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 23, 2013

News Release - Scientists identify molecular events that underlie FASD

Scientists have identified a molecular signaling pathway that plays an important role in the development of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). The new research in cells and mice, supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, points to candidate genes for FASD susceptibility and may open new avenues for developing drugs to prevent alcohol damage to the fetal brain. A report of the study is now online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  > > > >  Read More

Differential changes in impulsivity and sensation seeking and the escalation of substance use from adolescence to early adulthood

Recent evidence suggests that impulsivity and sensation seeking are not stable risk factors for substance use among adolescents and early adults but rather that they undergo significant developmental maturation and change. Further, developmental trends of both personality facets may vary across individuals.

In the current investigation, we used longitudinal data from ages 15 to 26 on 5,632 individuals drawn from the offspring generation of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to examine whether interindividual differences in intraindividual change in impulsivity and sensation seeking predicted the escalation of alcohol, marijuana, and cigarette use in adolescence and early adulthood.

Latent growth curve models revealed significant individual differences in rates of change in both personality and substance use. Age-related changes in personality were positively associated with individual differences in substance-use change.

Individuals who declined more slowly in impulsivity increased in alcohol, marijuana, and cigarette more rapidly, whereas individuals who declined more slowly in sensation seeking increased more rapidly in alcohol use only.

Although risk for substance use across the population may peak during adolescence and early adulthood, this risk may be highest among those who decline more gradually in impulsivity.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Twenty-first century international lawmaking for alcohol control

We put forward our paper recognizing that a critical legal analysis of the many proposals to date for a framework convention on alcohol control might not be well received by the alcohol control community. We are encouraged that our paper has inspired such vigorous debate, with two of the responses supporting our argument.  > > > >   Read More

A global frame is already in place

Taylor & Dhillon give a comprehensive overview of possible ways to pursue a legally binding approach to international control on alcohol [1]. In this regard it is worth noting that harmful use of alcohol has been on the agenda of the World Health Assembly in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010, and three resolutions and one decision
have been made in the Health Assembly specifically on
harmful use of alcohol in this period.  > > > >   Read More

Alternative legal strategies for alcohol control: not a framework convention—at least not right now

I have recently outlined some of the effects that I think the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention onTobacco Control (FCTC) has produced, through its terms and the institutions and processes it has generated [1]. I suggested that the FCTC has:

• raised the global profile of tobacco control;

• strengthened governments in their fight against the tobacco industry politically and legally (in the latter case including through the automatic incorporation of the treaty’s substantive obligations into law in some countries, expansion of governments’ legislative powers, and strengthening of governments’ hands in domestic and international legal challenges);

• reinforced the view that tobacco products are not normal consumer products, contributing to the ongoing denormalization of the tobacco industry;

• catalysed the formation and deepening of transnational
civil society coalitions;

• facilitated the sharing of experiences, expertise and
capacity among and between governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); and

• brought new resources—political, financial and
human—into the field.   > > > >  Read More

On delaying a Framework Convention on Alcohol Control: Regrettably agreeing but calling for strategic action to accelerate the process

Taylor and Dhillon disparage the ‘drumbeat for codification’ for  a Framework Convention on Alcohol Control FCAC), inspired by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control(FCTC). Cogently arguing that the time is not ripe and that a ‘failed legal strategy could delay meaningful global legal action for years to come’, they urge postponement of a legally binding international treaty in favor of alternative non-binding legal strategies [1].

This commentator, a drummer for a FCAC, wishing that the conditions were prime to better address the global catastrophe of alcohol problems, reluctantly acknowledges their pragmatic arguments. But, rather than focus on the weaknesses of global alcohol control,the movement’s human capital, institutional and intangible assets can/should be strategically strengthened, linked and leveraged toward implementing a FCAC sooner rather than later.   > > > >  Read More


Commentaries on Taylor & Dhillon (2013)

With the coming into force of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), alcohol became the main widely-used psychoactive substance not covered by an international agreement on controlling the market. While tobacco has its own treaty, other such substances are covered by three international drug control treaties. Yet, there is a good argument that it is for alcohol that the strongest case for such international controls exists. This is not only because of the burden on the drinking individual, reflected in the high rank of alcohol among risk factors in the global burden of disease, but also because of the harm to others caused by drinking, which about equals the harms to the drinker [1]. In all rankings of the intrinsic harmfulness of substances, alcohol ranks highly [2]. When harm to others is taken into account, it ranks highest [3].  > > > >  Read More

A randomized controlled trial of motivational interviewing to prevent risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy in the Western Cape, South Africa

To test the effectiveness of motivational interviewing (MI) to reduce the risk of an alcohol exposed pregnancy (AEP) in a high-risk population.

Randomized controlled trial.

Rural population in the Western Cape, South Africa.
A total of 165 women aged 18–44 years at risk of AEP

Five-session MI intervention.

Structured questionnaires were administered pre-intervention and at 3 and 12 months follow-up. The primary outcome measure was AEP at 12 months. Secondary outcomes were AEP at 3 months, and alcohol use and effective contraception at 3 and 12 months.

There was a significant difference in the decline in the proportion of women at risk for an AEP in the MI group at 3 months (50 versus 24.59%; P = 0.004), maintained at 12 months (50.82 versus 28.12%; P = 0.009). In an intention-to-treat analysis these differences were also significant (32.93 versus 18.07%; P = 0.029; and 37.80 versus 21.69%; P = 0.024, respectively). The odds ratio for no longer being at risk of an AEP (MI versus control) at 12 months was 2.64 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.18–5.94]. In the intention-to-treat analysis this ratio was 2.19 (95% CI: 1.05–4.65).

A five-session motivational interviewing intervention was found to be effective with women at risk of an alcohol-exposed pregnancy, and could be implemented as part of routine primary care clinic services in similar populations. The message of ‘no alcohol in pregnancy’ should be adapted to include better family planning and early recognition of pregnancy.

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Acute ethanol administration inhibits Toll-like receptor 4 signaling pathway in rat intestinal epithelia

Excess alcohol intake, as in binge drinking, increases susceptibility to microbial pathogens. Alcohol impairs macrophage function by suppression of the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) pathway. 

This study investigated the effects of acute ethanol intake on the TLR4 pathway in rat intestinal epithelia, which usually encounters luminal antigens at first and participates in the development of intestinal immunity. 

Twenty Wistar rats were randomly assigned to an ethanol group given ethanol as a E25% (v/v) solution in water at 7.5 g/kg, or a control group given saline, by oral gavage daily for 3 days. The epithelial histology and ultrastructure, the intestinal microflora, peripheral and portal venous plasma lipopolysaccharide (LPS) levels, and somatostatin (SST) levels in the peripheral plasma and small intestine were evaluated. Somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2), TLR4, TANK binding kinase-1 (TBK1), activated nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in the intestinal mucosa were assayed. LPS responsiveness with or without SST pretreatment was assayed in vitro by quantification of TLR4, TBK1, activated NF-κB, IFN-γ and TNF-α in isolated intestinal epithelia. Mucosal damage was observed in the ethanol group by light and electron microscopy.

Escherichia coli cultures were unchanged in rat intestine of the ethanol group compared with controls, but lactobacilli cultures were reduced (p < 0.05). LPS levels increased in peripheral and portal venous plasma (p < 0.05), but mucosal TLR4, TBK1, nuclear NF-κB, IFN-γ and TNF-α were unchanged in the ethanol group. LPS treatment in vitro up-regulated the level of TLR4, TBK1 and nuclear NF-κB as well as the production of IFN-γ and TNF-α in isolated intestinal epithelia in the control (p < 0.05), but not the ethanol group. The stimulatory effects of LPS on intestinal epithelia isolated from the control group were significantly inhibited by SST pretreatment (p < 0.05). The peripheral plasma and intestinal levels of SST and the mucosal expression of SSTR2 in the ethanol group were significantly higher than in the control group (p < 0.05). 

These findings suggest the hyposensitivity of intestinal epithelial TLR4 to LPS induced by acute alcohol abuse probably through ethanol per se and ethanol-enhanced intestinal mucosal SST pathway may be a novel mechanism for increased susceptibility to intestinal pathogens.

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Mitogen-activated protein kinase modulates ethanol inhibition of cell adhesion mediated by the L1 neural cell adhesion molecule

There is a genetic contribution to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), but the identification of candidate genes has been elusive. 

Ethanol may cause FASD in part by decreasing the adhesion of the developmentally critical L1 cell adhesion molecule through interactions with an alcohol binding pocket on the extracellular domain. 

Pharmacologic inhibition or genetic knockdown of ERK2 did not alter L1 adhesion, but markedly decreased ethanol inhibition of L1 adhesion in NIH/3T3 cells and NG108-15 cells.

Likewise, leucine replacement of S1248, an ERK2 substrate on the L1 cytoplasmic domain, did not decrease L1 adhesion, but abolished ethanol inhibition of L1 adhesion. Stable transfection of NIH/3T3 cells with human L1 resulted in clonal cell lines in which L1 adhesion was consistently sensitive or insensitive to ethanol for more than a decade. ERK2 activity and S1248 phosphorylation were greater in ethanol-sensitive NIH/3T3 clonal cell lines than in their ethanol-insensitive counterparts.

Ethanol-insensitive cells became ethanol sensitive after increasing ERK2 activity by transfection with a constitutively active MAP kinase kinase 1. 

Finally, embryos from two substrains of C57BL mice that differ in susceptibility to ethanol teratogenesis showed corresponding differences in MAPK activity. 

Our data suggest that ERK2 phosphorylation of S1248 modulates ethanol inhibition of L1 adhesion by inside-out signaling and that differential regulation of ERK2 signaling might contribute to genetic susceptibility to FASD. Moreover, identification of a specific locus that regulates ethanol sensitivity, but not L1 function, might facilitate the rational design of drugs that block ethanol neurotoxicity.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

WHO release 'European action plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 2012–2020'

The World Health Organization (WHO) have released the European action plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 2012–2020.

Download the European action plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 2012–2020 [pdf]
WHO summary:
The European action plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 2012–2020 was endorsed by all 53 Member States in the WHO European Region in September 2011. It includes a range of evidence-based policy options to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. This publication also includes WHO Regional Committee for Europe resolution EUR/RC61/R4, a list of indicators (with definitions) linked to the indicators used in the European Information System on Alcohol and Health, and a checklist or set of questions for Member States. The action plan is closely linked to the 10 action areas of the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2010.

The primary audience for the action plan is the national authorities in the WHO European Region responsible for alcohol policy, mainly the health and other ministries (including finance, education, social welfare, transportation and criminal justice), nongovernmental and civil-society organizations, researchers, the private sector and international partners.
> > > >   Read More

Public health response to global alcohol producers’ attempts to implement WHO global strategy on alcohol

On October 8, 2012, thirteen of world’s largest alcohol producers issued a set of commitments to reduce the harmful use of alcohol worldwide, ostensibly in support of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2010 Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol. As an independent coalition of public health professionals, health scientists and NGO representatives, we are submitting this public Statement of Concern to the WHO Secretariat in response to the activities of the global alcohol producers. Based on their lack of support for effective alcohol policies, misinterpretation of the Global Strategy’s provisions, and their lobbying against effective public health measures, we believe that the alcohol industry’s inappropriate commitments must be met with a united response from global health community.  > > > >  Read More

Global Actions - February 20, 2013

Key Recent Milestones:

· Amsterdam: The International Council on Alcohol and Addictions (ICAA) held an Alcohol Education Section Meeting on February 11 and 12, 2013.

Global Actions in Focus: Channel Research Evaluation Report

Independent research firm Channel Research completed a final global report evaluating the Global Actions on Harmful Drinking initiatives implemented from 2010 through 2012. The evaluation found high levels of efficiency and effectiveness in many areas of the Global Actions program, indicating some room for improvement.

Channel Research found that “Overall, the management-level executive of the Global Actions has been innovative and well implemented. ICAP has been able to fit into very diverse national contexts, playing to its core strengths – playing the role of honest broker, contributing a high level of credibility due to its research work, and working at all level of alcohol policy advice and best practices.”

Channel Research assessed the drink driving, self-regulation, and noncommercial alcohol initiatives cumulatively in terms of their relevance, the extent of influence, and the duration of this influence.

“There may be advantages for ICAP to more formally capture (map) and analyze salient critical conditions such as specific geographic issues, or specific drivers which influenced the initiatives,” Channel Research notes in the report summary. The evaluation recommends a mapping of stakeholders, whose influence and position could be tracked over time.

Read more of the Evaluation of the Global Actions on Harmful Drinking Initiatives: Summary of Final Global Report.

What’s Happening Next:

· South Africa: Beverage alcohol producers will participate in the Commitments Regional Meeting on February 26 and 27, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa to discuss the beer, wine, and spirits producers’ collective commitments to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. 

Tacr1 Gene Variation and Neurokinin 1 Receptor Expression Is Associated with Antagonist Efficacy in Genetically Selected Alcohol-Preferring Rats

Genetic deletion or antagonism of the neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R) decreases alcohol intake, alcohol reward, and stress-induced alcohol relapse in rodents, while TACR1 variation is associated with alcoholism in humans.

We used L822429, a specific antagonist with high affinity for the rat NK1R, and examined whether sensitivity to NK1R blockade is altered in alcohol-preferring (P) rats. Operant alcohol self-administration and progressive ratio responding were analyzed in P-rats and their founder Wistar line. We also analyzed Tacr1 expression and binding and sequenced the Tacr1 promoter from both lines.

Systemic L822429 decreased alcohol self-administration in P-rats but did not affect the lower rates of alcohol self-administration in Wistar rats. Tacr1 expression was elevated in the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala of P-rats. In central amygdala, elevated Tacr1 expression was accompanied by elevated NK1R binding. Central amygdala (but not prefrontal cortex) infusion of L822429 replicated the systemic antagonist effects on alcohol self-administration in P-rats. All P-rats, but only 18% of their founder Wistar population, were CC homozygous for a−1372G/C single nucleotide polymorphism. In silico analysis indicated that the Tacr1−1372 genotype could modulate binding of the transcription factors GATA-2 and E2F-1. Electromobility shift and luciferase reporter assays suggested that the−1372C allele confers increased transcription factor binding and transcription.

Genetic variation at the Tacr1 locus may contribute to elevated rates of alcohol self-administration, while at the same time increasing sensitivity to NK1R antagonist treatment.

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The Natural History of Class I Primate Alcohol Dehydrogenases Includes Gene Duplication, Gene Loss, and Gene Conversion

Gene duplication is a source of molecular innovation throughout evolution. However, even with massive amounts of genome sequence data, correlating gene duplication with speciation and other events in natural history can be difficult. This is especially true in its most interesting cases, where rapid and multiple duplications are likely to reflect adaptation to rapidly changing environments and life styles. This may be so for Class I of alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH1s), where multiple duplications occurred in primate lineages in Old and New World monkeys (OWMs and NWMs) and hominoids.

To build a preferred model for the natural history of ADH1s, we determined the sequences of nine new ADH1 genes, finding for the first time multiple paralogs in various prosimians (lemurs, strepsirhines). Database mining then identified novel ADH1 paralogs in both macaque (an OWM) and marmoset (a NWM). These were used with the previously identified human paralogs to resolve controversies relating to dates of duplication and gene conversion in the ADH1 family. Central to these controversies are differences in the topologies of trees generated from exonic (coding) sequences and intronic sequences.

We provide evidence that gene conversions are the primary source of difference, using molecular clock dating of duplications and analyses of microinsertions and deletions (micro-indels). The tree topology inferred from intron sequences appear to more correctly represent the natural history of ADH1s, with the ADH1 paralogs in platyrrhines (NWMs) and catarrhines (OWMs and hominoids) having arisen by duplications shortly predating the divergence of OWMs and NWMs. We also conclude that paralogs in lemurs arose independently. Finally, we identify errors in database interpretation as the source of controversies concerning gene conversion. These analyses provide a model for the natural history of ADH1s that posits four ADH1 paralogs in the ancestor of Catarrhine and Platyrrhine primates, followed by the loss of an ADH1 paralog in the human lineage

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The Science Inside Alcohol Project E-Book

This interactive e-book guides you through the effects of alcohol on the body and some of the physical and social consequences of underage drinking. The e-book was produced by the AAAS Science Inside Alcohol Project, which is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse. It has several sections to it, including: Alcohol and the Human Body, Impacts of Underage Drinking, and FAQs about Underage Drinking. In addition to these sections, there is a special section on stories about kids who have been impacted by alcohol abuse in some way.

Launch Tool

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Problem drinking, gambling and eating – three problems, one understanding? A qualitative comparison between French and Finnish social workers

Culture is often used as a wildcard in cross-cultural studies. This article proposes a more diverse understanding of culture, as layered from “deep structures” towards institutional arrangements. It analyses which cultural levels are involved in Finnish and French social workers’ understanding of problem drinking, gambling and eating.
A stimulated focus group method (Reception Analytical Group Interview) RAGI was applied to eight groups of Finnish and five groups of French social workers not specialised in addiction. The interviews were analysed with a semiotic approach.

Finnish social workers understand problem drinking, gambling and eating as rooted in society and harming the social environment. It is the individual’s responsibility to solve the problem. French social workers conceptualise only problem eating similar to problem drinking as being caused by an individual defect. They identify problem gambling as a social issue.

The results imply that both the institutional context and structures deeper in culture influence how we conceptualise excessive behaviours. This shows the usefulness of a layered concept of culture. The article recommends caution in using “addiction” as an umbrella concept for all kinds of excessive behaviours, as the perception of each problem depends not only on culture, but on the different cultural levels. Problem gambling in particular seems to evoke multiple understandings.

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Addiction and recovery: perceptions among professionals in the Swedish treatment system

The objective of the study was to explore perceptions of different addictions among Swedish addiction care personnel.

 A survey was conducted with 655 addiction care professionals in the social services, health care and criminal care in Stockholm County. Respondents were asked to rate the severity of nine addictions as societal problems, the individual risk to getting addicted, the possibilities for self-change and the perceived significance of professional treatment in finding a solution.

The images of addiction proved to vary greatly according to its object. At one end of the spectrum were addictions to hard drugs, which were judged to be very dangerous to society, highly addictive and very hard to quit. At the other end of the spectrum were smoking and snuff use, which were seen more as bad habits than real addictions. Some consistent differences were detected between respondents from different parts of the treatment system. The most obvious was a somewhat greater belief in self-change among social services personnel, a greater overall change pessimism among professionals in the criminal care system and a somewhat higher risk perception and stronger emphasis on the necessity of treatment among medical staff.

Professionals’ views in this area largely coincide with the official governing images displayed in the media, and with lay peoples’ convictions.

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Addiction, agency and affects – philosophical perspectives

In the recent neuroscientific research addiction has been defined as a brain disease in which the addict’s brain is “hijacked”. The research indicates how the addictive cravings function in the brain’s reward system. At the same time growing support has emerged to a view of addiction as a matter of choice. This viewpoint claims that those with addiction lack either willpower or the moral capacity to make the right decisions. In this article, we problematise these two models and argue that neither of them succeeds in providing successful and adequate means of tackling personal problems associated with agency and responsibility in relation to addiction.

The article uses means of social ethics and empirically informed analytical philosophy.

After showing that the two prominent models are not sufficient in capturing the problematique of addictive behaviour, we propose a new approach called the affective choice model.

As the disease model and the choice model fall short, we illustrate why the affective choice model is more capable of capturing the problematique of addicts’ agency than the existing models are.

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Consequences and behaviour problematised: The establishment of alcohol misuse as an object of empirical inquiry in late 18th- and early 19th-century European medicine

This article discusses European medical thought on alcohol in the late 18th and early 19th centuries against the backdrop of concurrent transformations in the epistemological and social underpinnings of medicine at large.

The article focuses on key medical works on alcohol written in the 1700s and early 1800s. The analysis draws on historical typologisations of medical practice and knowledge-formation (Ackerknecht, Jewson), and the notion of “working knowledges” (Pickstone).

The defining feature of the era’s medical thought on alcohol was that the issue began to be treated more rigorously in empirical terms. Doctors aspired to build an objective body of knowledge about diseases consequent on excessive drinking. The singling out of alcohol misuse as a special cause of diseases laid ground for viewing misuse itself as a phenomenon whose determinants and underlying dynamics were to be delineated in empirical terms. Remote causes of drinking were commonly traced to the socio-cultural sphere, which had a bearing on doctors’ ideas on “alcohol addiction”, too.

Earlier historiography has identified medical thought on alcohol at the turn of the 19th century as the starting point of individualising disease concept of alcohol addiction. The proper legacy of the era is rather the establishment of alcohol-related phenomena as objects of empirical inquiry, and the articulation of socio-cultural embeddedness of alcohol-related pathologies.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Introduction - Geographies of addiction

Addiction presents a double paradox for a social scientist. At first, it appears as a narrow field of social and health policy, but at the same time social science research of addictions covers most areas of study in these disciplines: (public) health, socialand psychological risk factors, social control, power and politics, economics and culture. Second, ddictions are biophysiological conditions beyond doubt, and as such, as invariable as the human body. Nevertheless, the forms they take, the transitions from normal behaviours to dependence, the boundaries drawn to define them and societal reactions to as well as ideas regulating them vary historically and  culturally. In themselves, such paradoxes are not unique to addictions – any disease is more or less subject to them.  But these paradoxes concern addictions in a special way. > > > > Read More

Maternal drinking behavior and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in adolescents with criminal behavior in southern Brazil

Prenatal alcohol exposure can have serious and permanent adverse effects. The developing brain is the most vulnerable organ to the insults of prenatal alcohol exposure. A behavioral phenotype of prenatal alcohol exposure including conduct disorders is also described.

This study on a sample of Brazilian adolescents convicted for criminal behavior aimed to evaluate possible clinical features of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). These were compared to a control group of school adolescents, as well as tested for other environmental risk factors for antisocial behavior.

A sample of 262 institutionalized male adolescents due to criminal behavior and 154 male students aged between 13 and 21 years comprised the study population. Maternal use of alcohol was admitted by 48.8% of the mothers of institutionalized adolescents and by 39.9% of the school students.

In this sample of adolescents we could not identify -individual cases with a clear diagnosis of FAS, but signs suggestive of FASD were more common in the institutionalized adolescents. Social factors like domestic and family violence were frequent in the risk group, this also being associated to maternal drinking during pregnancy.

The inference is that in our sample, criminal behavior is more related to complex interactions between environmental and social issues including prenatal alcohol exposure.


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Rescue of Infralimbic mGluR2 Deficit Restores Control Over Drug-Seeking Behavior in Alcohol Dependence

A key deficit in alcohol dependence is disrupted prefrontal function leading to excessive alcohol seeking, but the molecular events underlying the emergence of addictive responses remain unknown. 

Here we show by convergent transcriptome analysis that the pyramidal neurons of the infralimbic cortex are particularly vulnerable for the long-term effects of chronic intermittent ethanol intoxication.

These neurons exhibit a pronounced deficit in metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 2 (mGluR2). Also, alcohol-dependent rats do not respond to mGluR2/3 agonist treatment with reducing extracellular glutamate levels in the nucleus accumbens. 

Together these data imply a loss of autoreceptor feedback control. Alcohol-dependent rats show escalation of ethanol seeking, which was abolished by restoring mGluR2 expression in the infralimbic cortex via viral-mediated gene transfer. 

Human anterior cingulate cortex from alcoholic patients shows a significant reduction in mGluR2 transcripts compared to control subjects, suggesting that mGluR2 loss in the rodent and human corticoaccumbal neurocircuitry may be a major consequence of alcohol dependence and a key pathophysiological mechanism mediating increased propensity to relapse. 

Normalization of mGluR2 function within this brain circuit may be of therapeutic value.

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Separating intentional inhibition of prepotent responses and resistance to proactive interference in alcohol-dependent individuals

Impulsivity is a hallmark of addictive behaviors. Addicts’ weakened inhibition of irrelevant prepotent responses is commonly thought to explain this association. However, inhibition is not a unitary mechanism. This study investigated the efficiency of overcoming competition due to irrelevant responses (i.e., inhibition of a prepotent response) and overcoming competition in memory (i.e., resistance to proactive interference) in sober and recently detoxified alcohol-dependent individuals.

Three cognitive tasks assessing the inhibition of a prepotent response (Hayling task, anti-saccade task and Stroop task) and two tasks tapping into the capacity to resist proactive interference (cued recall, Brown-Peterson variant) were administered to 30 non-amnesic recently detoxified alcohol-dependent individuals and 30 matched healthy participants without alcohol dependency. In addition, possible confounds such as verbal updating in working memory was assessed.

Alcohol-dependent subjects performed worse than healthy participants on the three cognitive tasks assessing the inhibition of irrelevant prepotent responses but group performance was similar in the tasks assessing overcoming proactive interference in memory, updating of working memory and abstract reasoning.

These findings suggest that alcohol-dependence is mainly associated with impaired capacity to intentionally suppress irrelevant prepotent response information. Control of proactive interference from memory is preserved. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Alcohol News - 7/2013

The Copenhagen Post (Denmark) - Proposed fines would send “clear signal” against underage drinking

Retailers will face stiffer penalties for selling tobacco or hard alcohol to anyone under 18, according to a proposal currently before parliament.

Postimees (Estonia) - Estonian parlt considers measures to restrict availability of alcohol

Members of the Estonian parliament's social affairs and finance committees found at a joint meeting on Monday that more efficient measures are called for to restrict the accessibility and advertising of alcoholic beverages.

Radio Sweden (Sweden) - Alcohol busts on the rise in Sweden

Swedish Customs expects the amount of confiscated alcohol in Sweden to double this year since it has received extended powers to search for and confiscate alcohol and tobacco products with excise duties.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Norway) - Different drinking habits among partners may lead to divorce

Both the amounts and similarity in alcohol use patterns between partners are important risk factors for divorce. It is worst if the wife drinks more than her husband, according to a new study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Informa (Estonia) - Making sense of risk: Young Estonians drink-driving

In Estonia, young people driving under the influence of alcohol is an issue of social concern. In 2009, half of the intoxicated drivers who were involved in traffic accidents were under the age of 30. To understand the phenomenon in a wider perspective, the motives and reasons behind drink-driving need to be understood.

San Francisco Chronicle - Alcohol said to have big role in cancer

Even moderate alcohol use may substantially raise the risk of dying from cancer, according to a study released Thursday offering the first comprehensive update of alcohol-related cancer deaths in decades.

Reuters (Egypt) - Alcohol sale to be banned in Egypt's new suburbs

Two years after the Egyptian revolution that ousted an authoritarian regime, liberals are increasingly concerned that the ruling Islamists are out to curb personal freedoms and build a society in their own image.

Channel 4 News (UK) - Doctors call for alcohol tests during pregnancy

As doctors call for pregnant women to be tested for alcohol intake, Channel 4 News speaks to youngsters left permanently brain damaged by their mothers' drinking.

The Telegraph (Australia) - No alcohol while baby is breastfeeding, says National Heath and Medical Research Council

THE latest infant feeding guidelines have warned against drinking alcohol while breastfeeding because it is associated with deficits in a baby's psychomotor development and disrupts sleep patterns.

The West Australian (Autralia) - Alcohol ban at school sports

Perth's elite private boys' schools have banned spectators from drinking alcohol during interschool sport fixtures or risk the match being forfeited.

The Southern Reporter (Scotland) - How alcohol affects your community

THE Scottish Borders Alcohol Profile was compiled over 12 months by Susan Walker, of the Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, and Erin Murray of Scottish Borders Council. As well as looking at the impact on frontline services, it shows how many people from each town and village in the region are involved in incidents which either find them taken to hospital or result in them being spoken to by a police officer.

Daily Mail - Alcohol is 'responsible for 4% of cancer deaths' but doctors are failing to emphasise the risks, warn experts

Alcohol is responsible for four per cent of all cancer deaths with the significant risk to drinkers 'hiding in plain sight', according to experts. (UK) - Drink up: Alcohol tax set to rise

Chancellor George Osborne is expected to stick to the excise duty escalator, which since 2008 has seen the duty rise each year by two per cent above inflation.

Science Daily - Alcohol Consumption May Be in Response to Smoking Cessation

New findings by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health may help identify situations in which smokers who are trying to quit are at a higher risk of relapse.

Daily Bhaskar (India) - Bihar: BJP minister calls for prohibition on alcohol

Bihar Health Minister Ashwini Kumar Chaube on Saturday called for imposition of prohibition on alcohol in the state and urged women to spearhead a movement in this regard. - Journal: Alcohol causes depression rather than curing it

Bouts of depression are often the direct result of alcohol intake, according to a study in the March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. In a February 12 preview of the article, the researchers linked alcohol abuse and the disease of alcoholism to a third of depressive episodes. These periods of depression are different than depressive episodes caused by other life events.

RedOrbit - Clinicians May Miss 3/4 Of Alcohol Problems By Guessing

By relying on hunches rather than posing a few screening questions, primary care clinicians may be missing three-fourths of the alcohol problems in their patients, a newly released analysis shows.

PharmaTimes (EU) - Treatment for alcoholism 'would save thousands'

Thousands of lives could be saved across the EU every year if therapy was used more frequently in alcohol-dependent patients, according to a new study.

BBC News (Isle of Man) - Isle of Man alcoholism affects thousands

About 10,000 people on the Isle of Man are thought to be affected by the problem of alcoholism, according to a local helpline service.

AfricaNews (Malawi) - Alcohol draining Malawi’s development resources

Stewart was a heavy goods vehicle driver based in Lilongwe and used to travel alot-transporting goods between Malawi and the country's neighbors.