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Saturday, October 31, 2009
The highest-profile opponent of Noel Dempsey’s controversial new drink-driving legislation said yesterday he might support the watered-down version the transport minister published last Friday.
Mattie McGrath, the South Tipperary TD who led a backbench revolt within Fianna Fail against the reduction of the blood alcohol limit from 80mg per 100ml to 50mg, said the softer penalties for those caught with readings of less than 80mg was “a step in the right direction”. . . . . . .
TRENDS IN ALCOHOL- AND DRUG-RELATED ED AND PRIMARY CARE VISITS: DATA FROM THREE U.S. NATIONAL SURVEYS (1995–2005)
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Interventions and Assessments
- Heroin to Treat Opioid Dependence: A Randomized Trial
- Meta-analysis Confirms Methadone Maintenance Reduces Illicit Opioid Use and Improves Treatment Retention in Patients with Opioid Dependence
- Methadone Maintenance Therapy Decreases Arrests
- Impaired Memory in Subjects Receiving Opioid Agonist Treatment Who Also Abuse Benzodiazepines
- Impact of Buprenorphine Inquiries and Treatment on an Urban Community Health Center
- Improving Entry into Post-detoxification Treatment
- Injectable Risperidone for the Treatment of Methamphetamine Dependence
- AUDIT-C Scores Greater than 7 Predict Fracture Risk
- Does Heavy Alcohol Use Increase Risk of Prostate Cancer?
- Alcohol Consumption Limits Associated with Alcohol Problems in Older Adults
- Greater Alcohol Intake Increases the Risk for Hypertension, but Perhaps Not for Consumers of Red Wine
- Moderate Alcohol Intake Is Associated with Better Endothelial Function
- More than Half of All Deaths in Russia among People Aged 15–54 Years Are Attributable to Alcohol
- Action toward Change Predicts Reduced Alcohol Consumption among Unhealthy Drinkers, but Recognition of the Problem Does Not
An Exploratory Study of the Nature of Family Resilience in Families Affected by Parental Alcohol Abuse
Resilient families are able to adapt to adversities, but the nature of family resilience is not well understood.
This study examines patterns of family functioning that may protect families from the negative impact of alcohol abuse. Naturally occurring patterns of family functioning are identified and associations between these patterns and parenting, current parental alcohol use, recent family stressful events, supportive relationships outside the family, and demographic characteristics are assessed.
The study results reveal a continuum of family functioning associated with parenting, child’s perception of teacher caring, and race.
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Intrauterine exposure to alcohol may affect cardiovascular development, increasing risk of cardiovascular malformations. Intrauterine exposure to light maternal alcohol intake has been reported to affect human umbilical arterial contractility, and adult sheep exposed in utero have had altered cerebrovascular reactivity. In human adults, alcohol intake affects arterial stiffness.
We investigated whether intrauterine exposure to alcohol was associated with childhood pulse wave velocity (PWV), a measure of arterial stiffness.
Carotid-femoral PWV in adults is predictive of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The degree of continuity between childhood and adulthood PWV is unknown, but as we found an association between prenatal alcohol exposure and carotid-femoral PWV at 9 years, a permanent change in vessel wall structure or function is possible. These findings need to be confirmed in other and larger cohorts, and mechanistic animal studies are needed
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WHO - A response to the need for comprehensive, consistent and comparable information on health risks at global and regional level.
The leading global risks for mortality in the world are high blood pressure (responsible for 13% of deaths globally), tobacco use (9%), high blood glucose (6%), physical inactivity (6%), and overweight and obesity (5%). These risks are responsible for raising the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancers. They affect countries across all income groups: high, middle and low.
The leading global risks for burden of disease as measured in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) are underweight (6% of global DALYs) and unsafe sex (5%), followed by alcohol use (5%) and unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene (4%). Three of these risks particularly affect populations in low-income countries, especially in the regions of South-East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The fourth risk – alcohol use – shows a unique geographic and sex pattern,with its burden highest for men in Africa, in middle-income countries in the Americas and in some high-income countries.
Download the full report [pdf 3.77Mb]
MORE INFORMATION ON THE REPORT
Key figures and graphs [ppt 1.17Mb]
THE REPORT IN SECTIONS:: Front cover, table of contents and summary [pdf 930kb]
:: Part 1: Introduction [pdf 994kb]
:: Part 2: Results [pdf 1.57Mb]
:: Part 3: Joint effects of risk factors [pdf 443kb]
:: Annex A: Data and methods [pdf 841kb]
:: References [pdf 148kb]
STATISTICS FROM THE REPORT:: Regional estimates of YLL, YLD, DALYs, and deaths attributable to 24 risk factors for 2004: estimates of exposure prevalence for selected risk factors
Alcohol Expectancy and Hazardous Drinking: A 6-Year Longitudinal and Nationwide Study of Medical Doctors
The study's aim was to determine whether medical doctors' expectancy that alcohol use reduces tension predicts the extent of their hazardous drinking and whether this effect is mediated by drinking to cope.
Efforts to reduce drinking among medical students and doctors should target both alcohol expectancies (beliefs) and hazardous drinking (behavior)..
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Several experimental laboratory studies have shown that subjective craving for alcohol increases as a result of low-to-moderate levels of alcohol consumption.
Less is known about alcohol prime effects on relatively automatic appetitive motivational processes such as attentional bias (AB). Also, it is not known whether the effects from laboratory studies can be generalized to real-life drinking environments, and whether effects change after higher alcohol doses than those that have been administered in lab studies.
This field study validates earlier experimental research on alcohol prime effects in a real drinking situation. Further, it demonstrates prime effects up to much higher alcohol doses than in previous lab studies.
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It is no longer seen as ''safe'' for families to allow their teenagers an occasional drink.
WHEN the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines on drinking alcohol were released earlier this year, some parents were surprised to discover that sharing the occasional beer or glass of wine with their teenagers might be dangerous. ''Parents and carers should be advised that children under 15 years of age are at the greatest risk of harm from drinking and that for this age group, not drinking alcohol is especially important,'' says guideline three. ''For young people aged 15-17 years, the safest option is to delay the initiation of drinking for as long as possible.''
This was a significant change. The previous 2001 guidelines had recommended under-18s not drink above the levels suggested for adults. The new advice challenged entrenched ideas about what sensible drinking means. In many Australian households, parents occasionally serve alcohol to their children as a way of teaching them how to enjoy a drink responsibly. Could it really be safer to ban under-age drinking in the home altogether and allow them to find their own way once they turn 18? . . . . . .
To clarify the dose-response relationship between alcohol consumption and type 2 diabetes.
The search revealed 20 cohort studies that met our inclusion criteria. A U-shaped relationship was found for both sexes. Compared with lifetime abstainers, the relative risk (RR) for type 2 diabetes among men was most protective when consuming 22 g/day alcohol (RR 0.87 [95% CI 0.76–1.00]) and became deleterious at just over 60 g/day alcohol (1.01 [0.71–1.44]). Among women, consumption of 24 g/day alcohol was most protective (0.60 [0.52–0.69]) and became deleterious at about 50 g/day alcohol (1.02 [0.83–1.26]).
Our analysis confirms previous research findings that moderate alcohol consumption is protective for type 2 diabetes in men and women.
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A GENERATION of Victorian teenagers are drinking themselves into oblivion, with more than a quarter of 15-year-olds bingeing until they black out - the point at which brain damage is likely to occur.
Research has also found that more than a third of 11-year-old boys have consumed alcohol.
The figures, contained in a study by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, have alarmed brain development experts who say a generation of young people are destroying their chances of reaching their full potential. . . . . . . .
Identification of risk alleles for human behavioral disorders through genomewide association studies (GWAS) has been hampered by a daunting multiple testing problem. This problem can be circumvented for some phenotypes by combining genomewide studies in model organisms with subsequent candidate gene association analyses in human populations.
Here, we characterized genetic networks that underlie the response to ethanol exposure in Drosophila melanogaster by measuring ethanol knockdown time in 40 wild-derived inbred Drosophila lines. We associated phenotypic variation in ethanol responses with genomewide variation in gene expression and identified modules of correlated transcripts associated with a first and second exposure to ethanol vapors as well as the induction of tolerance. We validated the computational networks and assessed their robustness by transposon-mediated disruption of focal genes within modules in a laboratory inbred strain, followed by measurements of transcript abundance of connected genes within the module.
Many genes within the modules have human orthologs, which provides a stepping stone for the identification of candidate genes associated with alcohol drinking behavior in human populations. We demonstrated the potential of this translational approach by identifying seven intronic single nucleotide polymorphisms of the Malic Enzyme 1 (ME1) gene that are associated with cocktail drinking in 1687 individuals of the Framingham Offspring cohort, implicating that variation in levels of cytoplasmic malic enzyme may contribute to variation in alcohol consumption.
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We previously found that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-haplodeficient mice exhibit greater ethanol-induced place preference and psychomotor sensitization, and greater ethanol consumption after deprivation, than control mice. We further observed that, in mice, voluntary ethanol intake increases BDNF expression in the dorsal striatum (DS).
Here, we determined whether BDNF within the DS regulates ethanol self-administration in Long–Evans rats trained to self-administer a 10% ethanol solution.
We observed a greater increase in BDNF expression after ethanol self-administration in the dorsolateral striatum (DLS) than in the dorsomedial striatum (DMS). We further found that downregulation of endogenous BDNF using viral-mediated siRNA in the DLS, but not in the DMS, significantly increased ethanol self-administration. Infusion of exogenous BDNF (0.25 µg/µl/side into the DMS; 0.25 and 0.75 µg/µl/side into the DLS) attenuated responding for ethanol when infused 3 h before the beginning of the self-administration session. Although the decrease in ethanol intake was similar in the DLS and DMS, BDNF infused in the DLS, but not in the DMS, induced an early termination of the drinking episode. Furthermore, the action of BDNF in the DLS was specific for ethanol, as infusion of the neurotrophic factor in the DMS, but not DLS, resulted in a reduction of sucrose intake.
Together, these findings demonstrate that the BDNF pathway within the DLS controls the level of ethanol self-administration. Importantly, our results suggest that an endogenous signaling pathway within the same brain region that mediates drug-taking behavior also plays a critical role in gating the level of ethanol intake.
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Friday, October 30, 2009
Molecular reconstruction of mGluR5a-mediated endocannabinoid signaling cascade in single rat sympathetic neurons.
Endocannabinoids (eCB) such as 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG) are lipid metabolites that are synthesized in a postsynaptic neurons and act upon CB(1) cannabinoid receptors (CB(1)R) in presynaptic nerve terminals. This retrograde transmission underlies several forms of short and long term synaptic plasticity within the CNS.
Here, we constructed a model system based on isolated rat sympathetic neurons, in which an eCB signaling cascade could be studied in a reduced, spatially compact, and genetically malleable system. We constructed a complete eCB production/mobilization pathway by sequential addition of molecular components. Heterologous expression of four components was required for eCB production and detection: metabotropic glutamate receptor 5a (mGluR5a), Homer 2b, diacylglycerol lipase alpha, and CB(1)R. In these neurons, application of l-glutamate produced voltage-dependent modulation of N-type Ca(2+) channels mediated by activation of CB(1)R.
Using both molecular dissection and pharmacological agents, we provide evidence that activation of mGluR5a results in rapid enzymatic production of 2-AG followed by activation of CB(1)R. These experiments define the critical elements required to recapitulate retrograde eCB production and signaling in a single peripheral neuron. Moreover, production/mobilization of eCB can be detected on a physiologically relevant time scale using electrophysiological techniques.
The system provides a platform for testing candidate molecules underlying facilitation of eCB transport across the plasma membrane.
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H2 haplotype at chromosome 17q21.31 protects against childhood sexual abuse-associated risk for alcohol consumption and dependence
Animal research supports a central role for corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) in actions of ethanol on brain function. An examination of alcohol consumption in adolescents reported a significant genotype × environment (G × E) interaction involving rs1876831, a corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRHR1) polymorphism, and negative events. CRHR1 and at least four other genes are located at 17q21.31 in an extremely large block of high linkage disequilibrium resulting from a local chromosomal inversion; the minor allele of rs1876831 is contained within the H2 haplotype.
Here, we examine whether G × E interactions involving this haplotype and childhood sexual abuse (CSA) are associated with risk for alcohol consumption and dependence in Australian participants (n = 1128 respondents from 476 families) of the Nicotine Addiction Genetics project.
Individuals reporting a history of CSA had significantly higher ACFS and increased risk for alcohol dependence. A significant G × E interaction was found for ACFS involving the H2 haplotype and CSA . A similar G × E interaction was associated with protective effects against alcohol dependence risk . For each outcome, no significant CSA-associated risk was observed in H2 haplotype carriers.
These findings support conducting further investigation of the H2 haplotype to determine the gene(s) responsible. Our results also suggest that severe early trauma may prove to be an important clinical covariate in the treatment of alcohol dependence.
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The Estonian government agreed yesterday on principle on next the state budget 2010 and in order to cover spending in this budget, the state will increase the excise tax on alcohol and tobacco, Estonian dailies write.
It was agreed that the spending will amount to 89 billion kroons and the revenue volume will be 84 billion kroons. If the decision of the government is finalised, next year the excise tax on alcohol will increase by ten percent and excise tax on tobacco will be raised by 20 percent by the beginning of 2011. . . . . . .
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Booze, STDs and the irrational exuberance of public health experts.
In the history of medicine, nothing has been used so widely and to so little effect as Hirudo Medicinalis--better known as the leech. For two millennia, leeches were used to balance the humors--or to drain the patient of "excess" blood and other substances thought to be the cause of most of humanity's physical and mental ailments. In a similar vein, some doctors and public health advocates are turning to a modern equivalent of the leech--taxes--in order to draw "excess" money from going to "unhealthy" activities, thereby reducing disease and balancing health care spending.
Recently, taxes on sugary sodas have been hailed as a painless way to tackle obesity, despite the absence of proof that the taxes would actually achieve this goal. Now the latest advice for "leeching" America comes from Dr. Lloyd I. Sederer, medical director for the New York State Office of Mental Health, and Dr. Eric Goplerud, director of the Center for Integrated Behavioral Health Policy at . Writing in the Washington Post, they argue that imposing heavy taxes on alcohol would both reduce the harmful effects of heavy drinking and help pay for health reform. The logic is that if teens drink less, they'll have less unprotected sex, reducing their exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. . . . . . .
What influences how children and young people behave towards alcohol.
Two linked research reviews examine:
- How young people acquire their knowledge, attitudes, expectations and intentions about alcohol, and:
- What interventions work best to prevent excessive use of alcohol
'Influences on how children and young people learn about and behave towards alcohol: A review of the literature for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (part one)' (PDF, 420KB) looks in detail at the influences on children, including family processes and structures, peers, marketing and cultural representations, and other major forces such as religion, school and community.
Alcohol prevention programmes: A review of the literature for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (part two) (PDF, 390KB) reviews what interventions have been attempted to try to prevent excessive use of alcohol by young people, summarises the findings and suggests how a universal prevention programme might be delivered.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The minority SNP government’s plans to adopt a minimum price for alcohol appear doomed after Labour’s appointment of a new shadow health secretary who is strongly against the move.
Jackie Baillie, whose constituency includes a big whisky firm employing 600 people, was appointed to the shadow health portfolio this week by Iain Gray, the Labour leader at Holyrood. . . . . . .
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Most older adults had used substances over their lifetimes and in the previous 12 months. Alcohol is the substance of choice for this age group, followed by tobacco; few report nonmedical drug use.
Key findings from Professor Martin Plant, Alcohol Health and Research Unit, Faculty of Health and Sciences, University of the West of England and Alcohol Concern, the national agency on alcohol misuse.
Steering Committee Roster
The Surgeon General's Call to Action toPrevent and Reduce Underage Drinking
Print and Multimedia Resources
Statistics on Underage Drinking
NIAAA Interdisciplinary Team
Selected Research Literature
Research Findings on Underage Drinking and the Minimum Legal Drinking AgeResearch Findings on College Drinking and the Minimum Legal Drinking AgePediatrics 2008;121: Issue Supplement
Levels of alcohol consumption have been on a downward trend since 2004, prompting the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) to call out against 'population' based approaches to alcohol harm reduction such as pricing measures and the mandatory licensing code.
Based on figures from HM Revenues and Customs data, sales have been falling since their 2004 peak, although 2007 levels showed a slight increase on the previous year. Nonetheless the longer term trend has been one of a more significant increase as demonstrated in the recent report from the Alcohol Health and Research Unit 'Future Proof'.
However consideration is urged when interpreting the data and assessing trends - consumption falls may be predominantly determined by significant decreases in consumption levels amongst younger drinkers in particular (16-24 age group). This was highlighted in the report released earlier this year by the JRF 'Drinking in the UK: an exploration of trends'. The impact of the recession, continued rise in home consumption and issues such as convergence between men and women's drinking patterns is also unclear. . . . . . .
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Alcohol use disorders (AUDs)—conditions that range from hazardous and harmful alcohol use to alcohol dependence—are a low priority in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), despite causing a large health burden.
Most alcohol-related harm is attributable to hazardous/harmful drinkers who make disproportionate use of primary health care systems, but often go undetected and untreated for long periods, even though brief, easily delivered interventions are effective in this group of people.
LMICs also need to improve their implementation of proven population-level preventive measures to reduce the health burden due to AUDs. An international Framework Convention on Alcohol Control may help them do this.
Brussels Date: 23-Nov-2009
The 2nd annual conference will offer an overview of the activities by the alcohol industry to prevent the implementation of effective policy instruments; information on new trends in activities and alcohol marketing in Europe and US; and a place for discussion on "how to react?"
Monday, October 26, 2009
BMC Biology 2009, 7:70
We have used a genetical genomic approach, in conjunction with phenotypic analysis of alcohol consumption, to identify candidate genes that predispose to varying levels of alcohol intake by HXB/BXH recombinant inbred rat strains. In addition, in two populations of humans, we assessed genetic polymorphisms associated with alcohol consumption using a custom genotyping array for 1,350 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
Our goal was to ascertain whether our approach, which relies on statistical and informatics techniques, and non-human animal models of alcohol drinking behavior, could inform interpretation of genetic association studies with human populations.
Our results emphasize the importance of the signaling pathways identified using the non-human animal models, rather than single gene products, in identifying factors responsible for complex traits such as alcohol consumption.
The results suggest cross-species similarities in pathways that influence predisposition to consume alcohol by rats and humans. The importance of a well defined phenotype is also illustrated. Our results also suggest that different genetic factors predispose alcohol dependence versus the phenotype of alcohol consumption.
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Based on current and previous results, we suggest that acamprosate primarily interacts with accumbal GlyRs and secondarily with ventral tegmental nAChRs, in a similar manner to that previously observed with EtOH and taurine. The interaction between acamprosate and GlyRs does not only influence dopamine output in the nAc but also EtOH consumption, giving further support for our hypothesis that GlyRs are of importance in EtOH reinforcement.
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Early View 23 Oct 2009
Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with severe bronchitis. This is likely related to increased inflammation in the airways of alcohol abusers. Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) is an important mediator of inflammation in the airway epithelium. TLR2 initiates an inflammatory cascade in response to gram-positive bacteria. We have previously shown that alcohol up-regulates TLR2 in the airway epithelium. However, the mechanism of alcohol-mediated up-regulation of TLR2 has not been identified.
Alcohol up-regulates TLR2 through a NO/cGMP/PKG dependent pathway in the airway epithelium. This is an important observation in the understanding how alcohol modulates airway inflammation. In addition, this is the first time that cyclic nucleotides have been shown to play a role in the regulation of TLR2.
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Researchers have used various paradigms to show that attentional biases for substance-related stimuli are an important feature of addictive behaviors (e.g. Field & Cox, 2008). However, it is not clear whether these attentional biases occur at the level of encoding or at later postattentive processing stages.