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, October 25, 2008

Sensible proposals needed for alcohol

When new Public Health Minister Chalerm Yubamrung announced shortly after taking up his post late last month that he was pushing for a ban on the sale and even consumption of alcohol over the New Year's holiday and also on religious holidays, it generated disbelief more than anything else. The thought that a country that derives a major part of its revenue from the tourist sector would suddenly halt alcohol sales at the height of the tourist season defies all logic, especially as hotels and airlines are already reporting severe strain due to the ongoing political crisis in the country and a global economic picture that is worsening by the day. So it was no real surprise that Mr Chalerm backed away from the proposal on Friday to avoid fierce opposition from tourism entrepreneurs and tourists themselves.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Screening for Alcohol Use and Misuse in Older Adults: Using the Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test-Geriatric Version..
AJN, American Journal of Nursing. 108(11):50-58, November 2008.

The Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test-Geriatric Version (SMAST-G) is often used in outpatient settings to detect "at-risk" alcohol use, alcohol abuse, or alcoholism in older adults. As the number of older adults in the United States grows, those who develop problems of abuse and a dependence on alcohol will grow as well.

The availability of accurate, easy-to-use screening tools to detect people in need of counseling can increase the number of older adults whose lives can be improved and even lengthened.

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Promoting Substance Use Education Among Generalist Physicians: An Evaluation of the Chief Resident Immersion Training (CRIT) Program
Journal of General Internal Medicine Online First 21 October 2008

Education about substance use (SU) disorders remains inadequate in medical training.

To describe the Chief Resident Immersion Training (CRIT) program in addiction medicine and to evaluate its impact on chief resident (CR) physicians’ substance use knowledge, skills, clinical practice, and teaching.

The intervention (n = 64) and control (n = 22) CRs were similar demographically. At 6-month follow-up, the intervention CRs reported a significant increase in SU knowledge, confidence, and preparedness to diagnose, manage, and teach and an increase in SU clinical and teaching practices compared to their baseline and control CRs.

This intensive training for chief residents (CRs) improved knowledge, confidence, and preparedness to diagnose, manage, and teach about substance use (SU), affecting both the CRs’ SU clinical and teaching practices. The CRIT program was an effective model for dissemination of SU knowledge and skills to educators in a key position to share this training with a broader audience of medical trainees. This model holds potential to address other high priority medical, yet under-addressed, content areas as well.

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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and Their Persisting Sequelae in Adult Life
Dtsch Arztebl Int 2008; 105(41):693-8

The present review describes the different variants of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) as a consequence of maternal alcohol abuse during pregnancy. According to international findings, some 3 000 to 4 000 affected newborns may be expected annually in Germany. Detection of these individuals in clinical practise is insufficient.

Selective review of the literature and report of own findings based on long-term outcome studies.

Key features of FASD are short stature, microcephaly, various dysmorphic features, in severe cases amongst others consisting of congenital heart disease and dysplasias of the skeleton and urogenital system, varying degrees of developmental delay including mental retardation, and a positive history of maternal alcohol abuse during pregnancy. Long-term outcome studies in young adulthood show that independent of the severity of FASD the key features remain associated with limitations of an independent life-style.

Pathogenesis of FASD is not sufficiently clear and there is no causal treatment. Thus, besides prevention and information, early diagnosis, installation of fostering or adoption, and intensive psychosocial care including selection of appropriate schooling, occupational counselling and supportive care in adulthood are mandatory.

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Oxidative stress disturbs energy metabolism of mitochondria in ethanol-induced gastric mucosa injury
World J Gastroenterol 2008 October;14(38):5857-5867

To study the role of mitochondrial energy disorder in the pathogenesis of ethanol-induced gastric mucosa injury.

The gastric mucosal lesion index was correlated with the MDA content in gastric mucosa. As the concentration of ethanol was elevated and the exposure time to ethanol was extended, the content of MDA in gastric mucosa increased and the extent of damage aggravated. The ultrastructure of mitochondria was positively related to the ethanol concentration and exposure time. The expression of mtDNA ATPase subunits 6 and 8 mRNA declined with the increasing MDA content in gastric mucosa after gavage with ethanol.

Ethanol-induced gastric mucosa injury is related to oxidative stress, which disturbs energy metabolism of mitochondria and plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of ethanol-induced gastric mucosa injury.

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Lack of association of the serotonin transporter gene promoter region polymorphism, 5-HTTLPR, including rs25531 with cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics Publihed Online 24 October 2008

We addressed the question whether 5-HTTLPR, a variable number of tandem repeats located in the 5 end of the serotonin transporter gene, is associated with smoking or alcohol consumption.

Samples of DNA from 1,365 elderly women with a mean age of 69.2 years were genotyped for this polymorphism using a procedure, which allowed the simultaneous determination of variation in the number of repeat units and single nucleotide changes, including the A > G variation at rs25531 for discrimination between the LA and LG alleles. Qualitative and quantitative information on the women's current and previous consumption of cigarettes and alcohol were obtained using a questionnaire. Genotypes were classified according to allele size, that is, S and L with 14 and 16 repeat units, respectively, and on a functional basis by amalgamation of the LG and S alleles. Data were subjected to regression analyses.

These analyses revealed P values for associations between 5-HTTLPR genotype and alcohol and cigarette consumption in the range from 0.15 to 0.92. On adjustment for age and educational level, significance for the associations of 5-HTTLPR with the smoking and alcohol consumption measures was not reached.

We conclude that 5-HTTLPR is not an important determinant of smoking behavior and alcohol consumption in elderly women.

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Press Release - Consultation on Specified Food Quantities

Proposals aimed at giving consumers more choice over the measures of food, drink and alcoholic beverages they can buy in the UK were published for consultation today by the National Weights and Measures Laboratory.

It could see restrictions lifted on the sizes in which unwrapped bread and other food are sold, together with proposed changes to allow wine to be sold in smaller measures for tasting and sampling purposes.

The consultation also asks for views on whether draught beer and cider should be available for sale in a new imperial measure. It consults on whether a new two-thirds of a pint measure should be available to drinkers alongside the current legal measures of a pint, half- a pint and a third of a pint. This has been proposed by the beer and pub trade to allow greater flexibility in the service of draught beers, especially those with a higher alcohol content.

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ICAP Africa Region Conference 2008

The International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) organized its second Africa Region Conference on 9–10 September 2008 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Seventy participants from 15 countries attended the Conference, representing government ministries and agencies (including health, finance, trade, police, tourism, and food and drug), public health organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the beverage alcohol industry (see Annex 1).

Participants discussed regional and international initiatives aimed at reducing harmful drinking, addressed knowledge gaps, and explored integrated approaches that can support effective, efficient, and sustainable implementation of alcohol policies and targeted interventions
in the Africa region.

Key conference objectives were to strengthen regional networks and to facilitate the exchange of best practices on regional issues related to alcohol. ICAP recognizes that strategies and interventions addressing alcohol misuse must be considered and implemented in ways sensitive
to different practices in the Africa region and each individual country.
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World Health Organization Public Hearing on Ways of Reducing Harmful Use of Alcohol: Contributions on Behalf of the ICAP Sponsors

In May 2008, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution that calls for the development of a global strategy to reduce harmful alcohol use. Following a period of stakeholder and regional consultations, the World Health Organization (WHO) will formulate the draft strategy in 2009 and submit it for approval to the World Health Assembly in 2010.

The following six papers were submitted on behalf of the ICAP sponsors on key areas of reducing harmful drinking where alcohol producers can demonstrate particular competence, legitimacy, and technical strength and where industry input has been welcomed by WHO:

· Reducing Harmful Drinking: Industry Contributions (for a summary of this paper, click here)

by Brett Bivans and Marjana Martinic

· Alcohol Production (for a summary of this paper, click here)

by Ron Simpson

· Alcohol Distribution (for a summary of this paper, click here)

by Graeme Willersdorf

· Alcohol Availability (for a summary of this paper, click here)

by Adrian Botha

· Pricing of Beverage Alcohol (for a summary of this paper, click here)

by Godfrey Robson


· Alcohol Marketing (for a summary of this paper, click here)

by Roger Sinclair

The 5th International Conference on the History of Drugs and Alcohol: The Pathways to Prohibition,

26-28th June 2009, CSHHH, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland

The conference is seeking papers on the broad subject of the ‘pathways to prohibition’, the underlying motives governing policy and reactions to policymaking across the globe. Proposed papers or panels can be on any topic in the history of drugs and alcohol, but some issues to be considered include the ways in which the cultures of consumption evolved to meet the challenge of prohibition; the impact upon previously good citizens, including distillers and brewers, whose activities were now criminalised; the changing images of consumption under prohibition policies; the construction of consumption which underlay decisions to instigate prohibition or reject it; the effectiveness of the merging of local initiatives with national and international politics of prohibition.

Abstracts of proposed papers (no more than 500 words long) or of proposed panels should be sent by email, fax or post by November 15th 2008 to

Dr Patricia Barton
Dept of History
University of Strathclyde
16 Richmond Street
G1 1XQ
Tel: 44 (0)141 548 2932/ Fax: 44 (0)141 552 8509

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Diageo Applauds Nebraska Liquor Control Commission's Decision to Follow Federal Alcohol Regulations

LINCOLN, Neb., Oct 23, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Commission Upholds Compliance with Federal Standards for Classifying Beer

Diageo, the world's leading spirits, wine and beer company applauds the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission (NLCC) for adopting a rule that codifies Nebraska's longstanding practice of following federal standards when it comes to classifying beer.

After a public comment period that began on July 31, 2008, the Commission upheld Nebraska's logical classification of flavored malt beverages as beer. Flavored malt beverages, which are malt based and contain the same alcohol as traditional beer, are regulated and taxed as beer in 47 other states across the country. The U.S. Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau ("TTB"), the federal agency responsible for regulating alcohol, decided to affirm the longstanding classification of flavored malt beverages as beer in 2005, after an extensive investigation and comment period.
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Identification of Novel Bone-Specific Molecular Targets of Binge Alcohol and Ibandronate by Transcriptome Analysis
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Volume 32 Issue 7, Pages 1167 - 1180

Our laboratory established that binge alcohol-related bone damage is prevented by aminobisphosphonates, suggesting bone resorption increases following binge exposure.

We examined the effects of binge alcohol and antiresorptive therapy on the relationship between bone damage and modulation of the vertebral transcriptome, in an attempt to determine how alcohol-induced bone damage and its prevention modulate bone-related biological pathways.

Bone loss was not observed after 1 week of binge alcohol treatment. After 4 weeks, binge alcohol decreased vertebral BMD by 23% (p < class="i">p < class="i">p < class="h5-inline">

Identification of bone-specific gene expression clusters associated with acute and chronic binge alcohol treatment allowed for the identification of cellular pathways affected by binge treatment with known involvement in bone remodeling (Integrin, Canonical Wnt signaling) not previously identified as alcohol-sensitive.

This data provides a basis for a plausible mechanistic explanation for the known detrimental effects of alcohol on bone formation and resorption.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The sigma-Receptor Antagonist BD-1063 Decreases Ethanol Intake and Reinforcement in Animal Models of Excessive Drinking
Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication 22 October 2008;

sigma-Receptors (SigRs) have been implicated in behavioral and appetitive effects of psychostimulants and may also modulate the motivating properties of ethanol.

This study tested the hypothesis that SigRs modulate ethanol reinforcement and contribute to excessive ethanol intake. The effects of subcutaneous treatment with the potent, selective Sig-1R antagonist BD-1063 on operant ethanol self-administration were studied in two models of excessive drinking—Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) rats and acutely withdrawn ethanol-dependent Wistar rats—and compared to ethanol self-administration in nondependent Wistar controls.

To assess the specificity of action, the effects of BD-1063 on self-administration of an equally reinforcing saccharin solution were determined in Wistar and sP rats. Gene expression of Sig-1R in reward-related brain areas implicated in ethanol reinforcement was compared between ethanol-naive sP and Wistar rats and withdrawn ethanol-dependent Wistar rats.

BD-1063 dose dependently reduced ethanol self-administration in sP rats (3.3–11 mg/kg) and withdrawn, dependent Wistar rats (4–11 mg/kg) at doses that did not modify mean ethanol self-administration in nondependent Wistar controls. BD-1063 did not reduce concurrent water self-administration and did not comparably suppress saccharin self-administration, suggesting selectivity of action. BD-1063 also reduced the breakpoints of sP rats to work for ethanol under a progressive-ratio reinforcement schedule. Ethanol-naive sP rats and 24-h withdrawn, dependent Wistar rats showed reduced Sig-1R mRNA expression in the nucleus accumbens.

The results suggest that SigR systems may contribute to innate or ethanol-induced increases in susceptibility to self-administer high ethanol levels, identifying a potential neuroadaptive mechanism contributing to excessive drinking and a therapeutic target for alcohol abuse and dependence.

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Persisting changes in basolateral amygdala mRNAs after chronic ethanol consumption
Physiology & Behavior Article in Press 7 October 2008

Adolescent alcohol use is common and evidence suggests that early use may lead to increased risk of later dependence. Persisting neuroadaptions in the amygdala as a result of chronic alcohol use have been associated with negative emotional states that may lead to increased alcohol intake.

This study assessed the long-term impact of ethanol consumption on levels of several basolateral amygdala mRNAs in rats that consumed ethanol in adolescence or adulthood.

Male Long-Evans rats were allowed restricted access to ethanol or water during adolescence (P28, n=11, controls=11) or adulthood (P80, n=8, controls=10) for 18 days. After a sixty day abstinent period, the brain was removed and sections containing the basolateral amygdala were taken. In situ hybridization was performed for GABA(A) alpha(1), glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD(67)), corticotropin releasing factor (CRF), and N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) NR2A mRNAs.

A significant decrease was observed in GABA(A) alpha(1), GAD(67), and CRF, but not NR2A, mRNAs in adult rats that consumed ethanol in comparison to controls. No significant changes were seen in adolescent consumers of ethanol for any of the probes tested. A separate analysis for each probe in the piriform cortex ascertained that the changes after ethanol consumption were specific to the basolateral amygdala.

These results indicate that chronic ethanol consumption induces age-dependent alterations in basolateral amygdala neurochemistry

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Press Release - CAMRA Welcomes Parliamentary Beer Group Recommendations

Community Pub Inquiry published today

Beer Consumer group, the Campaign for Real Ale has warmly welcomed the publication this morning of the Community Pub Inquiry, following over two years of investigation by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, said: "Following an in-depth review of the issues and challenges facing Britain's valued community pubs, the APPBG delivers its recommendations to Government this morning. I am delighted that these focus on urging Government to provide better support for community pubs including an urgent review of price differentials between pubs and supermarkets and the role of excise duty, rewarding pubs for community contribution through rate relief and that planning loopholes which lead to unnecessary pub closures are closed. The report calls upon the Government to champion community pubs as small businesses and essential community amenities."

In its evidence to the inquiry, CAMRA suggested a reduced rate of duty and/or VAT on draught beer and is delighted to see this recommended to the government by the APPBG today.

. . . . . .

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UNC-18 Modulates Ethanol Sensitivity in Caenorhabditis elegans
in Press
, published online ahead of print October 15, 2008

Acute ethanol exposure affects the nervous system as a stimulant at low concentrations and a depressant at higher concentrations, eventually resulting in motor dysfunction and uncoordination.

A recent genetic study of two mice strains with varying ethanol preference indicated a correlation with a polymorphism (D216N) in the synaptic protein Munc18–1. Munc18–1 functions in exocytosis via a number of discrete interactions with the SNARE protein syntaxin-1.

We report that the mutation affects binding to syntaxin, but not through either a closed-conformation mode of interaction nor through binding to the syntaxin N-terminus. The D216N mutant instead has a specific impairment in binding the assembled SNARE complex. Furthermore, the mutation broadens the duration of single exocytotic events. Expression of the orthologous mutation (D214N) in the Caenorhabditis elegans UNC-18 null background generated transgenic rescues with phenotypically similar locomotion to worms rescued with the wildtype protein. Strikingly, D214N worms were strongly resistant to both stimulatory and sedative effects of acute ethanol. Analysis of an alternative Munc18–1 mutation (I133V) supported the link between reduced SNARE complex binding and ethanol resistance.

We conclude that ethanol acts, at least partially, at the level of vesicle fusion and that its acute effects are ameliorated by point mutations in UNC-18.

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NIDA, NIAAA to Spend $3M in FY '09 for Mouse Genetics and Environment Studies

[October 22, 2008]

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute of Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism aim to spend $3 million next year to fund between four and eight investigators who will map genetic traits associated with addiction in mouse strains and how environmental changes and developmental stages affect them.

NIDA expects to use $2 million in fiscal year 2009 to fund between two and five applications and NIAAA will commit roughly $1 million next year to these studies. Applicants may seek funds totaling $1.4 million in direct costs of up to five years.

The mouse genome has been sequenced in a number of different strains and it is now time to try to map the complex traits and identify the gene-development interactions for addiction-related behaviors in the mouse, the National Institutes of Health said in a request for applications.
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Effectiveness of Sequential Combined Treatment in Comparison with Treatment as Usual in Preventing Relapse in Alcohol Dependence
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on October 13, 2008

The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of the sequential combined treatment (SCT) and treatment as usual (TU) in relapse prevention in a sample of alcohol-dependent patients, during 180 days of outpatient treatment.

The SCT approach was more effective than TU. The Kaplan–Meier abstinent proportion at the end of the 180 days was 78% for the SCT group and 59% for the TU group (P <> time to first relapse was 150 days for SCT and 123 days for TU (P <> 62% for SCT after adjustment in multiple Cox regression (P < 0.01). SCT had more MDCA (P <>P < 0.05). Therapy sessions lasted slightly longer for SCT than TU (mean 13 min versus 10 min).

SCT can result in better outcomes than TU in the outpatient treatment of alcohol dependence.

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Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration and Regeneration in Alcoholism
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on October 21, 2008

This is a review of preclinical studies covering alcohol-induced brain neuronal death and loss of neurogenesis as well as abstinence-induced brain cell genesis, e.g. brain regeneration. Efforts are made to relate preclinical studies to human studies.

The studies described are preclinical rat experiments using a 4-day binge ethanol treatment known to induce physical dependence to ethanol. Neurodegeneration and cognitive deficits following binge treatment mimic the mild degeneration and cognitive deficits found in humans. Various histological methods are used to follow brain regional degeneration and regeneration.

Alcohol-induced degeneration occurs due to neuronal death during alcohol intoxication. Neuronal death is related to increases in oxidative stress in brain that coincide with the induction of proinflammatory cytokines and oxidative enzymes that insult brain. Degeneration is associated with increased NF-{kappa}B proinflammatory transcription and decreased CREB transcription. Corticolimbic brain regions are most sensitive to binge-induced degeneration and induce relearning deficits. Drugs that block oxidative stress and NF-{kappa}B transcription or increase CREB transcription block binge-induced neurodegeneration, inhibition of neurogenesis and proinflammatory enzyme induction.

Regeneration of brain occurs during abstinence following binge ethanol treatment. Bursts of proliferating cells occur across multiple brain regions, with many new microglia across brain after months of abstinence and many new neurons in neurogenic hippocampal dentate gyrus. Brain regeneration may be important to sustain abstinence in humans.

Alcohol-induced neurodegeneration occurs primarily during intoxication and is related to increased oxidative stress and proinflammatory proteins that are neurotoxic. Abstinence after binge ethanol intoxication results in brain cell genesis that could contribute to the return of brain function and structure found in abstinent humans.

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Serving the Employment Needs of Justice-Involved Juveniles and Adults: A Primer for Treatment and Recovery Support Service Providers

Developed by the Legal Action Center (LAC) to provide Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT)/Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) grantees and their sub-recipient contractors a basic understanding of federal and state laws that directly affect individuals in recovery who have a criminal history. Additionally, the guide provides information about legal and practical challenges that may hinder employment, training, and educational opportunities for people with criminal records. But more importantly, it offers best practices that service providers may utilize to successfully connect justice-involved juveniles and adults to employment and
educational opportunities while in recovery.

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Alcohol increases homocysteine and reduces B vitamin concentration in healthy male volunteers—a randomized, crossover intervention study
QJM 2008 101(11):881-887

Few studies have examined the effect of alcohol consumption on total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations.

To assess the effect of an 8-week intervention with vodka or red wine on plasma tHcy and B vitamin concentrations in healthy male volunteers. To assess the effect on tHcy according to methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677C>T genotype.

A significant increase in plasma tHcy was observed after the 2-week red wine intervention (5%, P = 0.03), and a non-significant increase in tHcy with vodka intervention (3%, P = 0.09). When the two interventions were compared, the change in tHcy did not differ between the vodka and red wine interventions (P = 0.57). There were significant decreases in serum vitamin B12 and folate concentrations, and this decrease did not differ between interventions. The increase in tHcy observed in both interventions did not vary by MTHFR 677C>T genotype.

A 2-week alcohol intervention resulted in a decrease in folate and vitamin B12 status and an increase in plasma tHcy. The effect of alcohol intervention on tHcy, folate and vitamin B12 concentrations did not differ between the red wine and vodka intervention groups.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

News Release - A New Approach to Curb College-Age Binge Drinking?

Ongoing UVA Clinical Trial Testing Medication in 18- to 25-Year Olds

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., October 20, 2008 - A team of University of Virginia Health System addiction researchers is leading a first-of-its-kind study testing a medication called ondansetron to treat severe or binge drinking among 18- to 25-year olds, a group at higher risk for developing drinking problems.

The clinical trial, funded by a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), is now being offered to qualifying young adults through the UVA Center for Addiction Research and Education (CARE) in both Charlottesville and Richmond, Va.

Through this innovative study, researchers are trying to identify whether individuals with a certain type of genetic makeup respond best to the medication ondansetron or a placebo. Ondansetron, also known as Zofran, is typically used to prevent nausea and vomiting following surgery or chemotherapy. It works by blocking the hormone serotonin, which triggers nausea and vomiting. In previous studies, however, ondansetron has been found to have an important pharmacogenetic effect on alcohol craving.

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Protective behavioral strategies and the relationship between depressive symptoms and alcohol-related negative consequences among college students.
Journal of Counseling Psychology. Vol 55(4), Oct 2008, 535-541.

Approximately 40% of college students reported engaging in heavy episodic or "binge" drinking in the 2 weeks prior to being surveyed. Research indicates that college students suffering from depression are more likely to report experiencing negative consequences related to their drinking than other students are. The reasons for this relationship have not been well-studied.

Hence, the purpose of this study was to determine whether use of protective behavioral strategies (PBS), defined as cognitive-behavioral strategies an individual can use when drinking alcohol that limit both consumption and alcohol-related problems, mediated the relationship between depressive symptoms and alcohol-related negative consequences among college students.

Data were obtained from 686 participants from a large, public university who were referred to an alcohol intervention as a result of violating on-campus alcohol policies.

Results from structural equation modeling analyses indicated that use of PBS partially mediated the relationship between depressive symptoms and alcohol-related negative consequences.

Implications for clinicians treating college students who report experiencing depressive symptoms or consuming alcohol are discussed.

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FEAD Launch (14/10/08)

Welcome to the Launch of FEAD, the Film Exchange on Alcohol and Drugs. Fead is a work in progress. We have a range of valuable contributions already available on the site. We are also completing clips with a number of new contributors. These will be added over the coming weeks. FEAD is searchable and easy to use. Each of the contributors has their own page that can be accessed via the toolbar. The clips are broadly organized into categories to assist navigation but you can also browse the Video Bank. We welcome comments and footnote suggestions.

FEAD is part of Lifeline’s strategic plan and reflects a period of radical change within the organization. It is a project developed against one of Lifeline’s four strategic goals, Learning and Engagement

Video Bank


The future / Public Service Reform (10)

harm reduction (9)



interventions / tools / technologies (11)


POLICY, STRATEGY and Research(17)

recovery (9)

sociology / psychology / biology(8)

workforce (8)

young people (3)


Monday, October 20, 2008

The NSDUH Report: Alcohol Use among Pregnant Women and Recent Mothers: 2002 to 2007


  • Data from SAMHSA's National Surveys on Drug Use & Health conducted in 2002 through 2007 were used to compare alcohol drinking rates, frequency, and quantity among women aged 15 to 44 divided into three groups: (1) pregnant, (2) recent mother (i.e., had a child within the past 12 months), and (3) all other women in this age group. A stable pattern of drinking was found for all three groups during this period.
  • Combined data from SAMHSA's 2006-2007 National Surveys on Drug Use & Health examined drinking patterns among women aged 15 to 44. Pregnant women (11.6%) were significantly less likely to have used alcohol in the past month than recent mothers (42.1%) or all other women (54.0%). Among current alcohol drinkers, both pregnant women and recent mothers drank alcohol on fewer days than other women (4.9 days for pregnant women, 4.4 days for recent mothers, and 6.1 days for all other women). Pregnant and recent mothers also drank fewer drinks on their drinking days (2.4 drinks for pregnant women, 2.5 drinks for recent mothers, and 3.0 drinks for all other women).
  • Of concern is the fact that pregnant women aged 15 to 17 were more likely to drink alcohol in the past month than pregnant women in other age groups and they were likely to consume over 3 drinks on the days they drank.
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APHA Presentation - Relationships between increased hours worked and binge drinking in California's workforce

APHA Annual Meeting
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Time: 12:30 p.m. Abstract #174231
Current Issues in Alcohol: Translating the Research Poster Board 2

Andrew J. Barnes, MPH , Department of Health Services, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
E. Richard Brown, PhD , UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

This study explores a framework in which increased labor, and consequently increased income, may negatively impact health outcomes; particularly outcomes, like binge drinking, hypothesized to react to work-stress induced by working more.

Drawing on theoretical frameworks from the work-stress and health economics literature, two-part models were created to simulate the effect on probability binge drinking and number of drinks per month when California workers increase the number of hours worked.

After controlling for income, employment sector, demographics, education, and psychological distress, two part models revealed an increase in 4% (95% CI, 1%-7%) in the probability of binge drinking when labor increased from 20 to 40 hours per week for all workers.

Results from age stratified analyses suggest young workers appeared to drive the observed increase in binge drinking in the entire study population. Specifically, workers ages 18-29 had an 18% increase in the probability of binge drinking (95% CI, 8%-32%) when work hours increased from 20 to 40 hours per week.

The findings from this study suggest that increased labor in young workers, while adding to the accumulation of wealth and income and thus, many argue, better overall health, may in fact have negative associations with specific health behaviors, like binge drinking, known to have serious long-run health consequences and costs.

Workplace trainings on job stress management, particularly for young workers entering the labor force, may help build protective behaviors to ameliorate negative health consequences associated with increased labor and stress.
The Association Between Alcohol Consumption and Risk of COPD Exacerbation in a Veteran Population
. 2008; 134:761-767

Alcohol has been associated with COPD-related mortality but has not yet been demonstrated to be an independent risk factor for COPD exacerbation. Our objective was to evaluate the association between alcohol consumption and the subsequent risk of COPD exacerbation.

Among the 30,503 patients followed up for a median of 3.35 years, those patients with AUDIT-C scores ≥ 6, CAGE scores ≥ 2, or who reported binge drinking at least weekly were at an increased risk of COPD exacerbation in age-adjusted analysis. Adjusted hazard ratios were 1.4 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1 to 1.7) for AUDIT-C score ≥ 6, 1.4 (95% CI, 1.3 to 1.5) for CAGE score ≥ 2, and 1.6 (95% CI, 1.2 to 2.2) for those who reported binge drinking daily or almost daily. However, with adjustment for measures of tobacco use, the association between alcohol consumption and increased risk of COPD exacerbation was no longer evident.

Alcohol consumption, whether quantified by AUDIT-C, CAGE score, or binge drinking, was not associated with an increased risk of COPD exacerbation independent of tobacco use.

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Alcoholic Beverage Intake and Risk of Lung Cancer: The California Men's Health Study
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 17, 2692-2699, October 1, 2008.

We investigated the effect of alcoholic beverage consumption on the risk of lung cancer using the California Men's Health Study.

The California Men's Health Study is a multiethnic cohort of 84,170 men ages 45 to 69 years who are members of the Kaiser Permanente California health plans. Demographics and detailed lifestyle characteristics were collected from surveys mailed between 2000 and 2003. Incident lung cancer cases were identified by health plan cancer registries through December 2006 (n = 210). Multivariable Cox's regression was used to examine the effects of beer, red wine, white wine (including rosé), and liquor consumption on risk of lung cancer adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, education, income, body mass index, history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/emphysema, and smoking history.

There was a significant linear decrease in risk of lung cancer associated with consumption of red wine among ever-smokers: hazard ratio (HR), 0.98; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.96-1.00 for increase of 1 drink per month. This relationship was slightly stronger among heavy smokers (≥20 pack-years): HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.93-1.00. When alcoholic beverage consumption was examined by frequency of intake, consumption of ≥1 drink of red wine per day was associated with an approximately 60% reduced lung cancer risk in ever-smokers: HR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.14-1.08. No clear associations with lung cancer were seen for intake of white wine, beer, or liquor.

Moderate red wine consumption was inversely associated with lung cancer risk after adjusting for confounders. Our results should not be extrapolated to heavy alcohol consumption.

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Method for moderation: measuring lifetime risk of alcohol-attributable mortality as a basis for drinking guidelines
International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research Volume 17 Issue 3, Pages 141 - 151

The objective of this paper was to determine separately the lifetime risk of drinking alcohol for chronic disease and acute injury outcomes as a basis for setting general population drinking guidelines for Australia.

Relative risk data for different levels of average consumption of alcohol were combined with age, sex, and disease-specific risks of dying from an alcohol-attributable chronic disease. For injury, combinations of the number of drinks per occasion and frequency of drinking occasions were combined to model lifetime risk of death for different drinking pattern scenarios.

A lifetime risk of injury death of 1 in 100 is reached for consumption levels of about three drinks daily per week for women, and three drinks five times a week for men. For chronic disease death, lifetime risk increases by about 10% with each 10-gram (one drink) increase in daily average alcohol consumption, although risks are higher for women than men, particularly at higher average consumption levels. Lifetime risks for injury and chronic disease combine to overall risk of alcohol-attributable mortality.

In terms of guidelines, if a lifetime risk standard of 1 in 100 is set, then the implications of the analysis presented here are that both men and women should not exceed a volume of two drinks a day for chronic disease mortality, and for occasional drinking three or four drinks seem tolerable.

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A regression model applied to gender-specific ethanol elimination rates from blood and breath measurements in non-alcoholics
International Journal of Legal Medicine Online First 7 October 2008

As elimination rates for alcohol are suggested to be gender specific, a novel regression model has been applied to estimate these rates for both men and women using experimentally measured data from 81 female and 96 male volunteers described in previous papers.

Breath alcohol measurements were done with the Alcotest 7110 Evidential device and were coupled with concomitant sampling of venous blood. Statistical analyses involved use of a mixed linear model for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and breath alcohol concentration (BrAC), respectively.

The model takes regression lines for each test subject into account with an individual starting value (2 h after the end of drinking) and with an individual alcohol elimination rate per hour (coincidental effects). Further, the data was modeled so that an average alcohol elimination rate per hour could be estimated separately for both genders (constant effects). This enables us to methodically correctly estimate the back calculation.

The elimination rates β 60, which can be used for minimum and maximum back calculations for the BAC, were 0.115 g/kg/h and 0.260 g/kg/h, respectively, for women and 0.096 g/kg/h and 0.241 g/kg/h, respectively, for men.

These figures widely deviate from gender-unspecific values commonly used in Germany (0.1 and 0.2 g/kg/h, respectively). The corresponding values for the BrAC were 0.061 mg/l/h and 0.124 mg/l/h for women and 0.049 mg/l/h and 0.112 mg/l/h for men. The probability of an over- or underestimation of the abovementioned extreme values is 0.3% in each case.

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Alcohol and Tobacco Use Among Rural Mexican Adolescents: Individual, Familial, and Community Level Factors
Journal of Adolescent Health Volume 43, Issue 5, November 2008, Pages 498-505

We investigated the contributions of individual, family, and community-level factors for explaining alcohol use and smoking among rural Mexican adolescents.

Generalized linear models adjusted for sampling design indicated that adolescents' use of alcohol was associated with being male, older, employment, and having a mother who used alcohol. Being from an indigenous family living in a majority-indigenous community was associated with less alcohol use. Family income, family size, and community standard of living were not directly associated with adolescents' alcohol use. Current smoking was associated with being male, older, and more anxious, having a mother who smoked, and having a mother with higher educational attainment. Further analyses indicated patterns in which adolescents' alcohol use was moderated by gender and ethnicity.

Beyond the contribution of male gender and age as risk factors, maternal substance use uniquely explained variability in alcohol and cigarette use among Mexican adolescents from rural communities. Indigenous ethnicity and living in majority-indigenous community settings appeared to confer protective benefits with respect to alcohol.

These findings extend prior research in Mexico and in other countries that identify the combined importance of developmental contexts and individual-level factors for adolescent health.

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Energy Drinks, Race, and Problem Behaviors Among College Students
Journal of Adolescent Health Volume 43, Issue 5, November 2008, Pages 490-497

This study examined relationships between energy drink consumption and problem behaviors among adolescents and emerging adults. It was hypothesized that frequent consumption of energy drinks would be positively associated with substance abuse and other risky behaviors, and that these relationships would be moderated by race.

Frequency of energy drink consumption was positively associated with marijuana use, sexual risk-taking, fighting, seatbelt omission, and taking risks on a dare for the sample as a whole, and associated with smoking, drinking, alcohol problems, and illicit prescription drug use for white students but not for black students.

These findings suggest that energy drink consumption is closely associated with a problem behavior syndrome, particularly among whites. Frequent consumption of energy drinks may serve as a useful screening indicator to identify students at risk for substance use and/or other health-compromising behavior.

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