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, June 1, 2013

TTB Issues Guidelines for Voluntary Serving Facts Statements

Washington, DC — On May 28, 2013, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) issued a ruling (Ruling 2013-2) that allows alcohol beverage industry members to provide consumers with nutritional information about their products and provides guidelines to ensure that the information is presented in a consistent and non-misleading manner.

The Federal Alcohol Administration Act provides for regulation of the labeling and advertising of distilled spirits, wine, and malt beverages to prevent consumer deception, to provide consumers with adequate information as to the identity and quality of the product, and to prohibit false or misleading statements.

The ruling allows "Serving Facts" statements that include the serving size, the number of servings per container, the number of calories, and the number of grams of carbohydrates, protein, and fat per serving. Additionally, Serving Facts statements may include information about the alcohol content of the product as a percentage of alcohol by volume and may also include a statement of the fluid ounces of pure ethyl alcohol per serving.   > > > >   Read More

A Factor Analysis of Global GABAergic Gene Expression in Human Brain Identifies Specificity in Response to Chronic Alcohol and Cocaine Exposure

Although expression patterns of GABAergic genes in rodent brain have largely been elucidated, no comprehensive studies have been performed in human brain.

The purpose of this study was to identify global patterns of GABAergic gene expression in healthy adults, including trans and cis effects in the GABAA gene clusters, before determining the effects of chronic alcohol and cocaine exposure on gene expression in the hippocampus. RNA-Seq data from ‘BrainSpan’ was obtained across 16 brain regions from postmortem samples from nine adults. A factor analysis was performed on global expression of 21 GABAergic pathway genes. Factor specificity for response to chronic alcohol/cocaine exposure was subsequently determined from the analysis of RNA-Seq data from postmortem hippocampus of eight alcoholics, eight cocaine addicts and eight controls.

Six gene expression factors were identified. Most genes loaded (≥0.5) onto one factor; six genes loaded onto two. The largest factor (0.30 variance) included the chromosome 5 gene cluster that encodes the most common GABAA receptor, α1β2γ2, and genes encoding the α3β3γ2 receptor. Genes within this factor were largely unresponsive to chronic alcohol/cocaine exposure.

In contrast, the chromosome 4 gene cluster factor (0.14 variance) encoding the α2β1γ1 receptor was influenced by chronic alcohol/cocaine exposure. Two other factors (0.17 and 0.06 variance) showed expression changes in alcoholics/cocaine addicts; these factors included genes involved in GABA synthesis and synaptic transport.

Finally there were two factors that included genes with exceptionally low (0.10 variance) and high (0.09 variance) expression in the cerebellum; the former factor was unaffected by alcohol/cocaine exposure.

This study has shown that there appears to be specificity of GABAergic gene groups, defined by covariation in expression, for response to chronic alcohol/cocaine exposure. These findings might have implications for combating stress-related craving and relapse.

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Acute ethanol administration affects zebrafish preference for a biologically inspired robot

Preclinical animal models constitute a cornerstone against which the reward processes involved in drug addiction are often studied and dissected. While rodents have traditionally represented the species of choice, a growing body of literature indicates that zebrafish are emerging as a valuable model organism.

Specifically, several studies demonstrate that the effects of ethanol at the level of emotional- and cognitive-related domains can be reliably investigated using zebrafish. The rapidly evolving nature of these efforts allows substantial room for the development of novel experimental paradigms suited to this freshwater species.

The field of ethorobotics may prove particularly beneficial, due to its ability to convey fully controllable and easily reproducible experimental tools.

In this study, we addressed the possibility of using a biologically inspired robot to investigate the emotionally related properties of ethanol in a preference task in zebrafish. To this aim, we evaluated wild-type zebrafish preference toward a robotic stimulus and addressed whether ethanol administration (0.25% and 1.00% ethanol/water concentration) may alter such preferences.

In accordance with our previous studies, we observed that zebrafish exhibit a natural attraction toward the robot. Additionally, in agreement with our predictions, we showed that ethanol administration abolishes such preferences. This work is the first to demonstrate that robotic stimuli can be used in zebrafish to investigate the reward-related properties of alcohol.

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Friday, May 31, 2013

ALCOHOL REPORTS Statstics May 2, 2013 – May 31, 2013

May 13, 2013                          36

United States

United Kingdom










Post-treatment Stage of Change Predicts 12-month Outcome of Treatment for Alcohol Problems


To evaluate relationships between clients' self-reported ‘stage of change’ and outcomes after treatment for alcohol problems.                    

Using data from the ‘United Kingdom Alcohol Treatment Trial’, clients who had received at least one session of treatment and who had complete data (n = 392) entered the analysis. Two continuous measures of drinking behaviour (% days abstinent (PDA) and drinks per drinking day (DDD)) and categorical outcomes at the 12-month follow-up were compared between clients in Pre-action and Action stages of change at either pre- or post-treatment assessment. Multiple and logistic regression analyses examined the relationships between stage of change and treatment outcomes, evaluating the strength of these relationships by controlling for likely confounders.                    

Pre-treatment stage of change did not predict outcome but post-treatment stage of change predicted PDA and DDD at the 12-month follow-up. In unadjusted and adjusted analyses, clients in Action at post-treatment were two to three times more likely to show a favourable categorical outcome, variously defined, than those in Pre-action. There were no differences between clients who had received Motivational Enhancement Therapy and those who had received Social Behaviour and Network Therapy in proportions maintaining or moving towards Action from before to after treatment.

These findings confirm previous reports that motivational variables predict outcome of treatment but add that such a relationship is seen for post-treatment stage of change. For therapists, it would seem important to monitor the client's stage of change—which in good clinical practice often occurs in informal ways—and have strategies to deal with low motivation to change whenever it occurs throughout treatment. The findings are also consistent with a ‘common factors’ perspective on effective treatment for alcohol problems.     

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Effects of Wine, Alcohol and Polyphenols on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: Evidences from Human Studies

The aim of this review was to focus on the knowledge of the cardiovascular benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, as well as to analyze the effects of the different types of alcoholic beverages.

 Systematic revision of human clinical studies and meta-analyses related to moderate alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease (CVD) from 2000 to 2012.

Heavy or binge alcohol consumption unquestionably leads to increased morbidity and mortality. Nevertheless, moderate alcohol consumption, especially alcoholic beverages rich in polyphenols, such as wine and beer, seems to confer cardiovascular protective effects in patients with documented CVD and even in healthy subjects.

In conclusion, wine and beer (but especially red wine) seem to confer greater cardiovascular protection than spirits because of their polyphenolic content. However, caution should be taken when making recommendations related to alcohol consumption.                 

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Screening for At-Risk Alcohol Use and Drug Use in an Emergency Department: Integration of Screening Questions Into Electronic Triage Forms Achieves High Screening Rates

Previous studies have shown that brief interventions for at-risk alcohol and drug use are significantly more likely to occur if patients are screened with a standardized, validated instrument, but high screening rates have traditionally been difficult to attain. Use of very brief screens can enable brief intervention specialists to focus their efforts on assessing and assisting patients most likely to need a brief intervention or more intensive treatment. This study describes the results of integrating brief substance abuse screens into an urban emergency department's (ED's) triage process.

As part of a comprehensive initiative to increase alcohol and drug screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT), 3 single-item screening questions were programmed into the electronic triage tool used in the ED to detect tobacco use, at-risk alcohol use, illicit drug use, or prescription drug misuse. Project staff conducted training sessions with nurses to ensure the questions were asked properly and ED supervisors provided ongoing performance feedback. Names of patients with positive responses to the alcohol or drug questions automatically populated a list forwarded to health education specialists, who provided assessments, brief interventions, and referrals.

Screening was conducted with 145,394 of 151,597 eligible patients, a 96% screening rate. Electronic reports revealed an 89% screening rate 30 days postimplementation and gradually increasing and stabilizing at approximately 97%. The overall percentage of patients screening positive for alcohol or drug use was similar to that of other ED-based studies (22%) but varied substantially by patient demographics.

High rates of screening can be achieved if properly integrated into a clinical setting's existing patient care processes with well-planned information technology support.

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Effect of the Alcohol Misconduct Prevention Program (AMPP) in Air Force technical training

Alcohol use in the U.S. military is prevalent and associated with alcohol-related incidents (ARIs), an official U.S. Air Force sanction. Military ARIs incur substantial personal and financial costs.

We evaluated the impact of the Alcohol Misconduct Prevention Program (AMPP) consisting of a group-based brief alcohol intervention (BAI) conducted jointly with random alcohol breathalyzer testing on ARIs in the U.S. Air Force.

A 1-hour, group-based, interactive BAI was conducted, and random alcohol breathalyzer testing was performed among 10,087 Air Force Technical Trainees at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, in fiscal years 2010 and 2011.

The AMPP was associated with a significant reduction in the odds of an ARI over the year of the intervention compared to the previous year (odds ratio 0.555; 95% confidence interval 0.380-0.811; p = 0.0023). Significant reductions in the number of ARIs were observed within all quarters except for the third. The average rate of ARIs per 1,000 trainees per quarter was 7.30 before implementation of the interventions and 4.06 after implementation.

An AMPP consisting of an interactive BAI and random alcohol breathalyzer testing may decrease ARIs among military trainees.

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Comorbidity of posttraumatic stress disorder with alcohol dependence among US adults: Results from National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions


Despite the high rates of comorbidity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol dependence (AD) in clinical and epidemiological samples, little is known about the prevalence, clinical presentation, course, risk factors and patterns of treatment-seeking of co-occurring PTSD-AD among the general population.

The sample included respondents of the Wave 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Weighted means, frequencies and odds ratios (ORs) of sociodemographic correlates, prevalence of psychiatric disorders and rates of treatment-seeking were computed.

In the general population, the lifetime prevalence of PTSD only, AD only and PTSD-AD was 4.83%, 13.66% and 1.59%, respectively. Individuals with comorbid PTSD-AD were more likely than those with PTSD or AD only to have suffered childhood adversities and had higher rates of Axis I and II disorders and suicide attempts. They also met more PTSD diagnostic criteria, had earlier onset of PTSD and were more likely to use drugs and alcohol to relieve their PTSD symptoms than those with PTSD only; they also met more AD diagnostic criteria than those with AD only and had greater disability. Individuals with PTSD-AD had higher rates of treatment seeking for AD than those with AD only, but similar rates than those with PTSD only.

PTSD-AD is associated with high levels of severity across a broad range of domains even compared with individuals with PTSD or AD only, yet treatment-seeking rates are very low. There is a need to improve treatment access and outcomes for individuals with PTSD-AD.

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Health Behaviors of Adults: United States, 2008–2010

This report is the most recent of a series of reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) that monitor the prevalence of five key health behaviors for U.S. adults, using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) (1–7). This report presents prevalence estimates for alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, leisure-time physical activity, body mass index (BMI) (based on self-reported weight and height), and hours of sleep for civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. adults aged 18 and over and for selected population subgroups. All tables show estimates for both sexes and for men and women separately by age, race, Hispanic or Latino origin, education, poverty status, marital status, geographic region, and place of residence [within or outside a metropolitan statistical area (MSA)]. Highlights are limited to findings for both sexes combined.

Chapter 3. Alcohol Use

Prevention of excessive alcohol use is a public health priority and is the focus of research and public health initiatives across a number of federal agencies (45–50). While light to moderate alcohol use has been associated with health benefits for many adults, especially in terms of cardiovascular risk, regular or episodic heavy drinking and binge drinking pose considerable health risks (49). Any amount of alcohol poses risks for pregnant women and for adults with an alcohol addiction (50). This chapter presents information on average alcohol use and episodic heavy drinking (that is, five or more drinks in 1 day) for U.S.
adults (Tables 3.1–3.4).
Nearly two-thirds of adults drink alcohol, with about 5% drinking at levels classified as ‘‘heavier’’—that is, women drink, on average, more than 7 drinks per week, and men drink, on average, more than 14 drinks per week. The prevalence of heavier drinking varies considerably by age, sex, and socioeconomic status. This chapter highlights selected findings for all adults by sex, age, race, Hispanic or Latino origin, education, poverty status, marital status, geographic region, and place of residence. Readers are encouraged to refer to the tables for additional details, particularly prevalence of alcohol consumption by men and women .

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

'Statistics on Alcohol: England 2013' admissions still rising along with increasing drug treatment prescribing

The latest annual statistics on alcohol for England 2013 have been released, confirming a continuing rise in alcohol-related and primary alcohol attributable hospital conditions. Alcohol-related admissions rose 4% on the previous year with primary diagnosis conditions up 1%. Prescribed drugs for treating alcohol dependence were up 6%. Download thefull report here (pdf)  > > > >  Read More

Hospital admissions linked to alcohol rise to more than a million in year

An estimated 1.22m hospital admissions in England were linked to drinking too much alcohol in 2011-12, according to NHS figures – a 51% rise over the past nine years.
Drug prescriptions to treat alcohol dependency outside hospital are also continuing to go up. Nearly 180,000 prescriptions were dispensed by doctors, nurses and pharmacists in 2012, 6% up in a year and nearly 75% more than in 2003.

Hospital admissions for which drink was the main cause rose to 200,900 in 2011-12, 1% more than the previous year, and more than 40% up on 2002-03.

Men accounted for three in five of the patients whose alcohol consumption was the main reason for admission. Admission rates were highest in north-west England and lowest in the east.  > > > >  Read More

Global Actions: Commitments to Reduce Harmful Drinking. May 29, 2013

Global Actions in Focus
Initiatives reporting
The website, Initiatives Reporting: Industry Actions to Reduce Harmful Drinking, is a searchable database of industry-sponsored initiatives and partnerships to reduce harmful drinking that offers a collective look at initiatives developed in partnership with governments, civil society, public health, and other stakeholders worldwide.
Recent reported initiatives include:
· Bacardi Server Training: Bacardi-Martini trains and educates servers in Hungary on responsible serving. Establishments are given training manuals that outline responsible drinking, unit awareness, and the role of the server.

· The ABC of Alcohol and Health: Since January 1996, Kirin Brewery has distributed booklets to discourage harmful drinking and provide information on the benefits of moderate drinking. Each year the booklets are circulated at events sponsored by approximately 800 local governments. By 2011, 6.83 million booklets had been distributed.

· Beber con Moderación: The Beber con Moderación (BCM) initiative was launched in 2007, and in 2009 Pernod Ricard Argentina committed to evolving the program into a long term initiative. BCM aims to raise awareness, knowledge, and skills and enable employees, their families, and the communities to make informed choices about personal drinking habits.

· +18=Responsible Sales: Anheuser-Busch InBev launched a campaign that promotes responsible drinking habits and raises awareness about the importance of servers and retailers not selling beverage alcohol to youth in Uruguay. Employees visit outlets while wearing shirts and badges and hand out brochures and stickers that state “We do not sell alcohol to minors. +18 = Responsible Sales” and “I request ID, I am responsible.” Since May 2012, employees have visited over 20,000 establishments.

ICAP has collaborated with several alcohol producers to prepare a report on a number of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in India. The report provides summaries of CSR initiatives that have been implemented in villages, cities, and states throughout the country on alcohol-related issues, such as drink driving, responsible drinking, social development, and health issues.
Companies featured in the report include Diageo, SABMiller, Moët Hennessy, UB Group, and Pernod Ricard. Their initiatives include Diageo’s “Delhi 4 Responsible Drinking” campaign, SABMiller India’s “Respect the Road—Don’t Drink and Drive” project, Moët Hennessy India’s partnership with Aseema to provide high quality education to neglected youth in Mumbai, UB Group’s “Project Jeevan Dhara” to deliver potable water to villagers during harsh summers, and Pernod Ricard’s “Netra Raksha, Parivar Suraksha” initiative to offer eye screenings and health camps for truck drivers in Gurgaon, Behror, and Dera Bassi.

Key Recent Milestones
· Mexico: A Memorandum of Understanding to implement “Towards Zero Deaths for Drinking and Driving in Puebla” was recently signed by the Secretary of the Interior Luis Maldonado Venegas, Secretary of Public Education Jorge Alberto Lozoya Legorreta, and other officials including ICAP President Marcus Grant. The program is intended to reach the large youth population in Puebla and increase knowledge and awareness about the risks of drinking and driving.

What's Happening Next
· USA: ICAP Senior Vice President Brett Bivans will be attending the ICC Commission Meeting in New York on June 3 and 4, 2013. Attendees will discuss a proposed draft for an ICC Framework for Responsible Marketing Communications of Alcohol, which is based on ICAP’s Guiding Principles and the Beer, Wine and Spirits Producers’ Commitments.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Professional Education Materials

Publications for physicians, social workers, clinicians and other health care professionals.