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26.  What Research Is Being Done on Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in the Russian Research Community? 
Aims: Although Russia has one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption and alcohol-attributable burden of disease, little is known about the existing research on prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) in this country. The objective of this study was to locate and review published and unpublished studies related to any aspect of PAE and FASD conducted in or using study populations from Russia. Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in multiple English and Russian electronic bibliographic databases. In addition, a manual search was conducted in several major libraries in Moscow. Results: The search revealed a small pool of existing research studies related to PAE and/or FASD in Russia (126: 22 in English and 104 in Russian). Existing epidemiological data indicate a high prevalence of PAE and FASD, which underlines the strong negative impact that alcohol has on mortality, morbidity and disability in Russia. High levels of alcohol consumption by women of childbearing age, low levels of contraception use, and low levels of knowledge by health and other professionals regarding the harmful effects of PAE put this country at great risk of further alcohol-affected pregnancies. Conclusions: Alcohol preventive measures in Russia warrant immediate attention. More research focused on alcohol prevention and policy is needed in order to reduce alcohol-related harm, especially in the field of FASD.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agt156
PMCID: PMC3865815  PMID: 24158024
27.  AROUSAL-RELATED P3a TO NOVEL AUDITORY STIMULI IS ABOLISHED BY MODERATELY LOW ALCOHOL DOSE 
Concurrent measures of event-related potentials (ERPs) and skin conductance responses were obtained in an auditory oddball task consisting of rare target, rare non-signal unique novel and frequent standard tones. Twelve right-handed male social drinkers participated in all four cells of the balanced placebo design in which effects of beverage and instructions as to the beverage content (expectancy) were independently manipulated. The beverage contained either juice only, or vodka mixed with juice in the ratio that successfully disguised the taste of alcohol and raised average peak blood alcohol level to 0.045%. ERPs were sensitive to adverse effects of mild inebriation, whereas behavioral measures were not affected. Alcohol ingestion reliably increased N2 amplitude and reduced the Late Positive Complex (LPC). A large, fronto-central P3a (280 ms latency) was recorded to novel sounds in placebo condition, but only on the trials that also evoked electrodermal orienting responses. Both novel and target stimuli evoked a posterior P3b (340 ms) which was independent of orienting. Alcohol selectively attenuated the P3a to novel sounds on trials with autonomic arousal. This evidence confirms the previously suggested distinction between the subcomponents of the LPC: P3a may be a central index of orienting to novel, task-irrelevant but potentially significant stimuli and is an important component of the arousal system. P3b does not have a clear relationship with arousal and may embody voluntary cognitive processing of rare task-related stimuli. Overall, these results indicate that alcohol affects multiple brain systems concerned with arousal, attentional processes and cognitive-autonomic integration.
PMCID: PMC3760424  PMID: 11704618
alcohol; auditory oddball; arousal; P3a; skin conductance; novelty
28.  Social Inequalities and Gender Differences in the Experience of Alcohol-Related Problems 
Aims: To examine the influence of country-level characteristics and individual socio-economic status (SES) on individual alcohol-related consequences. Methods: Data from 42,655 men and women collected by cross-sectional surveys in 25 countries of the Gender, Alcohol and Culture: An International Study study were used. The individual SES was measured by the highest attained educational level. Alcohol-related consequences were defined as the self-report of at least one internal or one external consequence in the last year. The relationship between individuals’ education and alcohol-related consequences was examined by meta-analysis. In a second step, the individual level data and country data were combined in multilevel models. As country-level indicators, we used the purchasing power parity of the gross national income (GNI), the Gini coefficient and the Gender Gap Index. Results: Lower educated men and women were more likely to report consequences than higher educated men and women even after controlling for drinking patterns. For men, this relation was significant for both internal and external problems. For women, it was only significant for external problems. The GNI was significantly associated with reporting external consequences for men such that in lower income countries men were more likely to report social problems. Conclusion: The fact that problems accrue more quickly for lower educated persons even if they drink in the same manner can be linked to the social or environmental dimension surrounding problems. That is, those of fewer resources are less protected from the experience of a problem or the impact of a stressful life event.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/ags040
PMCID: PMC3417684  PMID: 22542707
29.  Intermittent Availability of Ethanol Does Not Always Lead to Elevated Drinking in Mice 
Aims: Intermittent access (IA) to an alcohol (ethanol) solution can lead rats to higher ethanol intakes than continuous access, and a recent report showed increased drinking in C57BL/6J mice offered 20% ethanol vs. water 3X/week (Prior studies have offered ethanol during 24 h periods, either continuously or intermittently.). Methods: We tested the high-preference C57BL/6J inbred mice: we also studied High Drinking in the Dark (HDID) mice, a line we have selectively bred to reach intoxicating blood ethanol levels after a short period of access to a single bottle of 20% ethanol. Results: Neither HDID or C57BL/6J male mice offered ethanol every other day during only a 4-h access period showed greater daily intake than mice offered ethanol daily for 4 h. There was a small increase in drinking with 24 h IA in C57BL/6J mice. An experiment with HDID mice and their control heterogeneous stock stock modeled closely after a published study with C57BL/6J mice (Hwa, Chu, Levinson SA et al. Persistent escalation of alcohol drinking in C57BL/6J mice with intermittent access to 20% ethanol. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2011;35:1938–1947) showed no significant elevation with 24 h IA exposure in either sex of any genotype. Finally, a near replication of the Hwa et al. study showed modestly greater intake in C57BL/6J mice, confirming the efficacy of 24 h IA. Conclusion: We conclude that 4 h of IA is likely insufficient to elevate drinking in mice. The lack of effect in HDID mice and their controls further suggests that not all genotypes respond to intermittency.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/ags067
PMCID: PMC3417685  PMID: 22717273
30.  Acute Ethanol Does Not Always Affect Delay Discounting in Rats Selected to Prefer or Avoid Ethanol 
Aims: The purpose of this study was to determine whether animals predisposed to prefer alcohol possess an altered acute response to alcohol on a delay discounting task relative to animals predisposed to avoid alcohol. Methods: We used rats selected to prefer or avoid alcohol to assess whether genotype moderates changes in delay discounting induced by acute ethanol exposure. Selectively bred rat lines of Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP; n = 8) and non-preferring (sNP; n = 8) rats, and alko alcohol (AA, n = 8) and alko non-alcohol (ANA, n = 8) rats were trained in an adjusting amount task to assess delay discounting. Results: There were no significant effects of line on baseline discounting; however, both lines of alcohol-preferring rats exhibit slowed reaction times. Acute ethanol (0, 0.25, 0.5 g/kg) treatment also had no effect on delay discounting in any of the selectively bred rat lines. Conclusion: Our data indicate that in these lines of animals, alcohol preference or avoidance has no impact on delay discounting following acute ethanol exposure. It is possible that other genetic models or lines may be differentially affected by alcohol and exhibit qualitatively and quantitatively different responses in delay discounting tasks.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/ags059
PMCID: PMC3500854  PMID: 22645038
31.  Suicide Attempts During Heavy Drinking Episodes Among Individuals Entering Alcohol Treatment in Warsaw, Poland 
Aims: Acute alcohol intoxication itself may act as a trigger for suicidal thoughts and attempts among individuals at risk and may influence the potential lethality of the suicide attempt. This study in alcohol-dependent patients compared the correlates of suicide attempts during a heavy drinking episode with those of suicide attempts during relative sobriety. Methods: In two outpatient and two residential alcohol treatment programs in Warsaw, Poland, 113 patients who reported a suicide attempt during their lifetime were interviewed. The analyses focused on the patients’ most serious suicide attempts and on whether these occurred during a heavy drinking episode. Results: Over two-thirds of the patients reported that their most serious suicide attempt occurred during a period of heavy drinking. A multivariable logistic model indicated that the following factors significantly distinguished those patients whose most serious suicide attempt occurred during a heavy drinking episode: male gender, younger current age, greater severity of alcohol dependence and the attempt being unplanned. Conclusion: Among the patients in treatment for alcohol dependence who made a suicide attempt, the most serious attempt was likely to have been unplanned and committed by men when it occurred during a heavy drinking episode.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/ags069
PMCID: PMC3500855  PMID: 22691386
32.  Efficacy of As-Needed Nalmefene in Alcohol-Dependent Patients with at Least a High Drinking Risk Level: Results from a Subgroup Analysis of Two Randomized Controlled 6-Month Studies 
Aims: The aim of the study was to investigate the efficacy and safety of as-needed use of nalmefene 18 mg versus placebo in reducing alcohol consumption in patients who did not reduce their alcohol consumption after an initial assessment, i.e. the pooled subgroup of patients with at least a high drinking risk level (men: >60 g/day; women: >40 g/day) at both screening and randomization from the two randomized controlled 6-month studies ESENSE 1 (NCT00811720) and ESENSE 2 (NCT00812461). Methods: Nalmefene 18 mg and placebo were taken on an as-needed basis. All the patients also received a motivational and adherence-enhancing intervention (BRENDA). The co-primary outcomes were number of heavy drinking days (HDDs) and mean total alcohol consumption (g/day) in Month 6 measured using the Timeline Follow-back method. Additionally, data on clinical improvement, liver function and safety were collected throughout the study. Results: The pooled population consisted of 667 patients: placebo n = 332; nalmefene n = 335. There was a superior effect of nalmefene compared with placebo in reducing the number of HDDs [treatment difference: −3.2 days (95% CI: −4.8; −1.6); P < 0.0001] and total alcohol consumption [treatment difference: −14.3 g/day (−20.8; −7.8); P < 0.0001] at Month 6. Improvements in clinical status and liver parameters were greater in the nalmefene group compared with the placebo group. Adverse events and adverse events leading to dropout were more common with nalmefene than placebo. Conclusion: As-needed nalmefene was efficacious in reducing alcohol consumption in patients with at least a high drinking risk level at both screening and randomization, and the effect in this subgroup was larger than in the total population.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agt061
PMCID: PMC3746807  PMID: 23873853
33.  Longitudinal Prediction of Divorce in Russia: The Role of Individual and Couple Drinking Patterns 
Aims: The aim of the study was to explore associations between dimensions of alcohol use in married couples and subsequent divorce in Russia using longitudinal data. Methods: Follow-up data on 7157 married couples were extracted from 14 consecutive annual rounds (1994–2010) of the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey, a national population-based panel study. Discrete-time hazard models were fitted to estimate the probability of divorce among married couples by drinking patterns reported in the previous survey wave. Results: In adjusted models, increased odds of divorce were associated with greater frequency of husband and wife drinking (test for trend P = 0.005, and P = 0.05, respectively), wife's binge drinking (P = 0.05) and husband's heavy vodka drinking (P = 0.005). Couples in whom the wife drank more frequently than the husband were more likely to divorce (OR 2.86, 95% CI 1.52–5.36), compared with other combinations of drinking. The association between drinking and divorce was stronger in regions outside Moscow or St. Petersburg. Conclusion: This study adds to the sparse literature on the topic and suggests that in Russia heavy and frequent drinking of both husbands and wives put couples at greater risk of future divorce, with some variation by region and aspect of alcohol use.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agt068
PMCID: PMC3799559  PMID: 23851365
34.  The Alcohol Improvement Programme: Evaluation of an Initiative to Address Alcohol-Related Health Harm in England 
Aims: The evaluation aimed to assess the impact of The Alcohol Improvement Programme (AIP). This was a UK Department of Health initiative (April 2008–March 2011) aiming to contribute to the reduction of alcohol-related harm as measured by a reduction in the rate of increase in alcohol-related hospital admissions (ARHAs). Methods: The evaluation (March 2010–September 2011) used a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods to assess the impact of the AIP on ARHAs, to describe and assess the process of implementation, and to identify elements of the programme which might serve as a ‘legacy’ for the future. Results: There was no evidence that the AIP had an impact on reducing the rise in the rate of ARHAs. The AIP was successfully delivered, increased the priority given to alcohol-related harm on local policy agendas and strengthened the infrastructure for the delivery of interventions. Conclusion: Although there was no measurable short-term impact on the rise in the rate of ARHAs, the AIP helped to set up a strategic response and a delivery infrastructure as a first, necessary step in working towards that goal. There are a number of valuable elements in the AIP which should be retained and repackaged to fit into new policy contexts.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agt052
PMCID: PMC3746805  PMID: 23729674
35.  [No title available] 
PMCID: PMC4296254  PMID: 23729673
36.  Gene-Selective Histone H3 Acetylation in the Absence of Increase in Global Histone Acetylation in Liver of Rats Chronically Fed Alcohol 
Aims: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of chronic ethanol feeding on acetylation of histone H3 at lysine 9 (H3-Lys9) at promoter and coding regions of genes for class I alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH I), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), Bax, p21, c-met and hepatocyte growth factor in the rat liver. Methods: Rats were fed ethanol-containing liquid diet (5%, w/v) for 1–4 weeks. The global level of acetylation of H3-Lys9 in the liver was examined by western blot analysis. The levels of mRNA for various genes were measured by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. The association of acetylated histone H3-Lys9 with the different regions of genes was monitored by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Results: Chronic ethanol treatment increased mRNA expression of genes for iNOS, c-jun and ADH 1. Chronic ethanol treatment did not cause increase in global acetylation of H3-Lys9, but significantly increased the association of acetylated histone H3-Lys9 in the ADH I gene, both in promoter and in coding regions. In contrast, chronic ethanol treatment did not significantly increase the association of acetylated histone H3-Lys9 with iNOS and c-jun genes. Conclusion: Chronic ethanol exposure increased the gene-selective association of acetylated H3-Lys9 in the absence of global histone acetylation. Thus, not all genes expressed by ethanol are linked to transcription via histone H3 acetylation at Lys9.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/ags004
PMCID: PMC3331618  PMID: 22301686
37.  Ethnic Drinking Cultures and Alcohol Use among Asian American Adults: Findings from a National Survey 
Aims: To investigate the influence of ethnic drinking cultures on alcohol use by Asian Americans and how this influence may be moderated by their level of integration into Asian ethnic cultures. Methods: A nationally representative sample of 952 Asian American adults extracted from the Wave 2 National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions data was used. Multiple logistic and linear regression models were fitted, some of which were stratified by nativity. Results: Controlling for financial stress, discrimination and demographic variables, a hypothesized, positive relationship between ethnic drinking cultures and alcohol outcomes held for most drinking outcomes. A hypothesis on the moderating effect of integration into ethnic cultures indicated by ethnic language use was supported for US-born Asian Americans. Conclusion: Ethnic drinking cultures may significantly influence alcohol use by Asian Americans. The influence of ethnic drinking cultures may be conditioned by the degree of integration into the ethnic cultures. To inform alcohol interventions for reducing harmful and hazardous alcohol use among immigrants, future research needs to explore the cultural and social processes occurring in immigrant communities that might significantly influence drinking.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/ags017
PMCID: PMC3331619  PMID: 22378829
38.  CAGE, RAPS4, RAPS4-QF and AUDIT Screening Tests for Men and Women Admitted for Acute Alcohol Intoxication to an Emergency Department: Are Standard Thresholds Appropriate? 
Aims: A number of screening instruments are routinely used in Emergency Department (ED) situations to identify alcohol-use disorders (AUD). We wished to study the psychometric features, particularly concerning optimal thresholds scores (TSs), of four assessment scales frequently used to screen for abuse and/or dependence, the cut-down annoyed guilty eye-opener (CAGE), Rapid Alcohol Problem Screen 4 (RAPS4), RAPS4-quantity-frequency and AUD Identification Test (AUDIT) questionnaires, particularly in the sub-group of people admitted for acute alcohol intoxication (AAI). Methods: All included patients [AAI admitted to ED (blood alcohol level ≥0.8 g/l)] were assessed by the four scales, and with a gold standard (alcohol dependence⁄abuse section of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview), to determine AUD status. To investigate the TSs of the scales, we used Youden's index, efficiency, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve techniques and quality ROC curve technique for optimized TS (indices of quality). Results: A total of 164 persons (122 males, 42 females) were included in the study. Nineteen (11.60%) were identified as alcohol abusers alone and 128 (78.1%) as alcohol dependents (DSM-IV). Results suggest a statistically significant difference between men and women (P < 0.05) in performance of the screening tests RAPS4 (≥1) and CAGE (≥2) for detecting abuse. Also, in this population, we show an increase in TSs of RAPS4 (≥2) and CAGE (≥3) for detecting dependence compared with those typically accepted in non-intoxicated individuals. The AUDIT test demonstrates good performance for detecting alcohol abuse and/or alcohol-dependent patients (≥7 for women and ≥12 for men) and for distinguishing alcohol dependence (≥11 for women and ≥14 for men) from other conditions. Conclusion: Our study underscores for the first time the need to adapt, taking into account gender, the thresholds of tests typically used for detection of abuse and dependence in this population.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/ags027
PMCID: PMC3331621  PMID: 22414922
39.  Assessing Self-Efficacy to Reduce One's Drinking: Further Evaluation of the Alcohol Reduction Strategies-Current Confidence Questionnaire 
Aims: To evaluate the psychometric properties of a previously published questionnaire designed to assess young drinkers’ self-efficacy to employ 31 cognitive-behavioral alcohol reduction strategies. Methods: Undergraduates (n = 353) recruited from a large Midwestern university completed the previously published Alcohol Reduction Strategies-Current Confidence questionnaire (and other measures) for a self-selected heavy drinking setting. Results: Item loadings from a principal components analysis, a high internal consistency reliability coefficient, and a moderate mean inter-item correlation suggested that all 31 items comprised a single scale. Correlations of questionnaire scores with selected aspects of drinking history and personality provided support for criterion and discriminant validity, respectively. Women reported higher current confidence to use these strategies than did men, but current confidence did not vary as a function of recent binge status. Conclusion: Given this further demonstration of its psychometric qualities, this questionnaire holds promise as a clinical tool to identify clients who lack confidence in their ability to employ cognitive-behavioral coping strategies to reduce their drinking.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agr172
PMCID: PMC3988445  PMID: 22278317
40.  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
41.  Price Discounts on Alcohol in a City in Northern England 
Aims
To describe the extent and nature of price discounts on alcohol in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Methods
An observational survey in stores licensed for off-sales in December 2010 to January 2011.
Results
A total of 2018 price discounts in 29 stores led to a median saving of 25% and required a median purchase of 20 standard UK alcohol units. Median price per standard unit was £0.92 (US$1.49; €1.05) before discount and £0.68 (US$1.10; €0.78) after discount.
Conclusions
Restriction of price discounting should be considered as a public health policy.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agr159
PMCID: PMC3284686  PMID: 22358038
42.  Reduction of Ethanol Consumption in Alcohol-Preferring Rats by Dual Expression Gene Transfer 
Aims: To mimic, in an animal model of alcoholism, the protective phenotype against alcohol consumption observed in humans carrying a fast alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH1B*2) and an inactive aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2*2). Methods: We developed a multiple expression cassette adenoviral vector (AdV-ADH/asALDH2) encoding both a fast rat ADH and an antisense RNA against rat ALDH2. A control adenoviral vector (AdV-C) containing intronic non-coding DNA was also developed. These adenoviral vectors were administered intravenously to rats bred as high alcohol-drinkers (University of Chile bibulous) that were previously rendered alcohol dependent by a 75-day period of voluntary 10% ethanol intake. Results: Animals administered AdV-ADH/asALDH2 showed a 176% increase in liver ADH activity, whereas liver ALDH2 activity was reduced by 24%, and upon the administration of a dose of ethanol (1 g/kg, i.p.), these showed arterial acetaldehyde levels that were 400% higher than those of animals administered AdV-C. Rats that received the AdV-ADH/asALDH2 vector reduced by 60% their voluntary ethanol intake versus controls. Conclusion: This study provides evidence that the simultaneous increase of liver ADH and a reduction of ALDH activity by gene transfer could constitute a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of alcoholism.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agr161
PMCID: PMC3284687  PMID: 22214999
43.  Interactive Influences of Neighborhood and Individual Socioeconomic Status on Alcohol Consumption and Problems 
Aims: To assess cross-level interactions between neighborhood and individual socioeconomic status (SES) on alcohol consumption and problems, and investigate three possible explanations for such interactions, including the double jeopardy, status inconsistency and relative deprivation hypotheses. Methods: Data from the 2000 and 2005 US National Alcohol Surveys were linked to the 2000 US Census to define respondent census tracts as disadvantaged, middle-class and advantaged. Risk drinking (consumption exceeding national guidelines), monthly drunkenness and alcohol problems were examined among low-, middle- and high-SES past-year drinkers (n = 8728). Gender-stratified, multiple logistic regression models were employed, and for outcomes with a significant omnibus F-test, linear contrasts were used to interpret interactions. Results: Cross-level SES interactions observed for men indicated that residence in advantaged neighborhoods was associated with markedly elevated odds of risk drinking and drunkenness for low-SES men. Linear contrasts further revealed a nearly 5-fold increased risk for alcohol problems among these men, relative to middle-SES and high-SES men also living in advantaged neighborhoods. Among women, neighborhood disadvantage was related to increased risk for alcohol problems, but there were no significant SES interactions. These findings did not support theories of double jeopardy and status inconsistency. Conclusion: Consistent with the relative deprivation hypothesis, findings highlight alcohol-related health risks among low-SES men living in affluent neighborhoods. Future research should assess whether this pattern extends to other health risk behaviors, investigate causal mechanisms and consider how gender may influence these.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agr168
PMCID: PMC3284688  PMID: 22262507
44.  Prevalence and Patterns of Hazardous and Harmful Alcohol Consumption Assessed Using the AUDIT among Bhutanese Refugees in Nepal 
Aims: This study sought to ascertain the prevalence of hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption among Bhutanese refugees in Nepal and to identify predictors of elevated risk in order to better understand intervention need. Methods: Hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption was assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) administered in a face-to-face interview in a census of two camps comprising ∼8000 refugees. Results: Approximately 1/5 men and 1/14 women drank alcohol and prevalence of hazardous drinking among current drinkers was high and comparable to that seen in Western countries with longstanding alcohol cultures. Harmful drinking was particularly associated with the use of other substances including tobacco. Conclusions: Assessment of the alcohol-related needs of Bhutanese refugees has permitted the design of interventions. This study adds to the small international literature on substance use in forced migration populations, about which there is growing concern.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agt009
PMCID: PMC3633362  PMID: 23443987
45.  Post-treatment Stage of Change Predicts 12-month Outcome of Treatment for Alcohol Problems 
Aims: To evaluate relationships between clients' self-reported ‘stage of change’ and outcomes after treatment for alcohol problems. Methods: Using data from the ‘United Kingdom Alcohol Treatment Trial’, clients who had received at least one session of treatment and who had complete data (n = 392) entered the analysis. Two continuous measures of drinking behaviour (% days abstinent (PDA) and drinks per drinking day (DDD)) and categorical outcomes at the 12-month follow-up were compared between clients in Pre-action and Action stages of change at either pre- or post-treatment assessment. Multiple and logistic regression analyses examined the relationships between stage of change and treatment outcomes, evaluating the strength of these relationships by controlling for likely confounders. Results: Pre-treatment stage of change did not predict outcome but post-treatment stage of change predicted PDA and DDD at the 12-month follow-up. In unadjusted and adjusted analyses, clients in Action at post-treatment were two to three times more likely to show a favourable categorical outcome, variously defined, than those in Pre-action. There were no differences between clients who had received Motivational Enhancement Therapy and those who had received Social Behaviour and Network Therapy in proportions maintaining or moving towards Action from before to after treatment. Conclusions: These findings confirm previous reports that motivational variables predict outcome of treatment but add that such a relationship is seen for post-treatment stage of change. For therapists, it would seem important to monitor the client's stage of change—which in good clinical practice often occurs in informal ways—and have strategies to deal with low motivation to change whenever it occurs throughout treatment. The findings are also consistent with a ‘common factors’ perspective on effective treatment for alcohol problems.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agt006
PMCID: PMC3633361  PMID: 23408241
46.  Mentorship for Alcohol Problems (MAP): A Peer to Peer Modular Intervention for Outpatients 
Aims: This is a Stage I open pilot to develop a new intervention, Mentorship for Alcohol Problems (MAP), for individuals with alcohol-use disorders in community treatment programs. Methods: Ten mentors participated for 6 months until 30 mentees received MAP for 12 weeks. Behavioral and biological measures were conducted in addition to fidelity measures. Four focus groups were held with participants and clinician feedback surveys were completed. Results: Feasibility and acceptance data in the domains of patient interest, safety and satisfaction were promising. Mentees reduced their alcohol and substance use and the majority of mentors sustained abstinence. Fidelity measures indicated that mentors adhered to the delivery of treatment. Conclusion: MAP shows promise to be incorporated into professionally run outpatient alcohol treatment programs to assist in the reduction of alcohol and substance use.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agr136
PMCID: PMC3243439  PMID: 22045903
47.  Ethanol Increases GABAergic Transmission and Excitability in Cerebellar Molecular Layer Interneurons from GAD67-GFP Knock-in Mice 
Aims
This study assessed the acute effect of ethanol on GABAergic transmission at molecular layer interneurons (MLIs; i.e. basket and stellate cells) in the cerebellar cortex. The actions of ethanol on spontaneous firing of these pacemaker neurons were also measured.
Methods
Transgenic mice (glutamic acid-decarboxylase 67-green fluorescent protein knock-in mice) that express green fluorescence protein in GABAergic interneurons were used to aid in the identification of MLIs. Parasagittal cerebellar slices were prepared and whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiological techniques were used to measure GABAA receptor-mediated spontaneous and miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents (sIPSCs and mIPSCs). Loose-seal cell-attached recordings were used to measure spontaneous action potential firing.
Results
Stellate cells received spontaneous GABAergic input in the form of a mixture of action potential-dependent events (sIPSCs) and quantal events (mIPSCs); ethanol increased sIPSC frequency to a greater extent than mIPSC frequency. Ethanol increased spontaneous action potential firing of MLIs, which could explain the increase in sIPSC frequency in stellate cells. Basket cells received GABAergic input in the form of quantal events only. Ethanol significantly increased the frequency of these events, which may be mediated by a different type of interneuron (perhaps, the Lugaro cell) or Purkinje cell collaterals.
Conclusions
Ethanol exposure differentially increases GABA release at stellate cell vs. basket cell-to-Purkinje cell synapses. This effect may contribute to the abnormalities in cerebellar function associated with alcohol intoxication.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agr147
PMCID: PMC3243440  PMID: 22080831
48.  Acceptability and Effect of a Community-Based Alcohol Education Program in Rural Sri Lanka 
Aims: To assess the effectiveness and acceptability of a brief community-based educational program on changing the drinking pattern of alcohol in a rural community. Methods: A longitudinal cohort study was carried out in two rural villages in Sri Lanka. One randomly selected village received a community education program that utilized street dramas, poster campaigns, leaflets and individual and group discussions. The control village had no intervention during this period. The Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) was used to measure the drinking pattern before and at 6 and 24 months after the intervention in males over 18 years of age in both villages. The recall and the impact of various components of the intervention were assessed at 24 months post-intervention. Results: The intervention was associated with the development of an active community action group in the village and a significant reduction in illicit alcohol outlets. The drama component of the intervention had the highest level of recall and preference. Comparing the control and intervention villages, there were no significant difference between baseline drinking patterns and the AUDIT. There was a significant reduction in the AUDIT scores in the intervention village compared with the control at 6 and 24 months (P < 0.0001). Conclusions: A community-based education program had high acceptance and produces a reduction in alcohol use that was sustained for 2 years.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/ags116
PMCID: PMC3571206  PMID: 23161893
49.  Dealing Responsibly with the Alcohol Industry in London 
The 2012 UK Government's Alcohol Strategy for England and Wales has been welcomed broadly and resulted only in muted criticism within the UK public health community. This is despite strong continuities with previous alcohol industry constructions of the nature of the problem and preferred policy responses. This is probably because the strategy shows progress on the public health lobby's key issue of pricing of alcohol beverages. There are, however, many problems with the wider content of the strategy, showing little interest in much needed industry regulation other than on price, and an absence of commitment to investment in research. Some dilemmas posed for the research community are discussed.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/ags107
PMCID: PMC3472617  PMID: 23034971
50.  Investigating Ethnic Differences in Adolescent Alcohol Use and Peer Norms Using Semi-Continuous Latent Growth Models 
Aims: To investigate whether ethnic differences in vulnerability to peer norms supportive of alcohol use is a viable, partial explanation for the ethnic differences in reported prevalence and amount of alcohol use during high school. Methods: Survey data from a sample of 680 adolescents from Project STAR (Students Taught Awareness and Resistance) of the Midwestern Prevention Project were used. Hypotheses were tested using sequential, semi-continuous growth curve models. Results: Relative to Black adolescents, White adolescents reported greater peer alcohol use during middle school and were much more likely to consume alcohol during high school. General peer norms in seventh grade and middle school growth in alcohol use norms among close friends was predictive of a greater propensity to consume alcohol in ninth grade among White adolescents. Conclusion: Lower peer norms for alcohol use among Black adolescents might better account for differences between Black and White adolescents than the possibility that White adolescents are more vulnerable to peer norms.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agr034
PMCID: PMC3156885  PMID: 21478496

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