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.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Dealcoholized Red Wine Decreases Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure and Increases Plasma Nitric Oxide

Experimental studies have shown a potential blood pressure (BP) lowering effect of red wine polyphenols, while the effects of ethanol and polyphenols on BP in humans are not yet clear.

The aim of the present work was to evaluate the effects of red wine fractions (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) on BP and plasma nitric oxide (NO) in subjects at high cardiovascular risk.

Sixty-seven men at high cardiovascular risk were studied. After a 2-week run-in period, subjects were randomized into three treatment periods in a cross-over clinical trial, with a common background diet plus red wine (30g alcohol/d), the equivalent amount of dealcoholized red wine, or gin (30g alcohol/d), lasting 4 weeks each intervention. At baseline and after each intervention, anthropometrical parameters, BP and plasma NO were measured. Systolic and diastolic BP decreased significantly after the dealcoholized red wine intervention and these changes correlated with increases in plasma NO.

Dealcoholized red wine decreases systolic and diastolic BP. Our results point out through a NO-mediated mechanism. The daily consumption of dealcoholized red wine could be useful for the prevention of low to moderate hypertension.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

The effects of learning about one’s own genetic susceptibility to alcoholism: a randomized experiment

Increased accessibility of direct-to-consumer personalized genetic reports raises the question: how are people affected by information about their own genetic predispositions?

Participants were led to believe that they had entered a study on the genetics of alcoholism and sleep disorders. Participants provided a saliva sample purportedly to be tested for the presence of relevant genes. While awaiting the results, they completed a questionnaire assessing their emotional state. They subsequently received a bogus report about their genetic susceptibility and completed a questionnaire about their emotional state and items assessing perceived control over drinking, relevant future drinking-related intentions, and intervention-related motivation and behavior.

Participants who were led to believe that they had a gene associated with alcoholism showed an increase in negative affect, decrease in positive affect, and reduced perceived personal control over drinking. Reported intentions for alcohol consumption in the near future were not affected; however, individuals were more likely to enroll in a “responsible drinking” workshop after learning of their alleged genetic susceptibility.

The first complete randomized experiment to examine the psychological and behavioral effects of receiving personalized genetic susceptibility information indicates some potential perils and benefits of direct-to-consumer genetic tests.

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Differences in liquor prices between control state-operated and license-state retail outlets in the U.S

This study aims to compare the average price of liquor in the United States between retail alcohol outlets in states that have a monopoly (′control′ states) with those that do not (′licence′ states).

A cross-sectional study of brand-specific alcohol prices in the United States.

We determined the average prices in February 2012 of 74 brands of liquor among the 13 control states that maintain a monopoly on liquor sales at the retail level and among a sample of 50 license-state liquor stores, using their online-available prices.

We calculated average prices for 74 brands of liquor by control vs. license state. We used a random effects regression model to estimate differences between control and license state prices – overall and by alcoholic beverage type. We also compared prices between the 13 control states.

The overall mean price for the 74 brands was $27.79 in the license states (95% confidence interval [CI], $25.26-$30.32) and $29.82 in the control states (95% CI, $26.98-$32.66). Based on the random effects linear regression model, the average liquor price was approximately two dollars lower (6.9% lower) in license states.

In the United States monopoly of alcohol retail outlets appears to be associated with slightly higher liquor prices.

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Changes in Alcohol Drinking Patterns and Their Consequences among Norwegian Doctors from 2000 to 2010: A Longitudinal Study Based on National Samples

To describe changes in the patterns and consequences of alcohol use among Norwegian doctors from 2000 to 2010.

Longitudinal study based on data from nation-wide postal surveys in 2000 and 2010 among a representative sample of 682 doctors in Norway. The Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) was used to measure the changes in drinking patterns (frequency of drinking, frequency of heavy drinking and quantity of drinking), symptoms of alcohol dependence and adverse consequences of drinking. A score above 8 was defined as hazardous drinking.

From 2000 to 2010, the proportion of doctors who used alcohol twice a week or more significantly increased from 31.4 (27.9–34.9) % to 48.7 (44.9–48.7) %, and the proportion of those who drank to intoxication weekly or more decreased significantly from 6.6 (4.7–8.6) % to 2.5 (1.3–1.7) %. The proportion who scored above 8 on the AUDIT decreased from 10.7 (8.4–13.0) % in 2000 to 8.2 (6.2–10.3) % in 2010. There was a significant increase in the partial AUDIT-score for drinking patterns (t = 2.4; P = 0.016), and a significant decrease in the partial AUDIT-score for adverse consequences of drinking (t = −3.6; P < 0.001). The partial AUDIT-score for symptoms of alcohol dependence did not change significantly (t = −1.6; P = 0.112). There were gender differences in drinking patterns. Females had less frequent alcohol consumption and fewer episodes of heavy and hazardous drinking in 2000 and 2010.

The drinking pattern of Norwegian doctors has changed over the past decade towards more moderate alcohol consumption and less negative alcohol-related consequences. Changes in the attitude towards alcohol consumption may to a certain extent explain these findings.

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A Review of the Validity and Reliability of Alcohol Retail Sales Data for Monitoring Population Levels of Alcohol Consumption: A Scottish Perspective

To assess the validity and reliability of using alcohol retail sales data to measure and monitor population levels of alcohol consumption.

Potential sources of bias that could lead to under- or overestimation of population alcohol consumption based on alcohol retail sales data were identified and, where possible, quantified. This enabled an assessment of the potential impact of each bias on alcohol consumption estimates in Scotland.

Overall, considering all the possible sources of overestimation and underestimation, and taking into account the potential for sampling variability to impact on the results, the range of uncertainty of consumption during 2010 was from an overestimate of 0.3 l to an underestimate of 2.4 l of pure alcohol per adult. This excludes the impacts of alcohol stockpiling and alcohol sold through outlets not included in the sampling frame. On balance, there is therefore far greater scope for alcohol retail sales data to be underestimating per adult alcohol consumption in Scotland than there is for overestimation.

Alcohol retail sales data offer a robust source of data for monitoring per adult alcohol consumption in Scotland. Consideration of the sources of bias and a comprehensive understanding of data collection methods are essential for using sales data to monitor trends in alcohol consumption.

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FASD News - 35/2012

EUFASD - Second European Conference on FASD
The European FASD Alliance is pleased to announce the Second European Conference on FASD – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: clinical and biochemical diagnosis, screening and follow-up, which will take place in Barcelona, October 21 to 24, 2012.

RedOrbit - Eye Movement Research Could Help Diagnose Neurological Disorders
USC-led team has designed a low-cost, easily-deployed method for detecting ADHD, Parkinson’s, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Researchers at the University of Southern California have devised a method for detecting certain neurological disorders through the study of eye movements.
World Socialist Web Site (South Africa) - Rising incidence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in South Africa
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) describes a range of permanent birth defects caused by the maternal intake of alcohol. The term Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is applied to children at the severe end of the spectrum. South Africa’s Western Cape and Northern Cape Provinces have the highest FAS prevalence in the world.
Doctors Lounge - Variation Noted in Pattern of Alcohol-Related Birth Defects
Exposure to alcohol early in pregnancy produces a pattern of facial and brain defects that can vary greatly depending on the time of exposure, according to an experimental study published online Aug. 22 in PLoS One.
Sky News (Australia) - Fetal Alcohol Syndrome under spotlight
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome came under the spotlight this week after the Federal Government announced new funding for programs targeting the problem.
Ministry of Children and Family Development (Canada) - New online tools boost FASD awareness in B.C.
To kick off Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Prevention and Support Month, the B.C. government is launching an awareness campaign with new online tools and an interactive quiz to get people of all ages involved.

CDC - Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day
September 9th is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) Awareness Day. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause FASDs. Read about Melissa’s experience with alcohol use during pregnancy. Information about the new FASD app is also provided.
GEMS (South Africa) - International Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Day, 9 September 2012
Many mothers are not aware that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can be harmful to their unborn baby. Alcohol may be toxic to the foetus and can cause a number of health problems for both the mother and the unborn child including spontaneous abortion, premature labour, stillbirth and foetal alcohol syndrome, which is a variety of different birth defects.

Barry Carpenter Education - Information for parents, carers and professionals
FASD is a direct result of prenatal alcohol exposure and can be completely eliminated if pregnant women do not drink alcohol.

NHS - Gross motor performance in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and following “moderate” to “heavy” levels of prenatal alcohol exposure: a systematic review
What is the prevalence of gross motor impairment in children 18 years or younger with a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or exposed to "moderate" to "heavy" levels of alcohol prenatally?
The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse - A Review of Evidence-Based Approaches for Reduction of Alcohol Consumption in Native Women Who Are Pregnant or of Reproductive Age
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are the leading preventable cause of developmental disabilities in the United States and likely throughout the world. FASDs can be prevented by avoiding alcohol use during pregnancy; however, efforts to prevent risky alcohol consumption in women of childbearing potential have not been universally successful.
PLOS - Ethanol-Induced Face-Brain Dysmorphology Patterns Are Correlative and Exposure-Stage Dependent
Prenatal ethanol exposure is the leading preventable cause of congenital mental disability. Whereas a diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) requires identification of a specific pattern of craniofacial dysmorphology, most individuals with behavioral and neurological sequelae of heavy prenatal ethanol exposure do not exhibit these defining facial characteristics.
Alcoholism - Effects of Heavy Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Iron Deficiency Anemia on Child Growth and Body Composition through Age 9 Years
Prenatal alcohol exposure has been associated with pre- and postnatal growth restriction, but little is known about the natural history of this restriction throughout childhood or the effects of prenatal alcohol on body composition.
Alcohol and Alcoholism - Maternal Alcohol Use during Pregnancy, Birth Weight and Early Behavioral Outcomes
To examine the effect of maternal alcohol use during pregnancy on infant behavioral outcomes and birth weight, and to investigate the differential susceptibility of infant behavioral outcomes and birth weight to prenatal alcohol exposure.

Новостной проект (Russia) - Нервные расстройства определят по глазам
Оценить неврологическое состояние человека можно без трудоемких тестов. Для этого достаточно отследить движения его глаз при просмотре телевизора.

A Framework for Conducting a National Study of Substance Abuse Treatment Programs Serving American Indian and Alaska Native Communities

Because of their broad geographic distribution, diverse ownership and operation, and funding instability, it is a challenge to develop a framework for studying substance abuse treatment programs serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities at a national level. This is further complicated by the historic reluctance of American Indian and Alaska Native communities to participate in research.

We developed a framework for studying these substance abuse treatment programs (n ≈ 293) at a national level as part of a study of attitudes toward, and use of, evidence-based treatments among substance abuse treatment programs serving AI/AN communities with the goal of assuring participation of a broad array of programs and the communities that they serve.

Because of the complexities of identifying specific substance abuse treatment programs, the sampling framework divides these programs into strata based on the American Indian and Alaska Native communities that they serve: (1) the 20 largest tribes (by population); (2) urban AI/AN clinics; (3) Alaska Native Health Corporations; (4) other Tribes; and (5) other regional programs unaffiliated with a specific AI/AN community. In addition, the recruitment framework was designed to be sensitive to likely concerns about participating in research.

This systematic approach for studying substance abuse and other clinical programs serving AI/AN communities assures the participation of diverse AI/AN programs and communities and may be useful in designing similar national studies.

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