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, January 7, 2012

News Release - Moderate Red Wine Drinking May Help Cut Women’s Breast Cancer Risk

Drinking red wine in moderation may reduce one of the risk factors for breast cancer, providing a natural weapon to combat a major cause of death among U.S. women, new research from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center shows.

The study, published online in the Journal of Women’s Health, challenges the widely-held belief that all types of alcohol consumption heighten the risk of developing breast cancer. Doctors long have determined that alcohol increases the body’s estrogen levels, fostering the growth of cancer cells.

But the Cedars-Sinai study found that chemicals in the skins and seeds of red grapes slightly lowered estrogen levels while elevating testosterone among premenopausal women who drank eight ounces of red wine nightly for about a month. > > > > Read More

Friday, January 6, 2012

Impact of a healthy lifestyle on all-cause and cardiovascular mortality after stroke in the USA

Little is known about the effects of a healthy lifestyle on mortality after stroke. This study assessed whether five healthy lifestyle factors had independent and dose dependent associations with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality after stroke.

In a nationally representative sample of the US population (n=15 299) with previous stroke (n=649) followed from survey participation (1988–1994) through to mortality assessment (2000), the relationship between five factors (eating ≥5 servings of fruits/vegetables per day, exercising >12 times/month, having a body mass index of 18.5–29.9 mg/kg2, moderate alcohol use [1 drink/day for women and 2 drinks/day for men] and not smoking) and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality was assessed.

Mean age was 67.0 years (SE 1.1 years) and 53% were women. After adjusting for covariates, abstaining from smoking (HR 0.57, CI 0.34 to 0.98) and exercising regularly (HR 0.66, CI 0.44 to 0.99) were associated with lower all-cause mortality but no individual factors had independent associations with cardiovascular mortality. All-cause mortality decreased with higher numbers of healthy behaviours (1–3 factors vs none: HR 0.12, CI 0.03 to 0.47; 4–5 factors vs none: HR 0.04, CI 0.01 to 0.20; 4–5 factors vs 1–3 factors: HR 0.38, CI 0.22 to 0.66; trend p=0.04). Similar effects were observed for cardiovascular mortality (4–5 factors vs none: HR 0.08, CI 0.01 to 0.66; 1–3 factors vs none: HR 0.15, CI 0.02 to 1.15; 4–5 factors vs 1–3 factors: HR 0.53, CI 0.28 to 0.98; trend p=0.18).

Regular exercise and abstinence from smoking were independently associated with lower all-cause mortality after stroke. Combinations of healthy lifestyle factors were associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in a dose dependent fashion.

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Conference - Substance misuse and older people

The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP), in its June 2011 report; Our Invisible Addicts, highlighted the emerging problem of drug and alcohol misuse in the older population. This is likely to become a significant public health issue with the huge projected increase in the number of older people in the population and a proportion of those people who are likely to be drinking more than the weekly recommended limits.
Before the problem spirals, there is an urgent need for health and social care professionals and service providers to understand the size of the problem and to develop some targeted and age-appropriate solutions.
The RCP report points to several significant factors that must be considered including:
  • Mortality rates linked to drug and alcohol use are higher in older people compared with younger people.
  • High rates of mental health problems in older people (including a high prevalence of cognitive disorders) result in frequent, complex psychiatric morbidity accompanying substance use disorders.
  • Older people use large amounts of prescription and overthe- counter (OTC) medication and rates of misuse are high, particularly in older women.
  • Although illicit drug use is uncommon in the over 65-age group, there have already been significant increases in the over 40 age group.
Alongside the health issues that arise from substance misuse, there are a whole set of psychosocial factors at play that may trigger higher rates of alcohol use including bereavement, loneliness, depression and boredom. Physical health is also greatly impacted where there is heavy alcohol, tobacco or drug use including cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive complaints. Misuse of medication including OTC medicines through self-prescribing, is a further concern.

This conference will be highlight the size and shape of the problem; the physical and psychiatric implications; assessment criteria; developing age appropriate services and some case studies of successful services in two very different parts of the country.

Additional Information

Global Actions: January 4, 2012

Key Recent Milestones:

Vietnam: Global Actions launched drink drive capacity-building bus driver projects in December 2011 with events in Dak Lak and Khanh Hoa provinces. An education and enforcement campaign will run through January 2012.

Global Actions also held a workshop on December 26 with the Vietnam Beer Alcohol Beverage Association (VBA) to revise a draft of the marketing code for wine and spirits.

Global Actions Spotlight: China Self-Regulation Workshop

Also in December 2011, Global Actions marked new progress with a self-regulation workshop. In collaboration with the China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association (CADIA), the China Association of National Advertisers (CANA), and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Asia, the Beijing workshop drew representatives from both international and domestic beverage alcohol producers.

ICAP sponsor companies AB InBev, Bacardi, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, and SABMiller participated, along with local companies including Tsingtao Beer Company, Beijing Hongxing Company, and China Shaoxin Yellow Wine Group Company. The workshop began with opening remarks from CADIA president Wang Yancai, followed by presentations from experts in self-regulation and alcohol policy.

Yancai discussed CADIA’s plans to implement a series of activities that would establish a fair marketing environment. “Irresponsible marketing not only disturbs the social economic disorder, but also damages the alcohol industry’s public image and interests,” he said. “CADIA is happy to collaborate with ICAP to implement a series of responsible marketing activities.”

ICAP’s Brett Bivans observed that the workshop presented “a good opportunity for industry members to share their experiences and explore what more they will do, both as individual companies and collectively as CADIA members. The self-regulation and CSR survey projects are both opportunities for industry members to show leadership and responsibility.”

CADIA vice president Guo Xiang introduced policies developed to encourage responsible marketing and fair competition, and North China University of Technology’s Li Minghe spoke about the international and domestic environment of self-regulation. Global Actions Country Coordinator James Yu outlined industry contributions to support Member States in implementation of the WHO Alcohol Strategy as well as the Guiding Principles: Self-Regulation of Marketing Communications for Beverage Alcohol adopted by ICAP sponsor companies.

“In the discussion session that followed presentations, valuable suggestions were brought up for the draft code and the CSR survey instruments,” said Yu. “Most participants expressed support for the responsible marketing activities.”

Moving forward, the working group plans to improve the self-regulation code and CSR survey instruments based on participant feedback. The CSR survey will be conducted in the next several months, with the results being released together with the self-regulation code in the second half of 2012.

What’s Happening Next:

· Vietnam: On January 8-11, Channel Research will travel to Hanoi and Da Nang City for site evaluation visits.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - February 9, 2012 (Open to the Public)



129th Meeting of the
February 8-9, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 5:00 to 7:30 PM
5635 Fishers Lane
Terrace Level Conference Room
Rockville, MD 20852


Dr. Abe Bautista

Dr. Abe Bautista

Thursday, February 9, 2012, 8:00 AM

Dr. Tatiana Foroud

Thursday, February 9, 2012, 8:45 AM



Dr. Kenneth Warren



Dr. Kenneth Warren



Dr. George Kunos



Dr. Lorraine Gunzerath



Dr. Abe Bautista





Dr. Ed Riley
Dr. Sally Anderson



Dr. Luci Roberts



Dr. Vivian Faden



Council Members



Liaison Representatives




Round Table

Sleep Disturbance in Alcoholism: Proposal of a Simple Measurement, and Results from a 24-Week Randomized Controlled Study of Alcohol-Dependent Patient

Sleep disturbance symptom (SDS) is commonly reported in alcoholic patients. Polysomnography studies suggested that acamprosate decreased SDS. We assessed this hypothesis by using data of a randomized controlled trial. As a secondary objective, we suggested and tested the validity of a simple measurement of SDS based on the Hamilton depression and anxiety inventory subset.

We re-analysed a multi-center study evaluating the efficacy of acamprosate compared with placebos on alcohol-dependent patients in concentrating on SDS change in time. The Sleep sum score index (SAEI) was built from check-lists on adverse effects reported at each visit and constituted our main endpoint. We also tested the validity of the short sleep index (SSI) defined by the four sleep items of the Hamilton depression and anxiety scales. Statistical analyses were conducted on an intention to treat basis.

A total of 592 patients were included, and 292 completed the 6-month trial. Compared with SAEI considered as our reference, the observed specificity and sensitivity of SSI were 91.6 and 87.6%. From 40.2% of patients experiencing SDS at baseline, this proportion decreased until 26.1% at M6 in the placebo group and 19.5% in the acamprosate group (relative risk placebo/acamprosate = 1.49, 95% confidence interval 1.10, 1.98, P = 0.04).

Treating alcoholic patients to enhance abstinence has a beneficial effect in reducing SDS, and the duration of abstinence during the treatment constitutes the main positive factor. An additional effect of acamprosate is conjectured from its effect on the glutamatergic tone. The SSI constitutes a simple, reasonably sensitive and specific instrument tool to measure SDS.

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The aim of this exploratory study, which was informed by ethnographic principles, was to better understand the intergenerational transmission of historical trauma among urban American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) in culturally specific sobriety maintenance programs.

results of the study were organized into 3 overarching categories, which included 10 themes that emerged contextually in relation to participants’ lived experi
ence of historical and associated traumas, substance abuse, and current involvement in a culturally specific sobriety maintenance program.

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Levels of explanation in psychiatric and substance use disorders: implications for the development of an etiologically based nosology

The soft medical model for psychiatric illness, which was operationalized in DSM-III, defines psychiatric disorders as syndromes with shared symptoms, signs, course of illness and response to treatment. Many in our field want to move to a hard medical model based on etiological mechanisms.

This essay explores the feasibility of this move and asks whether psychiatric disorders have the needed single clear level of explanation for an etiologically based nosology.

I propose seven criteria for a good explanation: (i) strength, (ii) causal confidence, (iii) generalizability, (iv) specificity, (v) manipulability, (vi) proximity and (vii) generativity.

Applying them to cystic fibrosis, a gene-level approach to etiology performs well across the board. By contrast, a detailed review of alcohol dependence and a briefer review of major depression suggests that psychiatric disorders have multiple explanatory perspectives no one of which can be privileged over others using scientific data alone.

Therefore, a move toward an etiologically based diagnostic system cannot assume that one level of explanation will stand out as the obvious candidate on which to base the nosology.

This leaves two options. Either a hard medical model will be implemented that will require a consensus about a preferred level of explanation which must reflect value judgments as well as science.

To take this approach, we need to agree on what we most want from our explanations. Alternatively, we will need to move away from the traditional hard medical model that requires that we ground our diagnoses in single biological essences, and focus instead on fuzzy, cross-level mechanisms, which may more realistically capture the true nature of psychiatric disorders.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Evidence for multiple genetic factors underlying the DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence

To determine the number of genetic factors underlying the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria for alcohol dependence (AD), we conducted structural equation twin modeling for seven AD criteria, plus two summary screening questions, in 7133 personally interviewed male and female twins from the Virginia Adult Twin Study of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders, who reported lifetime alcohol consumption.

The best-fit twin model required three genetic and two unique environmental common factors, and criterion-specific unique environmental factors.

The first genetic factor was defined by high loadings for the probe question about quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption, and tolerance criterion.

The second genetic factor loaded strongly on the probe question about self-recognition of alcohol-related problems and AD criteria for loss of control, desire to quit, preoccupation and activities given up.

The third genetic factor had high loadings for withdrawal and continued use despite the problems criteria.

Genetic factor scores derived from these three factors differentially predicted patterns of comorbidity, educational status and other historical
/clinical features of AD.

The DSM-IV syndrome of AD does not reflect a single dimension of genetic liability, rather, these criteria reflect three underlying dimensions that index risk for: (i) tolerance and heavy use; (ii) loss of control with alcohol associated social dysfunction and (iii) withdrawal and continued use despite problems.

While tentative and in need of replication, these results, consistent with the rodent literature, were validated by examining predictions of the genetic factor scores and have implications for gene-finding efforts in AD.

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Broad Disruption of Brain White Matter Microstructure and Relationship with Neuropsychological Performance in Male Patients with Severe Alcohol Depend

In the last years, refined magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) methods have become available to study microstructural alterations in the human brain. We investigated to what extent white matter tissue abnormalities are present in male patients after chronic, excessive alcohol consumption and if these alterations are correlated with measures of alcohol consumption and neuropsychological performance.

Twenty-four detoxified adult male patients with severe alcohol dependence and 23 healthy male control subjects were included in the study. Neuropsychological tests were assessed for executive function, attention, memory and visuospatial function. DTI was acquired and preprocessing of the data was performed using tract-based spatial statistics. Group differences of fractional anisotropy (FA) as well as correlation analyses with neuropsychological measures and drinking history were calculated.

Performance in alcoholic patients was significantly poorer in tests of non-verbal reasoning and attention. In detoxified alcoholic patients, lower FA was primarily found in the body of the corpus callosum, but these findings did not correlate directly with behavioral measures. However, executive and psychomotor performance (Trail-Making Test) correlated significantly with FA in right anterior cingulate and left motor areas.

These findings provide further evidence for reduced integrity of interhemispheric connections in male patients with severe alcohol dependence, and neurocognitive performance was in part correlated with FA.

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Reduction of Ethanol Consumption in Alcohol-Preferring Rats by Dual Expression Gene Transfer

To mimic, in an animal model of alcoholism, the protective phenotype against alcohol consumption observed in humans carrying a fast alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH1B*2) and an inactive aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2*2).

We developed a multiple expression cassette adenoviral vector (AdV-ADH/asALDH2) encoding both a fast rat ADH and an antisense RNA against rat ALDH2. A control adenoviral vector (AdV-C) containing intronic non-coding DNA was also developed. These adenoviral vectors were administered intravenously to rats bred as high alcohol-drinkers (University of Chile bibulous) that were previously rendered alcohol dependent by a 75-day period of voluntary 10% ethanol intake.

Animals administered AdV-ADH/asALDH2 showed a 176% increase in liver ADH activity, whereas liver ALDH2 activity was reduced by 24%, and upon the administration of a dose of ethanol (1 g/kg, i.p.), these showed arterial acetaldehyde levels that were 400% higher than those of animals administered AdV-C. Rats that received the AdV-ADH/asALDH2 vector reduced by 60% their voluntary ethanol intake versus controls.

This study provides evidence that the simultaneous increase of liver ADH and a reduction of ALDH activity by gene transfer could constitute a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of alcoholism.

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Patterns of Alcohol Use in Early Adolescence Predict Problem Use at Age 16

Teenagers in the UK report some of the highest rates of alcohol use in Europe. We identify patterns of alcohol use in early adolescence and relate these to hazardous and harmful alcohol use at age 16.

In a UK birth cohort, we analysed repeated measures of alcohol use from age 13 to 15 in a sample of 7100 adolescents. Data on drinking frequency and typical consumption when drinking were modelled separately using a pair of latent class models. Classes of alcohol-use behaviour were contrasted across a range of risk factors and then to hazardous and harmful alcohol use as assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test scale at age 16.

Heterogeneity in drinking frequency and consumption could each be captured with three classes corresponding to low, medium and high levels. In total, 14.2% were classified as high-frequency and 8.9% as high consumption alcohol users. Socio-demographic factors, maternal substance use and the young persons' use of tobacco and cannabis were associated with class membership. At age 16, 29% were drinking hazardously and a further 5.6% were assessed as harmful drinkers. Young people in the high drinking frequency or consumption class had a 9-fold increased risk of reporting harmful drinking at age 16.

By the age of 16, a substantial proportion of teenagers in this sample were drinking at levels that could be considered hazardous or harmful for an adult. Patterns of alcohol exposure in early adolescence were strongly associated with later alcohol use. Altering drinking patterns in middle adolescence has the potential to reduce harmful use in later adolescence.

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Do Co-morbid Anxiety Disorders Predict Drinking Outcomes in Women with Alcohol Use Disorders?

It is unclear whether co-morbid anxiety disorders predict worse drinking outcomes during attempts to change drinking behavior. Studies have yielded mixed results, and have rarely examined drinking outcomes based on a specific type of anxiety disorder. Women with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are of particular interest as they are at risk for co-morbid anxiety [Kessler et al. (1997) Lifetime co-occurrence of DSM-III-R alcohol abuse and dependence with other psychiatric disorders in the national co-morbidity survey. Arch Gen Psychiat 54:313–21].

Participants were 260 women with AUDs participating in an alcohol-treatment outcome studies. The Timeline Follow-Back was used to assess drinking frequency (percent days drinking) prior, within and 6 months post-treatment. The current study tested the hypothesis that having at least one lifetime anxiety disorder diagnosed at baseline using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM Disorders would be associated with more drinking at all study time points. Exploratory analyses examined patterns of drinking outcomes by specific anxiety diagnoses.

Lifetime anxiety diagnosis was linked to poorer drinking outcomes post-treatment (β = 0.15, P = 0.020), despite less frequent drinking prior to treatment. Analyses by specific anxiety diagnosis indicated that generalized anxiety disorder predicted poorer drinking outcomes within treatment (β = 0.14, P = 0.018) and during follow-up (β = 0.16, P = 0.014).

Co-morbid anxiety problems complicate treatment for AUDs among women. Further, specific anxiety disorders should be evaluated as distinct constructs as evidenced by the differential outcomes related to generalized anxiety disorder. Implications for treatment development for women with AUDs are discussed.

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Bilateral Renal Cortical Necrosis Following Binge Drinking

Renal cortical necrosis (RCN) is a rare cause of acute kidney injury secondary to ischemic necrosis of the renal cortex. Acute tubular necrosis after binge drinking is usually attributed to volume depletion, idiosyncratic reaction to alcohol, rhabdomyolysis or a combination with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Binge drinking itself as a cause of RCN has not yet been reported.

We report a case of a 25-year-old Asian male who developed bilateral RCN following binge drinking.

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Self-reported Life Satisfaction and Alcohol use: A 15-year follow-up of Healthy Adult Twins

To study the bidirectional relationships between life satisfaction (LS) and alcohol use.

Health questionnaires were administered in 1975, 1981 and 1990 to a population-based sample of healthy Finnish twins aged 18–45 at baseline (n = 14,083). These included a LS scale and three indicators for adverse alcohol use: binge drinking, passing out and high consumption (women/men ≥400/800 g/month). In longitudinal analyses, logistic regression, pair-wise case–control analyses and growth models were applied.

All alcohol indicators increased the age-adjusted risk of becoming dissatisfied regardless of study period [binge drinking odds ratio (OR)1975–1990 = 1.29; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.12–1.50; high consumption OR1975–1990 = 1.60; 1.29–1.99 and passing out OR1981–1990 = 2.01; 1.57–2.57]. Also, the dissatisfied had an increased subsequent risk for adverse alcohol use. The risk for passing out due to drinking (OR1975–1990 = 1.50; 1.22–1.86) was increased regardless of study period, while high consumption (OR1975–1981 = 1.97; 1.40–2.77; OR1981–1990 = 2.48; 1.50–4.12) and binge drinking (OR1975–1981 = 1.37; 1.12–1.67) showed some variation by the study period. Predictions remained after multiple adjustments. Longitudinally, high consumption predicted dissatisfaction somewhat more strongly than vice versa. The change/levels within the whole range of LS and alcohol consumption were only slightly associated in the entire study population.

Life dissatisfaction and adverse alcohol use reciprocally predict each other prospectively. The heavier the alcohol use the stronger the relationship.

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Efficacy and Safety of Pregabalin in the Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial

The objective of this study was to collect preliminary data on the efficacy and safety of pregabalin in attenuating the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms during detoxification treatment in alcohol dependence.

Forty-two alcohol-dependent patients with an alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) were included in the prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial during inpatient alcohol detoxification. For 6 days, participants either received pregabalin or placebo according to a fixed dose schedule starting with 300 mg/day. Depending on the score of the AWS Scale (AWSS), diazepam was additionally administered as a rescue medication. The primary endpoint was the total amount of diazepam required from Day 2 to 6 of detoxification treatment in each of the two groups. Secondary outcome variables were the difference in AWSS and Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol (CIWA-Ar) scores between Day 2 and 6, tolerability and safety data, drop-out rates as well as changes in the neuropsychological scales.

Pregabalin and placebo were equally safe and well tolerated. However, no statistically significant difference was found comparing the total amount of additional diazepam medication required in the two study groups. Pregabalin and placebo also showed similar efficacy according to alterations of scores of the AWSS, CIWA-Ar and neuropsychological scales. The frequency of adverse events and drop-outs did not differ between the both treatment groups.

The study demonstrates the relative safety of pregabalin in the treatment of AWS. However, the results do not provide evidence in favor of pregabalin compared with placebo concerning its efficacy in the treatment of AWS.

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Lead and Ethanol Co-Exposure Lead to Blood Oxidative Stress and Subsequent Neuronal Apoptosis in Rats

The present study was aimed at investigating chronic exposure to lead and ethanol, individually and in combination with blood oxidative stress leading to possible brain apoptosis in rats.

Rats were exposed to lead (0.1% w/v in drinking water) or ethanol (1 and 10%) either individually or in combination for four months. Biochemical variables indicative of oxidative stress (blood and brain) and brain apoptosis were examined. Native polyacrylamide agarose gel electrophoresis was carried out in brain homogenates for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) analysis, whereas western blot analysis was done for the determination of apoptotic markers like Bax, Bcl-2, caspase-3, cytochrome c and p53.

The results suggest that most pronounced increase in oxidative stress in red blood cells and brain of animals co-exposed to lead and 10% ethanol compared all the other groups. Decrease in G6PD activity followed the same trend. Upregulation of Bax, cytochrome c, caspase-3, p53 and down-regulation of Bcl-2 suggested apoptosis in the rat brain co-exposed to lead and ethanol (10%) compared with their individual exposures. Significantly high lead accumulation in blood and brain during co-exposure further support synergistic toxicity.

The present study thus suggests that higher consumption of ethanol during lead exposure may lead to brain apoptosis, which may be mediated through oxidative stress.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

IBA in Sexual Health Settings Resource Pack

A resource pack outlining the case and key resources for delivering 'Identification and Brief Advice' (IBA) in Sexual Health Settings has been released. > > > > Read More

Alcohol use among upstate New York adults

Alcohol use is common in our society; half of all American adults – 50.3 percent – consume some alcohol in a year. The percentage of U.S. adults who have had at least one binge drinking episode during the past year has increased since 2004. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol use (which includes heavy and/or binge drinking) ranks third among the leading preventable causes of death in the U.S., accounting for 79,000 deaths each year. Alcohol misuse raises immediate and long-term health risks that include traumatic injuries; liver, neurological and cardiovascular diseases; many types of cancer; and psychiatric problems.

• Binge drinking is defined as a man having five or more drinks, or a woman having four or more drinks, on an occasion.

• Heavy drinking is defined as a man averaging more than two drinks per day, or a woman averaging more than one drink per day.

The figures on binge and heavy drinking in New York state that are reported here refer to alcohol use during the 30 days prior to the survey.
> > > > Read More

Monday, January 2, 2012

DH streamlines public health social marketing for 2012

The Department of Health (DH) will shortly launch public health communications for 2012, taking a 'linked behaviours' approach. It will tailor social marketing operations to follow the life course, instead of focusing on individual behaviour issues.

The strategy, Changing behaviour, Improving outcomes, was published in April 2011 and aims to increase effective communication of public health issues. It was followed by the Change4Life Three Year Social Marketing Strategy which stated the 'alcohol harm reduction campaign will be brought more fully under the Change4Life umbrella, embracing not only the calorific content of alcohol but also the wider health harms of alcohol for adults in mid-life.' > > > > Read More

Does the Alcohol Make Them Do It? Dating Violence Perpetration and Drinking Among Youth

Strong evidence links alcohol use to partner violence perpetration among adults, but the relation between youth alcohol use and dating violence perpetration (DVP) is not as well studied.

The authors used meta-analytic procedures to evaluate current knowledge on the association between alcohol use and DVP among youth. The authors reviewed 28 studies published in 1985–2010; most (82%) were cross-sectional. Alcohol use was measured in 3 main ways: 1) frequency or quantity of use, 2) frequency of heavy episodic drinking, or 3) problem use.

Collectively, results support the conclusion that higher levels of alcohol use are positively associated with youth DVP. With fixed-effects models, the combined odds ratios for DVP for frequency/quantity, heavy episodic drinking, and problem use were 1.23 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.16, 1.31), 1.47 (95% CI: 1.17, 1.85), and 2.33 (95% CI: 1.94, 2.80), respectively. This association persisted even after accounting for heterogeneity and publication bias.

No studies were designed to assess the immediate temporal association between drinking and DVP.

Future research should assess whether there are acute or pharmacologic effects of alcohol use on youth DVP. Furthermore, few studies have been hypothesis driven, controlled for potential confounding, or examined potential effect measure modification.

Studies designed to investigate the youth alcohol–DVP link specifically, and whether results vary by individuals’ gender, developmental stage, or culture, are needed.

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Zebrafish: a model for the study of addiction genetics

Drug abuse and dependence are multifaceted disorders with complex genetic underpinnings. Identifying specific genetic correlates is challenging and may be more readily accomplished by defining endophenotypes specific for addictive disorders.

Symptoms and syndromes, including acute drug response, consumption, preference, and withdrawal, are potential endophenotypes characterizing addiction that have been investigated using model organisms.

We present a review of major genes involved in serotonergic, dopaminergic, GABAergic, and adrenoreceptor signaling that are considered to be directly involved in nicotine, opioid, cannabinoid, and ethanol use and dependence. The zebrafish genome encodes likely homologs of the vast majority of these loci.

We also review the known expression patterns of these genes in zebrafish. The information presented in this review provides support for the use of zebrafish as a viable model for studying genetic factors related to drug addiction.

Expansion of investigations into drug response using model organisms holds the potential to advance our understanding of drug response and addiction in humans.

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Alcohol News - 1/2012

The Local (Norway) - Norwegians sceptical as alcohol ads draw near
With the government indicating it won’t veto a controversial EU directive, a majority of Norwegians believe alcohol ads on television will lead to more widespread alcohol abuse.
Read more
YLE News (Finland) - Prices rising for alcohol, soft drinks and sweets
Higher taxes will mean higher prices for alcohol, sweets, ice cream and soft drinks as of the start of the year. The Taxpayers’ Association of Finland calculates that, for example the price of a bottle of 38% Koskenkorva vodka will go up by 80 cents and the price of a 9 euro bottle of wine by 20 cents.
Read more
The Baltic Course (Lithuania) - Grybauskaite signs amendments to the law on alcohol control
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite signed the amendments to the Law on Alcohol Control which will introduce restrictions for selling alcohol, alcohol containers and its consumption during sports events and in public catering establishments, writes LETA/ELTA.
Read more
The (Sweden) - Rowdy start to the new year in Sweden
Police were kept busy during the last evening of 2011 with celebrations all over Sweden getting out of hand and resulting in brawling and firework accidents.
Read more (UK) - David Cameron plans minimum alcohol price in England
Drinkers will pay a minimum price for alcohol under plans instigated by David Cameron to tackle a growing health crisis, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
Read more
USA TODAY (USA) - New Year's Eve: night of walking drunks, busy ER doctors
Take one New Year's Eve. Combine with a Saturday. Now add alcohol – and you have a health and safety nightmare. At least that's how some emergency room doctors feel about the fast-approaching celebration – which is always an occasion for widespread immoderate drinking and could be worse than usual this year.
Read more
Minivan News (Maldives) - PPM supports nation-wide alcohol ban “if the government has the courage”
Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP and Spokesperson Ahmed Mahlouf has said that “if the government has the courage to ban alcohol and pork across the country, PPM will support it.”
Read more
BBC News (UK) - Former alcoholic 'scared' by rise in young drinkers
A recovering alcoholic from Norfolk says he is "scared" by the rise in the number of young people with drink problems at his support group.
Read more (Australia) - Call for minimum alcohol price as alcopop tax fails to stop Australia's young binge drinkers
YOUNG binge drinkers have simply switched to cheaper booze to beat the Federal Government's controversial "alcopop" tax. New research shows 15 to 29-year-olds have dodged the 70 per cent tax on popular pre-mixed drinks by changing their drink of choice.
Read more
Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) - AMA seeks clamp on marketing of alcohol
ALCOHOL companies are exploiting loopholes in advertising regulations by launching mass campaigns at sporting events and music festivals encouraging people to drink recklessly, the peak body representing doctors has said.
Read more
Herald Scotland (Scotland) - Premier's alcohol move is welcome
THE Scottish Government's plans to set a minimum price for alcohol have been given a significant boost from David Cameron's sudden enthusiasm for introducing similar legislation in England.
Read more
Belfast Newsletter (Northern Ireland) - Alcohol is blamed for rise in violent clashes
EMERGENCY services across Northern Ireland have reported another busy festive season, with an alarming rise in the number of street fights and people injured.
Read more
The Australian (Papua New Guinea) - Papua New Guinea alcohol bans extended
PAPUA New Guinean governments have stepped up their war on alcohol for the new year and deeper into 2012, when mid-year elections are expected to trigger violence. In the country's most populous region, the Highlands, liquor bans have been in force for a decade in Enga and Southern Highlands provinces.
Read more (UK) - Thousands more teenage girls hospitalised by binge-drinking than boys
Thousands more teenage girls than boys are ending up in hospital because of binge-drinking, Government ministers have revealed, as they work on new plans to tackle cheap alcohol.
Read more
RIA Novosti (Russia) - Alcohol consumption in Russia down 17% to 15 liters in 2 yrs
Russia has seen a fall in alcohol sales over the past two years from 18 liters to 15 liters per capita a year, First Deputy Prime Minister V. Zubkov said on Wednesday.
Read more
Ahram Online (Egypt) - Egypt reverses duty-free alcohol restrictions
In the wake of soaring prices on the black market and mounting criticism from the Egypt Free Shops Company and the tourism ministry, the decision to restrict alcohol and cigarette purchases is withdrawn.
Read more (New Zealand) - Elderly drinkers on the rise
Elderly people drinking to excess is an increasing problem in New Zealand, despite most people perceiving heavy drinking as a youth issue.
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On the New Year eve, we all pledges to improve our life by not indulging into bad habits and by giving up our unhealthy lifestyle. Similarly, the Australian Medical Association President Steve Hambleton has asked the Federal Government to come up with a better policy which would put greater emphasis over the health of the kids.
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Drinkers looking to cut down on their intake in the new year will receive some help from the government, after reports emerged of a 'big bang' plan to tackle alcohol consumption in England and Wales.
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The Local (Germany) - More seniors addicted to drugs and alcohol
Hundreds of thousands of German senior citizens are dependent on drugs or alcohol and authorities worry the number is only increasing.
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Assessment and clinical aspects of community professional care of elderly with alcohol misuse

For elderly living in the community, alcohol misuse is not uncommon. Experience of professionals of social care services to face alcoholism misuse has rarely been assessed. The work of these professionals is to allow aged people to stay at home in spite of impaired physical and/or mental age-related abilities.

We studied the experienced difficulties and feelings of professional caregivers for ten aged subjects with alcohol misuse compared to ten aged subjects without, to identify their needs in terms of training for the home care service associations.

The participants took part in an interview and completed a research questionnaire concerning their reactions to alcohol misuse in elderly subjects.

No significant difference was found between the responses from the two groups. All participants felt powerless in front of the denial of the alcohol misuse by the patients and experienced difficulties with the behavior of some family members. They reported that they would be comforted by the opportunity to share their experiences with colleagues and people in charge. They hoped to meet specialized teams in the field of addictions to develop skills for supporting elderly people with regard of alcohol misuse.

Presently, the services in charge of the aged people should review the interventions and training of their employees, especially of those caring for subjects with alcohol misuse, to improve the quality of their actions in an evolving environment.

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Alcohol and Drugs History at the AHA Annual Convention

Alcohol and Drugs History Society

Friday, January 6, 2012

9:30 AM-11:30 AM

Saturday, January 7, 2012

9:00 AM-11:00 AM

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The Virtuous Tax: Lifesaving and Crime-Prevention Effects of the 1991 Federal Alcohol-Tax Increase

On January 1, 1991, the federal excise tax on beer doubled, and the tax rates on wine and liquor increased as well. These changes are larger than the typical state-level changes that have been used to study the effect of price on alcohol abuse and its consequences.

In this paper, we develop a method to estimate some important effects of those large 1991 changes, exploiting the interstate differences in alcohol consumption. We demonstrate that the relative importance of drinking in traffic fatalities is closely tied to per capita alcohol consumption across states.

As a result, we expect that the proportional effects of the federal tax increase on traffic fatalities would be positively correlated with per capita consumption.

We demonstrate that this is indeed the case, and infer estimates of the price elasticity and lives saved in each state.

We repeat this exercise for other injury-fatality rates, and for nine categories of crime. For each outcome, the estimated effect of the tax increase is negatively related to average consumption, and that relationship is highly significant for the overall injury death rate, the violent crime rate, and the property crime rate.

A conservative estimate is that the federal t
ax reduced injury deaths by 4.7%, or almost 7,000, in 1991.

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Chronic ethanol exposure during adolescence alters the behavioral responsiveness to ethanol in adult mice

Alcohol exposure during early adolescence is believed to durably alter the behavioral properties of ethanol, increasing the likelihood of later alcohol-related disorders.

The aim of the present experiments was to characterize changes in the behavioral effects of ethanol in adult female Swiss mice after a chronic ethanol exposure during adolescence, extending from postnatal day 28 to postnatal day 42.

After a chronic ethanol exposure during adolescence (daily injections of 0, 2.5 or 4 g/kg ethanol for 14 consecutive days), adult mice were tested at postnatal day 63. The locomotor stimulant effects of ethanol, together with ethanol sensitization were tested in experiment 1. In experiment 2, the sedative effects of ethanol were assessed with the loss of righting reflex procedure. Finally, in experiment 3, the anxiolytic effects of ethanol were tested with the light/dark box test.

Adult mice chronically exposed to ethanol during adolescence showed a lower basal locomotor activity, but higher locomotor stimulant effects of ethanol than non-exposed mice. Additionally, these adult mice developed higher rates of ethanol sensitization after chronic re-exposure to ethanol in adulthood.

Adult mice exposed to ethanol during adolescence also had a stronger tolerance to the sedative effects of high ethanol doses, although they showed no evidence of changes in the anxiolytic effects of ethanol.

These results are in agreement with the thesis that chronic alcohol consumption during adolescence, especially in high amounts, increases the risk of later alcohol-related disorders.

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