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, June 15, 2013

Molecular Mechanism for the Dual Alcohol Modulation of Cys-loop Receptors

Cys-loop receptors constitute a superfamily of pentameric ligand-gated ion channels (pLGICs), including receptors for acetylcholine, serotonin, glycine and γ-aminobutyric acid. Several bacterial homologues have been identified that are excellent models for understanding allosteric binding of alcohols and anesthetics in human Cys-loop receptors.

Recently, we showed that a single point mutation on a prokaryotic homologue (GLIC) could transform it from a channel weakly potentiated by ethanol into a highly ethanol-sensitive channel.

Here, we have employed molecular simulations to study ethanol binding to GLIC, and to elucidate the role of the ethanol-enhancing mutation in GLIC modulation.  By performing 1-µs simulations with and without ethanol on wild-type and mutated GLIC, we observed spontaneous binding in both intra-subunit and inter-subunit transmembrane cavities.

In contrast to the glycine receptor GlyR, in which we previously observed ethanol binding primarily in an inter-subunit cavity, ethanol primarily occupied an intra-subunit cavity in wild-type GLIC. However, the highly ethanol-sensitive GLIC mutation significantly enhanced ethanol binding in the inter-subunit cavity.

These results demonstrate dramatic effects of the F(14′)A mutation on the distribution of ligands, and are consistent with a two-site model of pLGIC inhibition and potentiation.

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Status report on alcohol and health in 35 European countries 2013

People in the WHO European Region consume the most alcohol per head in the world. In the European Union (EU), alcohol accounts for about 120 000 premature deaths per year: 1 in 7 in men and 1 in 13 in women. Most countries in the Region have adopted policies, strategies and plans to reduce alcohol-related harm.

In 2012, the WHO Regional Office for Europe collected information on alcohol consumption and related harm, and countries policy responses to contribute to the Global Information System for Alcohol and Health; this report presented a selection of the results for 35 countries – EU Member States and candidate countries, Norway and Switzerland – individually and in groups distinguished by their drinking patterns and traditions.

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Alcohol consumption, alcohol dependence, and related mortality in Italy in 2004: effects of treatment-based interventions on alcohol dependence

The tradition of consuming alcohol has long been a part of Italian culture and is responsible for a large health burden. This burden may be reduced with effective interventions, one of the more important of which is treatment for Alcohol Dependence (AD). The aim of this article is to estimate the burden of disease in Italy attributable to alcohol consumption, heavy alcohol consumption, and AD. An additional aim of this paper is to examine the effects of increasing the coverage of treatment for AD on the alcohol-attributable burden of disease.
Alcohol-attributable deaths and the effects of treatments for AD were estimated using alcohol-attributable fractions and simulations. Deaths, potential years of life lost, years lived with disability, and disability adjusted life years lost were obtained for 2004 for Italy and for the European Union from the Global Burden of Disease study. Alcohol consumption data were obtained from the Global Information System on Alcohol and Health. The prevalences of current drinkers, former drinkers, and lifetime abstainers were obtained from the GENder Alcohol and Culture International Study. The prevalence of AD was obtained from the World Mental Health Survey. Alcohol relative risks were obtained from various meta-analyses.
5,320 deaths (1,530 female deaths; 3,790 male deaths) or 5.9% of all deaths (4.9% of all female deaths; 6.3% of all male deaths) of people 15 to 64 years of age were estimated to be alcohol-attributable. Of these deaths, 74.5% (61.3% for females; 79.8% for males) were attributable to heavy drinking, and 26.9% (25.6% for females; 27.5% for males) were attributable to AD. Increasing pharmacological AD treatment coverage to 40% would result in an estimated reduction of 3.3% (50 deaths/year) of all female and 7.6% (287 deaths/year) of all male alcohol-attributable deaths
Alcohol was responsible for a large proportion of the burden of disease in Italy in 2004. Increasing treatment coverage for AD in Italy could reduce that country's alcohol-attributable burden of disease.

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Craving in Alcohol-Dependent Patients After Detoxification Is Related to Glutamatergic Dysfunction in the Nucleus Accumbens and the Anterior Cingulate Cortex

The upregulation of glutamatergic excitatory neurotransmission is thought to be partly responsible for the acute withdrawal symptoms and craving experienced by alcohol-dependent patients. Most physiological evidence supporting this hypothesis is based on data from animal studies.

In addition, clinical data show that GABAergic and anti-glutamatergic drugs ameliorate withdrawal symptoms, offering indirect evidence indicative of glutamatergic hyperexcitability in alcohol-dependent subjects.

We used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to quantify the glutamate (Glu) levels in healthy control subjects and in alcohol-dependent patients immediately after detoxification. The volumes of interest were located in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which are two brain areas that have important functions in reward circuitry. In addition to Glu, we quantified the levels of combined Glu and glutamine (Gln), N-acetylaspartate, choline-containing compounds, and creatine.

The Glu levels in the NAcc were significantly higher in patients than in controls. Craving, which was measured using the Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale, correlated positively with levels of combined Glu and Gln in the NAcc and in the ACC. The levels of all other metabolites were not significantly different between patients and controls.

The increased Glu levels in the NAcc in alcohol-dependent patients shortly after detoxification confirm the animal data and suggest that striatal glutamatergic dysfunction is related to ethanol withdrawal.

The positive correlation between craving and glutamatergic metabolism in both key reward circuitry areas support the hypothesis that the glutamatergic system has an important role in the later course of alcohol dependence with respect to abstinence and relapse.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Time-course of behavioural changes induced by ethanol in zebrafish (Danio rerio)

The zebrafish has been proposed for the study of the effects of ethanol on the vertebrate brain. Behavioural tests have been successfully employed in the phenotypical characterization of these effects. However, the short scale (minute to minute) time course of ethanol induced changes of zebrafish behaviour has not been analyzed.

The current study alleviates this need using a 2 × 3 chronic x acute ethanol exposure experimental design. We first expose zebrafish to ethanol chronically using a dose escalation procedure in which fish are kept in a final concentration of 0.5% vol/vol ethanol for 10 days while control fish receive identical dosing procedures but no ethanol. Subsequently, we expose zebrafish for one hour to an acute dose of ethanol (0.00, 0.50, or 1.00% vol.vol) and monitor their behaviour throughout this. period. We quantify the mean and within-individual temporal variance of distance travelled, distance from bottom and angular velocity using video-tracking, and establish temporal trajectories of ethanol induced behavioural changes in zebrafish.

For example, we find fish of the highest acute dose group previously not exposed to chronic ethanol to exhibit an inverted U shaped temporal trajectory in distance travelled (biphasic alcohol effect). We find this response to be blunted after chronic ethanol exposure (development of tolerance). We also describe an acute ethanol withdrawal induced increase in angular velocity.

We conclude that temporal analysis of zebrafish behaviour is a sensitive method for the study of chronic and acute ethanol exposure induced functional changes in the vertebrate brain.

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Association, interaction, and replication analysis of genes encoding serotonin transporter and 5-HT3 receptor subunits A and B in alcohol dependence

On the basis of the converging evidence showing regulation of drinking behavior by 5-HT3AB receptors and the serotonin transporter, we hypothesized that the interactive effects of genetic variations in the genes HTR3A, HTR3B, and SLC6A4 confer greater susceptibility to alcohol dependence (AD) than do their effects individually.

We examined the associations of AD with 22 SNPs across HTR3A, HTR3B, and two functional variants in SLC6A4 in 500 AD and 280 healthy control individuals of European descent.

We found that the alleles of the low-frequency SNPs rs33940208:T in HTR3A and rs2276305:A in HTR3B were inversely and nominally significantly associated with AD with odds ratio (OR) and 95 % confidence interval of 0.212 and 0.073, 0.616 (P = 0.004) and 0.261 and 0.088, 0.777 (P = 0.016), respectively.

Further, our gene-by-gene interaction analysis revealed that two four-variant models that differed by only one SNP carried a risk for AD (empirical P < 1 × 10−6 for prediction accuracy of the two models based on 106 permutations).

Subsequent analysis of these two interaction models revealed an OR of 2.71 and 2.80, respectively, for AD (P < 0.001) in carriers of genotype combinations 5′-HTTLPR:LL/LS(SLC6A4)–rs1042173:TT/TG(SLC6A4)–rs1176744:AC(HTR3B)–rs3782025:AG(HTR3B) and 5′-HTTLPR:LL/LS(SLC6A4)–rs10160548:GT/TT(HTR3A)–rs1176744:AC(HTR3B)–rs3782025:AG(HTR3B). Combining all five genotypes resulted in an OR of 3.095 (P = 2.0 × 10−4) for AD.

Inspired by these findings, we conducted the analysis in an independent sample, OZ-ALC-GWAS (N = 6699), obtained from the NIH dbGAP database, which confirmed the findings, not only for all three risk genotype combinations (Z = 4.384, P = 1.0 × 10−5; Z = 3.155, P = 1.6 × 10−3; and Z = 3.389, P = 7.0 × 10−4, respectively), but also protective effects for rs33940208:T (χ2 = 3.316, P = 0.0686) and rs2276305:A (χ2 = 7.224, P = 0.007).

These findings reveal significant interactive effects among variants in SLC6A4HTR3AHTR3B affecting AD. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects.

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Risk Factors Associated with Recurrent Homelessness After a First Homeless Episode

Alcohol and drug use are commonly associated with the experience of homelessness.
In order to better understand this, we explored the prevalence of drug and alcohol use as it related to successful re-housing within a sample of first-time single homeless adults at municipal shelters. From within this sample, we compared the features of recurrent homelessness with those of chronic homelessness and of being stably housed.

We interviewed 344 subjects upon shelter entry and followed each one every six months for 18 months using standardized social and mental health measures. We analyzed baseline assessments relative to housing experiences during follow-up using Chi square and multinomial logistic regression.

Eighty-one percent (N = 278) obtained housing over 18 months, of which 23.7 % (N = 66) experienced homelessness again. Recurrent homelessness was more common among those with a high school education and if initially re-housed with family.

Bivariate analysis resulted in the observation of the highest rate of alcohol and other drug use among this recurrent group and multinomial logistic regression supported this only with the coupling of arrest history and diagnosed antisocial personality disorder.

With relatively high rates of recurrent homelessness, there were differences between subjects who experienced recurrent homelessness compared to those who were stably housed and with chronic homelessness.

That alcohol and other substance use disorders were associated with recurrent homelessness only if they were linked to other risk factors highlights the complexity of causes for homelessness and a resultant need to organize them into constellations of causal risk factors.

Consistent with this, there should be initiatives that span bureaucratic boundaries so as to flexibly meet multiple complex service needs, thus improving outcomes concerning episodes of recurrent homelessness.

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The combined effects of alcohol, caffeine, and expectancies on subjective experience, impulsivity, and risk-taking.

Caffeinated alcoholic beverage (CAB) consumption is a rapidly growing phenomenon among young adults and is associated with a variety of health-risk behaviors.

The current study examined whether either caffeinated alcohol or the expectation of receiving caffeinated alcohol altered affective, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes hypothesized to contribute to risk behavior.

Young adult social drinkers (N = 146) participated in a single session where they received alcohol (peak Breath Alcohol Content = .088g/dL, SD = .019; equivalent to about four standard drinks) and were randomly assigned to one of four further conditions: 1) no caffeine, no caffeine expectancy, 2) caffeine and caffeine expectancy, 3) no caffeine but caffeine expectancy, 4) caffeine but no caffeine expectancy. Participants’ habitual CAB consumption was positively correlated with measures of impulsivity and risky behavior, independently of study drugs.

 Administration of caffeine (mean dose = 220 mg, SD = 38; equivalent to about 2.75 Red Bulls) in the study reduced subjective ratings of intoxication and reversed the decrease in desire to continue drinking, regardless of expectancy. Caffeine also reduced the effect of alcohol on inhibitory reaction time (RT) (faster incorrect responses).

Participants not expecting caffeine were less attentive after alcohol, whereas participants expecting caffeine were not, regardless of caffeine administration.

Alcohol decreased response accuracy in all participants except those who both expected and received caffeine.

Findings suggest that CABs may elevate risk for continued drinking by reducing perceived intoxication, and by maintaining the desire to continue drinking. Simply expecting to consume caffeine may reduce the effects of alcohol on inattention, and either expecting or consuming caffeine may protect against other alcohol-related performance decrements.

Caffeine, when combined with alcohol, has both beneficial and detrimental effects on mechanisms known to contribute to risky behavior.

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The pre-synaptic Munc13-1 binds alcohol and modulates alcohol self-administration in Drosophila

Munc13-1 is a pre-synaptic active-zone protein essential for neurotransmitter release and involved in pre-synaptic plasticity in brain.

Ethanol, butanol, and octanol quenched the intrinsic fluorescence of the C1 domain of Munc13-1 with EC50s of 52 mM, 26 mM, and 0.7 mM, respectively. Photoactive azialcohols photolabeled Munc13-1 C1 exclusively at Glu-582, which was identified by mass spectrometry. Mutation of Glu-582 to alanine, leucine, and histidine reduced the alcohol binding two- to five-fold. Circular dichroism studies suggested that binding of alcohol increased the stability of the wild-type Munc13-1 compared with the mutants.

If Munc13-1 plays some role in the neural effects of alcohol in vivo, changes in the activity of this protein should produce differences in the behavioral responses to ethanol.

We tested this prediction with a loss-of-function mutation in the conserved Dunc-13 in Drosophila melanogaster. The Dunc-13P84200/+ heterozygotes have 50% wild-type levels of Dunc-13 mRNA and display a very robust increase in ethanol self-administration. This phenotype is reversed by the expression of the rat Munc13-1 protein within the Drosophila nervous system.

The present studies indicate that Munc13-1 C1 has binding site(s) for alcohols and Munc13-1 activity is sufficient to restore normal self-administration to Drosophila mutants deficient in Dunc-13 activity.

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Biphasic effects of alcohol on delay and probability discounting.

Delay discounting and probability discounting are behavioral economic indices of impulsive and risky decision making that have been associated with addictive behavior, but the acute biphasic effects of alcohol on these decision-making processes are not well understood.
This study sought to investigate the biphasic effects of alcohol on delay and probability discounting across the ascending and descending limbs of the breath alcohol concentration (BAC) curve, which are respectively characterized by the stimulant and sedative effects of alcohol.
Delay and probability discounting were measured at four time points (Baseline, Ascending, Descending, and End point) across the BAC curve at two target alcohol doses (40 mg/dl and 80 mg/dl) in healthy adults (n = 23 and 27, for both doses, respectively). There was no significant effect of alcohol on delay discounting at either dose.
Alcohol significantly affected probability discounting, such that reduced discounting for uncertain rewards was evident during the descending limb of the BAC curve at the lower dose (p < .05) and during both the ascending and descending limb of the BAC curve at the higher dose (p < .05). Thus, alcohol resulted in increased risky decision making, particularly during the descending limb, which is primarily characterized by the sedative effects of alcohol.
These findings suggest that the biphasic effects of alcohol across the ascending and descending limbs of the BAC have differential effects on behavior related to decision-making for probabilistic, but not delayed, rewards.

Parallels to and distinctions from previous findings are discussed.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Automatic Processes and the Drinking Behavior in Early Adolescence: A Prospective Study

This study examined the bi-directional prospective link between automatic alcohol-approach tendencies and alcohol use in a group of young adolescents (mean age = 13.6 years). The adolescents in the present study were assumed to be at-risk of early alcohol use and later problem drinking. It was hypothesized that alcohol use and automatic approach tendencies would reinforce one another particularly in the absence of well-developed inhibition skills.
A total of 347 adolescents (N = 279 at follow-up) from special secondary education, a risk group for the development of substance use problems, participated in the study. Automatic approach tendencies were assessed with the alcohol-approach avoidance task, inhibition skills were assessed with the Stroop task, and alcohol used was measured using a self-report measure.
Zero-inflated Poisson analysis revealed a significant effect of automatic approach tendencies predicting alcohol use 6 months later, although only for adolescents with weaker inhibition skills.
Automatic approach tendencies predict future drinking behavior of young adolescents with relatively weak inhibition skills. The findings of the present study have important implications for alcohol interventions for adolescents. Results are discussed in terms of risk factors for the development of problematic alcohol use in young adolescents.

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Chronic Alcohol Induces M2 Polarization Enhancing Pulmonary Disease Caused by Exposure to Particulate Air Pollution

Chronic alcohol consumption causes persistent oxidative stress in the lung, leading to impaired alveolar macrophage (AM) function and impaired immune responses. AMs play a critical role in protecting the lung from particulate matter (PM) inhalation by removing particulates from the airway and secreting factors which mediate airway repair. We hypothesized AM dysfunction caused by chronic alcohol consumption increases the severity of injury caused by PM inhalation.
Age- and sex-matched C57BL/6 mice were fed the Lieber-DeCarli liquid diet containing either alcohol or an isocaloric substitution (control diet) for 8 weeks. Mice from both diet groups were exposed to combustion-derived PM (CDPM) for the final 2 weeks. AM number, maturation, and polarization status were assessed by flow cytometry. Noninvasive and invasive strategies were used to assess pulmonary function and correlated with histomorphological assessments of airway structure and matrix deposition.
Co-exposure to alcohol and CDPM decreased AM number and maturation status (CD11c expression), while increasing markers of M2 activation (interleukin [IL]-4Rα, Ym1, Fizz1 expression, and IL-10 and transforming growth factor [TGF]-β production). Changes in AM function were accompanied by decreased airway compliance and increased elastance. Altered lung function was attributable to elevated collagen content localized to the small airways and loss of alveolar integrity. Intranasal administration of neutralizing antibody to TGF-β during the CDPM exposure period improved changes in airway compliance and elastance, while reducing collagen content caused by co-exposure.
Combustion-derived PM inhalation causes enhanced disease severity in the alcoholic lung by stimulating the release of latent TGF-β stores in AMs. The combinatorial effect of elevated TGF-β, M2 polarization of AMs, and increased oxidative stress impairs pulmonary function by increasing airway collagen content and compromising alveolar integrity.

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Are There Differences Between Young African-American and European-American Women in the Relative Influences of Genetics Versus Environment on Age at First Drink and Problem Alcohol Use?

Differences in age at initiation of alcohol use and rates of problem drinking between African Americans and European Americans are well documented, but the association between early and problem use—and distinctions by ethnic group in this association—have yet to be examined in a genetically informative framework.
Data were derived from a longitudinal study of female twins in Missouri. The sample was composed of 3,532 twins (13.6% African-American [AA], 86.4% European-American [EA]), who participated in the fourth wave of data collection and reported consumption of at least 1 alcoholic drink over the lifetime. Mean age at Wave 4 was 21.7 (range = 18 to 29) years. Twin modeling was conducted to estimate the relative contributions of additive genetic (A), shared environmental (C), and unique environmental (E) factors to variation in age at first drink and problem alcohol use and the cross-phenotype overlap in these influences.
Early initiation of alcohol use predicted problem use in EA but not AA women. Separate AA and EA twin models produced substantially different estimates (but not statistically different models) of the relative contributions of A and C to problem alcohol use but similar genetic correlations between the phenotypes. Whereas 33% of the variance in the EA model of problem use was attributed to C, no evidence for C was found in the AA model. Heritability estimates for problem alcohol use were 41% in the AA model, 21% in the EA model. Evidence for A and C were found in both AA and EA models of age at first drink, but the A estimate was higher in the EA than AA model (44% vs. 26%).
Findings are suggestive of distinctions between AA versus EA women in the relative contribution of genetic and environmental influences on the development of problem drinking.

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The Alcohol Improvement Programme: Evaluation of an Initiative to Address Alcohol-Related Health Harm in England

The evaluation aimed to assess the impact of The Alcohol Improvement Programme (AIP). This was a UK Department of Health initiative (April 2008–March 2011) aiming to contribute to the reduction of alcohol-related harm as measured by a reduction in the rate of increase in alcohol-related hospital admissions (ARHAs).

The evaluation (March 2010–September 2011) used a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods to assess the impact of the AIP on ARHAs, to describe and assess the process of implementation, and to identify elements of the programme which might serve as a ‘legacy’ for the future.

There was no evidence that the AIP had an impa
ct on reducing the rise in the rate of ARHAs. The AIP was successfully delivered, increased the priority given to alcohol-related harm on local policy agendas and strengthened the infrastructure for the delivery of interventions.

Although there was no measurable short-term impact on the rise in the rate of ARHAs, the AIP helped to set up a strategic response and a delivery infrastructure as a first, necessary step in working towards that goal. There are a number of valuable elements in the AIP which should be retained and repackaged to fit into new policy contexts.

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Drosophila larvae as a model to study physiological alcohol dependence

Alcohol addiction is a disease that includes a diverse set of phenotypes. Functional alcohol tolerance is an adaptation to the effects of alcohol that restores neuronal homeostatic balance while the drug is present.

When the drug is suddenly withheld, these adaptations unbalance the nervous system and are thought to be the origin of some withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms, which can be a motivating factor for alcoholics to relapse, are taken as evidence of physiological ethanol dependence. Both tolerance and withdrawal symptoms are diagnostic criteria for alcoholism.

Recent studies have demonstrated that the larvae of Drosophila show conserved alcohol tolerance and withdrawal phenotypes indicating that Drosophila genetics can now be used in studying this endophenotype of alcohol addiction.

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Investigating Parental Monitoring, School And Family Influences On Adolescent Alcohol Use

Key Findings

  • Children whose parents exert greater control over their free time activities tend to drink less frequently. Early control has a lasting influence on alcohol use
  • Higher rates of drinking in early adolescence leads to reduced levels of parent-controlled boundaries and limits at home
  • Being in a school with a higher proportion of frequent drinkers is a risk factor for frequent drinking
  • Girls who attend single-sex post-primary schools tend to drink more than pupils attending co-educational schools or male-only schools

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Minimum pricing: influence, politics and... waiting

Since the Queen's speech failed to confirm whether Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) truly has been ditched, the jostling, debate and politics surrounding the issue goes on.

In particular, the question over industry influence over alcohol policy has been under the media spotlight. Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, who has been a outspoken supporter of MUP, accused Cameron of caving in to lobbyists last month. Similar concerns held by many minimum pricing supporters were summarised in an article by the Institute of Alcohol Studies' Katherine Brown in 'The red-faced ranters have won'.

The issue also gained attention following a recent study on Industry Use of Evidence to Influence Alcohol Policy. The research suggested that industry submissions to the Scottish Government's 2008 consultation included deliberately mis-representative and unsubstantiated claims - replicating past 'big tobacco' industry tactics. See here for a Guardian analysis of the research and a critical take of it on Phil Mellows' blog.    > > > >   Read More


Conference - 21-23 August 2013

The last decade has seen the idea of complexity gain force in
social science and epidemiological research. As social problems of all kinds prove less amenable to change than is sometimes suggested by the reductionist demands of orthodox positivist approaches, theory and method have turned to ways of articulating the elusive, uncertain and complex.

For some, such as the science and technology studies scholars Annemarie Mol and John Law (2002), complexity means multiplicity rather than unity, realities rather than reality, distinct but overlapping worlds, logics and orders. Implicated, too, are questions about the relation between order and chaos, and the validity of binaries of any kind, including that of simplicity and complexity itself.

This conference offers a forum in which the issues and dilemmas of complexity in alcohol and other drug research can be explored. It welcomes research based on quantitative and qualitative methods, and encourages innovative use of methods, concepts and theoretical approaches. Following the conference, Contemporary Drug Problems, an interdisciplinary quarterly and one of the driving forces behind the conference, will publish a special issue featuring selected papers from the conference.   > > > >  Read More

Global Actions: Commitments to Reduce Harmful Drinking. June 12, 2013

Global Actions in Focus
icap translated materials

The Beer, Wine and Spirits Producers’ Commitments to Reduce Harmful Drinking are available for readers to view in six languages: English, Chinese, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Russian, at both and In addition to the Commitments, several ICAP publications are available online and have been translated into numerous languages.

ICAP Issues Briefings are excellent tools that provide background information on specific topics relevant to alcohol policy and the Commitments. Alcohol Marketing and Young People, for example, is available to read in four languages: French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Alcohol-impaired Driving and Health Warning Labels are available in Spanish. Social Marketing and Alcohol has been translated in French, Portuguese, and Spanish.

ICAP recommends that the Issues Briefings be used in conjunction with ICAP's other Policy Tools, including the ICAP Blue Book and ICAP Policy Guides. ICAP Issues Briefings are updated on an ongoing basis. Visit the website regularly as more translated materials become available.

In addition to the ICAP Issues Briefings, the Toolkit for Working Together is available in French, German, and Spanish, and provides tools to facilitate cooperation between alcohol industry members and other stakeholders to reduce harmful drinking.

Key Recent Milestones

· Worldwide: The Global Actions Twitter gained 33 new followers in April and May, while the Global Actions Facebook page had 11,300 impressions and the ICAP Facebook page had 9,600 impressions during the same time frame.

What's Happening Next
· Nigeria: A Baseline Survey will be conducted by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and researchers from the University of Lagos during the week of June 24, 2013. Questionnaires and breath alcohol tests will be administered to approximately 500 petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos.

Critique 113: Metabolic and biochemical mechanisms by which alcohol consumption affects health — 11 June 2013

Whitfield JB, Heath AC, Madden PAF, Pergadia ML, Montgomery GW, Martin NG. Metabolic and biochemical effects of low-to-moderate alcohol consumption. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2013;37:575–586.
Forum Comments

The large majority of prospective epidemiologic studies have demonstrated a “J-shaped” or “U-shaped” relation between the consumption of alcohol and the risk of cardiovascular disease. While the average amount of alcohol consumed is generally related to such risk, studies providing data on the pattern of drinking generally show an even greater reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease at be associated with light-to-moderate drinking, especially the regular consumption of alcohol without binge drinking.
Numerous mechanisms for the beneficial effects of light drinking have been identified. As well summarized by Brien et al (Effect of alcohol consumption on biological markers associated with risk of coronary heart disease: systematic review and meta-analysis of interventional studies. BMJ 2011;342:doi:10.1136/bmj.d636), mechanisms have been shown for alcohol’s effects on lipids, coagulation, inflammation, endothelial function, and other metabolic parameters. Many studies have also shown that the polyphenols in wine have additional beneficial effects on risk of cardiovascular and other diseases.
The present paper describes the relation between reported alcohol consumption and a variety of metabolic and biochemical factors among a large number of subjects in a population-based study in Australia. That study focused on genetic factors among twins and their families. The main estimate of alcohol consumption was the reported total number of drinks in the preceding week from a retrospective alcohol diary collected at the time blood was drawn. For most subjects, intake was also assessed from a telephone interview seeking an estimate of the average alcohol intake over the past year; the latter gave a lower estimated average alcohol intake, but essentially the same relation with metabolic and biochemical parameters as the alcohol diary  > > > >  Read More

Safer Campuses and Communities: Tools for Implementing Evidence-based Interventions to Reduce Alcohol Problems


Higher Education Webinar Series:
June 26, 2013, 4:00 pm−5:30 pm ET
June 27, 2013, 11:00 am−12:30 pm ET
DESCRIPTION: High-risk alcohol consumption remains the greatest problem for most college campuses, associated with an estimated 1,825 alcohol-related student deaths, 599,000 student injuries, and 97,000 student sexual assaults or date rapes each year. As such, campuses and communities across the country have been working to reduce alcohol misuse and related consequences.
Based on a translational research project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the Prevention Research Center developed a suite of Safer Campuses and Communities resources, including background materials, tools, and procedures to help campuses and communities develop and implement targeted interventions for alcohol problem prevention. The resources can help change the culture of dangerous drinking and related problems, and ultimately improve the quality of learning environment for students, protecting the health and safety of students and community members alike.

In this webinar, Dr. Bob Saltz, Senior Research Scientist at the Prevention Research Center, will review the latest research-based approaches to reducing alcohol-related problems among college students and consider how to apply the Safer Campuses and Communities resources recently developed. Then Karen Hughes, Coordinator of PartySafe@Cal at UC Berkeley, and Genie Cheng, Outreach and Education Coordinator at UC Santa Barbara, will share how their colleges have been implementing evidence-based interventions to reduce alcohol problems on their campuses and in their communities.  > > > >  Read More

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

TAP 33: Systems-Level Implementation of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

Technical Assistance Publication (TAP) 33, Systems-Level Implementation of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment, describes core elements of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) programs for people with or at risk for substance use disorders. The TAP also covers SBIRT services implementation. TAP 33 provides general administrative and managerial information for SBIRT services, including effectiveness, implementation models, challenges and barriers to implementation, and cost and sustainability.

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Alcohol Policy Changes and Trends in Adolescent Drinking in Finland from 1981 to 2011

To test if changes in national alcohol policy have had an impact on alcohol use among 12- to 18-year-old adolescents in Finland over a 30-year period.

Frequencies of drinking any amounts of alcohol and drinking alcohol until really drunk from bi-annual repeated cross-sectional surveys from 1981 to 2011 were examined against a national alcohol policy review using nationally representative samples of 12-, 14-, 16- and 18-year-old adolescents (n = 99,724) in Finland.

Twelve-year-olds' alcohol drinking remained rare throughout the period. Drinking among 18-year-olds generally increased throughout the period. Significant increases until the late 1990s and decreases thereafter were observed in 14- and 16-year-olds' drinking patterns. A sharp increase was predicted between 2003 and 2005 as a result of EU-related processes, but instead decrease was observed among 14–16-year-olds. The tests of hypothesized decrease from 2005 to 2011 due to tightening alcohol policy including several tax raises produced mixed results.

Alcohol policy changes between 1981 and 2011 seem not to have had noticeable influence on alcohol drinking or drunkenness among the under-aged in Finland. Conspicuous increases seen in population total consumption in association with EU-related developments have not materialized among adolescents.

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