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, May 17, 2008

Drinking Motives and College Students: Further Examination of a Four-Factor Model
Journal of Counseling Psychology Volume 55, Issue 2, April 2008, Pages 289-295

The purposes of this study were to examine the reliability and validity of a 4-factor model of the Drinking Motives Measure and to assess year in school and ethnic differences on different types of motives.

Data were collected on 441 volunteer college students. Results indicated that fit indices for the 4-factor model were acceptable; fit indices were also better for the 4-factor model than they were for alternative models.

Freshman students and students of color had higher scores on the Conformity motives subscale than senior and White students did, respectively.

Additionally, differences in the correlation between Conformity motives and alcohol use existed based on year in school, such that the relationship was significantly smaller for freshmen than it was for other students

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Friday, May 16, 2008

New International Agreement Advances Study of Alcoholism

By Mika Ono Benedyk

The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and the Institut de Génétique et Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC) in Strasbourg, France, have entered into an agreement that aims to advance research on the biological basis of alcohol abuse. The research may uncover keys to vulnerability to alcoholism and help to develop new approaches for treating the condition.

The four-year agreement formalizes ties between the laboratories of two leaders in the field of alcohol research, George Koob, chair of the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders and co-director of the Pearson Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research at Scripps Research, and Brigitte Kieffer, professor and chair of the Neurobiology and Genetics Department at the IGBMC. The agreement also provides for the exchange and training of young researchers in their groups.
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The prognostic implications of DSM-IV abuse criteria in drinking adolescents
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Article in Press, Corrected Proof 13 May 2008

The validity of the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse has been questioned, and additional issues have been raised regarding the performance of this label in adolescents. While future diagnostic manuals might alter the approach to abuse, it is worthwhile to evaluate the implications of the current definition that has been in place since 1994.

Six hundred and sixteen 12–19-year-old subjects (mean 16.5 years) were offspring identified in the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) protocol who had ever consumed a full drink and who were followed up 5 years later using age-appropriate semi-structured interviews. Following the guidelines for evaluating the utility of the diagnostic labels of Robins and Guze [Robins, E., Guze, S.B., 1970. Establishment of diagnostic validity in psychiatric illness: its application to schizophrenia. Am. J. Psychiat. 126, 983–987], the subjects with alcohol abuse were compared with other groups regarding clinical validators and clinical course.

At initial interview, the pattern of most alcohol use and problem variables were least severe for teenagers with no diagnosis, intermediate for those with abuse, and the highest for individuals with alcohol dependence. At follow-up, 50% of those with initial abuse maintained that diagnosis, 19% developed dependence, and 31% had no DSM-IV diagnosis. Baseline alcohol abuse predicted follow-up diagnosis even when evaluated along with initial demographic and substance use characteristics.

These results support some assets for the DSM-IV alcohol abuse criteria in these adolescents, including indications of both cross-sectional and predictive validities. Additional studies will need to compare the current abuse label with other possible approaches.

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Resolution by the Executive Board - Strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol: EB122.R2

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Report by the Secretariat to the 61st World Health Assembly - Strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol: A61/13

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Sixty-first World Health Assembly
Date: 19-24 May 2008
Geneva, Switzerland

The 61st session of the World Health Assembly will take place in Geneva during 19-24 May 2008. At this session, the Health Assembly will discuss a number of public health issues, including:

  • pandemic influenza preparedness: sharing of influenza viruses and access to vaccines and other benefits;
  • prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, implementation of the global strategy;
  • public health, innovation and intellectual property: draft global strategy and plan of action;
  • female genital mutilation;
  • strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol; and
  • climate change and health.

The Health Assembly will also discuss the programme budget, administration and management matters of WHO.

61st session - Provisional agenda and other documents
Ethanol Enhances Reactivated Fear Memories
Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication 20 February 2008

Although ethanol has been shown to impair acquisition of memory, its effect on consolidated memories is not clear. Recent reports revealed that memory retrieval converted consolidated memory into a labile state and initiated the reconsolidation process.

In the present study, we have demonstrated the effect of ethanol on reactivated fear memory. We used contextual fear conditioning where rats were conditioned with mild footshock, re-exposed to the training context for 2 min, immediately injected with ethanol or saline, and finally tested 48 h after re-exposure.

Ethanol-treated groups demonstrated longer freezing and the effect lasted for 2 weeks. Reactivation is necessary for this effect. Injection of ethanol itself did not induce a fearful response. Reactivated and ethanol-treated rats exhibited longer freezing than non-reactivated controls, suggesting that ethanol does not inhibit the memory decline but facilitates the fear memory. Two minute re-exposures induced no or little extinction. The effect of ethanol was specific for 2-min reactivation, which induces reconsolidation.

Moreover, we found that picrotoxin inhibited the memory enhancement that was produced by ethanol administered just after the reactivation. These studies demonstrate that ethanol enhances reactivated contextual fear memories via activation of GABAA receptors.

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Ethanol Regulation of D1 Dopamine Receptor Signaling is Mediated by Protein Kinase C in an Isozyme-Specific Manner
Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication 20 February 2008

Ethanol consumption potentiates dopaminergic signaling that is partially mediated by the D1 dopamine receptor; however, the mechanism(s) underlying ethanol-dependent modulation of D1 signaling is unclear.

We now show that ethanol treatment of D1 receptor-expressing cells decreases D1 receptor phosphorylation and concurrently potentiates dopamine-stimulated cAMP accumulation. Protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitors mimic the effects of ethanol on D1 receptor phosphorylation and dopamine-stimulated cAMP levels in a manner that is non-additive with ethanol treatment.

Ethanol was also found to modulate specific PKC activities as demonstrated using in vitro kinase assays where ethanol treatment attenuated the activities of lipid-stimulated PKCitalic gamma and PKCdelta in membrane fractions, but did not affect the activities of PKCalpha, PKCbeta1, or PKCalt epsilon. Importantly, ethanol treatment potentiated D1 receptor-mediated DARPP-32 phosphorylation in rat striatal slices, supporting the notion that ethanol enhances D1 receptor signaling in vivo.

These findings suggest that ethanol inhibits the activities of specific PKC isozymes, resulting in decreased D1 receptor phosphorylation and enhanced dopaminergic signaling.

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Alcohol consumption and discounting
Addiction Research & Theory Online 12 May 2008

This study addresses whether discounting of future rewards may have an impact on alcohol consumption and propensity to alcohol-related harms, by applying survey data among young people whose drinking career hardly may have affected their time preferences.

Analyses from a school survey among 17,000, over 13-17 year olds in Norway showed that discount rates were positively associated with drinking frequency and intoxication frequency when age, gender, impulsivity and disposable income were controlled for.

Moreover, the results suggested that having made choices under the influence of alcohol leading to a negative outcome (deliberate self-harm, drunk-driving, vandalism or use of narcotics) was significantly more prevalent among those with high-discount rates compared to others, also when controlling for alcohol consumption, age, gender and impulsivity.

The results are discussed in relation to the potential role of discounting in pathways to addictive behaviour.

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New Penn State students to take alcohol-awareness course
Friday, May 16, 2008

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- First-year Penn State students will have to take an online alcohol awareness course as part of a new program designed to combat high-risk drinking.

The students would begin taking the preventative course called "AlcoholEdu for College" before arriving on campus. The program created by Boston-based Outside the Classroom is already used at more than 500 colleges around the country.

But Penn State officials say implementation at Penn State will be the largest of its kind, administered to the expected 17,000 first-year students this fall across the university system.
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PM - Alcohol. Thursday's report.
When people talk about alcohol problems in Britain, they often look favourably at France, and their apparently more refined drinking culture.

Over the last twenty years, the amount of alcohol that's drunk in France has been falling - but according to French Alcoholics Annoymous there are still around 3 million alcoholics living in the country with perhaps as many as 10 million people who have a borderline alcohol addiction.

Reporting for PM, our Paris Correspondent Emma Jane Kirby.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Validation of the alcohol, smoking and substance involvement screening test (ASSIST)
Addiction Volume 103 Issue 6 Page 1039-1047, June 2008

The concurrent, construct and discriminative validity of the World Health Organization's Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) were examined in a multi-site international study.

Concurrent validity was demonstrated by significant correlations between ASSIST scores and scores from the ASI-Lite (r = 0.76–0.88), SDS (r = 0.59), AUDIT (r = 0.82) and RTQ (r = 0.78); and significantly greater ASSIST scores for those with MINI-Plus diagnoses of abuse or dependence (P <>r = 0.48–0.76). Discriminative validity was established by the capacity of the ASSIST to discriminate between substance use, abuse and dependence. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was used to establish cut-off scores with suitable specificities (50–96%) and sensitivities (54–97%) for most substances.

The findings demonstrated that the ASSIST is a valid screening test for identifying psychoactive substance use in individuals who use a number of substances and have varying degrees of substance use.

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Addiction Volume 103 Issue 6 Page 951-952, June 2008

College student alcohol use is associated with an estimated 1700 deaths and 500 000 unintended injuries each year [1]. Life at campuses and adjoining communities is affected negatively by the second-hand effects of heavy drinking—violence, vandalism, noise and vomit [2,3]. College attempts to intervene have focused thus far primarily on educational efforts and have yielded little success [4]. Environmental interventions, for instance cracking down on centers of heavy drinking such as fraternities and athletic programs, risk antagonizing students and alumni. Cutting down on the supply and access to alcohol requires cooperation from the local community[5].

One university decided to try to cash in on the problem [6]. A team of evaluators was funded by theNational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to examine student drinking rates over eight semesters before and after the introduction of alcohol sales to determine whether rates of binge drinking and drunkenness changed during that time-period. They also compared the rates at the school where alcohol was sold with those at another college.

Before the results of this study are used to justify policy changes, we need to ask a few questions, as follows.
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Gender Differences in Response to Emotional Stress: An Assessment Across Subjective, Behavioral, and Physiological Domains and Relations to Alcohol Craving
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research OnlineEarly Articles 14 May 2008

Women and men are at risk for different types of stress-related disorders, with women at greater risk for depression and anxiety and men at greater risk for alcohol-use disorders. The present study examines gender differences in emotional and alcohol craving responses to stress that may relate to this gender divergence in disorders.

Women reported and displayed greater sadness and anxiety following stress than men and men had greater diastolic BP response than women. No gender differences in alcohol craving, systolic BP or HR were observed. Subjective, behavioral, and cardiovascular measures were correlated in both genders. However, for men, but not women, alcohol craving was associated with greater subjective emotion and behavioral arousal following stress and alcohol cues.

These data suggest that men and women respond to stress differently, with women experiencing greater sadness and anxiety, while men show a greater integration of reward motivation (craving) and emotional stress systems. These findings have implications for the gender-related divergence in vulnerability for stress-related disorders, with women at greater risk for anxiety and depression than men, and men at greater risk for alcohol-use disorders than women.

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Sex Differences in the Neurotoxic Effects of Adenosine A1 Receptor Antagonism During Ethanol Withdrawal: Reversal With an A1 Receptor Agonist or an NMDA Receptor Antagonist
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research OnlineEarly Articles 14 May 2008

Neuronal adaptations that occur during chronic ethanol (EtOH) exposure have been observed to sensitize the brain to excitotoxic insult during withdrawal. The adenosine receptor system warrants further examination in this regard, as recent evidence has implicated adenosine receptor involvement in the behavioral effects of both EtOH exposure and withdrawal.

Twenty-four hour exposure to DPCPX in EtOH-naïve slice cultures did not produced neurotoxicity in any region of slice cultures. Though withdrawal from 10 day EtOH exposure produced no toxicity in either male or female slice cultures, exposure to DPCPX during 24 hours of EtOH withdrawal produced a marked increase in PI uptake in all hippocampal culture subregions in female cultures (to ~160% of control values). A significant effect for sex was observed in the CA1 region such that toxicity in females cultures exposed to the A1 antagonist during withdrawal was greater than that observed in male cultures. These effects of DPCPX in EtOH withdrawn female and male slices were prevented by co-exposure to either the A1 agonist CCPA or the NMDA receptor antagonist APV for 24 hours. No differences in the abundance of A1 receptors were observed in male and female EtOH-naïve or EtOH pretreated cultures.

The current findings suggest that the female hippocampus possesses an innate sensitivity to effects of EtOH exposure and withdrawal on neuronal excitability that is independent of hormonal influences. Further, this sex difference is not related to effects of EtOH exposure on A1 receptor abundance, but likely reflects increased NMDA receptor-mediated signaling downstream of A1 inhibition in females.

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Naltrexone Alone and With Sertraline for the Treatment of Alcohol Dependence in Alaska Natives and Non-Natives Residing in Rural Settings: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research OnlineEarly Articles 14 May 2008

Access to specialty alcoholism treatment in rural environments is limited and new treatment approaches are needed. The objective was to evaluate the efficacy of naltrexone alone and in combination with sertraline among Alaska Natives and other Alaskans living in rural settings.

An exploratory aim examined whether the Asn40Asp polymorphism of the μ-opioid receptor gene (OPRM1) predicted response to naltrexone, as had been reported in Caucasians.

Naltrexone monotherapy demonstrated significantly higher total abstinence (35%) compared with placebo (12%, p = 0027) and longer, but not statistically different, Time to First Heavy Drinking Day (p = 0.093). On secondary measures, naltrexone compared with placebo demonstrated significant improvements in percent days abstinent (p = 0.024) and drinking-related consequences (p = 0.02). Combined sertraline and naltrexone did not differ from naltrexone alone. The pattern of findings was generally similar for the American Indian/Alaska Native subsample.

Naltrexone treatment response was significant within the group of 75 individuals who were homozygous for OPRM1 Asn40 allele. There was a small number of Asp40 carriers, precluding statistical testing of the effect of this allele on response.

Naltrexone can be used effectively to treat alcoholism in remote and rural communities, with evidence of benefit for American Indians and Alaska Natives. New models of care incorporating pharmacotherapy could reduce important health disparities related to alcoholism.

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CCA estimates reduction in alcopops sale

May 15, 2008

Coca-Cola Amatil expects a five to 10 per cent reduction in sales of alcoholic drinks following the Rudd government's tax hike on alcopops.

"I would expect to see a five to 10 per cent sales reduction in alcoholic beverages drinks and probably a higher number at the bottom end," CCA chief executive Terry Davis told journalists after the company's annual general meeting in Sydney on Thursday.
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Get your free ServSafe Alcohol Spanish version.

ServSafe Alcohol and Cerveza Tecate are excited to announce the release of the Spanish version of ServSafe Alcohol Fundamentals of Responsible Alcohol Service, produced by the National Restaurant Association. This newly released textbook meets the needs of operators looking to train a growing number of Spanish-language employees in responsible alcohol service.

“ServSafe Alcohol and Tecate recognized the growing need for Spanish-language training tools and our relationship allows the restaurant and foodservice industry to be the first to experience this new responsible alcohol service Spanish training tool,” said Mary M. Adolf, president and chief operating officer, products and services division, NRA Solutions.
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Drugs of Abuse Specifically Sensitize Noradrenergic and Serotonergic Neurons Via a Non-Dopaminergic Mechanism
(2008) 33, 1724–1734

A challenge in drug dependence is to delineate long-term neurochemical modifications induced by drugs of abuse. Repeated d-amphetamine was recently shown to disrupt a mutual regulatory link between noradrenergic and serotonergic neurons, thus inducing long-term increased responses to d-amphetamine and para-chloroamphetamine, respectively.

We show here that such a sensitization of noradrenergic and serotonergic neurons also occurs following repeated treatment with cocaine, morphine, or alcohol, three compounds belonging to main groups of addictive substances.

In all cases, this sensitization is prevented by alpha1b-adrenergic and 5-HT2A receptors blockade, indicating the critical role of these receptors on long-term effects of drugs of abuse. However, repeated treatments with two non-addictive antidepressants, venlafaxine, and clorimipramine, which nevertheless inhibit noradrenergic and serotonergic reuptake, do not induce noradrenergic and serotonergic neurons sensitization. Similarly, this sensitization does not occur following repeated treatments with a specific inhibitor of dopamine (DA) reuptake, GBR12783. Moreover, we show that the effects of SCH23390, a D1 receptor antagonist known to inhibit development of d-amphetamine behavioral sensitization, are due to its 5-HT2C receptor agonist property. SCH23390 blocks amphetamine-induced release of norepinephrine and RS102221, a 5-HT2C antagonist, can reverse this inhibition as well as inhibition of noradrenergic sensitization and development of behavioral sensitization induced by repeated d-amphetamine.

We propose that noradrenergic/serotonergic uncoupling is a common neurochemical consequence of repeated consumption of drugs of abuse, unrelated with DA release. Our data also suggest that compounds able to restore the link between noradrenergic and serotonergic modulatory systems could represent important therapeutic targets for investigation.

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AMPA Receptor Potentiation can Prevent Ethanol-Induced Intoxication
(2008) 33, 1713–1723

We present a substantial series of behavioral and imaging experiments, which demonstrate, for the first time, that increasing AMPA receptor-mediated neurotransmission via administration of potent and selective biarylsulfonamide AMPA potentiators LY404187 and LY451395 reverses the central effects of an acutely intoxicating dose of ethanol in the rat.

Using pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging (phMRI), we observed that LY404187 attenuated ethanol-induced reductions in blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) in the anesthetized rat brain. A similar attenuation was apparent when measuring local cerebral glucose utilization (LCGU) via C14-2-deoxyglucose autoradiography in freely moving conscious rats. Both LY404187 and LY451395 significantly and dose-dependently reversed ethanol-induced deficits in both motor coordination and disruptions in an operant task where animals were trained to press a lever for food reward. Both prophylactic and acute intervention treatment with LY404187 reversed ethanol-induced deficits in motor coordination.

Given that LY451395 and related AMPA receptor potentiators/ampakines are tolerated in both healthy volunteers and elderly patients, these data suggest that such compounds may form a potential management strategy for acute alcohol intoxication.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Addiction 103 (6) , 938–939

Several countries have witnessed a steady decline in the last few decades in the male/female ratio of drinking and alcohol-related outcomes. Some studies suggest that this may be due, in part, to changing gender roles resulting in a more masculine drinking pattern among women. However, most research on this topic is based on cross-sectional data with all their well-known limitations as to causal inferences. The study by Kubička & Csémy [1] is therefore a valuable contribution to the field, as its longitudinal approach improves the possibilities for finding non-spurious associations. More specifically, their data comprise a two-wave panel of Prague women interviewed in 1992 and 1997 about their alcohol habits and gender role conceptions. As the authors point out, the two measurements delimit a period with marked societal changes with a potentially great impact on the topics at issue, and the findings indeed suggest a link between women's drinking and their gender role conceptions. Is this a well-founded conclusion? To address that question I will discuss two methodological issues of general interest which the paper brings to the fore.

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What did you drink yesterday? Public health relevance of a recent recall method used in the 2004 Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey
Addiction 103 (6) , 919–928

To (i) compare the Yesterday method with other methods of assessing alcohol use applied in the 2004 Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) in terms of extent of under-reporting of actual consumption assessed from sales data; and (ii) illustrate applications of the Yesterday method as a means of variously measuring the size of an Australian ‘standard drink’, the extent of risky/high-risk alcohol use, unrecorded alcohol consumption and beverage-specific patterns of risk in the general population.

The Yesterday method yielded an estimate of 12.8 g as the amount of ethanol in a typical Australian standard drink (versus the official 10 g). Estimated coverage of the 2003–04 age 12+ years per-capita alcohol consumption in Australia (9.33 ml of ethanol) was 69.17% for GF and 64.63% for the QF when assuming a 12.8 g standard drink. Highest coverage of 80.71% was achieved by the detailed Yesterday method. The detailed Yesterday method found that 60.1% of Australian alcohol consumption was above low-risk guidelines; 81.5% for 12–17-year-olds, 84.8% for 18–24-year-olds and 88.8% for Indigenous respondents. Spirit-based drinks and regular strength beer were most likely to be drunk in this way, low- and mid-strength beer least likely.

Compared to more widely used methods, the Yesterday method minimizes under-reporting of overall consumption and provides unique data of public health significance. It also provides an empirical basis for taxing alcoholic beverages in accordance with their contributions to harm and can be used to complement individual-level measures such as QF and GF.

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Govt, Opposition trade blows over alcohol tax merits

Posted Wed May 14, 2008

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon says the Government's tax hike on pre-mixed alcoholic drinks will reduce consumption by 43 million bottles a year.
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Coalition prepared to block alcopop tax

Senate Opposition leader Nick Minchin says the Coalition is ready to use its numbers in the upper house to block tax increases on pre-mixed drinks and luxury cars.
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ETOH inhibits embryonic neural stem/precursor cell proliferation via PLD signaling
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications Volume 370, Issue 1, 23 May 2008, Pages 169-173

Whle a mother’s excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy is known to have adverse effects on fetal neural development, little is known about the underlying mechanism of these effects.

In order to investigate these mechanisms, we investigated the toxic effect of ethanol (ETOH) on neural stem/precursor cell (NSC) proliferation. In cultures of NSCs, phospholipase D (PLD) is activated following stimulation with epidermal growth factor (EGF) and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2).

Exposure of NSCs to ETOH suppresses cell proliferation, while it has no effect on cell death. Phosphatidic acid (PA), which is a signaling messenger produced by PLD, reverses ETOH inhibition of NSC proliferation.

Blocking the PLD signal by 1-butanol suppresses the proliferation. ETOH-induced suppression of NSC proliferation and the protective effect of PA for ETOH-induced suppression are mediated through extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling.

These results indicate that exposure to ETOH impairs NSC proliferation by altering the PLD signaling pathway.

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Addictions Biology: Haplotype-Based Analysis for 130 Candidate Genes on a Single Array
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on May 12, 2008

To develop a panel of markers able to extract full haplotype information for candidate genes in alcoholism, other addictions and disorders of mood and anxiety.

A total of 130 genes were haplotype tagged and genotyped in 7 case/control populations and 51 reference populations using Illumina GoldenGate SNP genotyping technology, determining haplotype coverage. We also constructed and determined the efficacy of a panel of 186 ancestry informative markers.

An average of 1465 loci were genotyped at an average completion rate of 91.3%, with an average call rate of 98.3% and replication rate of 99.7%. Completion and call rates were lowered by the performance of two datasets, highlighting the importance of the DNA quality in high throughput assays. A comparison of haplotypes captured by the Addictions Array tagging SNPs and commercially available whole-genome arrays from Illumina and Affymetrix shows comparable performance of the tag SNPs to the best whole-genome array in all populations for which data are available.

Arrays of haplotype-tagged candidate genes, such as this addictions-focused array, represent a cost-effective approach to generate high-quality SNP genotyping data useful for the haplotype-based analysis of panels of genes such as these 130 genes of interest to alcohol and addictions researchers. The inclusion of the 186 ancestry informative markers allows for the detection and correction for admixture and further enhances the utility of the array.

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Alcohol duty tax rises to go ahead

14 May, 2008

Lib Dem amendments to the Finance Bill ignored

An attempt to derail the government's inflation-busting alcohol duty escalator has failed in the House of Commons.

Proposed amendments to the Finance Bill which would have required the Treasury to explain its motives for the tax rises and outline their economic consequences for the industry have not been supported by the government.
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Association Between Alcohol Consumption and Both Osteoporotic Fracture and Bone Density
The American Journal of Medicine Volume 121, Issue 5, May 2008, Pages 406-418

Alcoholism is a risk factor for osteoporotic fractures and low bone density, but the effects of moderate alcohol consumption on bone are unknown.

We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the associations between alcohol consumption and osteoporotic fractures, bone density and bone density loss over time, bone response to estrogen replacement, and bone remodeling.

We pooled effect sizes for 2 specific outcomes (hip fracture and bone density) and synthesized data qualitatively for 4 outcomes (non-hip fracture, bone density loss over time, bone response to estrogen replacement, and bone remodeling). Compared with abstainers, persons consuming from more than 0.5 to 1.0 drinks per day had lower hip fracture risk (relative risk = 0.80 [95% confidence interval, 0.71-0.91]), and persons consuming more than 2 drinks per day had higher risk (relative risk = 1.39 [95% confidence interval, 1.08-1.79]). A linear relationship existed between femoral neck bone density and alcohol consumption.

Because studies often combined moderate and heavier drinkers in a single category, we could not assess relative associations between alcohol consumption and bone density in moderate compared with heavy drinkers.

Compared with abstainers and heavier drinkers, persons who consume 0.5 to 1.0 drink per day have a lower risk of hip fracture. Although available evidence suggests a favorable effect of alcohol consumption on bone density, a precise range of beneficial alcohol consumption cannot be determined.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Binge drinking: an exploration of a confused concept
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2008; 62:476-479;

Binge drinking is a matter of current social, media and political concern, and the focus of much policy activity in the UK.

Binge drinking is associated with causing a wide range of harm to individuals (e.g. accidents), and the wider community (e.g. crime and disorder). Within the current discourse, binge drinking is seen primarily as a youth issue. Binge drinking is sometimes portrayed as a recent phenomenon, but we know from history that heavy drinking has been endemic in British society over many centuries.

Using a contemporary history perspective, this paper explores the concept of binge drinking. It considers the definitions in use, recent shifts in meaning and also the way in which different definitions of binge drinking impact on perceptions of the extent and nature of binge drinking.

The paper concludes with some thoughts and questions about the usefulness of the concept of binge drinking as it currently used, and areas for further research.

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One in three pregnant women drink: study

May 13, 2008

More than one third of pregnant women drink despite most knowing the harmful effects alcohol can have on unborn children, a study has found.

A paper, to be presented at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians annual congress in Adelaide on Tuesday, outlines the results of a telephone survey of 1,103 Australian women aged between 18 and 45.

Thirty-four per cent of the women surveyed consumed alcohol during their last pregnancy and 32 per cent said they would drink if planning, and during, a future pregnancy.

Some 93 per cent of survey respondents knew alcohol could affect unborn children and 81 per cent agreed pregnant women should not drink alcohol.
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'There is not a God-given right to dispense alcohol'

Peter Hetherington
The Guardian,
Wednesday May 14 2008

Scotland is boldly taking on the drinks industry and retailers to tackle its health and social problems. Will the rest of Britain follow?

Sweeping powers to tackle binge drinking and alcohol abuse in Scotland will be tabled next year in a new legislative package that could set the tone for a similar clampdown south of the border.

Campaigners for tougher action throughout Britain believe the Scottish measures - such as setting a minimum price for alcohol to outlaw cheap liquor, and restricting sales in supermarkets to designated areas - will prompt Westminster to take stronger action. The moves follow Scotland's example in banning smoking in public places well before England and Wales.

The Scottish government's cabinet secretary for justice, Kenny MacAskill, says that while problems stemming from narcotics could not be minimised, alcohol - "a licensed drug" - was the major problem, with drink-related side-effects and illnesses creating labour shortages, threatening to overrun the health service, and already swamping Scotland's prison system. "Alcohol is the problem of our time," he says. "This is the major criminal justice, health and social issue in Scotland ... we have to take action. Scotland has a cultural problem. We 'dine out' on the hard-drinking Scottish image and we have to change that culture. We just allowed our high streets to be taken over."
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Statistical analysis of the associations between polymorphisms within aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 ( ALDH 2), and quantitative and qualitative traits extracted from a large-scale database of Japanese single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)
Journal of Human Genetics Volume 53, Number 5 / May, 2008 pp. 425-438

A scan of 4,190 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 199 different genes using 38 different quantitative traits to search for associations between genotypes and phenotypes detected an association between the genotypes at rs671 of ALDH2 and gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase (gamma-GTP) levels.

We examined the associations between five factors such as gender, age, rs671 genotype, alcohol-drinking habit, and serum gamma-GTP level and found that all pairs were associated except for the pair of rs671 genotype and gender and rs671 genotype and age.

We further analyzed the data by both multiple regression and subgroup analyses and found that the associations between rs671 genotype and alcohol-drinking habit, alcohol-drinking habit and gamma-GTP level, gender and gamma-GTP, and age and gamma-GTP were independent of other factors.

Conversely, the association between rs671 genotype and gamma-GTP level was dependent on alcohol-drinking habit.

Associations between genetic and environmental factors will become a focus of medical and biological studies.

Our study has shown that (1) a large sample size combined with a replication study is necessary to overcome the multiple-comparison problem, and (2) subgroup analysis along with logistic and linear multiple regression analysis may be useful to dissect a complicated relationship.

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The Journal of the National Center Volume 15, Number 1, 2008

The factor structure of the Drinking Motives Questionnaire - Revised (DMQ-R; Cooper, 1994) was examined in a sample of First Nations (i.e., Mi'kmaq) adolescents.

Exploratory principal components analysis indicated a three-factor structure (conformity, coping, and positive reinforcement motives), with the positive reinforcement motives of enhancement and social motives not separating into the expected two distinct factors. Moreover, community informants (e.g., school personnel) anecdotally indicated possible wording problems with some o the social motive items for the cultural group. A qualitative methodology - focus group interviews with Mi'kmaq adolescents - was used toexplore potential reasons for these observed diff erences in the structure of drinking motives from previous findings in the majority culture (i.e., a measurement problem vs. a real diff erence in the structure of drinkingmotives in the Mi'kmaq culture).

Qualitative findings support the interpretation that a true social motive for alcohol use does not exist in this cultural/age group and that drinking in social contexts for this group seems less motivated by social affi liation than by enhancement motives (e.g., drinking to party)

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2008 NHIS Draft Survey Questionnaires

The Division of Health Interview Statistics (DHIS) of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) announces the availability of the 2008 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) draft questionnaires. The final versions of these questionnaires may contain format and/or content changes when released with the final 2008 NHIS data.

Both English and Spanish versions are available.

To view the 2008 NHIS Draft Survey Questionnaires, click on:

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Monday, May 12, 2008

France to introduce breathalyser tests in bars
Effects of Deviant Peer Association on Adolescent Alcohol Consumption: A Growth Mixture Modeling Analysis
Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume 37, Number 5 / May, 2008, pp. 537-551

This study examined concurrent and lagged effects of deviant peer association on levels of alcohol use for distinctive trajectories of drinking from ages 14–18 years, while controlling for age, paternal education, community size, and conduct problems.

Longitudinal data were available from a secondary data archive of male and female German adolescents (N = 1,619).

Conditional latent growth mixture modeling analysis indicated consistent concurrent effects of deviant peer association (specified as time-varying covariate) on alcohol use for the regular users group, but not any of the other drinking trajectory groups.

Very few lagged effects of deviant peers association on alcohol use were found, and thus the social influence hypothesis received little empirical support.

Overall, findings suggest the need to consider heterogeneity in the study of peer characteristics and alcohol use for both male and female adolescents.

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Interpersonal violence exposure and alcohol treatment utilization among medical inpatients with alcohol dependence
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment Volume 34, Issue 4, June 2008, Pages 464-470

The goal of this study was to examine the association between interpersonal violence exposure and utilization of alcohol treatment after medical hospitalizations among adults with alcohol dependence.

We analyzed data collected from a prospective cohort of 238 adults with alcohol dependence who were inpatients in a large urban hospital.

Participants who reported interpersonal violence victimization had 1.6 times the odds (adjusted odds ratio = 1.64, 95% confidence interval = 0.92–2.91) of receiving alcohol treatment during the year after hospitalization compared to participants with no violence exposure. Recent (past 3 months) exposure to violence was not more strongly related to receipt of treatment than any lifetime violence exposure.

Results suggest that a history of interpersonal violence victimization may be associated with an increased odds of alcohol treatment utilization following a medical hospitalization. Therefore, clinicians should be optimistic about identifying and referring patients who have experienced interpersonal violence to alcohol treatment.

Moreover, given the potentially high prevalence of interpersonal violence exposure among inpatient populations at large urban hospitals, alcohol treatment providers should develop methods to address both alcohol dependence and violence recovery.

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