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, July 14, 2012

Australia's double standard on Thailand's alcohol warning labels

Since 2010, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), including Australia, have opposed Thailand's proposal for graphic warnings on alcohol containers. This paper aims to provide an account of the arguments for/against Thailand and to examine the arguments' legal and political validity.

This paper reviews primary WTO records in relation to Thailand's proposal to reveal the arguments for/against Thailand's proposal. The paper analyses these arguments in light of WTO cases to identify the legal strengths and weaknesses of Thailand's position. The paper then considers whether the attacks on Thailand by Australia are justified in light of the Australian Government's position on (i) alcohol warning labels in Australia and (ii) tobacco plain packaging.

The legal arguments against Thailand are: only harmful alcohol consumption should be prevented; there is no evidence that graphic warning labels can reduce alcohol-related harm; the labels unnecessarily restrict international trade. There are some legal weaknesses in Thailand's proposal. Yet, Australia's opposition to Thailand cannot be justified whilst Australia is (i) mandating pregnancy-related alcohol warnings in Australia and (ii) defending its plain packaging law against similar WTO attacks.

No WTO member is obliged to challenge another member for being non-compliant. The case tests the willingness of WTO members like Australia to respect the autonomy of other countries to pursue their public health goals and trial novel interventions.

Australia's actions suggest it is willing to protect its alcohol industry at the expense of public health in Thailand.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

South Korea cracks down on alcohol-fuelled violence

South Korean drinkers are being warned not to let their prodigious consumption lead to violence, amid evidence of an epidemic of alcohol-fuelled crime.

Hite-Jinro, the country's biggest producer of alcoholic drinks, said it had introduced warning labels on its products in Seoul in conjunction with a police crackdown on violent incidents involving alcohol.

The labels, which appeared this week on bottles of beer and soju implore drinkers to refrain from violence and improve the country's drinking culture. > > > > Read More

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Science of Addiction and Recovery

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Episodic heavy drinking, problem drinking and injuries – Results of the WHO/NIAAA collaborative emergency room study in South Korea

Alcohol is the 5th leading risk factor to the global disease burden and disability and about half of the global alcohol burden was attributable to injuries. Despite a large body of evidence documenting the associations between alcohol and injuries, data from Asian countries including South Korea are sparse.

The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between episodic heavy past-year drinking, problem drinking symptomatic of alcohol dependence and alcohol-related and intentional injuries.

Data from 1989 injured patients recruited for the WHO/NIAAA Collaborative Study on Alcohol and Injury in South Korea were analyzed with respect to the prevalence rates and associations between injuries and frequency of past-year episodic heavy drinking and problem drinking. In estimating the odds ratios (ORs) and the associated 95% confidence intervals between alcohol intake and injuries multivariable logistic models were employed to adjust for sociodemographic characteristics and selected drinking variables. All analyses were conducted using the SAS 9.2 software.

Findings of this study were consistent with prior studies that the risk of alcohol-related or intentional injury was positively associated with the frequency of episodic heavy drinking. The magnitudes of the associations were larger with frequent consumption of 5+ drinks (OR = 4.0 approximately) than with frequent consumption of 12+ drinks (OR = 3.1). Strong associations were also noted between RAPS4-assessed alcohol dependence and alcohol-related and intentional injuries. Further, the prevalence of intentional injury and its association with alcohol increased sharply once the acute alcohol intake exceeded 90 ml.

Our results were consistent with prior studies that episodic heavy consumption, acute intoxication and problem drinking are pervasive among emergency room patients.

Results of our study also lent support for administering a single-item screener querying consumption of 5+ drinks at a sitting in the past 12 months as a triage tool in Korea.

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Gallo Research Center to Lead $15 Million U.S. Army-Funded National Research Program

The UCSF-affiliated Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center has been selected to administer and manage a U.S. Army-funded research program intended to accelerate the discovery and development of new medications to treat alcohol and substance abuse in the context of post-traumatic stress and combat injury.

The new program, known as the Institute for Molecular Neuroscience (IMN), will rely on the expertise of a team of national experts who are unaffiliated with grant applicants to conduct an independent, peer-review process.

The first round of pilot research grants awarded by the IMN was announced today, July 11, 2012. > > > > Read More

A Clarion Call for Nurse-Led SBIRT Across the Continuum of Care

This commentary discusses the impact of the study by Broyles and colleagues (2012) that reported on hospitalized patients’ acceptability of nurse-delivered screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT).

This cross-sectional survey study assessed patient acceptability for and comfort with nurse-delivered SBIRT.

The majority (95%) of inpatients found it acceptable for the nurse to ask about and/or discuss alcohol use during their hospitalization.

This is a significant finding, as hospitals in the United States consider whether and how to implement The Joint Commission's performance measures related to SBIRT for hospitalized patients. The findings related to subgroups of patients who are more accepting of SBIRT and those who expressed some degree of discomfort highlight the importance for individualized patient-centered approaches.

This study raises several important implications for nurse-delivered SBIRT. First, intensive efforts must be directed to enhancing the knowledge and competence of healthcare providers in general, and the current and future nursing workforce in particular, related to alcohol use and evidence-based care for patients who are drinking alcohol above recommended limits. Second, registered nurses, working to the full extent of their education and licensure are in key roles as members of the interdisciplinary team to provide cost-effective care at the bedside and across the continuum of care.

Nurse-led SBIRT implementation models could help bridge the curricular gap and promote widespread and sustained integration of SBIRT as standard nursing care across all specialties and practice settings.

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Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and the Risk of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Population-based Study

Smoking has been posited as a possible risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but large population-based studies of patients with incident disease are still needed. The authors performed a population-based case-control study in the Netherlands between 2006 and 2009, including 494 patients with incident ALS and 1,599 controls.

To prove the relevance of population-based incidence cohorts in case-control studies, the authors compared results with those from cohorts including patients with prevalent ALS and referral patients. Subjects were sent a questionnaire. Multivariate analyses showed an increased risk of ALS among current smokers (odds ratio = 1.38, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02, 1.88) in the incident patient group only.

Cox regression models showed that current smoking was also independently associated with shorter survival (hazard ratio = 1.51, 95% CI: 1.07, 2.15), explaining the lack of association in the prevalent and referral patient groups.

Current alcohol consumption was associated with a reduced risk of ALS (incident patient group: odds ratio = 0.52, 95% CI: 0.40, 0.75).

These findings indicate that current smoking is associated with an increased risk of ALS, as well as a worse prognosis, and alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of ALS, further corroborating the role of lifestyle factors in the pathogenesis of ALS.

The importance of population-based incident patient cohorts in identifying risk factors is highlighted by this study.

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Alcohol as a Gateway Drug: A Study of US 12th Graders

The Gateway Drug Theory suggests that licit drugs, such as tobacco and alcohol, serve as a “gateway” toward the use of other, illicit drugs. However, there remains some discrepancy regarding which drug—alcohol, tobacco, or even marijuana—serves as the initial “gateway” drug subsequently leading to the use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin. The purpose of this investigation was to determine which drug (alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana) was the actual “gateway” drug leading to additional substance use among a nationally representative sample of high school seniors.

This investigation conducted a secondary analysis of the 2008 Monitoring the Future 12th-grade data. Initiation into alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use was analyzed using a Guttman scale. Coefficients of reliability and scalability were calculated to evaluate scale fit. Subsequent cross tabulations and chi-square test for independence were conducted to better understand the relationship between the identified gateway drug and other substances' use.

Results from the Guttman scale indicated that alcohol represented the “gateway” drug, leading to the use of tobacco, marijuana, and other illicit substances. Moreover, students who used alcohol exhibited a significantly greater likelihood of using both licit and illicit drugs.

The findings from this investigation support that alcohol should receive primary attention in school-based substance abuse prevention programming, as the use of other substances could be impacted by delaying or preventing alcohol use. Therefore, it seems prudent for school and public health officials to focus prevention efforts, policies, and monies, on addressing adolescent alcohol use.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Alcohol and Drugs - Readable and well-researched information for the public


  • Alcohol: our favourite drug – useful information if you are worried about your drinking
  • Alcohol and Depression
  • Alcohol and Older People
  • Alcohol, drugs and addictions: leaflet for carers and professionals (produced for our Partners in Care campaign).
  • Cannabis and mental health: looks at the research on the effects of cannabis use
  • Cannabis and mental health: key facts
  • Exercise and mental health
  • Eating well
  • Mental illness, offending and substance misuse
  • Problem gambling
  • Smoking and mental health

Reading about self-help

  • Drug misuse problems

Children and young people

  • Alcohol and drugs : what parents need to know
  • Drugs and alcohol: what young people need to know

Related topics

  • Alcohol and other drug misuse : informative leaflet challenging our attitudes towards people with alcohol and drug problems

See also:Link

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Global Actions July 11, 2012

Key Recent Milestones:

· China: The Jiangsu Institute for Health Education and Nanjing Bureau of Traffic Management released the results of Global Actions’ baseline drink driving survey to the public on July 6. At a review meeting chaired by the Jiangsu Provincial CDC, 10 traffic police were awarded prizes for excellent performance.

Global Actions in Focus: Russia Drink Drive Initiative

Global Actions drink driving initiative has officially launched in Russia with a public awareness campaign and targeted interventions underway. The “Don’t Drink Behind the Wheel” campaign was launched in collaboration with the “Social Projects” Foundation based in Russia. On June 26, ICAP’s Round Table Discussion in Moscow was widely attended by members of industry and other interested stakeholders.

“Our program objectives include reducing the number of alcohol-related road traffic crashes, increasing the level of community concern about drink driving, increasing community support for drink driving initiatives, and motivating drink drivers to change their behavioral patterns,” said ICAP Regional coordinator David Binar, adding that drink driving awareness is fundamental to improving road safety in Russia. According to government statistics, there are over 3,500 fatalities a day in Russia, 7.5% of which are alcohol-related.

A key part of the campaign involves actively engaging the hospitality sector in providing responsible service. The initial capacity-building seminar for HoReCa members supplied an overview of issues related to beverage alcohol service, drink driving, and conflict resolution strategies. Experts from Moscow State Pedagogical University created a seminar curriculum using ICAP resources.

Targeted interventions aim to educate HoReCa waiters and bartenders on best methods for delivering drink driving information to customers. In addition to the on-trade staff, participants include business executives, government officials, think tanks experts, and NGO representatives from health, road safety, and consumer rights fields.

Engaged stakeholders include the Ministry of Health, Road Safety Department, Center of Alcohol Markets Research, Romir Monitoring Research Agency, Etag Restaurants, ARPICOM Restaurants, Malina Taxi Service, and Rosinter Restaurants (T.G.I. Fridays).

A website has been created to help increase public awareness at

What’s Happening Next:

· Nigeria: The second phase of Global Actions’ intervention in Apapa, Lagos will begin on July 23. The campaign is part of Global Actions Nigeria’s drink driving initiative to educate tanker drivers on the Lagos-Apapa route.

News Release - New study suggests moderate alcohol consumption may help prevent bone loss

Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle may benefit women’s bone health, lowering their risk of developing osteoporosis.

A new study assessed the effects of alcohol withdrawal on bone turnover in postmenopausal women who drank one or two drinks per day several times a week. Researchers at Oregon State University measured a significant increase in blood markers of bone turnover in women after they stopped drinking for just two weeks.

Bones are in a constant state of remodeling with old bone being removed and replaced. In people with osteoporosis, more bone is lost than reformed resulting in porous, weak bones. About 80 percent of all people with osteoporosis are women, and postmenopausal women face an even greater risk because estrogen, a hormone that helps keep bone remodeling in balance, decreases after menopause.

Past studies have shown that moderate drinkers have a higher bone density than non-drinkers or heavy drinkers, but these studies have provided no explanation for the differences in bone density. Alcohol appears to behave similarly to estrogen in that it reduces bone turnover, the researchers said. > > > > Read More

Moderate alcohol intake lowers biochemical markers of bone turnover in postmenopausal women

Epidemiological studies indicate that higher bone mass is associated with moderate alcohol consumption in postmenopausal women. However, the underlying cellular mechanisms responsible for the putative beneficial effects of alcohol on bone are unknown. Excessive bone turnover, combined with an imbalance whereby bone resorption exceeds bone formation, is the principal cause of postmenopausal bone loss. This study investigated the hypothesis that moderate alcohol intake attenuates bone turnover after menopause.

Methods: Bone mineral density was determined by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry in 40 healthy postmenopausal women (mean +/- SE age, 56.3 +/- 0.5 y) who consumed alcohol at 19 +/- 1 g/day. Serum levels of the bone formation marker osteocalcin and the resorption marker C-terminal telopeptide (CTx) were measured by immunoassay at baseline (day 0) and after alcohol withdrawal for 14 days. Participants then consumed alcohol and were assayed on the following morning.

Results: Bone mineral density at the trochanter and total hip were positively correlated to the level of alcohol consumption. Serum osteocalcin and CTx increased after abstinence (4.1 +/- 1.6%, P = 0.01 and 5.8 +/- 2.6%, P = 0.02 compared with baseline, respectively). Osteocalcin and CTx decreased after alcohol readministration, compared with the previous day (-3.4 +/- 1.4%, P = 0.01 and -3.5 +/- 2.1%, P = 0.05, respectively), to values that did not differ from baseline (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: Abstinence from alcohol results in increased markers of bone turnover, whereas resumption of alcohol reduces bone turnover markers. These results suggest a cellular mechanism for the increased bone density observed in postmenopausal moderate alcohol consumers. Specifically, the inhibitory effect of alcohol on bone turnover attenuates the detrimental skeletal consequences of excessive bone turnover associated with menopause.

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Variation in OPRM1 moderates the effect of desire to drink on subsequent drinking and its attenuation by naltrexone treatment

To evaluate the role of the functional Asn40Asp polymorphism in the mu-opioid receptor gene on drinking behavior and naltrexone's ability to attenuate drinking, we used a daily diary method in a 12-week, randomized clinical trial of naltrexone to reduce drinking.

Participants (n = 158 problem drinkers) were assigned to receive either daily or targeted naltrexone 50 mg (n = 81) or matching placebo (n = 77). Patients reported by telephone each evening their current desire to drink and their drinking during the previous night and during the reporting day. We examined genotype, medication, desire to drink and their interactions as predictors of nighttime drinks consumed, controlling for drinking earlier in the day.

Asp40 carriers showed a stronger positive association between evening desire (deviations from their mean levels) and later night drinking levels than Asn40 homozygotes (P = 0.019).

The desire × genotype × medication condition interaction was also significant (P = 0.009), with a significant desire × genotype interaction for the placebo group (P = 0.001) but not for the naltrexone group (P = 0.74).

In summary, when the evening level of desire to drink was relatively high, Asp40 allele carriers were at greater risk than Asn40 homozygotes to drink more, which was attenuated by naltrexone.

Although average measures across the study were not informative, daily reports helped to demonstrate the moderating effects of genetic variation on the relation between desire to drink and alcohol consumption and the effects of naltrexone on that phenotype.

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NrCAM-regulating neural systems and addiction-related behaviors

We have previously shown that a haplotype associated with decreased NrCAM expression in brain is protective against addiction vulnerability for polysubstance abuse in humans and that Nrcam knockout mice do not develop conditioned place preferences for morphine, cocaine or amphetamine.

In order to gain insight into NrCAM involvement in addiction vulnerability, which may involve specific neural circuits underlying behavioral characteristics relevant to addiction, we evaluated several behavioral phenotypes in Nrcam knockout mice.

Consistent with a potential general reduction in motivational function, Nrcam knockout mice demonstrated less curiosity for novel objects and for an unfamiliar conspecific, showed also less anxiety in the zero maze. Nrcam heterozygote knockout mice reduced alcohol preference and buried fewer marbles in home cage.

These observations provide further support for a role of NrCAM in substance abuse including alcoholism vulnerability, possibly through its effects on behavioral traits that may affect addiction vulnerability, including novelty seeking, obsessive compulsion and responses to aversive or anxiety-provoking stimuli.

Additionally, in order to prove glutamate homeostasis hypothesis of addiction, we analyzed glutamatergic molecules regulated by NRCAM expression. Glutaminase appears to be involved in NrCAM-related molecular pathway in two different tissues from human and mouse. An inhibitor of the enzyme, prolyl-leucyl-glycinamide, treatment produced, at least, some of the phenotypes of mice shown in alcohol preference and in anxiety-like behavior.

Thus, NrCAM could affect addiction-related behaviors via at least partially modulation of some glutamatergic pathways and neural function in brain.

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Alcohol and Group Formation A Multimodal Investigation of the Effects of Alcohol on Emotion and Social Bonding

We integrated research on emotion and on small groups to address a fundamental and enduring question facing alcohol researchers: What are the specific mechanisms that underlie the reinforcing effects of drinking?

In one of the largest alcohol-administration studies yet conducted, we employed a novel group-formation paradigm to evaluate the socioemotional effects of alcohol. Seven hundred twenty social drinkers (360 male, 360 female) were assembled into groups of 3 unacquainted persons each and given a moderate dose of an alcoholic, placebo, or control beverage, which they consumed over 36 min. These groups’ social interactions were video recorded, and the duration and sequence of interaction partners’ facial and speech behaviors were systematically coded (e.g., using the Facial Action Coding System).

Alcohol consumption enhanced individual- and group-level behaviors associated with positive affect, reduced individual-level behaviors associated with negative affect, and elevated self-reported bonding.

Our results indicate that alcohol facilitates bonding during group formation. Assessing nonverbal responses in social contexts offers new directions for evaluating the effects of alcohol.

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Evidence for conditioned place preference to a moderate dose of ethanol in adult male Sprague–Dawley rats

The present series of experiments examined affective properties of a moderate dose of ethanol using the conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm in ethanol-naïve, adult male Sprague–Dawley rats.

The apparatus and the procedure used were both unbiased. In Experiment 1, rats were given four 30 min conditioning sessions with 1.5 g/kg ethanol (i.p.) or an equivalent volume of saline on the paired side.

Animals were found to demonstrate CPP to the ethanol-paired side, an unexpected finding at this relatively high dose in rats.

To replicate this finding, and to examine the possibility of non-associative conditioning, an unpaired control group was included in Experiment 2.

Once again, rats showed a CPP to the side paired with ethanol relative to either control group. Given that testing in an unfamiliar environment typically results in elevated levels of anxiety and that animals in Experiments 1 and 2 were not exposed to the apparatus prior to conditioning, Experiment 3 was conducted to examine the potential role of context unfamiliarity for induction of ethanol CPP in this test situation by varying whether animals were exposed to the apparatus prior to conditioning.

In this study, pre-exposure to the CPP apparatus was found to eliminate the CPP to ethanol observed in rats who were not familiarized with the apparatus.

Collectively, these studies demonstrate that ethanol-naïve rats can find ethanol reinforcing as indexed by the CPP test, and provide some evidence for the conditions under which this uncommon finding is observed.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Stress history increases alcohol intake in relapse: relation to phosphodiesterase 10A

Stressful experiences can result in elevated alcohol drinking, as exemplified in many individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder. However, how stress history, rather than acute stressors, influences alcohol intake remains uncertain.

To model the protracted effects of past stress, male Wistar rats were subjected to light-cued footshock (stress history) or light cues alone (control) prior to acquisition of alcohol self-administration (1-hour sessions, fixed ratio 1–3, 100 µl of 10% v/v alcohol as reinforcer).

Stress history did not alter mean alcohol intake during acquisition of self-administration, but it increased preference for the alcohol-paired lever over the inactive lever. Following an extinction period, rats with a history of stress exposure and low baseline alcohol intake showed a twofold elevation in alcohol self-administration, as compared with low-drinking rats with no stress history. Similar effects were not seen in rats self-administering 0.1% sucrose.

Analysis of mRNA levels of phosphodiesterase 10A (PDE10A), a dual-specificity cyclic adenosine monophosphate and cyclic guanosine monophosphate hydrolyzing enzyme, showed that stress history increased Pde10a mRNA levels in the basolateral amygdala and, in low-drinking rats, the prelimbic prefrontal cortex (plPFC). Pde10a mRNA levels in the plPFC correlated directly with greater alcohol self-administration during the relapse-like phase, and greater BLA Pde10a mRNA levels correlated with increased ethanol preference after acquisition.

The data demonstrate that stress history sensitizes otherwise low alcohol drinkers to consume more alcohol in a relapse-like situation and identify stress-induced neuroadaptations in amygdala and prefrontal cortical Pde10a expression as changes that may drive heightened alcohol intake and preference in susceptible individuals.

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Susceptibility to ethanol withdrawal seizures is produced by BK channel gene expression

Alcohol withdrawal seizures are part of the symptomatology of severe alcohol dependence and are believed to originate from long-term neural adaptations that counter the central nervous system depressant effects of alcohol.

Upon alcohol withdrawal, however, the increased neural excitability that was adaptive in the presence of alcohol becomes counter-adaptive and produces an imbalanced hyperactive nervous system. For some individuals, the uncovering of this imbalance by alcohol abstention can be sufficient to generate a seizure.

Using the Drosophila model organism, we demonstrate a central role for the BK-type Ca2+-activated K+ channel gene slo in the production of alcohol withdrawal seizures.

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Webcast Ready, Willing, and Able To Work: Employment for People in Recovery

For people in recovery from mental or substance use disorders, employment is often an essential part of the recovery process. Employment increases people’s self-worth, stabilizes their living circumstances, and facilitates their integration with the community. Being unemployed is associated with increased rates of mental disorders and with higher rates of substance use disorders and relapse. In the current job market, employment challenges for people in recovery are greater than ever.

This show will explore a range of topics related to meeting those challenges, including skills training, career building, having a “recovery job” that bridges the gap between unemployment and full employment, volunteerism as a pathway to employment, and starting a business.

The show will examine the barriers and challenges faced by some people in recovery—those without a high school or college degree, those with a criminal history, and those who have been out of the workforce for a long time. Innovative approaches to addressing the employment issue will be highlighted: recovery entrepreneurship programs, employers who target hiring people in recovery, and recovery community organizations that help with skills training and job placement.
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Alcohol Exposure Alters Mouse Lung Inflammation in Response to Inhaled Dust

Alcohol exposure is associated with increased lung infections and decreased mucociliary clearance. Occupational workers exposed to dusts from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are at risk for developing chronic inflammatory lung diseases. Agricultural worker co-exposure to alcohol and organic dust has been established, although little research has been conducted on the combination effects of alcohol and organic dusts on the lung.

Previously, we have shown in a mouse model that exposure to hog dust extract (HDE) collected from a CAFO results in the activation of protein kinase C (PKC), elevated lavage fluid cytokines/chemokines including interleukin-6 (IL-6), and the development of significant lung pathology.

Because alcohol blocks airway epithelial cell release of IL-6
in vitro, we hypothesized that alcohol exposure would alter mouse lung inflammatory responses to HDE.

To test this hypothesis, C57BL/6 mice were fed 20% alcohol or water
ad libitum for 6 weeks and treated with 12.5% HDE by intranasal inhalation method daily during the final three weeks. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), tracheas and lungs were collected. HDE stimulated a 2–4 fold increase in lung and tracheal PKCε (epsilon) activity in mice, but no such increase in PKCε activity was observed in dust-exposed mice fed alcohol. Similarly, alcohol-fed mice demonstrated significantly less IL-6 in lung lavage in response to dust than that observed in control mice instilled with HDE. TNFα levels were also inhibited in the alcohol and HDE-exposed mouse lung tissue as compared to the HDE only exposed group.

HDE-induced lung inflammatory aggregates clearly present in the tissue from HDE only exposed animals were not visually detectable in the HDE/alcohol co-exposure group. Statistically significant weight reductions and 20% mortality were also observed in the mice co-exposed to HDE and alcohol.

These data suggest that alcohol exposure depresses the ability of the lung to activate PKCε-dependent inflammatory pathways to environmental dust exposure. These data also define alcohol as an important co-exposure agent to consider in the study of inhalation injury responses.

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‘You're Less Complete if You Haven't Got a Can in Your Hand’: Alcohol Consumption and Related Harmful Effects in Rural Australia: The Role and Influe

This study aimed to explore rural Australians' perceptions of social and cultural factors influencing alcohol use in their communities.

Semi-structured interviews exploring rural community key informants' (n = 46) perceptions of social and cultural factors influencing alcohol consumption in their community were conducted. A narrative analysis identified cultural capital as a salient concept for explaining how rural community life is created and sustained via drinking practices.

Themes relating to participants' accounts of learning to drink, normal drinking; exclusion because of not drinking and problematic drinkers are described.

In rural communities, beliefs and values about drinking as a positive social practice are transmitted, rewarded and reproduced across multiple groups and settings, reinforcing that drinking is an integral part of Australian rural culture. Drinking is so important that engaging in drinking practices creates and sustains cultural capital. As a result, alcohol-related harm is of little concern to rural dwellers.

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Drinking Less But Greater Harm: Could Polarized Drinking Habits Explain the Divergence Between Alcohol Consumption and Harms among Youth?

This paper describes changes in alcohol consumption among Swedish youth over the past decade with the aim of exploring the polarization hypothesis, which asserts that while a majority of young drinkers have reduced their alcohol consumption, a subgroup have increased their drinking substantially, resulting in greater harm.

We analysed repeated cross-sectional self-report data from 45,841 15–16-year olds and 40,889 18–19-year-old high-school students living in the Stockholm municipality between 2000 and 2010. The questionnaire assessed alcohol and drug use, and risk factors for alcohol misuse. Changes over time at different levels of consumption are presented by age and gender.

We find evidence of a polarization effect in youth drinking, with consumption reducing significantly over the past 10 years among all young people, except the heaviest drinkers, where consumption and binge drinking tended to increase. The dispersion in per capita consumption also increased over time, indicating more heavy drinkers. The total number of risk factors for alcohol misuse decreased among most survey participants from 2000 to 2010, but with variability between years.

Polarized drinking habits are a likely explanation for the recent divergence between per capita alcohol consumption, which has decreased, and alcohol-related hospitalizations, which have increased sharply among Swedish youth in recent years. We suggest that ongoing social changes could be affecting young people in the form of greater disparities, which are associated with a higher incidence of social problems generally, including heavy drinking.

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Alcohol Portrayals in Movies, Music Videos and Soap Operas and Alcohol Use of Young People: Current Status and Future Challenges

To provide an overview of studies of the effects of alcohol portrayals in movies, music videos and soap operas on alcohol consumption among young people. Moreover, we highlight important issues that need to be addressed in future research.

This paper reviews the current literature on alcohol portrayals on-screen and the associated gaps and challenges in alcohol media research.

Thirteen longitudinal studies, 8 cross-sectional studies and 6 experimental studies examined the effects of alcohol portrayals on-screen on alcohol consumption among young people. They showed a relation between on-screen alcohol exposure and onset and progression of alcohol consumption. A distinction can be made between long-term effects and immediate effects on alcohol consumption. Only lately, more attention has been paid to processes underlying the effects of on-screen alcohol exposure.

Replication of findings and development of new research designs is essential. On-screen alcohol exposure does not affect everyone. It is important to test individual differences in susceptibility to on-screen alcohol portrayals. Further, not all media alcohol portrayal might provoke similar effects. It is therefore essential to test the effect of different types of alcohol portrayals.

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A Case of De novo Seizures Following a Probable Interaction of High-Dose Baclofen with Alcohol

Baclofen is a promising medication for the treatment of alcohol dependence, and the prescription of high-dose baclofen (HDB) is increasing within the medical community, especially for patients who are unresponsive to approved treatments. Although baclofen is considered to be quite safe at low doses, the possible interactions between HDB and alcohol have not been precisely studied.

We report the case of a 46-year-old patient without any history of neurological disorders who experienced two episodes of seizures after a short relapse of alcohol misuse while undergoing treatment with up to 240 mg/day of baclofen.

Although both alcohol and baclofen may theoretically induce seizures individually, we discuss and largely rule out the likelihood that either of these two drugs was solely responsible for the patient's seizures. We hypothesize that the seizures resulted from an interaction between alcohol and HDB, and determined that this hypothesis is ‘probable’ with Horn's Drug Interaction Probability Scale.

We encourage our colleagues who prescribe HDB to acquaint their patients with the possible enhanced risk of seizures, notably in persistence of alcohol abuse. Moreover, until data from a large study on the safety of HDB use by alcohol misusers are available, this treatment should be conducted under strict supervision and after having carefully evaluated the benefit–risk ratio.

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Alcohol News - 28/2012

The Copenhagen Post (Denmark) - Born to be wild ... and loaded
As kids nationwide mix end of school celebrations with alcohol, a new study finds that one in 12 Danish teens have serious substance abuse problems.
Herald Review (Denmark) - Danish study gives women mixed message
The Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) is concerned that the recent research study from Denmark gives women a mixed a message. The study states that low to moderate drinking of up to 8 alcoholic drinks per week is generally safe for the developing baby.
WebMD - First-Time Teen Alcohol, Drug Use Peaks in Summer
Teens are much more likely to try alcohol, cigarettes, and other drugs for the first time during the summer months, according to a new survey.
Los Angeles Times (Iran) - Iran confronts its alcohol problem
After years of denying the prevalence of illegal alcohol in Iran, officials are addressing the issue, while continuing to treat drinking as a sin and a crime.
Irish Examiner (Ireland) - Ministers condemn 'cynical' alcohol promotion
A controversial shop promotion offering cheap alcohol for children’s allowance day has been condemned by Government ministers. Four Centra stores were ordered to withdraw the “cynical” offers after politicians and children’s groups raised concerns.
The Voice of Russia (Russia) - Russia to ban alcohol ads
Alcohol advertisements will disappear from the Russia in media. After increasing the excise duty, the Lower House of the Russian Parliament adopted a bill that imposes a complete ban on advertising alcohol in printed editions as well as on the Internet.
Psychiatric News - Treating Social Anxiety Doesn’t Decrease Alcohol Consumption
In any substance abuse treatment setting—whether inpatient or outpatient—patients frequently present with comorbid social anxiety disorder, which impedes treatment.
New Zealand Herald (New Zealand) - We're awash with alcohol
A mere two years and a bit more after the Law Commission reported on the issue, the Government has been dragged into a bar and told to pour itself something bracing. The result has been the curate's egg called the Alcohol Law Reform Bill.
BBC News (UK) - Two thirds 'turn to drink' to relax in the evening
Almost two-thirds of people rely on alcohol to relax in the evenings, the charity Drinkaware has warned. - Increased Risk of Alcoholism Linked to Bariatric Surgery
People who undergo the most popular weight-loss surgical procedure are at increased risk of developing problems with alcohol, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. (France) - France enacts breathalyzer law
A new law has gone into effect in France requiring every driver to carry two breathalyzer devices in their vehicle at all times. The government is hoping to reduce the number of deaths related to drunk driving by encouraging drivers to test themselves if they think they’ve had too much to drink.
China Daily (China) - Alcohol drinks sales hit a high
Thanks to rising demand and per capita disposable income, China's consumption of alcoholic drinks is expected to reach 84.37 billion liters in 2016. That represents an average annual compound growth rate of 5.9 percent from 2012, said Frost & Sullivan, a US-based market consultancy.
Malta Independent Online (Malta) - Drugs and alcohol are ‘an escape from reality’
Drug and alcohol consumption have become a not insignificant feature of the culture of seeking boundless relief, especially at weekends, but it is the culture of an escape from reality, Caritas director Mgr Victor Grech yesterday told the San Blas community graduation ceremony.
Daily Mail (UK) - To beat addiction and alcoholism, doctors must treat the causes as well as the consequences
I asked the senior partner of a large group medical practice how many of their patients were illegal drug users or people who consumed alcohol to damaging levels. The reply was, 'Well, we've certainly got three'.
FOOD Magazine – Australia (Australia) - Victoria failing on alcohol policies: Auditor-General
The number of alcohol-related assaults in Victoria have risen rose by almost since 2001, while the number of ambulance attendances to deal with incidents related to alcohol more than tripled.
The (Germany) - Young teens in party ban to fight binge-drinking
Young German teenagers could be banned from public events where alcohol is sold – even though they cannot legally buy it – after 8pm if not with a parent, according to new plans to stop teen binge drinking. (Germany) - Study: 7 percent wine intolerant
About 7 percent of adults suffer from an intolerance to wine, researchers in Germany found.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Neural Correlates of the Severity of Cocaine, Heroin, Alcohol, MDMA and Cannabis Use in Polysubstance Abusers: A Resting-PET Brain Metabolism Study

Functional imaging studies of addiction following protracted abstinence have not been systematically conducted to look at the associations between severity of use of different drugs and brain dysfunction. Findings from such studies may be relevant to implement specific interventions for treatment. The aim of this study was to examine the association between resting-state regional brain metabolism (measured with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography (FDG-PET) and the severity of use of cocaine, heroin, alcohol, MDMA and cannabis in a sample of polysubstance users with prolonged abstinence from all drugs used.

Our sample consisted of 49 polysubstance users enrolled in residential treatment. We conducted correlation analyses between estimates of use of cocaine, heroin, alcohol, MDMA and cannabis and brain metabolism (BM) (using Statistical Parametric Mapping voxel-based (VB) whole-brain analyses). In all correlation analyses conducted for each of the drugs we controlled for the co-abuse of the other drugs used.

The analysis showed significant negative correlations between severity of heroin, alcohol, MDMA and cannabis use and BM in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and temporal cortex. Alcohol use was further associated with lower metabolism in frontal premotor cortex and putamen, and stimulants use with parietal cortex.

Duration of use of different drugs negatively correlated with overlapping regions in the DLPFC, whereas severity of cocaine, heroin and alcohol use selectively impact parietal, temporal, and frontal-premotor/basal ganglia regions respectively. The knowledge of these associations could be useful in the clinical practice since different brain alterations have been associated with different patterns of execution that may affect the rehabilitation of these patients.

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How AA fails to support young addicts

I was 20 when I attended my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

“Hi, I’m Chelsea, and I’m an addict,” I said, introducing myself to a group of mostly middle-aged men and women.

The room fell silent.

“No!” a discouraging voice bellowed from the back of the room. “This is a meeting for alcoholics!”

I didn’t understand. The staff at my inpatient treatment program had told me that newcomers were always welcome in AA. In fact, they said that if I wanted to get well, AA was the best place to go. I wouldn’t find the kind of sobriety in Narcotics Anonymous, the 12-step program for drug addicts, that I would in AA. > > > > Read More

Alcohol and Cancer

Experts have known since 1987 that alcohol can cause cancer, but the connection between the two is often unknown, or ignored. Research in Europe has shown that 1 in 10 Europeans do not know about the connection, and that 1 in 5 do not believe that there is a connection between cancer and the drinks that millions of us enjoy every week.

We hope that this website will raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol and be a become a resourceful hub for everyone who wants to do the best they can to protect themselves and their families from cancer.

Alcohol and Cancer Website