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, February 2, 2013

Alcohol labels to include calorie content

Drinkers will have even less excuse for getting a beer belly or putting on weight under government plans that would display the calorie content of beer, wine and spirits on bottles and cans.

The health minister, Anna Soubry, confirmed that discussions about including calorie content on labels have been held with the alcohol industry.

She said the government was committed to improving labelling so drinkers, particularly pregnant women, were better informed about the health risks associated with alcohol and guidance on consumption.  > > > >  Read More

Physician Advice to Adolescents About Drinking and Other Health Behaviors


This report assessed the proportion of US 10th graders (average age, 16) who saw a physician in the past year and were asked and given advice about their drinking. We hypothesized that advice would vary by whether students were asked about drinking and their drinking, bingeing, and drunkenness frequency.
A nationally representative sample of 10th graders in 2010 (N = 2519) were asked their past 30-day frequency of drinking, bingeing, and intoxication and whether, during their last medical examination, their drinking was explored and they received advice about alcohol’s risks and reducing or stopping.
In the past month, 36% reported drinking, 28% reported bingeing, and 23% reported drunkenness (11%, 5%, and 7%, respectively, 6 or more times). In the past year, 82% saw a doctor. Of that group, 54% were asked about drinking, 40% were advised about related harms, and 17% were advised to reduce or stop. Proportions seeing a doctor and asked about drinking were similar across drinking patterns. Respondents asked about drinking were more often advised to reduce or stop. Frequent drinkers, bingers, and those drunk were more often advised to reduce or stop. Nonetheless, only 25% of them received that advice from physicians. In comparison, 36% of frequent smokers, 27% of frequent marijuana users, and 42% of frequent other drug users were advised to reduce or quit those behaviors.
Efforts are warranted to increase the proportion of physicians who follow professional guidelines to screen and counsel adolescents about unhealthy alcohol use and other behaviors 
that pose health risks.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Global Actions January 30, 2013

Key Recent Milestones:

· India: ICAP held a capacity building workshop for Pune traffic police on January 18, 2013, with trainings for senior traffic officials. View photos from the workshop.

Global Actions in Focus: Mexico Drink Driving Initiatives

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ICAP initiatives in Mexico continue to progress with police enforcement campaigns aimed at reducing drink driving.

As part of industry initiatives to reduce drink driving, Global Actions held a training in Puebla with the DIF Estatal de Puebla.

A government organization focused on social policy in poverty reduction and attention to vulnerable groups, DIF contributes to the integral development of the subject population welfare and full reintegration into society through actions of health, education, and income generation options.

mexico2.JPGIn addition to the DIF training, ICAP has advanced the “Towards Zero Deaths from Drinking and Driving in Puebla” campaign, implementing capacity-building workshops for state and municipal police officials.

"From the beginning of the project, ICAP has been working with the Puebla State Police Department of Road Safety along with Puebla municipal law enforcement,” said ICAP Consultant Bill Georges. “The project provides both training and equipment to enhance drink driving enforcement efforts.”

“ICAP is also working with law enforcement to improve data collection and analysis of both checkpoint/arrest and crash data so that more timely and accurate data is available which will assist in future drink driving prevention efforts,” said Global Actions Country Manager Mariana Guerra Rendon.

What’s Happening Next:

· Belgium: ICAP is holding the first Commitments Regional Workshop on February 21 and 22, 2013 in Brussels. CEOs of 13 of the world’s leading beer, wine, and spirits producers will discuss their collective commitment to 10 targeted actions in five areas over the next five years. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Intermittent access ethanol consumption dysregulates CRF function in the hypothalamus and is attenuated by the CRF-R1 antagonist, CP-376395

Corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) is a mediator of stress responses and a key modulator of ethanol-mediated behaviors. 

We report here that the CRF receptor 1 (CRF-R1) antagonist, CP-376395 reduces 20% ethanol consumption in animals trained to consume ethanol on an intermittent, but not a continuous, schedule. 

Furthermore, using [35S]GTPĪ³S binding assays, we demonstrate that CRF-mediated G-protein signaling in the hypothalamus of the intermittent drinkers is decreased when compared to controls suggesting that the effects of CP-376395 are mediated by extrahypothalamic mechanisms. 

The present study provides further support for the use of CRF-R1 antagonists for the treatment of alcohol use disorders and suggests that ethanol consumption
dysregulates CRF function in the hypothalamus.

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Original Article Using genetic information from candidate gene and genome-wide association studies in risk prediction for alcohol dependence

Family-based and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of alcohol dependence (AD) have reported numerous associated variants. The clinical validity of these variants for predicting AD compared with family history information has not been reported. 

Using the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) and the Study of Addiction: Genes and Environment (SAGE) GWAS samples, we examined the aggregate impact of multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on risk prediction. 

We created genetic sum scores by adding risk alleles associated in discovery samples, and then tested the scores for their ability to discriminate between cases and controls in validation samples. Genetic sum scores were assessed separately for SNPs associated with AD in candidate gene studies and SNPs from GWAS analyses that met varying P-value thresholds. 

Candidate gene sum scores did not exhibit significant predictive accuracy. Family history was a better classifier of case-control status, with a significant area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.686 in COGA and 0.614 in SAGE. 

SNPs that met less stringent P-value thresholds of 0.01–0.50 in GWAS analyses yielded significant AUC estimates, ranging from mean estimates of 0.549 for SNPs with P < 0.01 to 0.565 for SNPs with P < 0.50. 

This study suggests that SNPs currently have limited clinical utility, but there is potential for enhanced predictive ability with better understanding of the large number of variants that might contribute to risk.

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Alcohol Learning Centre update: merge to Public Health England; user survey; 'beginners toolkit'

The Alcohol Learning Centre (ALC) will become part of the forthcoming Public Health England (PHE) web portal from April 2013. Although its functions may remain the same, an ALC user consultation survey is currently seeking views on use and content of the ALC.  > > > >   Read More   

Alcohol use during the Great Recession of 2008–2009

The aim of this study was to assess changes in alcohol use in the USA during the Great Recession. 

Drinking participation, drinking frequency, drinking intensity, total alcohol consumption and frequency of binge drinking were assessed in a nationally representative sample of 2,050,431 US women and men aged 18 and older, interviewed between 2006 and 2010. 

The prevalence of any alcohol use significantly declined during the economic recession, from 52.0% in 2006–2007 to 51.6% in 2008–2009 (P < 0.05), corresponding to 880,000 fewer drinkers (95% confidence interval [CI] 140,000 to 1.6 million). There was an increase, however, in the prevalence of frequent binging, from 4.8% in 2006–2007 to 5.1% in 2008–2009 (P < 0.01), corresponding to 770,000 more frequent bingers (95% CI 390,000 to 1.1 million). Non-Black, unmarried men under 30 years, who recently became unemployed, were at highest risk for frequent binging. 

During the Great Recession there was an increase in abstention from alcohol and a rise in frequent binging. 

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Changes in alcohol use and relationship satisfaction in Norwegian couples during pregnancy

Numerous studies have documented a profound reduction in alcohol use among pregnant women, whereas research on expectant fathers has been scarce. The aim of this study was to measure changes in alcohol consumption from before pregnancy to 17 weeks in gestation for mothers and fathers, differentiating between parents with and without any previous children, and to measure how level and change in alcohol consumption into early pregnancy was associated with relationship satisfaction.

The data collection was conducted as part of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. This cohort now includes 108 000 children, 90 700 mothers and 71 500 fathers recruited from 1999 to 2008. The present study comprises 82 362 couples. Alcohol consumption was assessed using a questionnaire including items about usual drinking frequency, quantities, and number of occasions with heavy episodic drinking (HED). Relationship satisfaction was measured by five items scored on a Likert agreement scale.

The findings indicate that both mothers and fathers reduce their drinking significantly during pregnancy. Reduction was apparent for all three measures of alcohol consumption. First-time fathers reduced their alcohol consumption more than experienced fathers, from initially higher levels. The gap between the fathers and their pregnant partner was greater for first-time parents compared to parents with previous children. Drinking pre-pregnancy and relationship satisfaction during pregnancy were weakly related within each partner, whereas no association across partners was observed.

Both expectant mothers and fathers changed their alcohol consumption patterns when expecting a child. Almost all mothers stopped drinking, whereas fathers reduced their drinking to a considerable degree. Relationship satisfaction was only slightly related to their drinking patterns. The findings may have important policy implications, mainly with regard to developing alcohol preventive strategies.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pathways to alcohol-induced brain impairment in young people: A review

Classically, disorders associated with ‘alcohol-related brain damage’ (ARBD) occur as a result of chronic excessive alcohol misuse and confer significant physical and psychological disability to the individual as well as to the community. These phenotypes are often difficult to detect at early stages and therefore early intervention and treatment is limited. It remains unresolved as to whether there are neurobiological markers of the early stages of such brain damage in young ‘at-risk’ drinkers, who probably experience ‘alcohol-induced brain impairment’ prior to the onset of ARBD, per se.
This review focuses on neurobiological (in particular, neuropsychological and neuroimaging) markers that are associated with alcohol misuse in young people (13–24 years of age).
The findings from this review suggest that a clearer understanding of alcohol misuse (particularly with regards to binge drinking) is needed. Despite this, neurocognitive profile along with supporting neuroimaging evidence appears to be particularly important in the early detection of brain changes that result from excessive alcohol use. In young alcohol misusers, these preventable and potentially reversible deficits may be progressive but if left unresolved such deficits eventually become major contributors to poor outcome (long term) and hamper adherence to treatment.

We address five key themes in this review: (i) there are specific drinking patterns in young people; (ii) youth represents a critical period in brain development that is particularly vulnerable to alcohol misuse; (iii) the extent to which there are pre-existing versus alcohol-induced neurobiological changes remains unclear; (iv) vulnerability markers may be mediated by mental health and substance use comorbidities; and (v) cognitive remediation would be a likely candidate for early prevention and treatment as it could help to develop efficient meta-cognitive skills to prevent relapse in young drinkers.
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The topography of multiple drug use among adolescent Australians: Findings from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey

Despite evidence that many Australian adolescents have considerable experience with various drug types, little is known about the extent to which adolescents use multiple substances. The aim of this study was to examine the degree of clustering of drug types within individuals, and the extent to which demographic and psychosocial predictors are related to cluster membership.

A sample of 1402 adolescents aged 12–17 years was extracted from the Australian 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey. Extracted data included lifetime use of 10 substances, gender, psychological distress, physical health, perceived peer substance use, socioeconomic disadvantage, and regionality. Latent Class Analysis was used to determine clusters, and multinomial logistic regression employed to examine predictors of cluster membership.

There were 3 latent classes. The great majority (79.6%) of adolescents used alcohol only, 18.3% were limited range multidrug users (encompassing alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana), and 2% were extended range multidrug users. Perceived peer drug use and psychological distress predicted limited and extended multiple drug use. Psychological distress was a more significant predictor of extended multidrug use compared to limited multidrug use.

In the Australian school-based prevention setting, a very strong focus on alcohol use and the linkages between alcohol, tobacco and marijuana is warranted. Psychological distress may be an important target for screening and early intervention for adolescents who use multiple drugs.

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RASGRF-2 regulates alcohol-induced reinforcement by influencing mesolimbic dopamine neurone activity and dopamine release

The firing of mesolimbic dopamine neurons is important for drug-induced reinforcement, although underlying genetic factors remain poorly understood. In a recent genome-wide association metaanalysis of alcohol intake, we identified a suggestive association of SNP rs26907 in the ras-specific guanine-nucleotide releasing factor 2 (RASGRF2) gene, encoding a protein that mediates Ca2+-dependent activation of the ERK pathway.

We performed functional characterization of this gene in relation to alcohol-related phenotypes and mesolimbic dopamine function in both mice and adolescent humans. 

Ethanol intake and preference were decreased in Rasgrf2−/− mice relative to WT controls. Accordingly, ethanol-induced dopamine release in the ventral striatum was blunted in Rasgrf2−/− mice. Recording of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area revealed reduced excitability in the absence of Ras-GRF2, likely because of lack of inhibition of the IA potassium current by ERK. This deficit provided an explanation for the altered dopamine release, presumably linked to impaired activation of dopamine neurons firing. 

Functional neuroimaging analysis of a monetary incentive–delay task in 663 adolescent boys revealed significant association of ventral striatal activity during reward anticipation with a RASGRF2 haplotype containing rs26907, the SNP associated with alcohol intake in our previous metaanalysis. 

This finding suggests a link between the RASGRF2 haplotype and reward sensitivity, a known risk factor for alcohol and drug addiction. Indeed, follow-up of these same boys at age 16 y revealed an association between this haplotype and number of drinking episodes. 

Together, these combined animal and human data indicate a role for RASGRF2 in the regulation of mesolimbic dopamine neuron activity, reward response, and alcohol use and abuse.

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Alcohol-related deaths in the United Kingdom, 2011

This annual bulletin presents alcohol-related death figures and age-standardised rates for the UK, England, Wales, and regions of England for 2011. This updates the previous release ‘Alcohol-related deaths in the United Kingdom, 2010’. Data for Scotland and Northern Ireland are published separately; see the ‘Context’ section for details. There were 8,748 alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2011, a decrease of 42 deaths on the number recorded in 2010 (8,790). This fall in the number of deaths has reduced the alcohol-related death rate from 12.9 per 100,000 population in 2010 to 12.6 per 100,000 population in 2011.

For both sexes, age-specific alcohol-related death rates in the UK were lowest among those less than 30 years old. For those aged 30 and over, males were significantly more likely than females to die of alcohol-related causes. For both sexes the number of alcohol-related deaths was highest for those aged 55 to 59, with 838 deaths among males (46.9 per 100,000 population) and 411 among females (22.4 per 100,000 population).

The trend in alcohol-related death rates has remained relatively stable over the last ten years for females across all age-standardised age groups. In contrast, the alcohol-related death rate trend has shown greater fluctuation for males, particularly in the last three years. However, there were no significant changes in rates across all age groups for both males and females between 2010 and 2011.

Across the regions of England there was significant geographical variation in alcohol-related death rates. In 2011, rates for males were highest in the North West (22.9 per 100,000 population) and lowest in the East of England (11.8 per 100,000 population). For females, rates were highest in the North West (10.8 per 100,000) and lowest in London (5.3 per 100,000).

Alcohol-related death rates for both males and females have been higher in Wales than in England over the last 10 years. For females, this difference is significant in 2011, with death rates for Females in England at 7.6 deaths per 100,000 population and 9.5 deaths per 100,000 population in Wales. However, there has been steady decline in the number of male deaths in Wales in each of the last three years. Consequently, while death rates for males remain higher in Wales than England, with 17.0 and 15.9 deaths per 100,000 population respectively, the difference is no longer significant. The fall in death rates among males in Wales has contributed to the overall decrease in alcohol-related death rates in the UK.

Alcohol-related death figures for the UK, England, Wales and the regions of England for 2002 to 2011 are presented in Tables 1 and 2 for males and Tables 3 and 4 for females.

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Circadian Misalignment, Reward-Related Brain Function, and Adolescent Alcohol Involvement


Developmental changes in sleep and circadian rhythms that occur during adolescence may contribute to reward-related brain dysfunction, and consequently increase the risk of alcohol use disorders (AUDs).
This review (i) describes marked changes in circadian rhythms, reward-related behavior and brain function, and alcohol involvement that occur during adolescence, (ii) offers evidence that these parallel developmental changes are associated, and (iii) posits a conceptual model by which misalignment between sleep–wake timing and endogenous circadian timing may increase the risk of adolescent AUDs by altering reward-related brain function.
The timing of sleep shifts later throughout adolescence, in part due to developmental changes in endogenous circadian rhythms, which tend to become more delayed. This tendency for delayed sleep and circadian rhythms is at odds with early school start times during secondary education, leading to misalignment between many adolescents' sleep–wake schedules and their internal circadian timing. Circadian misalignment is associated with increased alcohol use and other risk-taking behaviors, as well as sleep loss and sleep disturbance. Growing evidence indicates that circadian rhythms modulate the reward system, suggesting that circadian misalignment may impact adolescent alcohol involvement by altering reward-related brain function. Neurocognitive function is also subject to sleep and circadian influence, and thus circadian misalignment may also impair inhibitory control and other cognitive processes relevant to alcohol use. Specifically, circadian misalignment may further exacerbate the cortical–subcortical imbalance within the reward circuit, an imbalance thought to explain increased risk-taking and sensation-seeking during adolescence. Adolescent alcohol use is highly contextualized, however, and thus studies testing this model will also need to consider factors that may influence both circadian misalignment and alcohol use.
This review highlights growing evidence supporting a path by which circadian misalignment may disrupt reward mechanisms, which may in turn accelerate the transition from alcohol use to AUDs in vulnerable adolescents.

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Alcohol Consumption, Deterrence and Crime in New York City

This paper investigates the relationship between alcohol consumption, deterrence, and crime for New York City. 

We examine high-frequency time-series data from 1983 to 2001 for one specific location to examine the impacts of variations in both alcohol consumption and deterrence on seven “index” crimes. 

We tackle the endogeneity of arrests and the police force by exploiting the temporal independence of crime and deterrence in these high-frequency data, and we address the endogeneity of alcohol by using instrumental variables where alcohol sales are instrumented with city and state alcohol taxes and minimum drinking age. 

We find that alcohol consumption is positively related to assault, rape, and larceny crimes but not murder, robbery, burglary, or motor vehicle theft. We find strong deterrence for all crimes except assault and rape. Generally, deterrence effects are stronger than alcohol effects.

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A public response to the Adam Smith Institute’s critique of the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model

As the research team responsible for the development and dissemination of the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model, we welcome the recent contribution of John C. Duffy and Christopher Snowdon to the debate over the effectiveness of minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol published by the Adam Smith Institute.

Duffy & Snowdon raise a series of points regarding the detail of our research; however, we believe at heart their critique is a broad rejection of the use of mathematical models to estimate the potential impact of social policy options. In the response below we address this point of principle before responding to the more specific criticisms. First though, it is important to recognise that the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model is far from an isolated piece of work on the relationship between alcohol prices and alcohol-related harms and so we begin with a brief summary of this substantial set of further evidence. > > > >  Read More

Download the technical appendix to SARG's response to the Adam Smith Institute critique, Jan 2013

The Minimal Evidence for Minimum Pricing

Statistician John C. Duffy and ASI fellow Christopher Snowdon assess the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model, used as the basis for the British and Scottish governments' calls for minimum alcohol pricing. They find that the model is deeply flawed, based on faulty premises and used to justify policy far beyond what it actually proves.  > > > >  Read More


Health disparities in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are of high importance to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. 

We conducted focus groups and interviews with 21 AI/AN women and key informants in Southern California to modify a brief, Web-based program for screening and prevention of prenatal alcohol use. 

This process resulted in several important program modifications and was essential for fostering partnerships between researchers and the community, engaging community members in research, and identifying community priorities.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Latest from the IBA blog: SIPS - not just a leaflet; IBA in a nutshell; IBA should do it? INEBRIA 2012 presentations and more

A selection of recent posts from the IBA blog, which aims to promote news, links and ideas relating to alcohol brief interventions are included below:
The blog also has dedicated 'About IBA' and 'IBA tools' pages. See here for the Alcohol IBA Twitter Updates (@Alcohol_IBA).  > > > >   Read More

Drinking contexts and the legitimacy of alcohol use: Findings from a focus group study on alcohol use in Denmark

To examine the perceptions and meanings of alcohol use in Denmark with specific focus on drinking contexts. 

A qualitative study using focus group interviews. The sample consisted of five focus groups of adults with one group for each of the following age groups: 16–20; 21–34; 35–44; 45–64; and 65–82 years. The groups consisted of both men and women with five to six participants in each group (27 in total). 

Alcohol use is perceived as legitimate in many social contexts with few being defined as inappropriate. Drinking alone is mostly associated with having alcohol-related problems, but considered legitimate if it is characterized by activity. Drinking socially plays an important role in people’s considerations of legitimate use and seems to overrule the actual alcohol amount consumed. Different contexts influence different meanings of drinking with context and purpose changing with age and life stages.

The social drinking context is pivotal in people’s perception of the legitimacy of their alcohol use, leaving the alcohol amount less important. This calls for the need to focus on and incorporate the drinking context within public health initiatives aimed at reducing high risk drinking, just as the focus on the actual amount of alcohol people consume or their frequency of use.       

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Factor analysis and validity of a short six-item version of the Desires for Alcohol Questionnaire

Reductions in cravings have been associated with improved recovery from alcohol and other drug use problems. Self-report assessments of cravings provide a way of monitoring progress over the course of treatment particularly in residential settings. There is a need to develop brief craving measures suitable for repeat administration. 

The aim of the study was to assess the reliability and validity of a six-item version of the Desires for Alcohol Questionnaire (DAQ-6). 

In study 1 exploratory factor analysis involving 710 participants attending residential treatment revealed two factors: ‘expectancy of negative reinforcement’ and ‘strong desires and intentions’. In study 2 confirmatory factor analysis replicated this factor structure in an independent sample of 116 participants. 

Both studies provided evidence for convergent and discriminant validity of the DAQ-6 when compared to other measures. The DAQ-6 shows promise as a brief self-report measure of cravings but the utility of the separate subscales in treatment contexts requires further research.

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Dephosphorylation of GluN2B C-terminal tyrosine residues does not contribute to acute ethanol inhibition of recombinant NMDA receptors

N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are ion channels activated by the neurotransmitter glutamate and are highly expressed by neurons. 

These receptors are critical for excitatory synaptic signaling and inhibition of NMDA receptors leads to impaired cognition and learning. Ethanol inhibits NMDA currents at concentrations associated with intoxication and this action may underlie some of the behavioral effects of ethanol. 

Although numerous sites and mechanisms of action have been tested, the manner in which ethanol inhibits NMDA receptors remains unclear. Recent findings in the literature suggest that ethanol, via facilitation of tyrosine phosphatase activity, may dephosphorylate key tyrosine residues in the C-terminus of GluN2B subunits resulting in diminished channel function.

To directly test this hypothesis, we engineered GluN2B mutants that contained phenylalanine in place of tyrosine at three different sites and transiently expressed them with the GluN1 subunit in human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells. Whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology was used to record glutamate-activated currents in the absence and presence of ethanol (10–600 mM). All mutants were functional and did not differ from one another with respect to current amplitude, steady-state to peak ratio, or magnesium block. 

Analysis of ethanol dose–response curves showed no significant difference in IC50 values between wild-type receptors and Y1252F, Y1336F, Y1472F or triple Y-F mutants. 

These findings suggest that dephosphorylation of C-terminal tyrosine residues does not account for ethanol inhibition of GluN2B receptors.

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Alcohol consumption by parents of Pacific families residing in New Zealand: Findings from the Pacific Islands Families Study

Harmful alcohol consumption amongst Pacific people (those of Polynesian descent) is recognized as a public health priority in New Zealand, yet little epidemiological information exists on this pattern of drinking.

Using a large birth cohort study, which includes the mother, father and child triad, this study aims to determine the prevalence and change in any harmful drinking levels prenatally, antenatally and in the postpartum period for mothers and fathers, and to measure the concordance of both partners' reports of that drinking in an ethnically representative sample of Pacific families within New Zealand. 

Participants were selected from births where at least one parent was identified as being of Pacific ethnicity and a New Zealand permanent resident (1376 mothers and 825 fathers at baseline); many of whom are young to middle aged adults. These participants have been prospectively followed-up multiple times since. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test consumption questions (AUDIT-C) were used over successive measurement waves to define any and harmful drinking levels. Recommended screening thresholds were employed. Longitudinal analyses on complete cases and imputed data, accounting for differential attrition, were undertaken and reported.

Clear temporal patterns of alcohol consumption emerged for both mothers and fathers, together with significant and important ethnic differences. Moreover, there was considerable movement in alcohol consumption categories between consecutive measurement waves for both mothers and fathers. Among couples, there was significant asymmetry in drinking patterns and poor statistical agreement. However, 9.1% (14.1% in imputed analyses) of Pacific children aged 2 years had both parents indicated for harmful drinking. 

The significant important heterogeneity and ethnic differences suggest that both ethnic-specific and pan-Pacific interventions and prevention strategies are likely needed for successful interventions. More emphasis should be placed on targeting and addressing parents' alcohol misuse, particularly in the antenatal or postnatal period.

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FTC study taking aim at online marketing of booze

Distillers, brewers and wineries pour millions of dollars into brand promotion on Twitter, Facebook and other social media, and industry critics contend they are not doing enough to prevent young consumers from receiving these messages.

"We're doing a deep dive on how they're using the Internet and social media," said Janet Evans, a lawyer with the FTC, which is conducting a year-long study due to be released by early summer. "We're focusing on underage exposure."

She would not elaborate on any potential recommendations that might come out of the study, which began in April 2012. > > > > >  Read More

SBIRT for adolescent drug and alcohol use: Current status and future directions

Adolescence is a period of rapid biological, psychological, and social development in the human life cycle. Drug and alcohol misuse during this critical period poses substantial problems for individual and public health, yet is highly prevalent in the United States and elsewhere. The screening, brief interventions, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) model may be well-suited for identifying and intervening with adolescents who are at-risk of developing substance use disorders and those adolescents whose substance use puts them at risk for injury or illness. 

This article reviews the literature on SBIRT for adolescent populations, focusing on findings from randomized controlled trials.

The limited evidence suggests that brief interventions may be effective with adolescents, but a number of gaps in the literature were identified. Considerations for implementing SBIRT with adolescent populations are discussed. 

Randomized trials are needed that have adequate statistical power, employ longer-term follow-ups, and test the effectiveness of SBIRT for adolescents in various service delivery settings.

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Abstinence self-efficacy in people with severe mental illness

To validate the Brief Situational Confidence Questionniare (BSCQ) with people diagnosed with severe mental illness (N = 129), we examined the associations between abstinence self-efficacy (BSCQ) and alcohol consumption level (within the previous 6 months), drug use, and problems related to substance use while controlling for key symptoms of major mental illness and motives for alcohol use (Drinking Motives Questionnaire). 

Regression models revealed that abstinence self-efficacy was a significant predictor of all three substance use measures suggesting that, even when controlling for psychiatric symptoms and substance use motives, abstinence self-efficacy accounts for unique variance in alcohol use, drug use, and related problems. 

This study is limited by the cross sectional design and lack of structured diagnostic interviewing.

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Alcohol Outlet Business Hours and Violent Crime in New York State


Alcohol-related harm places a significant strain on victims, perpetrators and society. The present research reports on how licensed alcohol outlet business hours may influence the reported incidence of interpersonal violence and the associated burden of disease.

 We examined the relationship between alcohol outlet business hours and violent crime in 2009 in New York State (excluding New York City). Regression analyses modeled the burden of disease for the violence associated with outlet business hours.                   

Every 1 h increase in weekly outlet business hours was associated with a greater reported incidence of violent crimes generally, more reported aggravated assaults and more reported non-gun violence. The estimated cost from having licensed premises open after 1 a.m. was $194 million in 2009.

The findings suggest that alcohol outlet business hours affect the incidence of reported violence even in regions that would not be considered to have severe problems with alcohol-fueled violence.

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Current Issue: November–December 2012

Interventions and Assessments
•Implementation of Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Leads to Less Reduction in Risky Use: A Cautionary Tale 
•Acamprosate Was Not Effective for Treating Alcohol Dependence in a Family Medicine Setting 
•For People Who Drink Heavily, Alcohol Consumption Decreases after a Health-Care Visit without Brief Intervention 
•Effectiveness and Feasibility of Extended-Release Naltrexone plus Medical Management in Primary Care: 15-Month Results 
•Meta-Analysis: Behavioral Counseling Interventions for Nondependent Unhealthy Alcohol Use Decrease Drinking in Adult Primary Care Patients 
•Systematic Review: Adding Psychosocial Support to Routine Counseling in Opioid Agonist Treatment Does Not Provide Additional Benefits 

•Brief Intervention for Patients Admitted to Emergency Services for Acute Alcohol Intoxication (AAI) May Decrease AAI Readmission Rates 

Health Outcomes
 •Is “Moderate” Alcohol Consumption Associated with an Increased Risk of Atrial Fibrillation in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease?

 •HIV Infection Incidence Is Reduced 54% in People with Injection Drug Use Who Receive Opioid Agonist Treatment
•Injectable Extended-Release Naltrexone Is Not Associated with Liver Enzyme Elevation in Patients with HCV, HIV 
•Alcohol Use Does Not Affect CD4 T-cell Count Response after Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation 
•Behavioral Activation May Reduce HIV Sexual-Risk Behaviors among Methamphetamine-using Men Who Have Sex with Men 

Ethical Conduct of Alcohol and Other Drug Research: Feature Article
 •Paying Participants to Take Part in Addiction Research: Ethical Considerations

Slide Presentations
•Update on Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Health
•Journal Club

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Alcohol News - 4/2013

The Baltic Course (Estonia) - The Economist places Estonia on top position in its alcohol sale top list
The pocket boom "Pocket World in Figures 2013", issued by the Economist, indicates that more alcohol is sold in Estonia per capita than in any other state in the world, LETA/Public Broadcasting reports.
Postimees (Estonia) - Estonian minister against equal excise rates for strong, light alcohol
Social Affairs Minister Taavi Roivas has said he is not in favor of a proposal of Estonian producers of strong alcohol to equalize the excise duty rates for strong alcoholic beverages and low-alcohol beverages.
YLE uutiset (Finland) - Campaign wants to stop adults buying alcohol for kids
A new campaign by the Finnish Parents' League calls attention to the practice of parents purchasing alcohol for teens. The street campaign plastered across Finnish cities asks parents whether they're pushing alcohol on their children.
Mpelembe (Sweden) - Leading Swedish doctor claims some alcoholics can be taught to drink moderately
Doctor Sven Andreasson, who has carried out research into the subject of alcoholism in his role as adjunct professor of social medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, has claimed that abstinence is not the only way to treat those with drink problems. Instead, cognitive behavioural therapy techniques could be used to teach problem drinkers to drink moderately.
Nursing Times - Calls for international consensus on alcohol consumption
Psychologists from the University of Sussex have called for unified alcohol consumption guidelines after discovering different countries have significantly different approaches.
About - News & Issues - TV Alcohol Ads Influence Underage Drinking
Most parents are concerned about the influence that media has on their kids, from encouraging them to smoke and drink alcohol, to doing drugs or becoming violent. That's why many try to supervise and limit what they watch on TV, which movies they see, and what video games they play.
Press TV (UK) - Female death toll from alcohol abuse soars faster than male’s
More career women are dying of alcohol-related deaths in Britain than men and the number of deaths has been fast growing during the past decade, fresh figures show. (Australia) - Alcohol campaign 'tinkering'
A STATE government campaign to promote drinking wisely is "tinkering around the edges", the Police Association said.
USA Today - Health roundup: Alcohol and sleep don't mix, study says
Drinking alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but is likely to disrupt your sleep later in the night and leave you less rested, a new review of 27 studies confirms. Alcohol also can contribute to sleep apnea, a disruption in breathing during sleep. - Intervention for High-Risk Teens Can Reduce Alcohol Abuse
Mental health interventions directed toward high-risk teenagers significantly reduces their drinking behavior and that of their schoolmates.
Science Daily - Alcohol Use from Adolescence to Adulthood Follows Different, Complex Pathways
Adolescence is often a time of novelty seeking and risk taking, including the initiation of drinking. While heavy drinking that begins in adolescence can lead to problematic alcohol use later in life, other risk factors are also involved in trajectories of alcohol use that may develop.
7thSpace Interactive - Alcohol-related dementia: an update of the evidence
The characteristics of dementia relating to excessive alcohol use have received increased research interest in recent times. In this paper, the neuropathology, nosology, epidemiology, clinical features, and neuropsychology of alcohol-related dementia (ARD) and alcohol-induced persisting amnestic syndrome (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, or WKS) are reviewed.
CNN - Mental health manual changes may turn binge drinkers into mild alcoholics
Are you an alcoholic -- or just a problem drinker? It may not matter, according to the latest version of the DSM, psychiatry's diagnostic manual.
ABC News (Ireland) - Irish County Votes to Let Some Drive Drunker
The County Kerry Council in southwest Ireland passed a measure on Monday that allows rural drivers to legally drive while under the influence of alcohol.
Brafton - Auto brands and alcohol companies are cranking out social media content
Social media – it’s not going anywhere – and neither are the experts who develop initiatives and strategies for sites like Facebook and Twitter. According to The Dachis Group’s Social Business Index, a report that ranks the world’s top-performing social companies, Chrysler, Carlsberg and Diageo proved themselves to be businesses with sound social strategies. Topping the list were National Amusements Inc. (Viacom) and The Walt Disney Company. - New review spotlights the damage from binge drinking alcohol
Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) covers a range of diseases such as fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis. All are commonly linked to alcohol abuse or the disease of alcoholism.
Irish Health (Ireland) - Suicide - alcohol abuse must be tackled
The high suicide level among young Irish men could be reduced if more was done to tackle the issue of alcohol abuse, Alcohol Action Ireland has said.
Science Daily - The Ability to 'Hold One's Liquor' Indicates Risk of Developing Alcohol Problems
Prior studies have shown that a low subjective response (SR) to alcohol is a risk factor for alcohol use disorders (AUDs). Research on moderate drinkers has shown that acquired tolerance is different from initial response, and is also significantly associated with drinking problems.
Indian Express - Women drink more alcohol after marriage
Women consume more alcohol after they get married while men actually cut down after marriage, a survey has found. (Canada) - Finance minister says no to selling alcohol in corner stores
The provincial government says it has no plans to either privatize the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation or to allow the sale of alcohol in corner stores, rejecting an idea put forward by Progressive-Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie.
WA today (Australia) - Local bottle shops linked to mental health
While being within walking distance of your local corner bottle shop may be convenient, a Perth university has found a link between the number of neighbourhood liquor outlets and harmful drinking behaviour, in first-of-its-kind research.