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Friday, August 24, 2012

First European Alcohol Policy Youth Conference (1st EAPYC)

The idea of the conference is to bring together 100+ young people from across Europe to build capacity to become advocates of a better alcohol policy in Europe.

Date: 8th – 14th November 2012 (including travel days)

Venue: Bled, Slovenia
Aims and purpose

The first European Alcohol Policy Youth Conference aims to:

raise interest among young people and youth organizations in Europe about alcohol policy,

empower the participants with the necessary skills and capacities in order to actively promote their views on alcohol,

engage with these views in the policy-making, by capacitating them to be of influence next to institutions and authorities, as well as for raising awareness next to their constituencies and partners at the local, national or European levels,

provide the necessary tools and training for participants to be able to conduct community based projects to reduce the alcohol related harm on youth,

bring their own expertise and best practice and exchange them with the rest of the participants, as well as gain more skills on advocacy and policy-making,

foster cooperation and networking among the participants and organisations present at the event.

The burden and cost of disorders of the brain in Europe with the inclusion of harmful alcohol use and nicotine addiction

Recent publications calculated an annual prevalence of 38% of the population within the European Union having a “disorder of the brain” including substance use disorders (SUD) (Wittchen et al., 2011). The overall economic burden was estimated at 789 billion € (Gustavsson et al., 2011). While these calculations included alcohol dependence, harmful use of alcohol, a common ICD-10 diagnosis, was not considered appropriately. Tobacco related figures were completely left out.

We hence estimated burden and costs of these diagnoses for the European Union by extrapolating basic figures from Germany, which have average proportions of alcohol and tobacco related consumption and prevalence rates. Several German Data sets were used to estimate prevalence, disability adjusted life years (DALYs) and Cost-of-Illness for alcohol and tobacco use disorders in Germany. Results were obtained by focussing on the burden of SUD including well-known comorbidities. Results were then extrapolated to the European level. Compared with the earlier estimations DALYs increased from 2.8 million to over 6.6 million for SUDs. Costs augmented from 65.68 billion € PPP to about 350 billion € PPP.

We discuss the robustness and validity of our findings under different assumptions and with regard to methodology. We further took into account that in the new DSM 5 alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence – and similar tobacco – will be collapsed into one category of “alcohol related disorder”.

If added to the burden and cost calculations the substance use disorders rank on top of all disorders of the brain in Europe. Regardless of the calculation procedure our figures represent lower estimates and have to be regarded as conservative approaches.

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Interactions Between the Apolipoprotein A1/C3/A5 Haplotypes and Alcohol Consumption on Serum Lipid Levels

The interactions between apolipoprotein (Apo) A1/C3/A5 haplotypes and alcohol consumption on serum lipid profiles have not been previously explored. The present study was undertaken to detect the polymorphisms of ApoA1 −75 bp G>A (rs1799837), ApoC3 3238C>G (rs5128), ApoA5 −1131T>C (rs662799), ApoA5 c.553G>T (rs2075291), and ApoA5 c.457G>A (rs3135507) and the interactions between their haplotypes and alcohol consumption on serum lipid levels.

Genotyping was performed in 1,030 unrelated subjects (516 nondrinkers and 514 drinkers) aged 15 to 89. The interactions between ApoA1/C3/A5 haplotypes and alcohol consumption on serum lipid levels were detected by factorial regression analysis after controlling for potential confounders.

The frequencies of ApoC3 3238 CG/GG genotypes and ApoA1 −75 bp A allele in nondrinkers were higher in females than in males (p < 0.05). The frequencies of ApoC3 3238 CG/GG genotypes and G allele in drinkers were higher in females than in males (p < 0.05). The frequencies of ApoA1 −75 bp GA/AA genotypes and A allele in males were higher, and those of ApoC3 3238 CG/GG genotypes were lower in drinkers than in nondrinkers (p < 0.05 to 0.01). The frequency of ApoC3 3238 GG genotype in male drinkers was also higher in ≥25 g/d than in <25 g/d subgroups (p < 0.05). There were 11 haplotypes with a frequency >1% in our study population. The haplotypes of G–G–T–C–G (in the order of c.553G>T, c.457G>A, −1131T>C, 3238C>G, and −75 bp G>A), G–G–T–C–A, and G–G–C–G–G were shown consistent interactions with alcohol consumption to increase serum total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and ApoA1 levels (p < 0.05 to 0.001). The interactions between G–G–T–G–G (HDL-C and ApoA1), G–G–C–C–A (ApoA1), G–A–T–C–G (triglyceride), G–G–T–C–G (ApoA1/ApoB ratio), and G–G–C–G–G (ApoB) haplotypes and alcohol consumption on serum lipid levels were also detected (p < 0.05 to 0.001); the levels of these serum lipid parameters were significantly higher in drinkers than in nondrinkers.

The differences in serum lipid parameters between drinkers and nondrinkers might partly result from different interactions between the ApoA1/C3/A5 haplotypes and alcohol consumption

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Adolescent Rearing Conditions Influence the Relationship Between Initial Anxiety-Like Behavior and Ethanol Drinking in Male Long Evans Rats

Rodent studies have demonstrated that adolescent social isolation results in many behavioral perturbations, including increases in anxiety-like behaviors. Socially isolated (SI) rats have also been shown to self-administer greater amounts ethanol (EtOH) in some, but not all, studies. Here, we tested whether juvenile social isolation increases EtOH drinking using an intermittent procedure that engenders relatively high intake in normally reared animals. We also compared the behavioral phenotype of rats reared under social isolation or group-housed conditions with adult rats housed under conditions commonly used in EtOH-drinking studies.

Male Long Evans rats were procured immediately postweaning and were group housed for 1 week. Subjects were then randomly divided into 2 groups: SI rats, housed individually for 6 weeks and group-housed (GH) rats (4/cage). A third group was procured as young adults and was housed individually upon arrival for 1 week (standard housing condition). Rats were then tested in a plus-maze and novelty assay, and then, all subjects were singly housed and EtOH drinking was assessed.

SI rats displayed increased anxiety-like behaviors on the plus-maze, a greater locomotor response to a novel environment, and increased EtOH intake, relative to GH rats. Age-matched standard housed (STD) rats exhibited an anxiety-like behavioral profile on the plus-maze that was similar to SI, and not GH rats, and also drank EtOH at levels comparable with SI subjects. In addition, anxiety-like behavior on the plus-maze correlated with intermittent EtOH intake in SI and GH rats.

These data further support the validity of the rodent juvenile social isolation model for studies directed at elucidating behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms linking anxiety and EtOH drinking. These findings further suggest that housing conditions commonly employed in rodent drinking studies may recapitulate the anxiety-like and EtOH-drinking phenotype engendered by a juvenile social isolation procedure.

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Array-Based Profiling of DNA Methylation Changes Associated with Alcohol Dependence

Epigenetic regulation through DNA methylation may influence vulnerability to numerous disorders, including alcohol dependence (AD).

Peripheral blood DNA methylation levels of 384 CpGs in the promoter regions of 82 candidate genes were examined in 285 African Americans (AAs; 141 AD cases and 144 controls) and 249 European Americans (EAs; 144 AD cases and 105 controls) using Illumina GoldenGate Methylation Array assays. Association of AD and DNA methylation changes was analyzed using multivariate analyses of covariance with frequency of intoxication, sex, age, and ancestry proportion as covariates. CpGs showing significant methylation alterations in AD cases were further examined in a replication sample (49 EA cases and 32 EA controls) using Sequenom's MassARRAY EpiTYPER technology.

In AAs, 2 CpGs in 2 genes (GABRB3 and POMC) were hypermethylated in AD cases compared with controls (p 0.001). In EAs, 6 CpGs in 6 genes (HTR3A, NCAM1, DRD4, MBD3, HTR2B, and GRIN1) were hypermethylated in AD cases compared with controls (p 0.001); CpG cg08989585 in the HTR3A promoter region showed a significantly higher methylation level in EA cases than in EA controls after Bonferroni correction (p = 0.00007). Additionally, methylation levels of 6 CpGs (including cg08989585) in the HTR3A promoter region were analyzed in the replication sample. Although the 6 HTR3A promoter CpGs did not show significant methylation differences between EA cases and EA controls (p = 0.067 to 0.877), the methylation level of CpG cg08989585 was nonsignificantly higher in EA cases (26.9%) than in EA controls (18.6%; p = 0.139).

The findings from this study suggest that DNA methylation profile appears to be associated with AD in a population-specific way and the predisposition to AD may result from a complex interplay of genetic variation and epigenetic modifications.

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Local variations in youth drinking cultures

This study explores the lives of young people, aged 15-24, in two study areas located in regions of England where the harm caused by alcohol is markedly different. The aim of the research was to explore whether living in these places influenced young people’s drinking.

Key points

  • Significant differences in alcohol-related harms have been observed between English regions. The north has a higher degree of reported indicators of harms than the south-east and the south-west.
  • Despite these variations, young people’s drinking behaviour in the two areas studied followed similar patterns with regard to their choice of drink, where they drank, and the days of the week and times at which they drank.
  • The differences between young people’s behaviour in the case study areas was subtle and related to how those places had developed over long periods of time.
  • The pri.mary motivation for drinking at all ages was sociability, having a good time and avoiding trouble. On a ‘good night out’, laughter and fun were important. In the case of the north-eastern city, this was a significant part of local culture. Young people rarely drank on their own.
  • Young people actively sought out ‘clusters’ of youth-orientated bars. A concentration of ‘clusters’ in the north east formed part of the impetus for young people to drink more than they originally intended.
  • In the south east, young people below the legal age of drinking engaged in a wider range of leisure activities, sports and hobbies.
  • In the north east, adult drinking was more visible both in the city centre and in streets and parks. There were more spaces where young people drank alongside adults.
  • Despite a wish to limit the number of licensed premises in the north east, planning authorities had been unable to resist commercial pressures to allow clubs and bars to fill units that would otherwise be vacant

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A positive choice: Young people who drink little or no alcohol

This study examines the lives and choices of young people (aged 16-25) who drink little or no alcohol. It explores the influences that shape their decisions and how their choices and patterns of consumption affect their lives.

Key points

  • Drinking and getting drunk is not an automatic rite of passage for young people in the UK. The findings of this study reflect that it is commonplace for young people to choose to drink little or no alcohol.
  • Choosing to drink little or no alcohol is a positive choice made for many reasons. For some young people the decision not to drink is central to their identity, for others it is ‘no big deal’, just one of many life choices.
  • Major influences stem from observing people around them. Good parental role models play a part, as does witnessing the negative effects of alcohol on others.
  • Young people who choose to drink little or no alcohol do not fall into easy stereotypes; their lives are busy and varied. As alcohol does not feature in their lives they tend to prefer activities where drinking alcohol rarely plays a role.
  • Young people develop responses and strategies to help them manage not drinking alcohol. While some avoid drinking environments, many are content to socialise with those who drink.
  • The immediate effects of drinking alcohol (i.e. hangovers, loss of control) concern young people more than longer-term health effects.
  • Young people feel that alcohol education and alcohol messages are based on the assumption that young people will drink. They emphasise the importance of presenting not drinking as a legitimate option to young people, parents and society more broadly.

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Global Actions August 22, 2012

Key Recent Milestones:

· Vietnam: Global Actions Vietnam conducted the third assessment of the drink driving initiative in Da Nang City on August 14 and 15, 2012.

Global Actions in Focus: Colombia Drink Drive Initiative

Global Actions has successfully completed “Proyecto Patrullero,” a two-day series of workshops to inform police and other transit officials about new drink driving legislation in Colombia. Held in Cali on August 14 and 15, 2012, the workshops provided the latest information on drink driving regulations and presented information to build the skills and background knowledge of police and transit officials.

Workshop sessions were led by experts from Colombia and the United States and included information about the latest drink driving detection techniques available, with participants from traffic police, inspectors, and supervisors in Cali.

“Important changes to Colombia drink drive laws took effect in July,” said Global Actions Country Manager Mario Alberto Lleras. “Global Actions convened the seminars to clarify the new provisions for police and other officials in Cali.”

Speakers included Colombian Transit Expert Dr. Salwa Maria, who outlined the changes in the law and what they mean to drink driving enforcement in Colombia. Universidad de los Andes International Expert Dr. Carlos Carvajal presented on “Alcohol Basics and Drink Drive Crash Data” from Colombia and around the world.

The International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) consultant Jack Sullivan (in photo) spoke about the challenges of initiating drink drive prevention efforts and best practices for integrating sobriety checkpoints with public information efforts. Veteran Enforcement Supervisor Sergeant David Arenas provided practical training for drink driving protection.

The Cali Mayor’s Office and the Cali Secretary of Transit and Transport were chief allies in organizing the event, which was attended by university officials, Yumbo Mayor’s Office, transport companies, and concerned citizens. The workshops achieved training for 100% of the Cali Transit Police Academy class and their instructors. Results showed a 32% improvement in the background knowledge of alcohol basics and drink drive regulations for those in attendance as well as an 18% increase in attitude toward the importance of checkpoints in order to reduce drink driving, reaching 94% favorability.

Workshops for the cities of Bogota, Cucuta, Villavicencio, and Santa Marta are in discussion stages for September and October 2012.

What’s Happening Next:

· Mexico: Global Actions Mexico is hosting a “Train the Trainer” workshop from August 27 to 30, 2012 in Puebla. The training will be facilitated by Aguas Con el Alcohol, a local NGO and project partner, and is to raise awareness about the harmful effects of drinking and driving in young people, particularly those in high schools and universities in Puebla.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Previous Use of Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Marijuana and Subsequent Abuse of Prescription Opioids in Young Adult

There has been an increase in the abuse of prescription opioids, especially in younger individuals. The current study explores the association between alcohol, cigarette, and/or marijuana use during adolescence and subsequent abuse of prescription opioids during young adulthood.

We used demographic/clinical data from community-dwelling individuals in the 2006–2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. We used logistic regression analyses, adjusted for these characteristics, to test whether having previous alcohol, cigarette, or marijuana use was associated with an increased likelihood of subsequently abusing prescription opioids.

Twelve percent of the survey population of 18–25 year olds (n = 6,496) reported current abuse of prescription opioids. For this population, prevalence of previous substance use was 57% for alcohol, 56% for cigarettes, and 34% for marijuana. We found previous alcohol use was associated with the subsequent abuse of prescription opioids in young men but not young women. Among both men and women, previous marijuana use was 2.5 times more likely than no previous marijuana to be associated with subsequent abuse of prescription opioids. We found that among young boys, all previous substance use (alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana), but only previous marijuana use in young girls, was associated with an increased likelihood of subsequent abuse of prescription opioids during young adulthood.

Previous alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use were each associated with current abuse of prescription opioids in 18–25-year-old men, but only marijuana use was associated with subsequent abuse of prescription opioids in young women. Prevention efforts targeting early substance abuse may help to curb the abuse of prescription opioids.

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Temporal Associations of Popularity and Alcohol Use Among Middle School Students

The goal of this study is to better understand the longitudinal cross-lagged associations between popularity, assessed through self-rating and peer nominations, and alcohol use among middle school students.

The analytical sample comprises 1,835 sixth- to eighth-grade students who were initially recruited from three California middle schools and surveyed in the fall and spring semesters of 2 academic years. Students reported on their background characteristics, past-month alcohol use, and perceived popularity. Additionally, students provided school-based friendship nominations, which were used to calculate peer-nominated popularity. A cross-lagged regression approach within a structural equation modeling framework was used to examine the longitudinal relationship between popularity (self-rated and peer-nominated) and alcohol use.

There was a statistically significant (p = .024) association between peer-nominated popularity and the probability of alcohol consumption at the subsequent survey, but not vice versa. Our results suggest that in a scenario where 8% of students are past-month drinkers, each increase of five friendship nominations is associated with a 30% greater risk of being a current drinker at the next wave. We found no evidence of longitudinal associations between past-month alcohol consumption and self-rated popularity.

Popularity is a risk factor for drinking during the middle school years, with peer-nominated popularity being more predictive of use than self-perceptions of popularity. To inform alcohol prevention efforts for middle school students, additional research is needed to better understand why adolescents with a larger number of school-based friendship ties are more inclined to drink.

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Effects of a Natural Community Intervention Intensifying Alcohol Law Enforcement Combined With a Restrictive Alcohol Policy on Adolescent Alcohol Use

Determining whether intensified inspections on alcohol retailers, combined with a policy withdrawing liquor licenses if retailers are fined twice per annum, is effective in reducing adolescents' odds to initiate weekly drinking and drunkenness. Causal pathways by which the intervention was assumed to work were tested.

A longitudinal (2008, 2009, and 2010) quasi-experimental comparison group design including two Dutch communities, one intervention and one comparison, was used. Outcomes were assessed by following a cohort of 1,327 adolescents (aged 13–15 years at baseline).

The intervention resulted in increased retail inspections but only seven sanctions and no repeated sanctions in 1 year. The intervention did not reduce adolescents' odds to initiate weekly drinking. Weekly drinking adolescents in the intervention community were at reduced risk to initiate drunkenness. This effect was not mediated by smaller increases in the frequency of adolescents' alcohol purchases or their perceived ease of purchasing alcohol.

Intensified enforcement was effective in preventing adolescent drunkenness. No mediating causal pathways were detected. Effectiveness of enforcement could be increased by adopting enforcement methods with a high likelihood of apprehension, increasing social support for restrictive measures, and mobilizing the community to be more outspoken against adolescent (heavy) drinking.

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Risky Messages in Alcohol Advertising, 2003–2007: Results From Content Analysis

To assess the content of alcohol advertising in youth-oriented U.S. magazines, with specific attention to subject matter pertaining to risk and sexual connotations and to youth exposure to these ads.

This study consisted of a content analysis of a census of 1,261 unique alcohol advertisements (“creatives”) recurring 2,638 times (“occurrences”) in 11 U.S. magazines with disproportionately youthful readerships between 2003 and 2007. Advertisements were assessed for content relevant to injury, overconsumption, addiction, and violations of industry guidelines (termed “risk” codes), as well as for sexism and sexual activity.

During the 5-year study period, more than one-quarter of occurrences contained content pertaining to risk, sexism, or sexual activity. Problematic content was concentrated in a minority of brands, mainly beer and spirits brands. Those brands with higher youth-to-adult viewership ratios were significantly more likely to have a higher percentage of occurrences with addiction content and violations of industry guidelines. Ads with violations of industry guidelines were more likely to be found in magazines with higher youth readerships.

The prevalence of problematic content in magazine alcohol advertisements is concentrated in advertising for beer and spirits brands, and violations of industry guidelines and addiction content appear to increase with the size of youth readerships, suggesting that individuals aged <21 years may be more likely to see such problematic content than adults.

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Ethanol-Induced Face-Brain Dysmorphology Patterns Are Correlative and Exposure-Stage Dependent

Prenatal ethanol exposure is the leading preventable cause of congenital mental disability. Whereas a diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) requires identification of a specific pattern of craniofacial dysmorphology, most individuals with behavioral and neurological sequelae of heavy prenatal ethanol exposure do not exhibit these defining facial characteristics.

Here, a novel integration of MRI and dense surface modeling-based shape analysis was applied to characterize concurrent face-brain phenotypes in C57Bl/6J fetuses exposed to ethanol on gestational day (GD)7 or GD8.5.

The facial phenotype resulting from ethanol exposure depended upon stage of insult and was predictive of unique patterns of corresponding brain abnormalities.

Ethanol exposure on GD7 produced a constellation of dysmorphic facial features characteristic of human FAS, including severe midfacial hypoplasia, shortening of the palpebral fissures, an elongated upper lip, and deficient philtrum.

In contrast, ethanol exposure on GD8.5 caused mild midfacial hypoplasia and palpebral fissure shortening, a shortened upper lip, and a preserved philtrum.

These distinct, stage-specific facial phenotypes were associated with unique volumetric and shape abnormalities of the septal region, pituitary, and olfactory bulbs.

By demonstrating that early prenatal ethanol exposure can cause more than one temporally-specific pattern of defects, these findings illustrate the need for an expansion of current diagnostic criteria to better capture the full range of facial and brain dysmorphology in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

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Effects of Heavy Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Iron Deficiency Anemia on Child Growth and Body Composition through Age 9 Years

Prenatal alcohol exposure has been associated with pre- and postnatal growth restriction, but little is known about the natural history of this restriction throughout childhood or the effects of prenatal alcohol on body composition. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure on longitudinal growth and body composition.

Eighty-five heavy drinking pregnant women (≥2 drinks/d or ≥4 drinks/occasion) and 63 abstaining and light-drinking controls (<1 drink/d, no binging) were recruited at initiation of prenatal care in an urban obstetrical clinic in Cape Town, South Africa and prospectively interviewed during pregnancy about alcohol, smoking, drug use, and demographics. Among their children, length/height, weight, and head circumference were measured at 6.5 and 12 months and at 5 and 9 years. Percent body fat (BF) was estimated at age 9 years using bioelectric impedance analysis.

In multiple regression models with repeated measures (adjusted for confounders), heavy alcohol exposure was associated with reductions in weight (0.6 SD), length/height (0.5 SD), and head circumference (0.9 cm) from 6.5 months to 9 years that were largely determined at birth. These effects were exacerbated by iron deficiency in infancy but were not modified by iron deficiency or measures of food security at 5 years. An alcohol-related postnatal delay in weight gain was seen at 12 months. Effects on head circumference were greater at age 9 than at other age points. Although heavy alcohol exposure was not associated with changes in body composition, children with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and partial fetal alcohol syndrome (PFAS) had lower percent BF than heavy exposed nonsyndromal and control children.

Heavy prenatal alcohol exposure is related to prenatal growth restriction that persists through age 9 years and an additional delay in weight gain during infancy. FAS and PFAS diagnoses are associated with leaner body composition in later childhood.

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Ethanol-Induced Mast Cell-Mediated Inflammation Leads to Increased Susceptibility of Intestinal Tumorigenesis in the APCΔ468 Min Mouse Model of Colon

Chronic and frequent alcohol (ethanol [EtOH]) intake has been associated with an increased incidence of several types of cancers including breast, mouth, throat, esophageal, stomach, and colorectal (CRC). The underlying mechanism of this deleterious carcinogenic effect of alcohol has not been clearly established but inflammation may be 1 unifying feature of these cancers. We have recently shown that intestinal mast cells play a central role in intestinal carcinogenesis. In this study, we tested our hypothesis that mast cell-mediated inflammation is 1 underlying mechanism by which chronic alcohol promotes intestinal tumorigenesis.

APCΔ468 mice were fed either an alcohol-containing Nanji liquid diet or isocaloric dextrose-containing Nanji diet for 10 weeks and then sacrificed to collect small and large intestine samples. Assessments of tumor number and size as well as mast cell number and mast cell activity and histology score for invasion were compared between Control (dextrose-fed) and alcohol-fed APC∆468 mice. The effect of alcohol on mast cell-mediated tumor migration was also assessed using an in vitro migration assay.

Alcohol feeding increased both polyp number and size within both the small and the large intestines of APC∆468 mice. Only alcohol-fed mice showed evidence of tumor invasion. Chronic alcohol feeding also resulted in an increased mast cell number and activity in tumor stroma and invading borders. In vitro migration assay showed that alcohol significantly increases mast cell-mediated tumor migration in vitro.

Our data show that chronic alcohol intake promotes: (i) intestinal tumorigenesis and tumor invasion in genetically susceptible mice; (ii) increases in polyp-associated mast cells; and (iii) mast cell-mediated tumor migration in vitro. Both our in vivo and in vitro studies suggest that mast cell-mediated inflammation could be 1 mechanism by which alcohol promotes carcinogenesis.

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A Role of Genomic Copy Number Variation in the Complex Behavioral Phenotype of Alcohol Dependence: A Commentary

In their paper “Copy number variations in 6q14.1 and 5q13.2 are associated with alcohol dependence” Lin and colleagues report on the association between alcohol dependence and 2 duplication CNVs in the genome sequence, one containing 8 genes within its boundaries and another that contains no genes. In this commentary, I point out some of the opportunities and challenges that arise from such a finding.

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Moderate drinking? Alcoholconsumption significantly decreasesneurogenesis in the adulthippocampus

Drinking alcohol in moderation is often considered a health-conscious behavior;associated with improved cardiovascular and brain health. However;“moderate” amounts of alcohol include drinking 3-4 alcohol beverages in a day;which is closer to binge drinking and may do more harm than good.

Here we examined how daily drinking of moderate-high alcohol alters the production of new neurons in the adulthippocampus.

Male and female adult Sprague-Dawley rats were provided free access to a liquid replacement diet that was supplemented with either 4% ethanol or Maltodextrin for a period of two weeks. Proliferating cells were labeled with 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) and the number of BrdU-positive cells in the hippocampus was assessed after the final day of drinking. A subset of rats was also exposed to a motor skill or associative learning task to examine the functional effects of alcoholconsumption.

The drinking regime resulted in an average blood alcohol concentration of approximately 0.08%;which is comparable to the human legal driving limit in many countries. This level of intoxication did not impair motor skill learning or function in either sex;nor did the alcoholconsumption disrupt associative learning two days after drinking.

Therefore; moderate alcohol consumption did not disrupt basic sensory;motor or learning processes. However;the number of cells produced in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus was reduced by nearly 40%.

Thus; even moderate consumption of alcohol for a relatively short period of time can have profound effects on structural plasticity in the adult brain.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Alcohol Consumption as a Barrier to Prior HIV Testing in a Population-Based Study in Rural Uganda

Early receipt of HIV care and ART is essential for improving treatment outcomes, but is dependent first upon HIV testing. Heavy alcohol consumption is common in sub-Saharan Africa, a barrier to ART adherence, and a potential barrier to HIV care.

We conducted a population-based study of 2,516 adults in southwestern Uganda from November–December 2007, and estimated the relative risk of having never been tested for HIV using sex-stratified Poisson models.

More men (63.9 %) than women (56.9 %) had never been tested. In multivariable analysis, compared to women who had not consumed alcohol for at least 5 years, women who were current heavy drinkers and women who last drank alcohol 1–5 years prior, were more likely to have never been tested.

Alcohol use was not associated with prior HIV testing among men. HIV testing strategies may thus need to specifically target women who drink alcohol.

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FASD News - 33/2012

Daily Mail (UK) - Pregnancy test dispenser installed inside BAR in effort to stop women drinking while expecting
The owner of a bar decided to install a pregnancy test dispenser inside of the women's restroom in an effort to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome.
Sun News Network - Fetal alcohol syndrome can have no outward signs: Study
Fetal alcohol syndrome can be hard to diagnose because not all babies develop the distinct facial features normally associated with the disease, a new study has found. - Prenatal alcohol exposure effects last well into childhood
Women who heavily expose their unborn child to alcohol risk restricting their child's growth until the age of 9 years, researchers say.
CBS News (USA) - 1 in 13 pregnant women drink alcohol, CDC says
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is the leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities in children, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Daily Commercial News (Canada) - Governments of Canada and Yukon Invest in Affordable Housing in Whitehorse
The Governments of Canada and Yukon, along with community partners, gathered today to announce funding for Options for Independence, for a new building providing 14 new housing units for clients living with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in Whitehorse. (South Africa) - Sanford Research President Advances International Research on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
Data from a recent trip to South Africa for Sanford Health’s Gene Hoyme, MD, will be used to develop criteria for more accurate recognition of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in infancy and early childhood. Early recognition of this continuum of disorders is critical as it provides children with access to intervention services sooner and improves their health outcomes.
Medical News Today - Mothers Who Smoke While Pregnant Increase Their Baby's Risk Of Asthma
New research has discovered that mothers who smoke during pregnancy may cause wheeze and asthma in their children when they reach preschool, even among kids whose moms did not smoke until late pregnancy or after birth.
Voxy (New Zealand) - Prison more likely for those prenatally exposed to alcohol
The Health Select Committee should take seriously Children's Commissioner Dr Russell Wills concerns about the increase of children with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders(FADS), says Kim Workman, Director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment. FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual prenatally exposed to alcohol. (South Africa) - South Africa: Headway in the Fight Against FAS
A far-flung Northern Cape town has been making world headlines over the last few years. Unfortunately for the wrong reasons - a 2002-study revealed that more than one in 10 (12.2%) children in the De Aar community had foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), giving the town the highest reported rate in the world.
Cambridge News - Toolkit tackles birth defects in developing world
A pioneering resource to help tackle birth defects, particularly in low and middle income countries (LMICs) has been made available free and online to health and policy professionals and patient groups worldwide.
Thats Life (Australia) - I paid the ultimate price for my binge drinking
Looking at my daughter Krystal, you would never know she was different to other girls her age. But the truth is, her life is plagued with health problems. Learning difficulties, vision and hearing impairments...
ABANow (USA) - Urges Training to Recognize FASD in Juvenile Justice System
RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges attorneys and judges, state, local, and specialty bar associations, and law school clinical programs to help identify and respond effectively to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in children and adults, through training to enhance awareness of FASD and its impact on individuals in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and adult criminal justice systems and the value of collaboration with medical, mental health, and disability experts.
Risk Sense - Why We Need to Ban the Word “Safe” from Reports of Risk Research: The Example of Alcohol Use in Pregnancy
Yesterday, BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology electronically published in “Early View” 5 articles from a Danish research group, all of which use longitudinal data from 2003-2008 to consider the relationship (or lack thereof) between maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy and various outcomes (executive function, intelligence, attention) in these mothers’ children at 5 years of age.
National Times (Australia) - Everyone gets a say in the alcohol debate - except the foetus
In the debate over serving alcohol to pregnant women - following an incident in which a waitress refused to serve a pregnant woman alcohol in California - doctors, legal experts, women’s rights activists and hospitality workers have all weighed in. Sadly the foetus doesn’t get a say.
Science Nordic (Norway) - For Norwegian drug addicts, pregnancy might lead to incarceration
A unique law gives social workers in Norway the right to lock up pregnant drug addicts to protect the health of unborn children. A new study looks at how the pregnant users react to being incarcerated.

Second European Conference on FASD
Due to the summer vacation period, Early Bird registration has been extended to August 20. Make sure your registration and payment are received by this date to qualify for the reduced fee!
FASDlive 2012 Conference: Expanding our Vision
The FASD Support Network of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, Saskatchewan Prevention Institute, and Canada Northwest FASD Partnership are pleased to invite you to our conference FASDlive 2012: Expanding our Vision.
Vorankündigung der 14. FASD Fachtagung 2012
Jedes Jahr werden in Deutschland immer noch 4000 bis 10 000 Menschen mit fetalen Alkoholspektrumsstörungen (FASD) geboren. Die vermeidbare Ursache für diese geistigen und körperlichen Fehlentwicklungen ist Akloholkonsum während der Schwangerschaft. Im Verlauf dieser Fachtagung werden wir Rückschau halten auf 40 Jahre Forschung und Prävention und auf die neuesten Entwicklungen in Forschung und Therapie …

Alcohol and Alcoholism - Advanced Gestational Age Increases Serum Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin Levels in Abstinent Pregnant Women
Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (%CDT) is a well-established and highly specific biomarker for sustained heavy consumption of alcohol. However, in pregnant women, the specificity of this biomarker might be affected by advanced gestational age, even after accounting for increased transferrin concentrations in pregnancy.
Behavioural Brain Research - Prenatal ethanol exposure impairs passive avoidance acquisition and enhances unconditioned freezing in rat offspring
To clarify in detail the impaired behavior related to fear and anxiety seen in rat offspring prenatally exposed to ethanol, their behaviors were observed using an elevated T-maze (ETM) test, which allows assessment of passive avoidance acquisition and one-way escape separately, and an elevated open platform (EOP) test for the assessment of unconditioned freezing against innate fear.
Alcoholism - Children with Heavy Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Experience Reduced Control of Isotonic Force
Heavy prenatal alcohol exposure can result in diverse and extensive damage to the central nervous system, including the cerebellum, basal ganglia, and cerebral cortex. Given that these brain regions are involved in the generation and maintenance of motor force, we predicted that prenatal alcohol exposure would adversely affect this parameter of motor control.
Alcoholism - A Prospective Cohort Study of the Prevalence of Growth, Facial, and Central Nervous System Abnormalities in Children with Heavy Prenatal Alcohol Exposure
Most children who are exposed to large quantities of alcohol in utero do not develop fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Population-based prospective data on the risk of developing components of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), however, are limited.
Alcoholism - Prenatal Alcohol Exposure, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Sluggish Cognitive Tempo
Alcohol-exposed children exhibited elevated SCT scores. Elevations were related to increased parent ratings of internalizing and externalizing behaviors and attention. These findings are observed in alcohol-exposed children regardless of ADHD symptoms and specific SCT items proved useful in distinguishing exposed children, suggesting clinical utility for this measure in further defining the neurobehavioral profile related to prenatal alcohol exposure.

Helsingborgs Dagblad (Sweden) - Skapa kunskapscentrum
Glöm inte bort grupper när neuropsykiatrin ska förbättras. Krav från Katarina Wittgard och Annelie Björkhagen Turesson.

Living in proximity of a bar and risky alcohol behaviours: A longitudinal study

Add ImageWe examined whether distance from home to the nearest bar, i.e. alcohol outlet permitting consumption on the premises, is associated with risky alcohol behaviours.

Cross-sectional and longitudinal study.

The cross-sectional data consisted of 78 858 and the longitudinal data of 54 778 Finnish Public Sector Study participants in between 2000 and 2009 [mean follow-up 6.8 years (SD=2.0)].

Distances from home to the nearest bar were calculated using Global Positioning System-coordinates. The outcome variables were heavy alcohol use (drinking above the weekly guidelines) and extreme drinking occasions (passing out due to alcohol use). We used binomial logistic regression in cross-sectional analyses and in longitudinal mixed effects (between-individual) analyses. Conditional logistic regression was used in longitudinal fixed effects (within-individual) analyses.

Cross-sectionally, the likelihood of an extreme drinking occasion and heavy use was higher among those who resided <1 vs. ≥1 km from a bar. Longitudinally, between individuals, a decrease from >1 km to ≤1 km in distance was weakly associated with an extreme drin

king occasion (1.18, 95% CI 0.98–1.41), and heavy use (1.12, 95% CI 0.97–1.29). Within-individual, the odds ratio for becoming a heavy user was 1.17 (95% CI, 1.02–1.34), per 1 km decrease in log-transformed continuous distance, the corresponding odds ratio for an extreme drinking occasion was 1.03 (95% CI, 0.89–1.18).

Moving place of residence close to or far from a bar appears to be associated with a small corresponding increase or decrease in risky alcohol behaviour.

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