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, August 1, 2009

Health impact assessment of quality wine production in Hungary
Health Promotion International Advance Access published online on July 30, 2009

Alcohol-related health outcomes show strikingly high incidence in Hungary. The effects of alcohol consumption are influenced not only by the quantity, but also the quality of drinks; therefore, wine production can have an important effect on public health outcomes.

The study finds that the toxic effects of alcohol can be reduced with an increased supply of quality wine and with decreased overall consumption due to higher cost, although this might drive some people to seek illegal sources.

Nevertheless, because of the several possible negative effects expected without purposeful restructuring, recommendations for the maximization of favourable outcomes and suggestions for monitoring the success of the analysis have been provided.

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Alcohol: Social Marketing for England

The Department of Health’s Alcohol Social Marketing Strategy was launched in May 2007, to address the growing number of alcohol-related hospital admissions that are made each year.

The Strategy is based on social marketing principles, and uses customer understanding, insight, and audience segmentation to deliver targeted support, which enables individuals to identify their level of alcohol-related risk, and to take ownership of managing that risk.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Client and service characteristics associated with addiction treatment completion of clients with co-occurring disorders
Addictive Behaviors Volume 34, Issue 10, October 2009, Pages 898-904

The study examines client and service characteristics of addiction treatment completers and non-completers with co-occurring disorders (COD).

On demographic variables, completers were more likely to be male and homeless. In the psychiatric domain, a greater proportion of completers received diagnoses of depression and generalized anxiety disorder, whereas non-completers were more often diagnosed with bipolar disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. No group differences were found in client-reported psychiatric symptom severity; however, non-completers were rated by clinicians as having more severe symptoms in the areas of interpersonal sensitivity, depression, and hostility.

In the area of substance use patterns, no differences were found in primary substance of abuse but completers reported more days of use during the month prior to treatment. Completers also had a greater history of both prior detox and non-detox treatment. At discharge, completers achieved higher rates of past month abstinence and AA attendance, but no differences were found in length of stay in treatment.

Examination of recovery support services utilization revealed that completers more often received peer mentoring services. Greater proportions of the non-completer group received educational support, clothing, medical care, and employment assistance.

These results suggest that future studies are needed in examining possible differential treatment response by diagnostic category and the potential role of peer mentoring in enhancing addiction treatment completion of COD clients.

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Double-blind placebo-controlled trial of fluoxetine in adolescents with comorbid major depression and an alcohol use disorder
Addictive Behaviors Volume 34, Issue 10, October 2009, Pages 905-909

This study compared the acute phase (12-week) efficacy of fluoxetine versus placebo for the treatment of the depressive symptoms and the drinking of adolescents with comorbid major depression (MDD) and an alcohol use disorder (AUD). We hypothesized that fluoxetine would demonstrate efficacy versus placebo for the treatment of both the depressive symptoms and the drinking of comorbid MDD/AUD adolescents.

The lack of a significant between-group difference in depressive symptoms and in drinking may reflect limited medication efficacy, or may result from limited sample size or from efficacy of the CBT/MET psychotherapy. Large multi-site studies are warranted to further clarify the efficacy of SSRI medications in this adolescent MDD/AUD population.

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Press Release - Recovery Social Network Provides Support to People Battling Substance Abuse

Recently launched social network, Friends Recover, is lending support to people recovering from substance abuse. Users can connect with others, find substance abuse support, share stories and pictures, locate treatment centers, review the 12 steps, and much more.

Boston, MA
July 30, 2009
-- New social network, Friends Recover, is the latest resource available to the community of those who battle substance abuse in their own lives or in the lives of those they love. . . . . .Bold

Media Release - Alcohol In Our Lives
Published 30 Jul 2009

'Alcohol In Our Lives' (NZLC IP 15) released today, reviews the regulatory framework relating to the sale and supply of liquor

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Heavy drinkers not getting enough NHS help, report says
Denis Campbell, health correspondent
The Guardian, Thursday 30 July 2009

Just one in 18 people dependent on alcohol are getting help with their addiction from the NHS, a Commons committee report said today.

The disclosure comes in a public accounts committee (PAC) report which claims that efforts by the government and health service to curb growing alcohol-related harm have failed.

The NHS spends about £197 per head on heavy drinkers compared with £1,744 on drug addicts, even though far more people suffer harm from excessive consumption of alcohol, the committee found. . . . . . .

Reducing Alcohol Harm: health services in England for alcohol misuse
Public Administration Committee - Forty-Seventh Report 30 July 2009

Alcohol misuse is a significant and growing problem in England, with more than 10 million people now regularly drinking above the guidelines set by Government. Alcohol misuse places a considerable burden on the National Health Service (NHS), costing an estimated £2.7 billion per year. In 2006-07, there were some 811,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions, representing a 71% increase in four years. Between midnight and 5am on weekend nights nearly three-quarters of all attendances at accident and emergency (A&E) departments are alcohol-related.

In 2004, alcohol harm became subject to a national government strategy, which was updated by the Department of Health (the Department) and the Home Office in 2007. Since April 2008, the Department has also been responsible for delivering against a Public Service Agreement (PSA) indicator on the rate of increase of alcohol-related hospital admissions.

Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are responsible for determining local health priorities and have control over the majority of NHS spending. PCTs are free to decide for themselves how much to spend on services to address alcohol harm. Many PCTs, however, do not know what they spend on such services and across England there is little correlation between need and expenditure. Where services are commissioned there is frequently a lack of performance monitoring and examination of whether what is provided represents value for money.

In 2008, the Department introduced a number of new measures designed to help address alcohol harm: providing extra funding for GPs to screen new patients; increasing alcohol-specific training for doctors, and creating 20 pilot sites designed to improve specialist treatment services. The Department has, however, yet to demonstrate its ability to effectively influence local commissioners, the drinks industry, and people's drinking behaviour. The Department also needs to work more closely with the other government departments which are responsible for policies affecting alcohol consumption, such as taxation and licensing. Achieving this will be necessary if the Department is to reduce levels of alcohol harm and succeed against the PSA indicator.

On the basis of a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, we took evidence from the Department on the performance of the National Health Service in addressing alcohol harm; the Department's influence on local commissioners, and the Department's work to encourage sensible drinking.

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Alcohol Use in Nonmutual and Mutual Domestic Violence in the U.S. Army: 1998-2004
Violence and Victims, Volume 24, Number 3, 2009 , pp. 364-379(16)

The association between alcohol use and substantiated incidents of nonmutual and mutual domestic violence between U.S. Army enlisted soldiers and their spouses was examined for the period 1998-2004.

Maltreatment was always more severe in nonmutual incidents. Female victims experienced more severe maltreatment than males. Male offenders and victims were more likely to be drinking than females. For victims of both sexes, severity was greater when offenders were drinking. Older males were more likely to be offenders in nonmutual incidents. White males were more likely than Black or Hispanic males to be offenders in nonmutual incidents.

There is a need for both domestic violence and alcohol treatment programs to focus on the increased risk of abuse when alcohol is involved.

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Alcohol consumption and chronic atrophic gastritis: Population-based study among 9,444 older adults from Germany
International Journal of Cancer Early View 2 Jun 2009

Moderate alcohol consumption has been suggested to facilitate elimination of Helicobacter pylori infection which is a key risk factor for chronic atrophic gastritis (CAG) and gastric cancer. The aim of our study was to assess the association of alcohol consumption with CAG among older adults from Germany.

Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that moderate alcohol consumption may be inversely related to CAG, partly through facilitating the elimination of H. pylori. However, the observed patterns suggest that other mechanisms are likely to contribute to the association as well.

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Working and Episodic Memory in HIV Infection, Alcoholism, and Their Comorbidity: Baseline and 1-Year Follow-Up Examinations
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Early View 28 July 20

Selective memory deficits occur in individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and those with chronic alcoholism, but the potential compounded effect of these conditions is seldom considered, despite the high prevalence of alcohol use disorders in HIV infection.

This study provides behavioral support for adverse synergism of HIV infection and chronic alcoholism on brain function and is consistent with neuroimaging reports of compromised hippocampal and associated memory structures related to episodic memory processes in these 2 conditions.

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An investigation of associations between alcohol use disorder and polymorphisms on ALDH2, BDNF, 5-HTTLPR, and MTHFR genes in older Korean men
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry Early View 28 July 2009

This study aimed to investigate the association of alcohol use disorder (AUD) with four candidate genes in older Korean men: aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2, 1/2), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF, val66met), serotonin transporter gene linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR, s/l), and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR, c.677C > T).

AUD was associated with ALDH2*1 and BDNF met alleles in older Korean men. The first is consistent with previous research and likely to be explained by a protective effect of unpleasant symptoms following alcohol consumption associated with ALDH2*2. The second finding is novel and might be accounted for by BDNF-mediated serotonin or dopamine pathways. However, given the relatively small sample size, the results should be regarded as preliminary and requiring independent replication.

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Writers who drink are old hat. But what about writers who quit drinking? Tom Shone has been studying them for his new novel ...

From INTELLIGENT LIFE Magazine, Summer 2009

John Cheever was most unhappy to be picked up for vagrancy by the cops. “My name is John Cheever!” he bellowed. “Are you out of your mind?” Found sharing some hooch with the down-and-outs in downtown Boston, he was promptly admitted to Smithers Alcoholism Treatment Centre on Manhattan’s East 93rd Street, where he shared a room with a failed male ballet dancer, a delicatessen owner and a smelly ex-sailor. “The ballerina is up to his neck in bubble bath reading a biography of Edith Piaf,” he noted in his journal. He spent most of his time in group therapy correcting his counsellor’s grammar. “Displaying much grandiosity and pride,” they wrote in their notes. “Very impressed with self.” Eventually he fell silent. Four weeks later he emerged, shaky, fragile and subdued. “Listen, Truman,” he told Truman Capote. “It’s the most terrible, glum place you can conceivably imagine. It’s really really, really grim. But I did come out of there sober.” . . . . . .

Treating Alcohol Addiction: A Pill Instead of Abstinence?
By Maia Szalavitz Wednesday, Jul. 29, 2009

They call it "the switch." Alcoholics who take an anticraving medication called baclofen say the drug allows them to resist the most powerful triggers of relapse: former drinking buddies, a favorite bar, the sight of alcohol or even the most potent drinking cue of all, having a single drink. . . . . .


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Early recovery from alcohol dependence: Factors that promote or impede abstinence
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment Article in Press, 24 July 2009

The objectives of this prospective follow-up study were to identify factors that promote or impede the early recovery process and to examine whether drinking status at 4 weeks predicts later abstinence.

During the first 4 weeks of treatment, 57% (n = 100) of patients slipped or relapsed on alcohol, whereas 43% (n = 75) were fully abstinent.

Patients who slipped or relapsed were more likely to report nondependent use of a secondary substance, meet criteria for a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition Axis II Cluster B personality disorder, have a higher level of impulsivity, and have more severe social problems at intake. The final logistic regression model accounted for 37% of the variance in drinking status.

Patients who slipped or relapsed early in treatment were likely to continue to struggle to maintain abstinence at 12 weeks

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7-year trajectories of Alcoholics Anonymous attendance and associations with treatment
Addictive Behaviors Article in Press, 6 July 2009

Although many members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are introduced to AA during treatment, the relationship between treatment and AA attendance over time is unknown.

This paper describes four latent classes of AA attendance among 586 dependent alcoholics interviewed by telephone 1, 3, 5 and 7 years after baseline, and models the relationship between treatment exposure and AA attendance in each class. There was a low AA group (averaging fewer than 5 meetings at most follow-ups), a medium AA group (about 50 meetings a year at each follow-up), a descending AA group (about 150 meetings year 1, then decreasing steeply), and a high AA group (about 200 meetings at 1 year, then decreasing gradually by year 7).

Declines in meeting attendance were not always accompanied by decreases in abstinence. After accounting for the effect of time on AA attendance (i.e., the “ups-and-downs” that occur over time), treatment exposure was minimally related to AA attendance in all but the descending AA group, where it was negatively associated

Considering AA patterns over time highlights a different role for treatment in AA attendance than what is gleaned from analyses at single timepoints.

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Universal intervention effects on substance use among young adults mediated by delayed adolescent substance initiation.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Vol 77(4), 2009, 620-632.

In this article, the authors examine whether delayed substance initiation during adolescence, achieved through universal family-focused interventions conducted in middle school, can reduce problematic substance use during young adulthood.

Sixth-grade students enrolled in 33 rural midwestern schools and their families were randomly assigned to 3 experimental conditions. Self-report questionnaires provided data at 7 time points for the Iowa Strengthening Families Program (ISFP), Preparing for the Drug Free Years (PDFY), and control groups through young adulthood

Five young adult substance frequency measures (drunkenness, alcohol-related problems, cigarettes, illicit drugs, and polysubstance use) were modeled as distal outcomes affected by the average level and rate of increase in substance initiation across the adolescent years in latent growth curve analyses.

Results show that the models fit the data and that they were robust across outcomes and interventions, with more robust effects found for ISFP. The addition of direct intervention effects on young adult outcomes was not supported, suggesting long-term effects were primarily indirect.

Relative reduction rates were calculated to quantify intervention-control differences on the estimated proportion of young adults indicating problematic substance use; they ranged from 19% to 31% for ISFP and from 9% to 16% for PDFY.

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Impact of Alcohol Consumption on Young People: A Review of Reviews

The aim of the study was to undertake a systematic review of the published review literature and summarise the evidence on the harms and benefits of alcohol consumption for children and young people. In this process we assessed the quality of the evidence in this field and its relevance to a UK population. We also identified gaps in the research which need to be addressed.

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A discrete alcohol pocket involved in GIRK channel activation
Nature Neuroscience 12, 988 - 995 (2009)

Ethanol modifies neural activity in the brain by modulating ion channels. Ethanol activates G protein–gated inwardly rectifying K+ channels, but the molecular mechanism is not well understood. Here, we used a crystal structure of a mouse inward rectifier containing a bound alcohol and structure-based mutagenesis to probe a putative alcohol-binding pocket located in the cytoplasmic domains of GIRK channels.

Substitutions with bulkier side-chains in the alcohol-binding pocket reduced or eliminated activation by alcohols. By contrast, alcohols inhibited constitutively open channels, such as IRK1 or GIRK2 engineered to strongly bind PIP2. Mutations in the hydrophobic alcohol-binding pocket of these channels had no effect on alcohol-dependent inhibition, suggesting an alternate site is involved in inhibition.

Comparison of high-resolution structures of inwardly rectifying K+ channels suggests a model for activation of GIRK channels using this hydrophobic alcohol-binding pocket. These results provide a tool for developing therapeutic compounds that could mitigate the effects of alcohol

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Dynamic association between negative affect and alcohol lapses following alcohol treatment
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Vol 77(4), 2009, 633-644.

Clinical research has found a strong association between negative affect and returning to alcohol use after a period of abstinence. Yet little is known about the probability of a lapse given a particular level of negative affect or whether there is a reciprocal relationship between negative affect and alcohol use across time.

The goal of the current study was to examine the association between negative affect and drinking behavior in the 1st year following alcohol treatment.

The results supported the hypothesis that negative affect and alcohol lapses are dynamically linked and suggest that targeting the relationship between negative affect and alcohol use could greatly decrease the probability of lapses and improve alcohol treatment outcomes.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Discussion on the Prevention and Treatment of Mental and Substance Use Disorders and Health Reform

Webcast of meeting to discuss issues outlined in Ensuring U.S. Health Reform Includes Prevention and Treatment of Mental and Substance Use Disorders – A Framework for Discussion: Core Consensus Principles, inform you about the various pieces of legislation being discussed by Congress and the Administration; and most importantly to continue the dialogue

Monday, June 08, 2009
Total Running Time: 01:29:56

The relation between moderate alcohol consumption and cognitive function in older women with type 2 diabetes
Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice In Press 2 July 2009

To examine the association between moderate drinking, cognitive function, and cognitive decline in women with type 2 diabetes.

Among women with type 2 diabetes, moderate alcohol was associated with better initial cognition, but not reduced rates of cognitive decline. Thus, we found no clear and consistent cognitive benefits of moderate alcohol in diabetes.

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Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages Among Pregnant Urban Ugandan Women
Maternal and Child Health Journal Online First 23 July 2009

The World Health Organization estimated alcohol consumption in Uganda to be one of the highest in the world. We examined alcohol consumption among Ugandan women prior to and after learning of pregnancy.

We developed a screening algorithm using factors that predicted alcohol consumption in this study. In 2006, we surveyed 610 women attending antenatal care at the national referral hospital in Kampala, Uganda about consumption of traditional and commercial alcoholic beverages before and after learning of pregnancy.

Alcohol consumption among pregnant Ugandan women attending antenatal care is high. A feasible screening algorithm can help providers target education and counseling to women who are likely drinking during pregnancy. Given the preference for commercial alcoholic beverages, it is recommended that labels be placed prominently on bottled alcoholic beverages warning of the adverse effects of consuming alcohol during pregnancy.

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Sixth Grade Students Who Use Alcohol: Do We Need Primary Prevention Programs for "Tweens"?
Health Education & Behavior, Vol. 36, No. 4, 673-695 (2009)

Young adolescent alcohol users drink at higher rates than their peers throughout adolescence and appear to be less amenable to intervention. This study compares those who reported alcohol use in the past year to those who reported no use in a multiethnic, urban sample of sixth graders in 61 schools in Chicago in 2002 (N = 4,150). .

Results suggest that primary prevention programs for alcohol use should occur prior to sixth grade, particularly for the substantial group at high risk for early use.

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Research on young people, alcohol and locality

This call for proposals forms a key element of the JRF's programme of work on Alcohol, which aims to contribute to halting or reversing negative drinking cultures and patterns among young people in the UK

The programme has so far concentrated on transmission of drinking cultures, and to this end we have already funded two research projects on family influences, three on peer influences (including one with a strong focus on ethnicity); one project on media influences (including depictions of celebrities); and a survey examining the impact of multiple influences.

This call for proposals is focused on the influence that 'locality' has on the drinking and drinking cultures of young people aged 15-24.
Research on young people who do not drink or drink very little

This call for proposals forms a key element of the JRF's programme of work on Alcohol, which aims to contribute to halting or reversing negative drinking cultures and patterns among young people in the UK.

The programme has so far concentrated on transmission of drinking cultures, and to this end we have already funded two research projects on family influences, three on peer influences (including one with a strong focus on ethnicity); one project on media influences (including depictions of celebrities); and a survey examining the impact of multiple influences.

This calls for proposals focuses on why and how some young people do not drink at all or do not drink to intoxication, and how this choice impacts on their lives.

Press Notice - Children’s Minister: Government consultation on young people and alcohol receives wide-ranging support
23 July 2009

Children’s Minister, Dawn Primarolo, today published the responses to a consultation on children, young people and alcohol. The responses show that there is a broad base of support for guidelines from the Chief Medical Office on safe levels of drinking. There is also a clear need for government advice and information for parents. Respondents were very clear that Government had a role to play on the issue and parents were keen for more support and information. . . . . .


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Associations between smoking and alcohol drinking and suicidal behavior in Korean adolescents: Korea Youth Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance, 2006
Preventive Medicine Article in Press, 30 June 2009

To assess any association between cigarette smoking and heavy drinking and suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among boys and girls in a nationally representative sample of Korean adolescents.

Smoking and heavy drinking among adolescents are important factors related to suicidal ideation and attempting suicide in boys and girls. Further research is needed to clarify any causal connection between cigarette smoking and heavy drinking and suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

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Alcohol as a Correlate of Unprotected Sexual Behavior Among People Living with HIV/AIDS: Review and Meta-Analysis
AIDS and Behavior Online First July 21, 2009

The present investigation attempted to quantify the relationship between alcohol consumption and unprotected sexual behavior among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). A comprehensive search of the literature was performed to identify key studies on alcohol and sexual risk behavior among PLWHA, and three separate meta-analyses were conducted to examine associations between unprotected sex and (1) any alcohol consumption, (2) problematic drinking, and (3) alcohol use in sexual contexts.

Based on 27 relevant studies, meta-analyses demonstrated that any alcohol consumption (OR = 1.63, CI = 1.39–1.91), problematic drinking (OR = 1.69, CI = 1.45–1.97), and alcohol use in sexual contexts (OR = 1.98, CI = 1.63–2.39) were all found to be significantly associated with unprotected sex among PLWHA.

Taken together, these results suggest that there is a significant link between PLWHA’s use of alcohol and their engagement in high-risk sexual behavior. These findings have implications for the development of interventions to reduce HIV transmission risk behavior in this population.

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