Aims: Alcohol acutely reduces agitation and is widely used in social situations, but the neural substrates of emotion processing during its intoxication are not well understood. We examine whether alcohol's social stress dampening effect may be via reduced activity in the cortical systems that subserve awareness of bodily sensations, and are associated with affective distress. Methods: Blood oxygen level-dependent activation was measured through 24 functional magnetic resonance imaging sessions in 12 healthy volunteers during an emotional face-processing task following ingestion of a moderate dose of alcohol and a placebo beverage. Results: Results revealed that bilateral anterior insula response to emotional faces was significantly attenuated following consumption of alcohol, when compared with placebo (clusters >1472 μl; corrected P < 0.05). Conclusion: Attenuated response in the anterior insula after alcohol intake may explain some of the decreased interoceptive awareness described during intoxication.
Aims: To assess the validity and reliability of using alcohol retail sales data to measure and monitor population levels of alcohol consumption. Methods: Potential sources of bias that could lead to under- or overestimation of population alcohol consumption based on alcohol retail sales data were identified and, where possible, quantified. This enabled an assessment of the potential impact of each bias on alcohol consumption estimates in Scotland. Results: Overall, considering all the possible sources of overestimation and underestimation, and taking into account the potential for sampling variability to impact on the results, the range of uncertainty of consumption during 2010 was from an overestimate of 0.3 l to an underestimate of 2.4 l of pure alcohol per adult. This excludes the impacts of alcohol stockpiling and alcohol sold through outlets not included in the sampling frame. On balance, there is therefore far greater scope for alcohol retail sales data to be underestimating per adult alcohol consumption in Scotland than there is for overestimation. Conclusion: Alcohol retail sales data offer a robust source of data for monitoring per adult alcohol consumption in Scotland. Consideration of the sources of bias and a comprehensive understanding of data collection methods are essential for using sales data to monitor trends in alcohol consumption.
Aims: To systematically review the literature on the Chinese translations of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and their cross-cultural applicability in Chinese language populations. Methods: We identified peer-reviewed articles published in English (n = 10) and in Chinese (n = 11) from 1980 to September 2009, with key words China, Chinese and AUDIT among PubMed, EBSCO, PsycInfo, FirstSearch electronic databases and two Chinese databases. Results: Five teams from Beijing, Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong reported their region-specific translation procedures, cultural adaptations, validity (0.93–0.95 in two versions) and reliability (0.63–0.99). These Chinese translations and short versions demonstrated relatively high sensitivity (0.880–0.997) and moderate specificity (0.709–0.934) for hazardous/harmful drinking and alcohol dependence, but low specificity for alcohol dependence among Min-Nan Taiwanese (0.58). The AUDIT and its adaptations were most utilized in workplace- and hospital-settings for screening and brief intervention. However, they were under-utilized in population-based surveys, primary care settings, and among women, adolescents, rural-to-urban migrants, the elderly and minorities. Among 12 studies from mainland China, four included both women and men, and only one in Tibet was published in English. Conclusion: There is a growing amount of psychometric, epidemiologic and treatment research using Chinese translations of the AUDIT, much of it still unavailable in the English-language literature. Given the increase in burden of disease and injury attributable to alcohol use in the Western Pacific region, the use of an internationally comparable instrument (such as the AUDIT) in research with Chinese populations presents a unique opportunity to expand clinical and epidemiologic knowledge about alcohol problem epidemics.
Aims: To evaluate sociodemographic correlates associated with transitions from alcohol use to disorders and remission in a Brazilian population. Methods: Data are from a probabilistic, multi-stage clustered sample of adult household residents in the São Paulo Metropolitan Area. Alcohol use, regular use (at least 12 drinks/year), DSM-IV abuse and dependence and remission from alcohol use disorders (AUDs) were assessed with the World Mental Health version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Age of onset (AOO) distributions of the cumulative lifetime probability of each alcohol use stage were prepared with data obtained from 5037 subjects. Correlates of transitions were obtained from a subsample of 2942 respondents, whose time-dependent sociodemographic data were available. Results: Lifetime prevalences were 85.8% for alcohol use, 56.2% for regular use, 10.6% for abuse and 3.6% for dependence; 73.4 and 58.8% of respondents with lifetime abuse and dependence, respectively, had remitted. The number of sociodemographic correlates decreased from alcohol use to disorders. All transitions across alcohol use stages up to abuse were consistently associated with male gender, younger cohorts and lower education. Importantly, low education was a correlate for developing AUD and not remitting from dependence. Early AOO of first alcohol use was associated with the transition of regular use to abuse. Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that specific correlates differently contribute throughout alcohol use trajectory in a Brazilian population. It also reinforces the need of preventive programs focused on early initiation of alcohol use and high-risk individuals, in order to minimize the progression to dependence and improve remission from AUD.
Aims: Changes in glutamatergic transmission affect many aspects of neuroplasticity associated with ethanol and drug addiction. For instance, ethanol- and drug-seeking behavior is promoted by increased glutamate transmission in key regions of the motive circuit. We hypothesized that because glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) is responsible for the removal of most extracellular glutamate, up-regulation or activation of GLT1 would attenuate ethanol consumption. Methods: Alcohol-preferring (P) rats were given 24 h/day concurrent access to 15 and 30% ethanol, water and food for 7 weeks. During Week 6, P rats received either 25, 50, 100 or 200 mg/kg ceftriaxone (CEF, i.p.), a β-lactam antibiotic known to elevate GLT1 expression, or a saline vehicle for five consecutive days. Water intake, ethanol consumption and body weight were measured daily for 15 days starting on Day 1 of injections. We also tested the effects of CEF (100 and 200 mg/kg, i.p.) on daily sucrose (10%) consumption as a control for motivated behavioral drinking. Results: Statistical analyses revealed a significant reduction in daily ethanol, but not sucrose, consumption following CEF treatment. During the post treatment period, there was a recovery of ethanol intake across days. Dose-dependent increases in water intake were manifest concurrent with the CEF-induced decreases in ethanol intake. Nevertheless, CEF did not affect body weight. An examination of a subset of the CEF-treated ethanol-drinking rats, on the third day post CEF treatment, revealed increases in GTL1 expression levels within the prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. Conclusions: These results indicate that CEF effectively reduces ethanol intake, possibly through activation of GLT1, and may be a potential therapeutic drug for alcohol addiction treatment.
Aims: To clarify the role of acetate in neurochemical mechanisms of the initial (inborn) tolerance to ethanol. Methods: Rats with low and high inborn tolerance to hypnotic effect of ethanol were used. In the brain region homogenates (frontal and parietal cortex, hypothalamus, striatum, medulla oblongata) and brain cortex synaptosomes, the levels of acetate, acetyl-CoA, acetylcholine (AcH), the activity of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDG) and acetyl-CoA synthetase were examined. Results: It has been found that brain cortex of rats with high tolerance to hypnotic effect of ethanol have higher level of acetate and activity of acetyl-CoA synthetase, but lower level of acetyl-СCoA and activity of PDG. In brain cortex synaptosomes of tolerant rats, the pyruvate oxidation rate as well as the content of acetyl-CoA and AcH synthesis were lower when compared with intolerant animals. The addition of acetate into the medium significantly increased the AcH synthesis in synaptosomes of tolerant, but not of intolerant animals. Calcium ions stimulated the AcH release from synaptosomes twice as high in tolerant as in intolerant animals. Acetate eliminated the stimulating effect of calcium ions upon the release of AcH in synaptosomes of intolerant rats, but not in tolerant animals. As a result, the quantum release of AcH from synaptosomes in the presence of acetate was 6.5 times higher in tolerant when compared with intolerant rats. Conclusion: The brain cortex of rats with high inborn tolerance to hypnotic effect of ethanol can better utilize acetate for the acetyl-CoA and AcH synthesis, as well as being resistant to inhibitory effect of acetate to calcium-stimulated release of AcH. It indicates the metabolic and cholinergic mechanisms of the initial tolerance to ethanol.
Aims: This systematic review focuses on research about macro-level gender equality and violence against women (VAW) and identifies conceptually and theoretically driven hypotheses as well as lessons relevant for alcohol research. Hypotheses include: amelioration—increased equality decreases VAW; backlash—increased equality increases VAW; and convergence—increased equality reduces the gender gap; and hypotheses that distinguish between relative and absolute status, with relative status comparing men's and women's status and absolute status measuring women's status without regard to men. Methods: Systematic review of studies published through June 2009 identified through PubMed and Web of Science, as well as citing and cited articles. Results: A total of 30 studies are included. Of 85 findings examining amelioration/backlash, 25% support amelioration, 22% backlash; and 53% are null. Of 13 findings examining convergence, 31% support and 23% are inconsistent with convergence; 46% are null. Conclusion: Neither the existence nor the direction of the equality and VAW relationship can be assumed. This suggests that the relationship between macro-level gender equality and alcohol should also not be assumed, but rather investigated through research.
Aims: Teenagers in the UK report some of the highest rates of alcohol use in Europe. We identify patterns of alcohol use in early adolescence and relate these to hazardous and harmful alcohol use at age 16. Methods: In a UK birth cohort, we analysed repeated measures of alcohol use from age 13 to 15 in a sample of 7100 adolescents. Data on drinking frequency and typical consumption when drinking were modelled separately using a pair of latent class models. Classes of alcohol-use behaviour were contrasted across a range of risk factors and then to hazardous and harmful alcohol use as assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test scale at age 16. Results: Heterogeneity in drinking frequency and consumption could each be captured with three classes corresponding to low, medium and high levels. In total, 14.2% were classified as high-frequency and 8.9% as high consumption alcohol users. Socio-demographic factors, maternal substance use and the young persons' use of tobacco and cannabis were associated with class membership. At age 16, 29% were drinking hazardously and a further 5.6% were assessed as harmful drinkers. Young people in the high drinking frequency or consumption class had a 9-fold increased risk of reporting harmful drinking at age 16. Conclusions: By the age of 16, a substantial proportion of teenagers in this sample were drinking at levels that could be considered hazardous or harmful for an adult. Patterns of alcohol exposure in early adolescence were strongly associated with later alcohol use. Altering drinking patterns in middle adolescence has the potential to reduce harmful use in later adolescence.
Aims: The effect of transdermal nicotine on stress reactivity was investigated in currently smoking, detoxified, substance-dependent individuals (65% alcohol dependent, n = 51; 31 male) following a psychosocial stressor. Methods: Using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design, subjects were assigned to receive either active transdermal nicotine (low or high dose) or placebo. Six hours following nicotine administration, subjects performed a laboratory psychosocial stressor consisting of two 4-min public-speaking sessions. Results: Consistent with prior reports, substance-dependent individuals displayed a blunted stress response. However, a review of the cortisol distribution data encouraged additional analyses. Notably, a significant minority of the substance-dependent individuals (33%) demonstrated elevated poststress cortisol levels. This group of responders was more likely to be alcohol dependent and to have received the high dose of nicotine [χ2(2) = 32, P < 0.0001], [χ2(2) = 18.66, P < 0.0001]. Differences in salivary cortisol responses between responders and nonresponders could not be accounted for by the length of sobriety, nicotine withdrawal levels, anxiety or depressive symptomatology at the time of the psychosocial stressor. Conclusion: These results suggest that nicotine administration may support a normalization of the salivary cortisol response following psychosocial stress in subgroups of substance-dependent individuals, particularly those who are alcohol dependent. Given the association between blunted cortisol levels and relapse, and the complex actions of nicotine at central and peripheral sites, these findings support the systematic study of factors including nicotine, which may influence stress reactivity and the recovery process in alcohol-dependent individuals.
Aims: Previous studies show that alcohol exposure can affect the differentiation of progenitor B cells. Before final commitment to a B lineage, progenitor B cells usually undergo several important stages. However, it is still unclear whether alcohol alters B cell differentiation at which stages. The aim of this study was to determine which stage(s) of progenitor cell differentiation are affected by alcohol and to elucidate the mechanism(s) responsible for the effect of alcohol on B cell differentiation. Methods: Oligoclonal-neonatal-progenitor (ONP) cells from bone marrow cells of 2-week-old mice were cultured under different conditions in vitro with or without the exposure of 100 mM alcohol. Phenotype analysis was performed at different time points and expression levels of transcription factors (TFs) and cytokine receptors were measured quantitatively and kinetically. Results: After 3 days in vitro culture, ONP cells differentiated into two populations: B220−CD11b− and B220−CD11b+ cells. B220−CD11b− cells can further differentiate into B lineage cells only with the support of B220−CD11b+ cells. Cells exposed to 100 mM of alcohol during the first 3 days of culture showed no statistically significant difference in B cell formation after 12 days compared with the control group. However, cells exposed to alcohol from Day 4 till the end of culture yield very few B cells. Expression levels of TFs and cytokine receptors were down-regulated kinetically among ONP cells co-cultured with the addition of 100 mM alcohol. Conclusions: Alcohol affects the ONP cell differentiation into B lineage at a late stage. Alcohol also down-regulates the expression level of TFs and cytokine receptors resulting in the impairment of B cell differentiation.
Aims: The aim of this study was to probe the relationship between the subjective effects of alcohol and impulsive behavior in social drinkers. Methods: Fifty social drinkers performed a response-inhibition task before consuming alcohol. A 0.8-g/kg dose of alcohol was administered in a binge-like fashion (0.2 g/kg every 30 min) to the participants over a 2-h time period. Participants then completed questionnaires measuring stimulation, sedation and mood following consumption of alcohol. Linear regression analyses were performed by examining the relationship between performance on the response inhibition impulsivity task and subjective responses to alcohol (i.e. stimulation, sedation and arousal). Results: There was a significant positive relationship found between impulsive responding and self-reported sedation following alcohol consumption. Additionally, there was a significant negative relationship between behavioral impulsivity and self-reported stimulation and arousal following alcohol consumption. Conclusion: These results suggest that higher levels of impulsivity are associated with experiencing greater sedating than stimulating effects of alcohol. Individuals with high levels of impulsivity may be less sensitive to the stimulating effects of a specified dose of alcohol, which could lead to these individuals consuming more alcohol to experience the stimulating effects of alcohol.
Aims: This study aims to determine the impact of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral for Treatment (SBIRT) in reducing alcohol consumption in emergency department (ED) patients at 3, 6, and 12 months following exposure to the intervention. Methods: Patients drinking above the low-risk limits (at-risk to dependence), as defined by National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), were recruited from 14 sites nationwide from April to August 2004. A quasi-experimental comparison group design included sequential recruitment of intervention and control patients at each site. Control patients received a written handout. The Intervention group received the handout and participated in a brief negotiated interview with direct referral for treatment if indicated. Follow-up surveys were conducted at 3, 6, and 12 months by telephone using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Results: Of the 1132 eligible patients consented and enrolled (581 control, 551 intervention), 699 (63%), 575 (52%) and 433 (38%) completed follow-up surveys via IVR at 3, 6, and 12 months, respectively. Regression analysis adjusting for the clustered sampling design and using multiple imputation procedures to account for subject attrition revealed that those receiving SBIRT reported roughly three drinks less per week than controls (B = −3.00, SE = 1.06, P < 0.05) and the level of maximum drinks per occasion was approximately three-fourths of a drink less than controls (B = -0.76, SE = 0.29, P < 0.05) at 3 months. At 6 and 12 months post-intervention, these effects had weakened considerably and were no longer statistically or substantively significant. Conclusion: SBIRT delivered by ED providers appears to have short-term effectiveness in reducing at-risk drinking, but multi-contact interventions or booster programs may be necessary to maintain long-term reductions in risky drinking.
Aims: Heavy drinkers tend to overestimate how much others drink (normative fallacy), at least in college samples. Little research has been conducted to evaluate whether normative misperceptions about drinking extend beyond the college population. The present study explored normative misperceptions in an adult general population sample of drinkers. Methods: As part of a larger study, in Toronto, Canada, a random digit dialling telephone survey was conducted with 14,009 participants who drank alcohol at least once per month. Respondents with Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test of eight or more (n = 2757) were asked to estimate what percent of Canadians of their same sex: (a) drank more than they do; (b) were abstinent and (c) drank seven or more drinks per week. Respondents' estimates of these population drinking norms were then compared with the actual levels of alcohol consumption in the Canadian population. Results: A substantial level of normative misperception was observed for estimates of levels of drinking in the general population. Estimates of the proportion of Canadians who were abstinent were fairly accurate. There was some evidence of a positive relationship between the respondents' own drinking severity and the extent of normative misperceptions. Little evidence was found of a relationship between degree of normative misperceptions and age. Conclusion: Normative misperceptions have been successfully targeted in social norms media campaigns as well as in personalized feedback interventions for problem drinkers. The present research solidifies the empirical bases for extending these interventions more widely into the general population.
Aims: The aims were to provide proofs of mechanism and principle by establishing the ability of kynurenine metabolites to inhibit the liver mitochondrial low Km aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity after administration and in vivo, and to induce aversion to alcohol. Methods: Kynurenic acid (KA), 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK) and 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (3-HAA) were administered to normal male Wistar rats and ALDH activity was determined both in vitro in liver homogenates and in vivo (by measuring blood acetaldehyde following ethanol administration). Alcohol consumption was studied in an aversion model in rats and in alcohol-preferring C57 mice. Results: ALDH activity was significantly inhibited by all three metabolites by doses as small as 1 mg/kg body wt. Blood acetaldehyde accumulation after ethanol administration was strongly elevated by KA and 3-HK and to a lesser extent by 3-HAA. All three metabolites induced aversion to alcohol in rats and decreased alcohol preference in mice. Conclusions: The above kynurenine metabolites of tryptophan induce aversion to alcohol by inhibiting ALDH activity. An intellectual property covering the use of 3-HK and 3-HAA and derivatives thereof in the treatment of alcoholism by aversion awaits further development.
Aims: The aims were to provide proofs of mechanism and principle by establishing the ability of the amino acid L-tryptophan (Trp) combined with the kynureninase inhibitor benserazide (BSZ) to inhibit the liver mitochondrial low Km aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity after administration and in vivo and to induce aversion to alcohol. Methods: Trp, BSZ or both were administered to male Wistar rats and ALDH activity was determined both in vitro in liver homogenates and in vivo (by measuring acetaldehyde accumulation in blood after ethanol administration). Alcohol consumption was studied in an aversion model in rats and in alcohol-preferring C57 mice. Results: Combined administration of Trp + BSZ, but neither compound alone, produced a strong inhibition of ALDH activity and an increase in blood acetaldehyde concentration after ethanol, and induced aversion to alcohol in rats and decreased preference in mice. Another kynureninase inhibitor, carbidopa, induced aversion to alcohol by itself, which was reversed by Trp co-administration. Conclusions: The present results establish a prior art for the use of a combination of Trp plus BSZ in the treatment of alcoholism by aversion, which merits rapid clinical development.
Aim: This functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study examined reactivity to alcohol, polydrug, marijuana and emotional picture cues in students who were referred to a college alcohol and drug assistance program. Methods: The fMRI data of 10 participants (5 females; 5 males) were collected while they viewed standardized emotional and appetitive cues. Results: Positive and negative emotional cues produced greater activity than neutral cues in the expected brain areas. Compared with neutral cues, alcohol cues produced greater brain activation in the right insula, left anterior cingulate, left caudate and left prefrontal cortex (Z = 2.01, 1.86, 1.82, 1.81, respectively; P < 0.05). Drug cues produced significantly greater left prefrontal activity compared with neutral cues, with polydrug cues activating the right insula and marijuana cues activating left anterior cingulate. Conclusions: Students at-risk for alcohol abuse showed neural reactivity to alcohol cues in four brain regions, which is consistent with their greater use of alcohol. Insula activation to appetitive cues may be an early marker of risk for progression to alcohol/drug abuse.
Aims: This study examined brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and reaction time (RT) during an implicit repetition priming memory task involving alcohol, polydrug, marijuana and emotional picture cues. Methods: Participants were 5 male and 5 female high-risk college students who had just participated in a cue exposure study (Ray et al., this issue). fMRI and RT data were collected while participants made decisions about previously seen and new picture cues. Results: Both behavioral RT and brain imaging data revealed strong memory priming for drug and alcohol cues. Neurologically, a repetition priming effect (suppression in neural activity for repeated cues) was observed in response to alcohol cues in the left prefrontal, bilateral occipital, and bilateral occipitotemporal regions, as well as right insula and right precuneus (Z ranged from 3.03 to 3.31 P < 0.05). Polydrug cues elicited priming in the occipital and temporal areas, and marijuana cues in the occipital area. Conclusions: Prefrontal and insular cortex involvement both in reactivity to alcohol cues (Ray et al., this issue) and subsequent implicit memory processing of these cues, as found in this study, suggests their potential role in the maintenance of high-risk alcohol use behaviors.
Aims: Our overall objective was to examine whether characteristics of epithelial lining fluid (ELF) from subjects with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) obtained via bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) contribute to their predisposition to pneumococcal pneumonia. We sought to compare the anti-pneumococcal activity of acellular human BAL from subjects with AUDs to matched controls. Further, differences in BAL lysozyme activity and lactoferrin concentrations between these two groups were examined to determine the effect of AUDs on these antimicrobial proteins. Methods: BAL was performed in subjects with AUDs and matched controls. Acellular BAL was used at varying concentrations in an in vitro killing assay of Streptococcus pneumoniae, type 2, and the percent kill of organisms per microgram per milliliter total BAL protein was ascertained. Lysozyme activity and lactoferrin concentrations were measured in BAL from subjects and controls at measured concentrations of BAL protein. Results: AUD subjects (n = 15) and controls (n = 10) were enrolled in these investigations who were balanced in terms of smoking history. Using a mixed effect model, across the range of BAL protein concentrations, killing of pneumococcus tended to be less potent with BAL fluid from AUD subjects. Additionally, lysozyme activity and lactoferrin concentrations were significantly lower in the AUD group. Conclusions: The predisposition for pneumococcal pneumonia among those with AUDs may be in part mediated through effects of alcohol on substances within ELF that include antimicrobial proteins. Clarifying the composition and activity of ELF antimicrobial proteins in the setting of AUDs via investigations with human BAL fluid can help establish their contribution to the susceptibility for pulmonary infections in these individuals.
Aims: The aims of this study were to study whether alcohol-related self-reported problems follow the same pattern of changes in alcohol consumption in southern Sweden, assumed to be affected by a decrease in Danish spirits tax and by an increase in Swedish travellers’ import quotas, and to study whether the results obtained for southern and northern Sweden follow the predictions of Skog's theory of collectivity of drinking cultures. Methods: Analysis was carried out on a sample from the Swedish general population from southern and northern Sweden separately. Two indices such as impaired self-control/dependent behaviour and extrinsic problems for alcohol-related problems were computed and analysed in terms of sex, age, income and alcohol consumption level. Results: Although there were no huge changes in the number of persons reporting alcohol-related problems, the general trend in data for various subpopulations was a decrease in the southern site and an increase in the northern site. In the northern site, the increase in alcohol consumption among men also showed an increase in alcohol-related problems. However, various population subgroups changed in different directions and did not move in concert over the population distribution. Conclusions: Analysis confirmed that alcohol-related problems, according to the two indices used, followed a similar pattern to alcohol consumption, but less divergent. A version of Skog's theory applied on alcohol-related problems could not confirm that alcohol-related problems did not change collectively within the population.
Aims: To investigate the relationship between socio-demographic factors and alcohol drinking patterns identified through a formal analysis of the factor structure of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) score in a population sample of working-age men in Russia. Methods: In 2008–2009, a sample of 1005 men aged 25–59 years living in Izhevsk, Russia were interviewed and information collected about socio-demographic circumstances. Responses to the AUDIT questions were obtained through a self-completed questionnaire. Latent dimensions of the AUDIT score were determined using confirmatory factor analysis and expressed as standard deviation (SD) units. Structural equation modelling was used to estimate the strength of association of these dimensions with socio-demographic variables. Results: The AUDIT was found to have a two-factor structure: alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems. Both dimensions were higher in men who were unemployed seeking work compared with those in regular paid employment. For consumption, there was a difference of 0.59 SDs, (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.23, 0.88) and for alcohol-related problems one of 0.66 SD (95% CI: 0.31, 1.00). Alcohol-related problems were greater among less educated compared with more educated men (P-value for trend = 0.05), while consumption was not related to education. Similar results were found for associations with an amenity index based on car ownership and central heating. Neither dimension was associated with marital status. While we found evidence that the consumption component of AUDIT was underestimated, this did not appear to explain the associations of this dimension with socio-demographic factors. Conclusions: Education and amenity index, both measures of socio-economic position, were inversely associated with alcohol-related problems but not with consumption. This discordance suggests that self-reported questions on frequency and volume may be less sensitive markers of socio-economic variation in drinking than are questions about dependence and harm. Further investigation of the validity of the consumption component of AUDIT in Russia is warranted as it appears that the concept of a standard ‘drink’ as used in the instrument is not understood.
Aims: Dangerous alcohol consumption practices are common in adolescents, yet little is known about their consequences on attainment of peak bone mass and long-term skeletal integrity. We previously demonstrated that binge alcohol-exposed adolescent rats showed site-specific reductions in accruement of bone mineral density and bone strength, which were incompletely recovered following prolonged alcohol abstinence. Currently, we analysed the vertebral transcriptome of adolescent rats following alcohol treatment and abstinence to identify long-term molecular changes in the lumbar spine. Methods: Sixty male adolescent Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to one of six treatment groups receiving binge alcohol (3 g/kg) or saline i.p., 3 consecutive days (acute binge), 4 consecutive weekly (3-day) binge cycles (chronic binge) or 4 weekly binge cycles followed by a 30-day abstinence period (chronic binge with abstinence). Following treatment, lumbar vertebrae were assayed for global transcriptional changes using gene array technology. Results: Analysis of the adolescent rat vertebral transcriptome identified clusters of binge alcohol-sensitive genes displaying differential expression patterns starting before bone damage was seen and persisting after alcohol treatment was discontinued. Functional grouping of these gene clusters identified candidate cellular pathways affected following acute and chronic binge treatment, as well as pathways remaining modulated following abstinence. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that binge alcohol exposure can produce disruptions of normal bone gene expression patterns in the adolescent rat that persist well beyond the period of active intoxication. This data may have relevance to peak bone mass attainment and future risk of skeletal disease in adolescents engaging in repeated binge-drinking episodes.
Aims: To ascertain the views of general practitioners (GPs) regarding the prevention and management of alcohol-related problems in practice, together with perceived barriers and incentives for this work; to compare our findings with a comparable survey conducted 10 years earlier. Methods: In total, 282 (73%) of 419 GPs surveyed in East Midlands, UK, completed a postal questionnaire, measuring practices and attitudes, including the Shortened Alcohol and Alcohol Problems Perception Questionnaire (SAAPPQ). Results: GPs reported lower levels of post-graduate education or training on alcohol-related issues (<4 h for the majority) than in 1999 but not significantly so (P = 0.031). In the last year, GPs had most commonly requested more than 12 blood tests and managed 1–6 patients for alcohol. Reports of these preventive practices were significantly increased from 1999 (P < 0.001). Most felt that problem or dependent drinkers' alcohol issues could be legitimately (88%, 87%) and adequately (78%, 69%) addressed by GPs. However, they had low levels of motivation (42%, 35%), task-related self-esteem (53%, 49%) and job satisfaction (15%, 12%) for this. Busyness (63%) and lack of training (57%) or contractual incentives (48%) were key barriers. Endorsement for government policies on alcohol was very low. Conclusion: Among GPs, there still appears to be a gap between actual practice and potential for preventive work relating to alcohol problems; they report little specific training and a lack of support. Translational work on understanding the evidence-base supporting screening and brief intervention could incentivize intervention against excessive drinking and embedding it into everyday primary care practice.