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1.  The Effectiveness of Community Action in Reducing Risky Alcohol Consumption and Harm: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001617.
In a cluster randomized controlled trial, Anthony Shakeshaft and colleagues measure the effectiveness of a multi-component community-based intervention for reducing alcohol-related harm.
Background
The World Health Organization, governments, and communities agree that community action is likely to reduce risky alcohol consumption and harm. Despite this agreement, there is little rigorous evidence that community action is effective: of the six randomised trials of community action published to date, all were US-based and focused on young people (rather than the whole community), and their outcomes were limited to self-report or alcohol purchase attempts. The objective of this study was to conduct the first non-US randomised controlled trial (RCT) of community action to quantify the effectiveness of this approach in reducing risky alcohol consumption and harms measured using both self-report and routinely collected data.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cluster RCT comprising 20 communities in Australia that had populations of 5,000–20,000, were at least 100 km from an urban centre (population ≥ 100,000), and were not involved in another community alcohol project. Communities were pair-matched, and one member of each pair was randomly allocated to the experimental group. Thirteen interventions were implemented in the experimental communities from 2005 to 2009: community engagement; general practitioner training in alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI); feedback to key stakeholders; media campaign; workplace policies/practices training; school-based intervention; general practitioner feedback on their prescribing of alcohol medications; community pharmacy-based SBI; web-based SBI; Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services support for SBI; Good Sports program for sports clubs; identifying and targeting high-risk weekends; and hospital emergency department–based SBI. Primary outcomes based on routinely collected data were alcohol-related crime, traffic crashes, and hospital inpatient admissions. Routinely collected data for the entire study period (2001–2009) were obtained in 2010. Secondary outcomes based on pre- and post-intervention surveys (n = 2,977 and 2,255, respectively) were the following: long-term risky drinking, short-term high-risk drinking, short-term risky drinking, weekly consumption, hazardous/harmful alcohol use, and experience of alcohol harm. At the 5% level of statistical significance, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the interventions were effective in the experimental, relative to control, communities for alcohol-related crime, traffic crashes, and hospital inpatient admissions, and for rates of risky alcohol consumption and hazardous/harmful alcohol use. Although respondents in the experimental communities reported statistically significantly lower average weekly consumption (1.90 fewer standard drinks per week, 95% CI = −3.37 to −0.43, p = 0.01) and less alcohol-related verbal abuse (odds ratio = 0.58, 95% CI = 0.35 to 0.96, p = 0.04) post-intervention, the low survey response rates (40% and 24% for the pre- and post-intervention surveys, respectively) require conservative interpretation. The main limitations of this study are as follows: (1) that the study may have been under-powered to detect differences in routinely collected data outcomes as statistically significant, and (2) the low survey response rates.
Conclusions
This RCT provides little evidence that community action significantly reduces risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms, other than potential reductions in self-reported average weekly consumption and experience of alcohol-related verbal abuse. Complementary legislative action may be required to more effectively reduce alcohol harms.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12607000123448
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
People have consumed alcoholic beverages throughout history, but alcohol use is now an increasing global public health problem. According to the World Health Organization's 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, alcohol use is the fifth leading risk factor (after high blood pressure and smoking) for disease and is responsible for 3.9% of the global disease burden. Alcohol use contributes to heart disease, liver disease, depression, some cancers, and many other health conditions. Alcohol also affects the well-being and health of people around those who drink, through alcohol-related crimes and road traffic crashes. The impact of alcohol use on disease and injury depends on the amount of alcohol consumed and the pattern of drinking. Most guidelines define long-term risky drinking as more than four drinks per day on average for men or more than two drinks per day for women (a “drink” is, roughly speaking, a can of beer or a small glass of wine), and short-term risky drinking (also called binge drinking) as seven or more drinks on a single occasion for men or five or more drinks on a single occasion for women. However, recent changes to the Australian guidelines acknowledge that a lower level of alcohol consumption is considered risky (with lifetime risky drinking defined as more than two drinks a day and binge drinking defined as more than four drinks on one occasion).
Why Was This Study Done?
In 2010, the World Health Assembly endorsed a global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. This strategy emphasizes the importance of community action–a process in which a community defines its own needs and determines the actions that are required to meet these needs. Although community action is highly acceptable to community members, few studies have looked at the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm. Here, the researchers undertake a cluster randomized controlled trial (the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities [AARC] project) to quantify the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption and harms in rural communities in Australia. A cluster randomized trial compares outcomes in clusters of people (here, communities) who receive alternative interventions assigned through the play of chance.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers pair-matched 20 rural Australian communities according to the proportion of their population that was Aboriginal (rates of alcohol-related harm are disproportionately higher among Aboriginal individuals than among non-Aboriginal individuals in Australia; they are also higher among young people and males, but the proportions of these two groups across communities was comparable). They randomly assigned one member of each pair to the experimental group and implemented 13 interventions in these communities by negotiating with key individuals in each community to define and implement each intervention. Examples of interventions included general practitioner training in screening for alcohol use disorders and in implementing a brief intervention, and a school-based interactive session designed to reduce alcohol harm among young people. The researchers quantified the effectiveness of the interventions using routinely collected data on alcohol-related crime and road traffic crashes, and on hospital inpatient admissions for alcohol dependence or abuse (which were expected to increase in the experimental group if the intervention was effective because of more people seeking or being referred for treatment). They also examined drinking habits and experiences of alcohol-related harm, such as verbal abuse, among community members using pre- and post-intervention surveys. After implementation of the interventions, the rates of alcohol-related crime, road traffic crashes, and hospital admissions, and of risky and hazardous/harmful alcohol consumption (measured using a validated tool called the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) were not statistically significantly different in the experimental and control communities (a difference in outcomes that is not statistically significantly different can occur by chance). However, the reported average weekly consumption of alcohol was 20% lower in the experimental communities after the intervention than in the control communities (equivalent to 1.9 fewer standard drinks per week per respondent) and there was less alcohol-related verbal abuse post-intervention in the experimental communities than in the control communities.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide little evidence that community action reduced risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms in rural Australian communities. Although there was some evidence of significant reductions in self-reported weekly alcohol consumption and in experiences of alcohol-related verbal abuse, these findings must be interpreted cautiously because they are based on surveys with very low response rates. A larger or differently designed study might provide statistically significant evidence for the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption. However, given their findings, the researchers suggest that legislative approaches that are beyond the control of individual communities, such as alcohol taxation and restrictions on alcohol availability, may be required to effectively reduce alcohol harms. In other words, community action alone may not be the most effective way to reduce alcohol-related harm.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001617.
The World Health Organization provides detailed information about alcohol; its fact sheet on alcohol includes information about the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol; the Global Information System on Alcohol and Health provides further information about alcohol, including information on control policies around the world
The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has information about alcohol and its effects on health
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a website on alcohol and public health that includes information on the health risks of excessive drinking
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about drinking and alcohol, including information on the risks of drinking too much, tools for calculating alcohol consumption, and personal stories about alcohol use problems
MedlinePlus provides links to many other resources on alcohol
More information about the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities project is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001617
PMCID: PMC3949675  PMID: 24618831
2.  A Population-Based Study on Alcohol and High-Risk Sexual Behaviors in Botswana 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(10):e392.
Background
In Botswana, an estimated 24% of adults ages 15–49 years are infected with HIV. While alcohol use is strongly associated with HIV infection in Africa, few population-based studies have characterized the association of alcohol use with specific high-risk sexual behaviors.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cross-sectional, population-based study of 1,268 adults from five districts in Botswana using a stratified two-stage probability sample design. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess correlates of heavy alcohol consumption (>14 drinks/week for women, and >21 drinks/week for men) as a dependent variable. We also assessed gender-specific associations between alcohol use as a primary independent variable (categorized as none, moderate, problem and heavy drinking) and several risky sex outcomes including: (a) having unprotected sex with a nonmonogamous partner; (b) having multiple sexual partners; and (c) paying for or selling sex in exchange for money or other resources. Criteria for heavy drinking were met by 31% of men and 17% of women. Adjusted correlates of heavy alcohol use included male gender, intergenerational relationships (age gap ≥10 y), higher education, and living with a sexual partner. Among men, heavy alcohol use was associated with higher odds of all risky sex outcomes examined, including unprotected sex (AOR = 3.48; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.65 to 7.32), multiple partners (AOR = 3.08; 95% CI, 1.95 to 4.87), and paying for sex (AOR = 3.65; 95% CI, 2.58 to 12.37). Similarly, among women, heavy alcohol consumption was associated with higher odds of unprotected sex (AOR = 3.28; 95% CI, 1.71 to 6.28), multiple partners (AOR = 3.05; 95% CI, 1.83 to 5.07), and selling sex (AOR = 8.50; 95% CI, 3.41 to 21.18). A dose-response relationship was seen between alcohol use and risky sexual behaviors, with moderate drinkers at lower risk than both problem and heavy drinkers.
Conclusions
Alcohol use is associated with multiple risks for HIV transmission among both men and women. The findings of this study underscore the need to integrate alcohol abuse and HIV prevention efforts in Botswana and elsewhere.
Alcohol use is associated with multiple risks for HIV transmission in men and women. The findings underscore the need to integrate alcohol abuse and HIV prevention efforts in Botswana and elsewhere.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), is most commonly spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner. HIV enters the body through the lining of the sex organs, rectum, or mouth, and destroys immune system cells, leaving the infected person susceptible to other viruses and bacteria. Although HIV education and prevention campaigns emphasize the importance of safe sex in reducing HIV transmission, people continue to become infected by having unprotected sex (that is, not using a condom) with either a nonmonogamous partner or multiple sexual partners, or in situations where they are paying for or selling sex. Research in different populations suggested that heavy alcohol use is associated with risky sexual behaviors. This is because alcohol relaxes the brain and body, reduces inhibitions, and diminishes risk perception. Drinking alcohol may further increase the risk of becoming infected with HIV through its suppressive effects on the immune system.
Why Was This Study Done?
Alcohol abuse is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa where most HIV infections occur and has been associated with risky sexual behaviors. It may therefore be one of the most common, potentially modifiable HIV risk factors in this region. However, research to date has concentrated on the association between alcohol consumption and risky sex in people attending HIV-treatment clinics or recruited at beer halls, and these populations may not be representative of the general population of sub-Saharan Africa. In this study, the researchers have investigated the potential role of alcohol in perpetuating the HIV epidemic by undertaking a population-based study on alcohol use and high-risk sexual behaviors in Botswana. Nearly a quarter of adults are infected with HIV here, and alcohol abuse is also common, particularly in the townships.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited a random cross-section of people from the five districts of Botswana with the highest number of HIV-infected individuals and interviewed all 1,268 participants using a questionnaire. This included general questions about the participants (for example, their age and marital status) and questions about alcohol use, sexual behavior, and knowledge of HIV. Overall, 31% of the men in the study and 17% of the women were heavy drinkers—more than 21 drinks/week for men, 14 for women; a drink is half a pint of beer or a glass of wine. Heavy alcohol use was associated with being male, being in an intergenerational relationship (at least 10 years age difference between partners; intergenerational sex facilitates the continued spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa), having had more education, and living with a sexual partner. Among men, those who drank heavily were three to four times more likely to have unprotected sex or multiple partners or to pay for sex than nondrinkers. Among women, there was a similar association between heavy drinking and having unprotected sex or multiple partners, and heavy drinkers were eight times as likely to sell sex as nondrinkers. For both men and women, the more they drank, the more likely they were to have risky sex. The study did not address behavior among same-sex partnerships.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study indicates that heavy alcohol consumption is strongly and consistently associated with sexual risk behaviors in both men and women in Botswana. Because of the study design, it does not prove that heavy alcohol use is the cause of such behaviors but provides strong circumstantial evidence that this is the case. It is possible that these results may not apply to neighboring African countries—Botswana is unique in being relatively wealthy and in its government being strongly committed to tackling HIV. Nevertheless, taken together with the results of other studies, this research strongly argues for the need to deal with alcohol abuse within HIV prevention programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Strategies to do this could include education campaigns that target both alcohol use and HIV in schools and in social venues, including beer halls. But, stress the researchers, any strategy that is used must consider the cultural and social significance of alcohol use (in Botswana, alcohol use is a symbol of masculinity and high socioeconomic status) and must simultaneously tackle not only the overlap between alcohol use and risky sexual behavior but also the overlap between alcohol and other risk behaviors such as intergenerational sex.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030392.
US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases factsheet on HIV infection and AIDS
US Department of Health and Human Services information on AIDS
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information on HIV/AIDS
US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism patient information on alcohol and HIV/AIDS]
Aidsmap, information on HIV and AIDS provided by the charity NAM,which includes some information on HIV infections and alcohol
AVERT information on HIV and AIDS in Botswana
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030392
PMCID: PMC1592342  PMID: 17032060
3.  Adult Consequences of Late Adolescent Alcohol Consumption: A Systematic Review of Cohort Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(2):e1000413.
In a systematic review of cohort studies of adolescent drinking and later outcomes, Jim McCambridge and colleagues show that although studies suggest links to worse adult physical and mental health and social consequences, existing evidence is of poor quality.
Background
Although important to public policy, there have been no rigorous evidence syntheses of the long-term consequences of late adolescent drinking.
Methods and Findings
This systematic review summarises evidence from general population cohort studies of drinking between 15–19 years old and any subsequent outcomes aged 20 or greater, with at least 3 years of follow-up study. Fifty-four studies were included, of which 35 were assessed to be vulnerable to bias and/or confounding. The principal findings are: (1) There is consistent evidence that higher alcohol consumption in late adolescence continues into adulthood and is also associated with alcohol problems including dependence; (2) Although a number of studies suggest links to adult physical and mental health and social consequences, existing evidence is of insufficient quality to warrant causal inferences at this stage.
Conclusions
There is an urgent need for high quality long-term prospective cohort studies in order to better understand the public health burden that is consequent on late adolescent drinking, both in relation to adult drinking and more broadly. Reducing drinking during late adolescence is likely to be important for preventing long-term adverse consequences as well as protecting against more immediate harms.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The effects of alcohol intoxication (drunkenness), dependence (habitual, compulsive, and long-term drinking), and the associated biochemical changes, have wide-ranging health and social consequences, some of which can be lethal. Worldwide, alcohol causes 2.5 million deaths (3.8% of total) and 69.4 million (4.5% of total) of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). Unintentional injuries alone account for about one-third of the 2.5 million deaths, whereas neuro-psychiatric conditions account for almost 40%. There is also a causal relationship between alcohol consumption and more than 60 types of disease and injury; worldwide, alcohol is estimated to cause about 20%–30% cases of esophageal cancer, liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, homicide, epilepsy, and motor vehicle crashes. There is increasing evidence that, in addition to the volume of alcohol consumed, the pattern of drinking has an effect on health outcomes, with binge drinking found to be particularly harmful. As the majority of people who binge drink are teenagers, this group may be particularly vulnerable to the damaging health effects of alcohol, leading to global concern about the drinking trends and patterns among young people.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although there have been many published cohort studies reporting the longer term harms associated with adolescent drinking, the strength of this evidence remains unclear, which has implications for the objectives of interventions. For example, if adolescent drinking does not cause later difficulties, early intervention on, and management of, the acute consequences of alcohol consumption, such as antisocial behaviour and unintentional injuries, may be the most appropriate community safety and public health responses. However, if there is a causal relationship, there needs to be an additional approach that addresses the cumulative harmful effects of alcohol. The researchers conducted this systematic review of cohort studies, as this method provides the strongest observational study design to evaluate evidence of causality.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers conducted a comprehensive literature review to identify relevant studies that met their inclusion criteria, which were: (1) data collection from at least two points in time, at least 3 years apart, from the same cohort; (2) data collection regarding alcohol consumption between the ages of 15 and 19 years old; and (3) inclusion of a report of at least one quantitative measure of effect, such as an odds ratio, between alcohol involvement and any later outcome assessed at age 20 or greater. The majority of these studies were multiple reports from ten cohorts and approximately half were from the US. The researchers then evaluated the strength of causal inference possible in these studies by assessing whether all possible contributing factors(confounders) had been taken into account, identifying studies that had follow-up rates of 80% or greater, and which had sample sizes of 1,000 participants or more.
Using these methods, the researchers found that, overall, there is consistent evidence that higher alcohol consumption in late adolescence continues into adulthood and is also associated with alcohol problems, including dependence. For example, one population-based cohort showed that late adolescent drinking can cause early death among men, mainly through car crashes and suicides, and there was a large evidence base supporting the ongoing impacts of late adolescent drinking on adult drinking behaviours—although most of these studies could not strongly support causal inferences because of their weak designs. The researchers also concluded that although a number of studies suggested links with late adolescent drinking to adult physical and mental health and social consequences, this evidence is generally of poor quality and insufficient to infer causality.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The results of this study show that that the evidence-base on the long-term consequences of late adolescent drinking is not as extensive or compelling as it needs to be. The researchers stress that there is an urgent need for high quality long-term prospective cohort studies in order to better understand the public health burden associated with adolescent drinking in general and in relation to adult drinking. However, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that reducing drinking during late adolescence is likely to be important for preventing long-term adverse consequences as well as protecting against more immediate harmful consequences harms.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000413.
The World Health Organization has information about the global incidence of alcohol consumption
The US-based Marin Institute has information about alcohol and young people
The BBC also has a site on late adolescent drinking
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000413
PMCID: PMC3035611  PMID: 21346802
4.  Dental Aesthetic Index of school students in Telangana region - An epidemiological study 
Background: Malocclusion should be identified at its earliest before it produces any detrimental effects. The objective of this study is to evaluate the orthodontic status and treatment need of school children in Telangana region, Andhra Pradesh, using Dental Aesthetic Index. Materials & Methods: One thousand children in the age group of 12 - 14 years who fulfilled the inclusion and exclusion criteria were considered. The demographic details of the students along with the information on the orthodontic status were collected using a predesigned questionnaire by a single orthodontist. The information on orthodontic status was obtained using Dentofacial Anomalies with the criteria of Dental Aesthetic Index (W H O Oral Health Assessment form 1997). Results: Results were subjected to ANOVA, Tukeys test and chi square test using SPSS, version 16. 86.1% of the subjects had DAI score of less than 25, suggesting ‘no treatment’; 10% had DAI score of 26-30, suggesting ‘elective treatment’; 3% had DAI score of 31-35, suggesting ‘highly desirable treatment’; 0.9% had DAI score of >36, indicating ‘mandatory treatment’; Higher prevalence of malocclusion among females than males. Conclusion: It is necessary to identify this abnormality at its earliest before it produces detrimental effects. It is also essential to know the prevalence of malocclusion in any society, as it reveals the true extent of the problem and guides in overcoming it. The general public can, then, be educated on widespread occurrence of malocclusion and its deleterious effects, so that appropriate preventive and corrective measures can be instituted. How to cite this article: Anita G, Kumar GA, Reddy V, Reddy TP, Rao MS, Wankhade SB. Dental Aesthetic Index of school students in Telangana region - An epidemiological study. J Int Oral Health 2013; 5(6):55-60 .
PMCID: PMC3895718  PMID: 24453445
Dental Aesthetic Index; malocclusion; orthodontic treatment
5.  Alcohol Consumption at Midlife and Successful Ageing in Women: A Prospective Cohort Analysis in the Nurses' Health Study 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(9):e1001090.
Using the Nurses' Health Study, Qi Sun and colleagues examine whether moderate alcohol intake is associated with overall health and well-being among women who survive to older age.
Background
Observational studies have documented inverse associations between moderate alcohol consumption and risk of premature death. It is largely unknown whether moderate alcohol intake is also associated with overall health and well-being among populations who have survived to older age. In this study, we prospectively examined alcohol use assessed at midlife in relation to successful ageing in a cohort of US women.
Methods and Findings
Alcohol consumption at midlife was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Subsequently, successful ageing was defined in 13,894 Nurses' Health Study participants who survived to age 70 or older, and whose health status was continuously updated. “Successful ageing” was considered as being free of 11 major chronic diseases and having no major cognitive impairment, physical impairment, or mental health limitations. Analyses were restricted to the 98.1% of participants who were not heavier drinkers (>45 g/d) at midlife. Of all eligible study participants, 1,491 (10.7%) achieved successful ageing. After multivariable adjustment of potential confounders, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption at midlife was associated with modestly increased odds of successful ageing. The odds ratios (95% confidence interval) were 1.0 (referent) for nondrinkers, 1.11 (0.96–1.29) for ≤5.0 g/d, 1.19 (1.01–1.40) for 5.1–15.0 g/d, 1.28 (1.03–1.58) for 15.1–30.0 g/d, and 1.24 (0.87–1.76) for 30.1–45.0 g/d. Meanwhile, independent of total alcohol intake, participants who drank alcohol at regular patterns throughout the week, rather than on a single occasion, had somewhat better odds of successful ageing; for example, the odds ratios (95% confidence interval) were 1.29 (1.01–1.64) and 1.47 (1.14–1.90) for those drinking 3–4 days and 5–7 days per week in comparison with nondrinkers, respectively, whereas the odds ratio was 1.10 (0.94–1.30) for those drinking only 1–2 days per week.
Conclusions
These data suggest that regular, moderate consumption of alcohol at midlife may be related to a modest increase in overall health status among women who survive to older ages.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
People have always drunk alcoholic beverages but throughout history there have been arguments about the risks and benefits of beer, wine, and spirits. It is clear that excessive alcohol use—heavy drinking (an average of more than two drinks per day for men or more than one drink per day for women; in the US, a “drink” is defined as 15 g of alcohol or, roughly speaking, a can of beer or a small glass of wine) or binge drinking (five or more drinks on a single occasion for men; 4 or more drinks at one time for women)—is harmful. It causes liver damage and increases the risk of developing some types of cancer. It contributes to depression and violence and interferes with relationships. And it is often implicated in fatal traffic accidents. However, in contrast to these and other harms associated with excessive alcohol use, moderate alcohol consumption seems to reduce the risk of specific diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cognitive decline (deterioration in learning, reasoning, and perception).
Why Was This Study Done?
Although people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol have a reduced risk of premature death compared to abstainers or heavy drinkers, it is not known whether moderate alcohol consumption is associated with overall health among ageing populations. In many countries, elderly people are an increasingly large part of the population, so it is important to know how moderate alcohol consumption affects their well-being. In this study, the researchers examine the effect of alcohol consumption at midlife on successful ageing among the participants of the Nurses' Health Study. The researchers study the effect of midlife alcohol consumption because the chronic conditions that affect elderly people develop slowly and it is likely that factors in earlier life determine health in later life. Successful ageing is defined as being free of major chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and having no major cognitive impairment, physical impairment, or mental health problems. The Nurses' Health Study enrolled 121,700 female registered nurses in 1976 to investigate the long-term effects of oral contraceptive use but has provided insights into many aspects of health and disease.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers assessed the alcohol consumption of the study participants at midlife (average age 58 years) from food frequency questionnaires completed in 1980 and 1984. Successful ageing for 13,984 participants who survived past 70 years was assessed by analyzing biennial health status questionnaires and cognitive function test results. One tenth of the women achieved successful ageing. After allowing for other factors that might affect their health such as smoking, women who drank light or moderate amounts of alcohol had a modestly increased chance of successful ageing compared to nondrinkers. For example, compared to nondrinkers, women who drank 5–15 g of alcohol per day (between one-third and one drink per day) had about a 20% higher chance of successful ageing. Independent of total alcohol intake, women who drank alcohol regularly had a better chance of successful ageing than occasional drinkers. Thus, compared to nondrinkers, women who drank five to seven days a week had nearly a 50% greater chance of successful ageing whereas women who drank only one or two days a week had a similar likelihood of successful ageing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that regular, moderate consumption of alcohol at midlife may be related to a modest increase in overall health among women who survive to older ages. Because this is an observational study, it is possible that the women who drank moderately share other unknown characteristics that are actually responsible for their increased chance of successful ageing. Moreover, because all the study participants were women and most had European ancestry, these findings cannot be applied to men or to other ethnic groups. Nevertheless, these findings provide support for the 2010 US Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines, which state that consumption of up to one alcoholic drink per day for women and up to two alcoholic drinks per day for men may provide health benefits. Importantly, they also suggest that drinking alcohol regularly in moderation rather than occasional heavy drinking may be associated with a greater likelihood of successful ageing.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001090.
The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has detailed information about alcohol and its effects on health, including a fact sheet on women and alcohol and a booklet entitled Alcohol, a woman's health issue
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a website on alcohol and public health
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about drinking and alcohol, including how to calculate consumption
The Nutrition Source, a website maintained by the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, has an article entitled Alcohol: balancing risks and benefits
MedlinePlus provides links to many other resources on alcohol and on seniors' health
Details of the Nurses' Health Study are available
The 2010 US Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines are available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001090
PMCID: PMC3167795  PMID: 21909248
6.  A 14-Year Retrospective Maternal Report of Alcohol Consumption in Pregnancy Predicts Pregnancy and Teen Outcomes 
Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.)  2009;44(7-8):583-594.
Detecting patterns of maternal drinking that place fetuses at risk for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) is critical to diagnosis, treatment, and prevention but is challenging because information on antenatal drinking collected during pregnancy is often insufficient or lacking. While retrospective assessments have been considered less favored by many researchers due to presumed poor reliability, this perception may be inaccurate because of reduced maternal denial and/or distortion. The present study hypothesized that fetal alcohol exposure, as assessed retrospectively during child adolescence, would be related significantly to prior measures of maternal drinking and would predict alcohol-related behavioral problems in teens better than antenatal measures of maternal alcohol consumption. Drinking was assessed during pregnancy, and retrospectively about the same pregnancy, at a 14-year follow-up in 288 African American women using well-validated semi-structured interviews. Regression analysis examined the predictive validity of both drinking assessments on pregnancy outcomes and on teacher-reported teen behavior outcomes. Retrospective maternal self-reported drinking assessed 14 years post-partum was significantly higher than antenatal reports of consumption. Retrospective report identified 10.8 times more women as risk drinkers (>one drink per day) than the antenatal report. Antenatal and retrospective reports were moderately correlated and both were correlated with the MAST. Self-reported alcohol consumption during pregnancy based on retrospective report identified significantly more teens exposed prenatally to at-risk alcohol levels than antenatal, in-pregnancy reports. Retrospective report predicted more teen behavior problems (e.g., attention problems & externalizing behaviors) than the antenatal report. Antenatal report predicted younger gestational age at birth and retrospective report predicted smaller birth size; neither predicted teen IQ. These results suggest that if only antenatal, in-pregnancy maternal report is used, then a substantial proportion of children exposed prenatally to risk levels of alcohol might be misclassified. The validity of retrospective assessment of prior drinking during pregnancy as a more effective indicator of prenatal exposure was established by predicting more behavioral problems in teens than antenatal report. Retrospective report can provide valid information about drinking during a prior pregnancy and may facilitate diagnosis and subsequent interventions by educators, social service personnel, and health care providers, thereby reducing the life-long impact of FASDs.
doi:10.1016/j.alcohol.2009.03.003
PMCID: PMC2889143  PMID: 20036487
Alcohol; Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS); Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD); Diagnosis; Pregnancy; Risk Drinking; Retrospective Recall
7.  Predictors of moderated drinking in a primarily alcohol dependent sample of men who have sex with men 
Understanding for whom moderated drinking is a viable, achievable, and sustainable goal among those with a range of alcohol use disorders (AUD) remains an important public health question. Despite common acceptance as severe risk factors, there is little empirical evidence to conclude whether co-occurring mental health disorders or drug dependence contribute to an individual’s inability to successfully moderate his drinking. Utilizing secondary data analysis, the purpose of this study was to identify predictors of moderation among both treatment seeking and non-treatment seeking, primarily alcohol dependent, problem drinking men who have sex with men (MSM), with an emphasis on the high risk factors psychiatric comorbidity and drug dependence. Problem drinkers (N=187) were assessed, provided feedback about their drinking, given the option to receive brief AUD treatment or change their drinking on their own, and then followed for 15 months. Findings revealed that neither psychiatric comorbidity or drug dependence predicted ability to achieve moderation when controlling for alcohol dependence severity. Those who were younger, more highly educated, and had more mild alcohol dependence were more likely to achieve moderated drinking. Impact of treatment on predictors is explored. Limitations of this study and arenas for future research are discussed.
doi:10.1037/a0026713
PMCID: PMC3384775  PMID: 22201219
moderation; controlled drinking; co-occurring mental health disorders; alcohol; drug dependence; problem drinkers; alcohol use disorder treatment
8.  Alcohol disorders in Canada as indicated by the CAGE questionnaire 
OBJECTIVE: To describe alcohol disorders in the general Canadian population, using as a standard indicator the CAGE questionnaire (Have you felt you needed to cut down on your drinking? Have you felt annoyed by criticism of your drinking? Have you felt guilty about drinking? Have you felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning [eye-opener]?). DESIGN: Secondary analysis of data from Canada's Alcohol and Other Drugs Survey (CADS), a national telephone survey conducted in 1994 of a representative sample of 12,155 people aged 15 years or more. PARTICIPANTS: The CAGE questionnaire was administered to 5894 drinkers who had consumed alcohol in the 12 months before the CADS survey. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Respondents with positive (2 or more affirmative responses) and negative results on the CAGE questionnaire were compared as to demographic characteristics, alcohol consumption and harmful consequences of their drinking. Independent predictors of a positive result were identified by means of logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: A total of 5.8% of CAGE-tested current drinkers had a positive result on the past-year CAGE in 1994. The proportion of respondents reporting alcohol-related problems in one or more areas of their life was 7 times greater among drinkers with a positive result on the CAGE questionnaire than among those with a negative result (66.8% v. 9.5%) (p < 0.0001). When all demographic characteristics were controlled for simultaneously, male sex, residence in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec or the Prairies, single/never married or divorced/separated marital status, and low education level were found to be independent risk factors for a positive result on the CAGE questionnaire. About 85% of the respondents with a positive result had not sought help for their drinking. Applying the estimated sensitivity and specificity of the CAGE questionnaire in detecting alcohol dependence, as per criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, in a general US population, the authors estimated that 4.1% of Canadians had an alcohol dependence in 1994. CONCLUSION: The large proportion of current drinkers with a positive result on the CAGE questionnaire who did not seek help for their drinking underscores the need for identification and brief interventions by physicians. Further research is needed to elucidate the underlying reasons for regional differences in CAGE status.
PMCID: PMC1228563  PMID: 9400407
9.  The predictive validity of the Drinking-Related Cognitions Scale in alcohol-dependent patients under abstinence-oriented treatment 
Background
Cognitive factors associated with drinking behavior such as positive alcohol expectancies, self-efficacy, perception of impaired control over drinking and perception of drinking problems are considered to have a significant influence on treatment effects and outcome in alcohol-dependent patients. However, the development of a rating scale on lack of perception or denial of drinking problems and impaired control over drinking has not been substantial, even though these are important factors in patients under abstinence-oriented treatment as well as participants in self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The Drinking-Related Cognitions Scale (DRCS) is a new self-reported rating scale developed to briefly measure cognitive factors associated with drinking behavior in alcohol-dependent patients under abstinence-oriented treatment, including positive alcohol expectancies, abstinence self-efficacy, perception of impaired control over drinking, and perception of drinking problems. Here, we conducted a prospective cohort study to explore the predictive validity of DRCS.
Methods
Participants in this study were 175 middle-aged and elderly Japanese male patients who met the DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Alcohol Dependence. DRCS scores were recorded before and after the inpatient abstinence-oriented treatment program, and treatment outcome was evaluated one year after discharge.
Results
Of the 175 participants, 30 were not available for follow-up; thus the number of subjects for analysis in this study was 145. When the total DRCS score and subscale scores were compared before and after inpatient treatment, a significant increase was seen for both scores. Both the total DRCS score and each subscale score were significantly related to total abstinence, percentage of abstinent days, and the first drinking occasion during the one-year post-treatment period. Therefore, good treatment outcome was significantly predicted by low positive alcohol expectancies, high abstinence self-efficacy, high perception level of impaired control over drinking, and high perception level of drinking problems measured by DRCS.
Conclusions
The DRCS was considered to have satisfactory predictive validity, which further supports our previous findings. It was suggested that DRCS is a promising rating scale for evaluating multidimensional cognitive factors associated with drinking behavior in alcohol-dependent patients under abstinence-oriented treatment.
doi:10.1186/1747-597X-7-17
PMCID: PMC3487873  PMID: 22559788
Alcohol-dependent; Treatment outcome; Predictive validity; Drinking-related cognitions scale; Abstinence-oriented treatment; Positive alcohol expectancies; Abstinence self-efficacy; Perception of impaired control; Perception of drinking problems; Denial
10.  Clinical correlates of desire for treatment for current alcohol dependence among patients with a primary psychiatric disorder 
Background & Objectives
Rates of treatment seeking for alcohol use disorders are notably low. In order to elucidate the clinical correlates of treatment seeking for alcoholism, this study compared patients with current alcohol dependence and a primary psychiatric diagnosis who endorsed a desire for alcoholism treatment to patients who refused treatment or who were unsure.
Method
A total of 131 (54 females) psychiatric outpatients with current alcohol dependence completed an intake assessment at a large hospital-based psychiatric clinic and at the end of the intake were asked whether they would like to receive treatment for alcohol problems.
Results
As compared to alcohol dependent patients who refused treatment for alcoholism or who were unsure (n = 46), patients who expressed a desire for treatment (n = 85) were older, more likely to be female, reported higher levels of social impairments, and were more likely to endorse the following alcohol dependence symptoms: (a) multiple unsuccessful efforts or persistent desire to stop or cut down on their drinking; and (b) drinking more than intended.
Conclusions
Approximately 35% of patients who met current DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence reported no interest (or were unsure) in alcoholism treatment despite being engaged in treatment-seeking for another psychiatric disorder.
Scientific Significance
These findings extend previous epidemiological studies documenting treatment seeking patterns for alcoholism by identifying clinical features associated with interest in treatment for this disorder among psychiatric outpatients.
doi:10.3109/00952990.2010.540284
PMCID: PMC3741090  PMID: 21219256
alcohol dependence; treatment; diagnosis; desire for treatment
11.  Alcohol consumption and binge drinking in adolescents: comparison of different migration backgrounds and rural vs. urban residence - a representative study 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:84.
Background
Binge drinking is a constant problem behavior in adolescents across Europe. Epidemiological investigations have been reported. However, epidemiological data on alcohol consumption of adolescents with different migration backgrounds are rare. Furthermore representative data on rural-urban comparison concerning alcohol consumption and binge drinking are lacking. The aims of the study are the investigation of alcohol consumption patterns with respect to a) urban-rural differences and b) differences according to migration background.
Methods
In the years 2007/2008, a representative written survey of N = 44,610 students in the 9th. grade of different school types in Germany was carried out (net sample). The return rate of questionnaires was 88% regarding all students whose teachers respectively school directors had agreed to participate in the study. Weighting factors were specified and used to make up for regional and school-type specific differences in return rates. 27.4% of the adolescents surveyed have a migration background, whereby the Turkish culture is the largest group followed by adolescents who emigrated from former Soviet Union states. The sample includes seven large cities (over 500,000 inhabitants) (12.2%), independent smaller cities ("urban districts") (19.0%) and rural areas ("rural districts") (68.8%).
Results
Life-time prevalence for alcohol consumption differs significantly between rural (93.7%) and urban areas (86.6% large cities; 89.1% smaller cities) with a higher prevalence in rural areas. The same accounts for 12-month prevalence for alcohol consumption. 57.3% of the rural, re-spectively 45.9% of the urban adolescents engaged in binge drinking in the 4 weeks prior to the survey. Students with migration background of the former Soviet Union showed mainly drinking behavior similar to that of German adolescents. Adolescents with Turkish roots had engaged in binge drinking in the last four weeks less frequently than adolescents of German descent (23.6% vs. 57.4%). However, in those adolescents who consumed alcohol in the last 4 weeks, binge drinking is very prominent across the cultural backgrounds.
Conclusions
Binge drinking is a common problem behavior in German adolescents. Obviously adolescents with rural residence have fewer alternatives for engaging in interesting leisure activities than adolescents living in cities. This might be one reason for the more problematic consumption patterns there. Common expectations concerning drinking behavior of adolescents of certain cultural backgrounds ('migrants with Russian background drink more'/'migrants from Arabic respectively Oriental-Islamic countries drink less') are only partly affirmed. Possibly, the degree of acculturation to the permissive German alcohol culture plays a role here.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-84
PMCID: PMC3045949  PMID: 21299841
12.  Alcohol consumption in 0.5 million people from 10 diverse regions of China: prevalence, patterns and socio-demographic and health-related correlates 
Millwood, Iona Y | Li, Liming | Smith, Margaret | Guo, Yu | Yang, Ling | Bian, Zheng | Lewington, Sarah | Whitlock, Gary | Sherliker, Paul | Collins, Rory | Chen, Junshi | Peto, Richard | Wang, Hongmei | Xu, Jiujiu | He, Jian | Yu, Min | Liu, Huilin | Chen, Zhengming | Li, Liming | Chen, Zhengming | Chen, Junshi | Collins, Rory | Wu, Fan | Peto, Richard | Chen, Zhengming | Lancaster, Garry | Yang, Xiaoming | Williams, Alex | Smith, Margaret | Yang, Ling | Chang, Yumei | Millwood, Iona | Chen, Yiping | Zhang, Qiuli | Lewington, Sarah | Whitlock, Gary | Guo, Yu | Zhao, Guoqing | Bian, Zheng | Wu, Lixue | Hou, Can | Pang, Zengchang | Wang, Shaojie | Zhang, Yun | Zhang, Kui | Liu, Silu | Zhao, Zhonghou | Liu, Shumei | Pang, Zhigang | Feng, Weijia | Wu, Shuling | Yang, Liqiu | Han, Huili | He, Hui | Pan, Xianhai | Wang, Shanqing | Wang, Hongmei | Hao, Xinhua | Chen, Chunxing | Lin, Shuxiong | Hu, Xiaoshu | Zhou, Minghao | Wu, Ming | Wang, Yeyuan | Hu, Yihe | Ma, Liangcai | Zhou, Renxian | Xu, Guanqun | Dong, Baiqing | Chen, Naying | Huang, Ying | Li, Mingqiang | Meng, Jinhuai | Gan, Zhigao | Xu, Jiujiu | Liu, Yun | Wu, Xianping | Gao, Yali | Zhang, Ningmei | Luo, Guojin | Que, Xiangsan | Chen, Xiaofang | Ge, Pengfei | He, Jian | Ren, Xiaolan | Zhang, Hui | Mao, Enke | Li, Guanzhong | Li, Zhongxiao | He, Jun | Liu, Guohua | Zhu, Baoyu | Zhou, Gang | Feng, Shixian | Gao, Yulian | He, Tianyou | Jiang, Li | Qin, Jianhua | Sun, Huarong | Liu, Liqun | Yu, Min | Chen, Yaping | Hu, Zhixiang | Hu, Jianjin | Qian, Yijian | Wu, Zhiying | Chen, Lingli | Liu, Wen | Li, Guangchun | Liu, Huilin | Long, Xiangquan | Xiong, Youping | Tan, Zhongwen | Xie, Xuqiu | Peng, Yunfang
Background Drinking alcohol has a long tradition in Chinese culture. However, data on the prevalence and patterns of alcohol consumption in China, and its main correlates, are limited.
Methods During 2004–08 the China Kadoorie Biobank recruited 512 891 men and women aged 30–79 years from 10 urban and rural areas of China. Detailed information on alcohol consumption was collected using a standardized questionnaire, and related to socio-demographic, physical and behavioural characteristics in men and women separately.
Results Overall, 76% of men and 36% of women reported drinking some alcohol during the past 12 months, with 33% of men and 2% of women drinking at least weekly; the prevalence of weekly drinking in men varied from 7% to 51% across the 10 study areas. Mean consumption was 286 g/week and was higher in those with less education. Most weekly drinkers habitually drank spirits, although this varied by area, and beer consumption was highest among younger drinkers; 37% of male weekly drinkers (12% of all men) reported weekly heavy drinking episodes, with the prevalence highest in younger men. Drinking alcohol was positively correlated with regular smoking, blood pressure and heart rate. Among male weekly drinkers, each 20 g/day alcohol consumed was associated with 2 mmHg higher systolic blood pressure. Potential indicators of problem drinking were reported by 24% of male weekly drinkers.
Conclusion The prevalence and patterns of drinking in China differ greatly by age, sex and geographical region. Alcohol consumption is associated with a number of unfavourable health behaviours and characteristics.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyt078
PMCID: PMC3733702  PMID: 23918852
Alcohol; drinking; cohort study; descriptive analysis; China
13.  Do Co-morbid Anxiety Disorders Predict Drinking Outcomes in Women with Alcohol Use Disorders? 
Aims: It is unclear whether co-morbid anxiety disorders predict worse drinking outcomes during attempts to change drinking behavior. Studies have yielded mixed results, and have rarely examined drinking outcomes based on a specific type of anxiety disorder. Women with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are of particular interest as they are at risk for co-morbid anxiety [Kessler et al. (1997) Lifetime co-occurrence of DSM-III-R alcohol abuse and dependence with other psychiatric disorders in the national co-morbidity survey. Arch Gen Psychiat 54:313–21]. Methods: Participants were 260 women with AUDs participating in an alcohol-treatment outcome studies. The Timeline Follow-Back was used to assess drinking frequency (percent days drinking)  prior, within and 6 months post-treatment. The current study tested the hypothesis that having at least one lifetime anxiety disorder diagnosed at baseline using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM Disorders would be associated with more drinking at all study time points. Exploratory analyses examined patterns of drinking outcomes by specific anxiety diagnoses. Results: Lifetime anxiety diagnosis was linked to poorer drinking outcomes post-treatment (β = 0.15, P = 0.020), despite less frequent drinking prior to treatment. Analyses by specific anxiety diagnosis indicated that generalized anxiety disorder predicted poorer drinking outcomes within treatment (β = 0.14, P = 0.018) and during follow-up (β = 0.16, P = 0.014). Conclusion: Co-morbid anxiety problems complicate treatment for AUDs among women. Further, specific anxiety disorders should be evaluated as distinct constructs as evidenced by the differential outcomes related to generalized anxiety disorder. Implications for treatment development for women with AUDs are discussed.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agr155
PMCID: PMC3284684  PMID: 22215000
14.  Acceptance and expectance: Cultural norms for alcohol use in Denmark 
Alcohol consumption levels in Denmark are high with the risk of increased morbidity and mortality in the population. It is suggested that people's views of “normal” use of alcohol must be the platform for formulating effective alcohol education and prevention strategies. However, little is known about the cultural norms for alcohol use. The aim of this article is to examine the perceptions of cultural norms for alcohol use in Denmark among different age groups and the similarities and differences between the groups, including examining how people construct and negotiate the cultural norms for drinking. Five focus group interviews were conducted with one group per the following age groups: 16–20; 21–34; 35–44; 45–64; and 65–82. These groups consisted of both men and women with five to six participants in each group (a total of 27). Thematic analysis was performed with the aim of developing themes that reflected the cultural norms for alcohol use. The unifying theme of this research was Danish people's acceptance and expectance of social drinking. Alcohol is widely accepted and associated with mutual expectations to drink, leading to identification of cultural influences and facilitation to drink. The social drinking context plays an important role in people's perceptions of the normality of drinking. This includes the selection of particular beverages, and regularly leads to consumption above the recommended levels for low risk to health. This calls for public health attention that promotes low risk drinking in the social context and aims to prevent and reduce serious alcohol-related harm and health problems across the population.
doi:10.3402/qhw.v6i4.8461
PMCID: PMC3208969  PMID: 22065980
Alcohol; cultural norms; social context; heavy alcohol use; focus groups
15.  Where, When and What Type of Alcohol Do Pregnant Women Drink? 
Ghana Medical Journal  2013;47(1):35-39.
Summary
Background
Drinking alcohol in pregnancy is of a serious public health concern worldwide. Previous study in the Bosomtwe district put the prevalence of women drinking alcohol in pregnancy as 20.4%.
Objectives
To describe the alcohol drinking behaviour of pregnant women in the Bosomtwe district of Ghana.
Design
The study was a descriptive cross-sectional, conducted among 397 pregnant women who attended ANC in 2010.
Method
The study was conducted in all the 10 health facilities providing reproductive health care in the Bosomtwe district using administered questionnaires.
Results
The main findings of the study were that 20.4% of pregnant women drank alcoholic beverage of which the most preferred drink was Akpeteshie (36.4%), a locally brewed or distilled alcoholic beverage followed by the liqueurs (Ginseng, Kasapreko or-Pusher -27.3%. Study participants drank an average of ‘half-tot’ (15 mls) of akpeteshie and ‘one-tot’-30mls-of liqueurs per a drinking session respectively. They usually drank at home and before meals. The 25–29 year group 26(32.1%), married 50(61.7%) and Junior High School educated 37(45.7%) as well as christians 69(85.0%) and traders 28(34.6%) drank most.
Conclusions
The findings identified akpeteshie as the most preferred alcoholic beverage among pregnant women in the district. It is recommended that the health authority creates awareness of the existence of the problem of alcohol drinking in pregnancy and its potential effects on the foetus.
PMCID: PMC3645182  PMID: 23661854
Reproductive years; Alcohol consumption; Foetal Alcohol Syndrome; Ghana; Women; Akpeteshie
16.  Problem-free drinking over 16-years among individuals with alcohol use disorders 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2007;92(1-3):116-122.
Background
Limited data exist on the rates and long-term stability of non-problem drinking in individuals who sought help for an alcohol use disorder.
Methods
A sample of initially untreated individuals with alcohol use disorders (N = 420) was surveyed at baseline and 1 year and was re-assessed at 8- and 16-years.
Results
In the six months prior to the 1 year assessment, 36% (n = 152) of participants reported abstinence from alcohol, 48% (n = 200) reported drinking with problems, and 16% (n = 68) reported non-problem drinking. At each follow up, 16–21% of the sample reported non-problem drinking. Compared to individuals in the abstinent and problem-drinking groups, individuals who were drinking in a problem-free manner at 1 year had reported, at baseline, fewer days of intoxication, drinks per drinking day, alcohol dependence symptoms, and alcohol-related problems, less depression, and more adaptive coping mechanisms. Over time, 48% of participants who engaged in non-problem drinking at 1-year continued to report positive outcomes (either non-problem drinking or abstinence) throughout the long-term follow-up, whereas 77% of those abstaining at 1 year reported positive outcomes throughout the same time period. Additionally, 43% of individuals with problematic alcohol consumption at 1-year reported positive outcomes over the remaining follow-up interval, a rate that was not significantly different from the rate of positive outcomes of 48% observed in those with initial problem-free drinking.
Conclusions
Although some individuals report non-problem drinking a year after initially seeking help, this pattern of alcohol use is relatively infrequent and is less stable over time than is abstinence. An accurate understanding of the long-term course of alcohol use and problems could help shape expectations about the realistic probability of positive outcomes for individuals considering moderate drinking as a treatment goal.
doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2007.07.006
PMCID: PMC2212608  PMID: 17719186
alcohol; treatment; abstinence; moderation; recovery
17.  Sub-diagnostic Alcohol Use by Depressed Men and Women Seeking Outpatient Psychiatric Services: Consumption Patterns and Motivation to Reduce Drinking 
Background
This study examined alcohol use patterns among men and women with depression seeking outpatient psychiatric treatment, including factors associated with recent heavy episodic drinking and motivation to reduce alcohol consumption.
Methods
The sample consisted of 1183 patients ages 18 and over who completed a self-administered, computerized intake questionnaire and who scored ≥ 10 on the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). Additional measures included current and past alcohol questions based on the Addiction Severity Index, heavy episodic drinking (≥ 5 drinks on one or more occasions in the past year), alcohol-related problems on the Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (SMAST), and motivation to reduce drinking using the Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale (SOCRATES).
Results
Among those who consumed any alcohol in the past year (73.9% of the sample), heavy episodic drinking in the past year was reported by 47.5% of men and 32.5% of women. In logistic regression, prior-year heavy episodic drinking was associated with younger age (p=.011), male gender (p=.001) and cigarette smoking (p=.002). Among patients reporting heavy episodic drinking, motivation to reduce alcohol consumption was associated with older age (p=.008), greater usual quantity of alcohol consumed (p<.001), and higher SMAST score (p<.001).
Conclusions
In contrast to prior clinical studies, we examined sub-diagnostic alcohol use and related problems among psychiatric outpatients with depression. Patients reporting greater drinking quantities and alcohol-related problems also express more motivation to reduce drinking, providing intervention opportunities for mental health providers that should not be overlooked.
doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2010.01387.x
PMCID: PMC3066306  PMID: 21223306
depression; alcohol; hazardous drinking; prevalence; motivation
18.  Alcohol Dependence, Mortality, and Chronic Health Conditions in a Rural Population in Korea 
To determine the effects of excessive drinking and alcohol dependency on mortality and chronic health problems in a rural community in South Korea, this study represents a nested case-control study. In 1998, we conducted the Alcohol Dependence Survey (ADS), a population survey of a village in Korea. To measure the effects of alcohol on chronic health conditions and mortality over time, in 2004, we identified 290 adults from the ADS sample (N=1,058) for follow-up. Of those selected, 145 were adults who had alcohol problems, either alcohol dependence as assessed in the ADS by the Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire (N=59), or excessive drinking without dependency (N=86). Further 145 nondrinkers were identified, matching those with alcohol problems in age and sex. We revisited the village in 2004 and completed personal interviews with them. In multivariate logistic regressions, the rates of mortality and morbidity of chronic health conditions were three times greater for alcohol dependents compared with the rate for nondrinkers. Importantly, however, excessive drinking without dependency was not associated with the rates of either mortality or morbidity. Future investigations would benefit by attending more specifically to measures for alcohol dependence as well as measures for alcohol consumption.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2008.23.1.1
PMCID: PMC2526475  PMID: 18303191
Alcoholism; Alcohol Drinking; Mortality; Morbidity; Korea
19.  Drinking before and after pregnancy recognition among South African women: the moderating role of traumatic experiences 
Background
South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and interpersonal trauma. These co-occurring public health problems raise the need to understand alcohol consumption among trauma-exposed pregnant women in this setting. Since a known predictor of drinking during pregnancy is drinking behavior before pregnancy, this study explored the relationship between women’s drinking levels before and after pregnancy recognition, and whether traumatic experiences – childhood abuse or recent intimate partner violence (IPV) – moderated this relationship.
Methods
Women with incident pregnancies (N = 66) were identified from a longitudinal cohort of 560 female drinkers in a township of Cape Town, South Africa. Participants were included if they reported no pregnancy at one assessment and then reported pregnancy four months later at the next assessment. Alcohol use was measured by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and traumatic experiences of childhood abuse and recent IPV were also assessed. Hierarchical linear regressions controlling for race and age examined childhood abuse and recent IPV as moderators of the effect of pre-pregnancy recognition drinking on post-pregnancy recognition AUDIT scores.
Results
Following pregnancy recognition, 73% of women reported drinking at hazardous levels (AUDIT ≥ 8). Sixty-four percent reported early and/or recent exposure to trauma. While drinking levels before pregnancy significantly predicted drinking levels after pregnancy recognition, t(64) = 3.50, p < .01, this relationship was moderated by experiences of childhood abuse, B = -.577, t(60) = -2.58, p = .01, and recent IPV, B = -.477, t(60) = -2.16, p = .04. Pregnant women without traumatic experiences reported drinking at levels consistent with levels before pregnancy recognition. However, women with traumatic experiences tended to report elevated AUDIT scores following pregnancy recognition, even if low-risk drinkers previously.
Conclusion
This study explored how female drinkers in South Africa may differentially modulate their drinking patterns upon pregnancy recognition, depending on trauma history. Our results suggest that women with traumatic experiences are more likely to exhibit risky alcohol consumption when they become pregnant, regardless of prior risk. These findings illuminate the relevance of trauma-informed efforts to reduce FASD in South Africa.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-97
PMCID: PMC3975846  PMID: 24593175
South Africa; Pregnancy; Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder; Drinking; Trauma; Childhood abuse; Intimate partner violence
20.  Alcohol Consumption Patterns and Sexual Risk Behavior among Female Sex Workers in two South Indian Communities 
Background
HIV transmission in India is primarily heterosexual and there is a concentrated HIV epidemic among female sex workers (FSWs). Earlier reports demonstrate that many FSWs consume alcohol regularly before sexual encounters. This qualitative study is part of a larger quantitative study designed to assess alcohol consumption patterns among female sex workers and their association with sexual risk taking. Here we investigate the environmental influence, reasons for and consequences of consuming alcohol in the FSW population.
Methods
Trained staff from two Non-Governmental Organizations in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala conducted semi-structured interviews with 63 FSWs in Chirala, Andhra Pradesh (n=35) and Calicut, Kerala (n=28) following extensive formative research, including social mapping and key informant interviews, to assess drinking patterns and sexual risk behaviors.
Results
FSWs reported consuming alcohol in multiple contexts: sexual, social, mental health and self-medication. Alcohol consumption during sexual encounters with clients was usually forced, but some women drank voluntarily. Social drinking took place in public locations such as bars and in private locations including deserted buildings, roads and inside autorickshaws (motorcycle taxis). Consequences of alcohol consumption included failure to use condoms and to collect payments from clients, violence, legal problems, gastrointestinal side effects, economic loss and interference with family responsibilities.
Conclusion
FSWs consume alcohol in multilevel contexts. Alcohol consumption during transactional sex is often forced and can lead to failure to use condoms. Social drinkers consume alcohol with other trusted FSWs for entertainment and to help cope with psychosocial stressors. There are multiple reasons for and consequences of alcohol consumption in this population and future interventions should target each specific aspect of alcohol use.
doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2012.03.005
PMCID: PMC3454864  PMID: 22608567
alcohol; female sex worker; HIV; India; qualitative study
21.  Medical Risks for Women Who Drink Alcohol 
OBJECTIVE
To summarize for clinicians recent epidemiologic evidence regarding medical risks of alcohol use for women.
METHODS
MEDLINE and PsychINFO, 1990 through 1996, were searched using key words “women” or “woman,” and “alcohol.” MEDLINE was also searched for other specific topics and authors from 1980 through 1996. Data were extracted and reviewed regarding levels of alcohol consumption associated with mortality, cardiovascular disease, alcohol-related liver disease, injury, osteoporosis, neurologic symptoms, psychiatric comorbidity, fetal alcohol syndrome, spontaneous abortion, infertility, menstrual symptoms, breast cancer, and gynecologic malignancies. Gender-specific data from cohort studies of general population or large clinical samples are primarily reviewed.
MAIN RESULTS
Women develop many alcohol-related medical problems at lower levels of consumption than men, probably reflecting women's lower total body water, gender differences in alcohol metabolism, and effects of alcohol on postmenopausal estrogen levels. Mortality and breast cancer are increased in women who report drinking more than two drinks daily. Higher levels of alcohol consumption by women are associated with increased menstrual symptoms, hypertension, and stroke. Women who drink heavily also appear to have increased infertility and spontaneous abortion. Adverse fetal effects occur after variable amounts of alcohol consumption, making any alcohol use during pregnancy potentially harmful.
CONCLUSIONS
In general, advising nonpregnant women who drink alcohol to have fewer than two drinks daily is strongly supported by the epidemiologic literature, although specific recommendations for a particular woman should depend on her medical history and risk factors.
doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.1998.cr187.x
PMCID: PMC1497016  PMID: 9754520
alcohol consumption; alcoholism; women
22.  Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Maternal Characteristics in a Sample of Schoolchildren from a Rural Province of Croatia 
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a congenital syndrome caused by maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy and is entirely preventable by abstinence from alcohol drinking during this time. Little is known about the prevalence of FAS and maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy in Western countries. We present the results of FAS/partial fetal alcohol syndrome (PFAS) prevalence study and maternal characteristics in a sample of schoolchildren from a rural province of Croatia. This study involved seven elementary schools with 1,110 enrolled children attending 1st to 4th grade and their mothers. We used an active case ascertainment method with passive parental consent and Clarified IOM criteria. The investigation protocol involved maternal data collection and clinical examination of children. Out of 1,110 mothers, 917 (82.6%) answered the questionnaire. Alcohol exposure during pregnancy was admitted by 11.5%, regular drinking by 4.0% and binge drinking by 1.4% of questioned mothers. Clinical examination involved 824 (74.2%) schoolchildren and disclosed 14 (1.7%) with clinical signs of FAS and 41 (5.0%) of PFAS. The observed FAS prevalence, based on 74.2% participation rate, was 16.9, PFAS 49.7 and combined prevalence was 66.7/1,000 examined schoolchildren. This is the first FAS prevalence study based on active ascertainment among schoolchildren and pregnancy alcohol drinking analysis performed in a rural community of Croatia and Europe. High prevalence of FAS/PFAS and pregnancy alcohol consumption observed in this study revealed that FAS is serious health problem in rural regions as well as a need to develop future studies and preventive measures for pregnancy alcohol drinking and FASD.
doi:10.3390/ijerph10041547
PMCID: PMC3709333  PMID: 23591786
FAS; prevalence; schoolchildren; rural; Croatia
23.  Predictors of outcome following alcohol deaddiction treatment : a prospective longitudinal study for one year 
Indian Journal of Psychiatry  2003;45(3):174-177.
The factors influencing the short-term outcome of alcohol dependence patients psychiatric set up were studied prospectively in an Indian population. Consecutive 60 patients with alcohol dependence syndrome according to the ICD 10 criteria, were studied. Positive outcome was noted in 55%, negative in 35%; and 10% were lost to follow up at the end of one year. There was no difference between the groups on educational level, marital status, economic status, religion, social support, associated physical or psychiatric diagnoses, type of treatment for deaddiction, age of regular drinking, days of previous abstinence and inpatient treatment days. However the negative outcome group were younger, and their average age for problem drinking was significantly less than the other group. They achieved many mile-stones of drinking career like onset of day drinking, development of dependence, diagnosis of dependence earlier. The negative outcome group also had higher psychosocial problem index, family history of alcoholism, more follow-up days using the mental health services. They did not come for follow up as quickly as the abstinent group after initiation of pathological drinking.The study suggested many clearly identifiable variables, which may distinguish prospectively patients with probable positive and negative outcome one year after the alcohol deaddiction treatment
PMCID: PMC2952164  PMID: 21206850
Alcohold dependence; predictors; outcome
24.  Sex Differences in Alcohol Misuse and Estimated Blood Alcohol Concentrations Among Emergency Department Patients: Implications for Brief Interventions 
Objectives
The objective was to assess the relationship between alcohol use and misuse and patient sex among emergency department (ED) patients by comparing self-reported estimates of quantity and frequency of alcohol use; estimated blood alcohol concentrations (eBACs) when typically drinking, and during heavy episodic drinking (binging); and alcohol misuse severity, to understand sex differences in alcohol use and misuse for this population.
Methods
The authors surveyed a random sample of non-intoxicated, sub-critically ill or injured, 18 to 64 year-old English- or Spanish-speaking patients on randomly selected dates and times at two EDs during July 2009 and August 2009. Participants self-administered a questionnaire about their self-reported alcohol use during a typical month within the past 12 months, and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Using the formulae by Matthews and Miller, sex-specific eBACs were calculated for participants according to their reported weight and the number of reported alcoholic drinks consumed on days when typically drinking, and on days of heavy episodic (binge) drinking (≥ 5 drinks/occasion for men, ≥ 4 drinks for women). Sex-specific alcohol misuse severity levels (low-risk, harmful, hazardous, and dependence) were calculated using AUDIT scores. Wilcoxon rank-sum and Pearson’s chi-square tests were used to compare outcomes by sex. Negative binomial regression was used to assess the relationship between sex and the number of drinks consumed on a typical day, the number of days spent drinking and binging, and estimated AUDIT scores. Logistic regression was used to assess the outcome of the presence of binging according to sex. Multinomial logistic regression was used to compare by sex the percentage of days spent drinking and binging in one month, eBACs when typically drinking and when binging, and AUDIT at-risk drinking levels. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and adjusted odds ratios (AORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated. All models were adjusted for patient demographic characteristics.
Results
Of the 513 participants, 52.1% were women, 55.8% were white non-Hispanic, and their median age was 34 years (IQR 25 to 46 years). Men reported greater mean alcohol consumption than women when typically drinking (4.3 vs. 3.3 drinks per day; p < 0.001), and during heavy episodic drinking (8.6 vs. 5.3/drinks per occasion; p < 0.001). Men spent more days drinking (IRR 1.41, 95% CI = 1.19 to 1.65) and engaging in heavy episodic drinking (IRR 1.68, 95% CI = 1.31 to 2.17) than women. Additionally, men were more likely to engage in heavy episodic drinking (AOR 1.72, 95% CI = 1.16 to 2.56) than women. However, the mean eBACs for men and women were similar when typically drinking (0.05 vs. 0.06; p < 0.13) and during heavy episodic drinking (0.13 vs. 0.12; p < 0.13). Mean AUDIT scores were greater for men than women (7.5 vs. 5.3; p < 0.001), although alcohol misuse severity levels were similar between men and women (24.4% vs. 26.6% for hazardous, 2.8% vs. 2.2% for harmful, and 6.5% vs. 3.4% for dependence; p < 0.38).
Conclusions
Although men drink more than women, women have similar eBACs with comparable levels of alcohol misuse. Women may benefit from recognizing that they are reaching similar levels of intoxication compared to men. Addressing these differences and possible health implications in future ED brief interventions may induce changes in problematic alcohol use among women.
doi:10.1111/j.1553-2712.2012.01408.x
PMCID: PMC3424395  PMID: 22849748
25.  Patterns of alcohol use, their correlates, and impact in male drinkers: a population-based survey from Goa, India 
Purpose
Associations between low socio-economic class and alcohol use disorders are relatively well established in developed countries; however, there is comparably little research in India and other developing countries on the associations between socio-economic class, drinking patterns, and alcohol-related problems. We sought to assess drinking patterns and adverse outcomes among male drinkers and examine whether the association between drinking patterns and adverse outcomes differ by socioeconomic class.
Methods
Population survey of 732 male drinkers screened from 1,899 men, aged 18 to 49 years, randomly selected from rural and urban communities in northern Goa, India.
Results
Usual quantity of alcohol consumed by 14.8 % (rural 16.8 %; urban 13.6 %) current drinkers is at high-risk level. About 28.6 % (rural 31 %; urban 27.2 %) and 33.7 % (rural 30.5 %; urban 35.5 %) of current drinkers reported monthly or more frequent heavy episodic drinking and drunkenness, respectively. Lower education and lower standard of living (SLI) were associated with higher usual quantity of alcohol consumption. More frequent heavy episodic drinking was associated with older age, being separated, lower education, and lower standard of living; weekly or more frequent drunkenness was associated only with rural residence. All three risky drinking patterns were associated with common mental disorders, sexual risk, intimate partner violence, acute alcohol-related consequences, and alcohol dependence. Significant interactions between SLI and risky alcohol use patterns suggested an increased risk of intimate partner violence among men with risky drinking and lower SLI.
Conclusions
Risky drinking patterns are common among male drinkers in Goa and associated with lower socio-economic class. A range of adverse health and social outcomes were associated with risky drinking across all socio-economic classes. Alcohol policy should target risky drinking patterns, particularly among poorer men, to reduce the health and social burden of alcohol use in India.
doi:10.1007/s00127-012-0538-1
PMCID: PMC3529206  PMID: 22752108
Hazardous alcohol use; Drinking patterns; India; Socioeconomic class; Alcohol related consequences

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