Feature Channels: Alcohol and Alcoholism

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17-Mar-2020 8:30 AM EDT
Neuroimaging links brain region to poor spatial navigation in children affected by prenatal alcohol exposure
Research Society on Alcoholism

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) describe the range of effects associated with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE). The most severe forms of FASD are fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and partial fetal alcohol syndrome (PFAS), which have adverse effects on learning and memory and result in observable physical abnormalities, including a distinct pattern of facial dysmorphic features, small head circumference, and growth restriction. Identifying the specific brain regions affected is important to fully understand the impact of PAE. Poor spatial skills are common in children with FASD, and tests of navigation in rodents – and more recently, humans – have linked PAE to impairment in ‘place learning’ (the learning of physical positions or locations of objects). Place learning in rodents and humans depends on the hippocampus, a small seahorse-shaped structure in each side of the brain. The hippocampus is particularly sensitive to PAE and is smaller in people (and rodents) exposed to alcohol in

Released: 11-Mar-2020 1:40 PM EDT
Alcoholics Anonymous most effective path to alcohol abstinence
Stanford University School of Medicine

Alcoholics Anonymous, the worldwide fellowship of sobriety seekers, is the most effective path to abstinence, according to a comprehensive analysis conducted by a Stanford School of Medicine researcher and his collaborators.

Released: 6-Mar-2020 4:10 PM EST
Improving detection of prenatal alcohol exposure using complementary tools
Research Society on Alcoholism

Drinking while pregnant can harm the developing fetus, leading to physical, cognitive, and neurobehavioral effects that may persist into adulthood. No safe level of alcohol in pregnancy has been identified, and many guidelines now recommend total abstinence. However, prenatal drinking remains common, particularly early on before women are aware of their pregnancy.

Released: 3-Mar-2020 10:00 AM EST
Severity and symptoms: Study links alcohol use disorder to other psychiatric conditions
Research Society on Alcoholism

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is more common among people who have another, co-occuring psychiatric condition (e.g., depression or ADHD), and vice versa. These links are well established, and are based on meeting diagnostic criteria for one or other disorder. However, investigating associations based on strict ‘yes/no’ diagnoses does not account for people who may have a range of psychiatric symptoms and yet do not meet the threshold for a diagnosis of any single disorder.

26-Feb-2020 8:20 AM EST
Observing mothers’ negative experiences with drink may normalize alcohol risks for adolescent children
Research Society on Alcoholism

Adolescents’ expectations of drinking – whether they anticipate having positive or negative experiences with alcohol – are an important influence on their drinking behavior. For example, those with stronger ‘positive expectancies’ are more likely to start drinking at a young age and to have problems with alcohol. Parental drinking can be an important factor in shaping alcohol expectancies in early adolescence, before a young person starts using alcohol. Studies indicate that children of parents with high levels of alcohol use, and/or an alcohol use disorder (AUD), tend to have stronger positive expectancies of alcohol. However, some evidence suggests that observing the undesirable effects of their parents’ high-risk drinking could lead to ‘negative expectancies’, although this link is uncertain. Researchers from Arizona State University have conducted a new study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, assessing whether the observable negative effects

Released: 25-Feb-2020 1:45 PM EST
Weight-Based Bullying Linked to Increased Adolescent Alcohol, Marijuana Use
American Psychological Association (APA)

Adolescents who are bullied about their weight or body shape may be more likely to use alcohol or marijuana than those who are not bullied, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Released: 25-Feb-2020 7:00 AM EST
Think Before You Drink: The Brain Plays a Role in Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
American Physiological Society (APS)

New research shows that two brain proteins help regulate fat accumulation in the liver associated with excessive alcohol consumption, specifically binge drinking. The study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology—Endocrinology and Metabolism.

19-Feb-2020 3:05 PM EST
Just as Tobacco Advertising Causes Teen Smoking, Exposure to Alcohol Ads Causes Teens to Drink
New York University

Exposure to alcohol advertising changes teens’ attitudes about alcohol and can cause them to start drinking, finds a new analysis led by NYU School of Global Public Health and NYU Grossman School of Medicine. The study, which appears in a special supplement of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, uses a framework developed to show causality between tobacco advertising and youth smoking and applies it to alcohol advertising.

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