Feature Channels: Alcohol and Alcoholism

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Released: 1-Apr-2020 2:10 PM EDT
Loyola Medicine Doctor Urges Alcohol Moderation During Pandemic to Maintain a Healthy Immune System
Loyola Medicine

While it may be tempting to drink more while quarantined at home, a Loyola Medicine doctor is urging moderation, as too much alcohol can diminish the body’s ability to fight off infections like COVID-19.Majid Afshar, MD, a pulmonologist and critical care specialist and assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, has studied the effects of alcohol on the body’s immune system, as well as its impact on breathing and lung health. He warns that excessive alcohol use (at least four or five drinks over a few hours) can alter our cytokine response, or signaling proteins, which regulate the body’s immune response.

27-Mar-2020 3:20 PM EDT
Students Who Up Their Cannabis Use Face Increased Risk of Alcohol Problems
Research Society on Alcoholism

Cannabis use can worsen some consequences of alcohol use among young adult drinkers over time, according to a new study which tracked the frequency of cannabis use and negative drinking outcomes among college students over three years. More than one in five young drinkers use cannabis, often (but not always) at the same time as drinking alcohol. This is a concern because the effects of cannabis might combine with those of alcohol to increase negative outcomes of drinking, such as impaired driving or developing an alcohol use disorder Although previous research has suggested a link between cannabis use and alcohol consequences, there have been few long-term evaluations of the impact of fluctuations in cannabis use on alcohol consequences over time. The latest study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, was conducted by researchers in Toronto, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York.

Newswise: 'Drinking Spirits to Lift Spirits’ May Hold Appeal Amid COVID-19 Stress, but Don’t Overdo, Cautions Baylor University Expert on Substance Abuse
Released: 31-Mar-2020 3:55 PM EDT
'Drinking Spirits to Lift Spirits’ May Hold Appeal Amid COVID-19 Stress, but Don’t Overdo, Cautions Baylor University Expert on Substance Abuse
Baylor University

Drinking alcoholic beverages may be more appealing amid unease about the coronavirus, as people deal with shelter-at-home orders, fears about the economy and boredom, says a Baylor University researcher who studies alcohol use and misuse. But with regulations providing less access to alcohol, this may be a good time for individuals struggling with alcohol use to begin recovery and for others to guard against over-relying on alcohol or other substances.

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.

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