ in the brain has been extensively studied over the past decades, methods for controlled regulation and manipulation of Zn2+ concentrations within the brain are still in their infancy. Since the use of dietary Zn2+ supplementation and restriction has major limitations, new methods and alternative approaches are currently under investigation, such as the use of intracranial infusion of Zn2+ chelators or nanoparticle technologies to elevate or decrease intracellular Zn2+ levels.

Therefore, this review briefly summarizes the role of Zn2+ in psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases and highlights key findings and impediments of brain Zn2+-level manipulation.

Furthermore, some methods and compounds, such as metal ion chelation, redistribution and supplementation that are used to control brain Zn2+-levels in order to treat brain disorders are evaluated.

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Prognosis for the Recovery of Surgeons From Chemical Dependency A 5-Year Outcome Study

Rates of relapse, monitoring contract completion, and return to medical practice may differ between surgeons and nonsurgeons being monitored for diagnosed substance use disorders.

Retrospective 5-year longitudinal cohort study.

A sample of 16 state physician health programs in the United States.

Nine hundred four physicians who underwent treatment for a substance use disorder and were consecutively admitted to 1 of 16 state physician health programs between September 1, 1995, and September 1, 2001. The study analyzed a subset of data comparing 144 surgeons with 636 nonsurgeons.

Rates of continued drug and alcohol misuse (relapse), monitoring contract completion, and return to medical practice at 5 years.

Surgeons were significantly more likely than nonsurgeons to enroll in a physician health program because of alcohol-related problems (odds ratio, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.3-2.7; P = .001) and were less likely to enroll because of opioid use (odds ratio, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.3-0.8, P = .002). Surgeons were neither more nor less likely than nonsurgeons to have a positive drug test result, complete or fail to complete the monitoring contract, or extend the monitoring period beyond the original 5 years specified in their agreements. Fewer surgeons than nonsurgeons were licensed and practicing medicine at the conclusion of the monitoring period, although this difference was not statistically significant.

Surgeons in this study had positive outcomes similar to those of nonsurgeons. However, further research is necessary to conclude whether surgeons are less likely than their nonsurgeon peers to successfully return to medical practice following chemical dependency treatment.

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Poor adjustment to college life mediates the relationship between drinking motives and alcohol consequences: A look at college adjustment, drinking mo

The current study examined whether the relationship between drinking motives and alcohol-related outcomes was mediated by college adjustment.

Participants (
N = 253) completed an online survey that assessed drinking motives, degree of both positive and negative college adjustment, typical weekly drinking, and past month negative alcohol-related consequences. Structural equation modeling examined negative alcohol consequences as a function of college adjustment, drinking motives, and weekly drinking behavior in college students.

Negative college adjustment mediated the relationship between coping drinking motives and drinking consequences. Positive college adjustment was not related to alcohol consumption or consequences. Positive reinforcement drinking motives (i.e. social and enhancement) not only directly predicted consequences, but were partially mediated by weekly drinking and degree of negative college adjustment.

Gender specific models revealed males exhibited more variability in drinking and their positive reinforcement drinking motives were more strongly associated with weekly drinking. Uniquely for females, coping motives were directly and indirectly (via negative adjustment) related to consequences.

These findings suggest that interventions which seek to decrease alcohol-related risk may wish to incorporate discussions about strategies for decreasing stress and
increasing other factors associated with better college adjustment.

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Emergency Department Visits Involving Energy Drinks

  • Trend data show a sharp increase in the number of emergency department (ED) visits involving energy drinks between 2005 (1,128 visits) and 2008 and 2009 (16,053 and 13,114 visits, respectively), representing about a tenfold increase between 2005 and 2009

● Approximately half of the energy drinkrelated
ED visits (52 percent) made
by patients aged 18 to 25 involved
combinations of energy drinks with alcohol
or other drugs

● Overall, more ED visits involving energy
drinks were made by males (64 percent)
than by females (36 percent), and visits
by males were more likely than visits
by females to involve energy drinks
in combination with alcohol (20 vs. 10
percent) or illicit drugs (12 vs. 5 percent);
visits made by females were more likely to
involve energy drinks in combination with
pharmaceuticals than visits by males (35
vs. 23 percent)

● When examined by the reason for the ED
visit, more than two thirds (67 percent)
of visits involving energy drinks were
classified as adverse reactions

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The Effects of Perceptual and Conceptual Training on Novice Wine Drinkers' Development

Wine marketers and restaurateurs have a vested interest in helping novice wine drinkers to learn more about wine, with the goal of encouraging them to purchase more wine and higher quality wine (with its higher price tag).

The question posed here is how best to conduct that educational effort, using a perceptual approach or a conceptual approach. Most wine promotions tend to be perceptual, in the form of tastings and printed tasting notes. However, the two experiments described in this article demonstrate the greater benefit of conceptual learning, which involves explaining how the wine is produced generally and discussions of wine varietals in particular.

In the first experiment, three groups of participants (novices, intermediates, and experts) were served a sample of zinfandel and then asked to identify that exact wine from a group of five, four of which had been adulterated with sweetener. Some participants were allowed to write down a description of the wine, and all were subjected to a fictitious advertising campaign designed to sway their choice on the matching test.

In general, novices relied more on the terms offered by the advertising, and intermediates who have more perceptual learning than conceptual learning were also swayed when they were not given an opportunity to activate their conceptual knowledge (but not swayed as much when conceptual knowledge was activated). Experts paid no attention to the advertising whatsoever.

The second experiment compared the educational experience of novices only, with a similar testing procedure, except this time the test groups were given either conceptual or perceptual educational sessions. The conceptual training was a twenty-five-minute tutorial in wines, while the perceptual training involved sensory aspects of wine (i.e., color, smell, and taste).

Once again, all groups saw a fictitious advertisement for the “X” zinfandel. Those with conceptual learning were more likely to match the original sample and were less swayed by the fictitious advertising than those who had perceptual training.

These respondents were also likely to rate the wine as being higher quality and willing to pay a higher price for it. One conclusion for wine marketers is that perceptual learning (as in tastings) is just the beginning of the process of developing wine consumers. Conceptual learning, where people learn about the process and details of wine production, is also essential.

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Recession and the impact on alcohol consumption; industry news & views - recent DDN alcohol features

The current edition of Drink and Drugs News (DDN), the free substance misuse publication, includes a feature which explores how recession can affect alcohol and drug use.

The article outlines a talk from Rosalie Liccardo Pacula who described a nuanced relationship between alcohol consumption and economic fluctuations. Based on work from an American economist Chris Ruhm, analysis has shown that economic downturns affect light and heavy drinking very differently. Heavy drinking is shown to be 'pro-cyclical' to the economy - that is when the economy is suffering, heavy drinking declines. > > > > Read More

Her 15-year-old son couldn't read and he couldn't add. She knows she caused this.

“I binge drank through my pregnancy,” says Janet Christie, matter-of-factly. “I really loved drinking. I knew when I was pregnant that it wasn't good to drink. I was so ashamed. But I had no one to talk to about it.”

Sitting in a sunlit corner of Vancouver's Westin Bayshore Hotel, Christie has agreed to talk about being the birth mother of a child with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder on one condition: that she can continue folding brochures throughout the interview, small pamphlets advertising her services in training addiction recovery coaches. With that settled, she launches into the full story of getting sober 23 years ago. “I was one week sober, I'd found a recovery support group, and the phone rang. It was the police. They had caught my son, who was 12, in a crack shack. I didn't even think he played with matches! This was my introduction to recovery.” > > > > Read More

Better testing needed to diagnose fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, Canadian expert Sterling Clarren says

Fetal alcohol sectrum disorder, the leading cause of developmental disability in Canada, is an umbrella term used to describe a range of disabilities that result from prenatal exposure to alcohol.

What is the prevalence of FASD in this country? > > > > Read More

From ‘Sex in the City' mothering to abstinence — how one one woman inspired others to stop

She is arguably one of the best-known sober mothers in North America. Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of Naptime is the New Happy Hour and Sippy Cups are not for Chardonnay, made her name with a popular online column “Make Mine a Double: Tales of Twins and Tequila.”

Then, without warning, she quit drinking. Only three months into sobriety, she was profiled in the New York Times Sunday Styles section with the following headline: “A Heroine of Cocktail Moms Sobers Up.” Wilder-Taylor had announced her news on her popular mommy blog, Babyonbored with this simple statement: “I drink too much. It became a nightly compulsion and I'm outing myself to you. . . . I quit on Friday.” > > > > Read More

Determinants of Early Alcohol Use In Healthy Adolescents: The Differential Contribution of Neuroimaging and Psychological Factors

Individual variation in reward sensitivity may have an important role in early substance use and subsequent development of substance abuse. This may be especially important during adolescence, a transition period marked by approach behavior and a propensity toward risk taking, novelty seeking and alteration of the social landscape. However, little is known about the relative contribution of personality, behavior, and brain responses for prediction of alcohol use in adolescents.

In this study, we applied factor analyses and structural equation modeling to reward-related brain responses assessed by functional magnetic resonance imaging during a monetary incentive delay task. In addition, novelty seeking, sensation seeking, impulsivity, extraversion, and behavioral measures of risk taking were entered as predictors of early onset of drinking in a sample of 14-year-old healthy adolescents (N

Reward-associated behavior, personality, and brain responses all contributed to alcohol intake with personality explaining a higher proportion of the variance than behavior and brain responses.

When only the ventral striatum was used, a small non-significant contribution to the prediction of early alcohol use was found.

These data suggest that the role of reward-related brain activation may be more important in addiction than initiation of early drinking, where personality traits and reward-related behaviors were more significant.

With up to 26
% of explained variance, the interrelation of reward-related personality traits, behavior, and neural response patterns may convey risk for later alcohol abuse in adolescence, and thus may be identified as a vulnerability factor for the development of substance use disorders.

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Strong protective effect of the aldehyde dehydrogenase gene (ALDH2) 504lys (*2) allele against alcoholism and alcohol-induced medical diseases in Asia

Alcohol is oxidized to acetaldehyde, which in turn is oxidized to acetate. The aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 gene (ALDH2) is the most important gene responsible for acetaldehyde metabolism.

Individuals heterozygous or homozygous for the lys (A or *2) allele at the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) glu504lys (rs671) of
ALDH2 have greatly reduced ability to metabolize acetaldehyde, which greatly decreases their risk for alcohol dependence (AD).

Case–control studies have shown association between this SNP and alcohol dependence as well as alcohol-induced liver disease. However, some studies have produced insignificant results.

Using cumulative data from the past 20 years predominately from Asian populations (from both English and Chinese publications), this meta-analysis sought to examine and update whether the aggregate data provide new evidence of statistical significance for the proposed association.

Our results (9,678 cases and 7,331 controls from 53 studies) support a strong association of alcohol abuse and dependence, with allelic
P value of 3 × 10−56 and OR of 0.23 (0.2, 0.28) under the random effects model. The dominant model (lys–lys + lys–glu vs. glu–glu) also showed strong association with P value of 1 × 10−44 and OR of 0.22 (0.18, 0.27). When stricter criteria and various sub-group analyses were applied, the association remained strong (for example, OR = 0.23 (0.18, 0.3) and P = 2 × 10−28 for the alcoholic patients with alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis, or pancreatitis).

These findings provide confirmation of the involvement of the human
ALDH2 gene in the pathogenesis of AD as well as alcohol-induced medical illnesses in East-Asians.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Age and Ethnic Differences in the Onset, Persistence and Recurrence of Alcohol Use Disorder

To estimate ethnic differences in three components of alcohol use disorder and alcohol dependence course (onset, persistence and recurrence) in a developmental framework.

Longitudinal data from The National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), collected using face-to-face interviews.

Civilian non-institutionalized US population aged 18 years and older, with oversampling of Hispanics, Blacks and those aged 18-24.

Individuals who completed both NESARC assessments, were not lifelong abstainers, and were either White (n = 17,458), Black (n = 4995), US-born Hispanic (n = 2810), or Hispanic-born outside the US (n = 2389).

Alcohol dependence (AD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD; abuse or dependence) onset, persistence and recurrence were examined using the Alcohol Use Disorders and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule, DSM-IV version.

Among men: relative to Whites aged 18-29, AUD onset and persistence were elevated only in US-born Hispanics 40 and older; odds were reduced for all non-US born Hispanics, older Whites, most Blacks, and US-born Hispanics aged 30-39. For AD, onset risk was elevated for all younger minority men and only reduced among non-US born Hispanics 40 or older. For women: compared to young Whites, non-US born Hispanics were at decreased AUD and AD onset risk; AUD and AD onset and persistence were increased for older Blacks and US-born Hispanics.

Ethnic differences in alcohol disorder transitions (onset, persistence, and recurrence) vary across age, gender, and whether a broad (alcohol use disorder) or narrow (alcohol dependence) alcohol definition is used. Evidence of increased risk for some transitions in minority groups suggests that attention should be paid to the course of alcohol use disorders, and that differences in prevalence should not be assumed to reflect differences in specific transitions.

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Call for Proposals - 35th Researh Society on Alcoholism Conference

The 35th Annual Scientific Meeting will be held in San Francisco, June 23-27, 2012. Call for proposals and abstracts are being accepted, please click on the link below for information on submitting. The deadline for program proposals (including speaker abstracts) is December 5, 2011. The deadline for individual (poster) abstracts is January 9, 2012

RSA Meeting Information

International Recovery Resources Guide

All across the world people in recovery, family members, friends and allies are coming together to develop and support recovery advocacy and peer recovery support movements. Faces & Voices of Recovery is pleased to launch The International Recovery Resources Guide to foster the development of networks of support between recovery community organizations and allies in the US and internationally and to educate US recovery advocates about the advocacy and peer recovery support approaches underway globally. Please use our one page hand out “Building a Recovery Movement” to explain and publicize the growing international movement. > > > > Read More

Alcohol News - 47/2011

Helsingin Sanomat (Finland) - Accident Investigation Board calls for alcohol limit for rowing boats
Tragically, "messing about in boats" in the Finnish context all too often involves the excessive consumption of alcohol, an open zipper, a tumble backwards off the stern of a rowing boat, and ugly drowning statistics in the newspapers, particularly over the Midsummer weekend.
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Times of India (Sweden) - Alcoholic women suffer quicker brain damage
Swedish scientists have found that high alcohol consumption damages the serotonin system in women's brains more readily than that in men's brains.
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EurekAlert (Sweden) - Gene impedes recovery from alcoholism
People who are alcohol-dependent and who also carry a particular variant of a gene run an increased risk of premature death. This is a recent finding from the interdisciplinary research at the Department of Psychology and the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Read more (Norway) - One in thirty drivers tested positive in saliva samples
About one in 30 car drivers on Norwegian roads has alcohol, illegal drugs or psychoactive medicines in their blood.
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Views and News from Norway (Norway) - Bars may be forced to close earlier
The rise in alcohol-related violence in Norway means that bars, also in Oslo, may be ordered to stop serving at 2am. Many now keep pouring much later than that.
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Toronto Star (Canada) - Women are the new face of alcohol advertising
She's the image of poised perfection: a come-hither blonde in a sexy gold dress, balancing a martini between polished red nails, painted just a shade darker than the swizzle stick perched jauntily through the “o” in “Classic Cocktails” above her head.
Read more - Research shows travel combined with alcohol, weather can be deadly
How have driving patterns during the Thanksgiving holidays changed during recent years? The answer to this question may help you avoid a crash, or at least the congestion that goes with most holiday travel.
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BBC News (Scotland) - Alcohol could be banned on Scottish trains, report says
Passengers in Scotland could be banned from drinking alcohol on trains, a report into the radical overhaul of rail travel has suggested.
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Gant Daily (USA) - Drinking in the U.S. hit a 25-year high in 2010
For many it’s social. For others it’s an escape. For some, it’s simply more time. For whatever the reason, Americans are drinking more.
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Nursing Times (UK) - Doctors call for change to alcohol advice
Doctors have warned, “drinkers should have three alcohol-free days a week if they want to avoid the risk of liver disease,” the Daily Mail reported.
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Ivanhoe - Death by Alcohol
Alcohol consumption is responsible for approximately four percent of all deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence! It’s also responsible for roughly five percent of global disease.
Read more (Kenya) - High School Students Abusing Drugs, Alcohol
Forty nine per cent of Kenyan youth in high school aged between 14 and 18 years have abused alcohol and drugs, a report says. A further 71 and 28 per cent of male and female youths were reported to be sexually active; a trend that exposes them to sexually transmitted infections, including Aids.
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TIME (USA) - Study: Another Reason to Keep the Drinking Age at 21
Young women who came of age in the late 1960s and '70s, when many states had lowered their legal drinking ages to under 21, remained at higher risk of suicide and homicide into adulthood, a new study finds.
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The West Australian (Australia) - Alcohol causes 'one in five' deaths by injury
Alcohol contributes to one in five of all deaths from injury in WA, including almost one-quarter of all road accident fatalities, new figures show.
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Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) - Women drinking, smoking in pregnancy
Australian women continue to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol during pregnancy, a new study reveals.
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MedPage Today - Chronic Drinking May Weaken Brain Connections
Chronic alcoholism may result in a weakened relationship between the frontal lobe and cerebellar activity in those who are recently abstinent, according to the results of a small study.
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Times of Zambia (Zambia) - Luo tackles alcohol abuse
Apart from the much talked about 90 days developmental transformation, Zambians have had their numerous issues which they feel will be resolved under the PF government and within the stipulated 90 days. One of such issues is the illegal trading of illicit alcoholic beverages commonly known as ‘Tujilijili’ by non- licensed vendors.
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The Dispatch (Germany) - Berlin Looking To Ease Event Alcohol Restrictions
After the success of last month’s Octoberfest, the Berlin Mayor and Council are considering changing the rules regarding alcoholic beverages on public property during specially sanctioned events.
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U.S. News & World Report - Alcoholics More Likely to Die of Cancer: Study
Alcoholics have a higher rate of death from cancer and other causes than other people, a new study finds.
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Mayo News (Ireland)- Alcohol industry accused of bullying governments
Experts on alcohol consumption have accused the government of giving in to ‘corporate bullying’ by the alcohol industry. Speaking last week during Mayo Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week, Professor Joe Barry and Dr Ann Hope argued that the government has allowed the industry to self regulate and has failed to curb alcohol advertising.
Read more (UK) - British throat cancer Europe's highest thanks to obesity and alcohol
The UK suffers the highest rate of throat cancer in Europe, double the average rate, according to new analysis by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). Britain's high level of alcohol consumption and obesity are blamed for the figures.
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The (Germany) - One in five German children have alcoholic or drug-addict parents
One in five German children have alcoholic or drug-addict parents, according to the latest annual figures on drugs and addiction.
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Irish Health (Ireland) - Alcohol-related crime a major problem
According to a survey commissioned by the charity, Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI), half of people say they have experienced some type of alcohol-related intimidation, threat or violence during the last 12 months, while almost one in 10 claim that they, or a family member, has actually been assaulted by a drunk person in the last year.
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