Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Education, JAMA, Pediatrics, Social Issues, UCLA / 06.10.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mitchell Wong, MD PhD Professor of Medicine Executive Vice Chair for Research Training Department of Medicine Executive Co-Director, Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) Program Director, UCLA CTSI KL2 Program UCLA Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research Los Angeles, CA 90024 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: It is estimated that social factors like poverty, education, and housing have a large impact on health. Yet, there are few interventions that exist to directly address those issues.  Schools are a promising solution since society already invests heavily in education and schools are an everyday part of most children’s lives. (more…)
Alcohol / 02.06.2021

Decisions have added weight after going through rehabilitation. The priority you put on these decisions will determine the scope of your recovery period. To avoid a relapse, seeking out healthy social circles is the key. Distance Yourself from Triggers There are emotional triggers that will make you want a drink. Once you figure them out, it becomes much easier to avoid. Common triggers are people, relationships, and stress. During drug and alcohol rehabilitation, overcoming your weak points is a part of the process. People can unintentionally make you feel inadequate during normal conversations. When every other conversation with a specific individual causes this problem, you have to speak up. Let them know you’re uncomfortable with a specific subject. If they refuse to acknowledge it, move on and remove that trigger from your life. Short-term and long-term relationships have a big impact on your life. Breaking up with someone makes your future look bleak. When finding someone new fails, a sense of hopelessness sets in. The answer to resolving this problem is to ‘fully’ break up with someone. Staying in contact and reliving happy memories will give you false hope. Staying away from a former relationship trigger prevents bouts of drinking for the future. Stress can sometimes be related to time, or the lack of it. Time management is the best way to avoid this trigger. Having a plan means that you’re in a better position to complete your tasks. There is no need for fancy scheduling, and it helps create a good habit. When you’re productive, stress tends to take a backseat to everything else. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 09.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kenechukwu Ndubisi Mezue, M.D Fellow in Nuclear Cardiology  Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Observational studies have shown that moderate alcohol intake may have beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease. However, the mechanisms through which this benefit occurs is mostly unknown. Chronic stress is also known to associate with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and our group has shown in previous work that increased activity in the stress-associated regions of the brain (such as the amygdala) is significantly associated with increased bone marrow activity, arterial inflammation, and cardiovascular events. Our current study hypothesizes that moderate alcohol intake reduces cardiovascular events by reducing chronic stress-associated brain activity.  (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 07.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sitara Weerakoon, MPH (she/her) PhD Candidate | Epidemiology & Biostatistics Graduate Research Assistant Center for Pediatric Population Health UTHealth MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Measures to control the spread of COVID-19 included stay-at-home mandates and business lockdown policies which resulted in many facing a loss of income or employment and more time spent isolated at home. Life stressors (like job loss and social isolation) have been shown to be associated with increased drinking at unhealthy levels. Those with a history of mental health problems may be even more at risk. We aimed to see if binge drinking (5 or more drinks [male] or 4 or more drinks [female] in one session) and levels of alcohol consumption among binge drinkers were impacted by these pandemic-related factors. We found that increased time spent at home (in weeks) was associated with a 19% increase in the odds of binge drinking and binge drinkers with a previous diagnosis of depression and current depression symptoms (during the early months of the pandemic) had a 237% greater odds of drinking more alcohol (vs drinking the same amount) compared to those with no history and current symptoms of depression. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA / 30.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael S. Pollard, Ph.D. Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School Senior Sociologist RAND Corporation Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are ample anecdotal jokes and stories about increased alcohol use during COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders. Our study provides robust longitudinal evidence that people drank more frequently, and for women in particular, more heavily, and with more negative consequences, during the initial stages of COVID-19 compared to their own behaviors from a year earlier (May/June 2020 compared to May/June 2019). Women’s alcohol consumption was most significantly changed, with a 17% increase in number of days drinking, and a 41% increase in days of binge drinking (when they had four or more drinks in a couple of hours). This means that, nationally, one in five women drank heavily one more day a month than the same time in 2019, on average. Women also reported a 39% increase in alcohol-related problems, such as “I took foolish risks” or “I failed to do what was expected of me” because of drinking alcohol. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard / 11.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John F. KellyPh.D., ABPP. Recovery Research Institute Elizabeth R. Spallin Professor of Psychiatry in Addiction Medicine Harvard Medical School   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alcohol use disorder is one of the leading causes of disease, disability, and preventable death worldwide. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a widespread international recovery support organization designed to address it. While it has remained popular and influential for many decades, until recently the quantity and quality of the research on AA and clinical treatments designed to stimulate AA involvement – Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF) treatments – had not been evaluated adequately. This systematic review and meta-analysis used the rigor of the Cochrane review system to subject AA/TSF to the same scientific standards as other clinical interventions.   (more…)
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, JAMA, Methamphetamine / 06.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Eric Dawson, PharmD Vice President, Clinical Affairs Millennium Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has projected a drop in the number of overdose deaths for 2018; the first reported decline since 1990. They cite a decrease in prescription opioid deaths as the leading contributor to the overall reduction, but caution that deaths associated with synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, as well as stimulants appear to be increasing. In 2019, we reported a 798% increase in urine drug test positivity rates for nonprescribed fentanyl among results positive for methamphetamine and an 1850% increase among results positive for cocaine. In an effort to conduct ongoing surveillance of the polysubstance use landscape and help characterize these evolving trends in a more timely manner, we examined our UDT data as close to real-time as possible to observe trends in positivity for methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin, with and without illicit fentanyl. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM / 02.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Peter M Kistler MBBS, PhD, FRACP Head of Clinical Electrophysiology Research Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute Head of Electrophysiology at The Alfred hospital Professor of Medicine University of Melbourne. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is a well known association between alcohol intake and atrial fibrillation form population based studies which demonstrate that for every 1 standard drink the incidence of AFib increases by 8%. This is the first randomised study to determine of alcohol reduction/abstinence leads to a reduction in AFib episodes and time to recurrence. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Pediatrics / 06.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Jiabi Qin, MD, PhD Xiangya School of Public Health Central South University Changsha, China  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Congenital heart defects (CHDs), defined as a gross structural abnormality of the heart or intrathoracic great vessels occurring in embryonic period and affected nearly 1% of lives births, is the most common of all congenital defects and remains a major cause of mortality and morbidity in fancy and childhood. With a worldwide prevalence of CHDs now estimated to be 1.35 million newborns with CHDs every year, the number of CHDs is steadily increasing, representing a major global health burden. The association between maternal alcohol exposure and the risk of congenital heart defects (CHDs) has been explored, but little is known about the association between paternal alcohol exposure and the risk of CHDs. Furthermore, subsequent studies regarding the association between alcohol exposure and the risk of congenital heart defects have not yield consistent results. Therefore, given the inconsistency of existing literatures and insufficient evidence of primary studies, further an update meta-analysis based on the new and previously is evidently required. Especially, to our knowledge, any meta-analysis between paternal alcohol exposure and the risk of CHDs have not been conducted.  (more…)
Alcohol, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cognitive Issues / 30.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Manja Koch Dr. oec. troph. (Ph.D. equivalent) Research Associate Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Majken K. Jensen, PhD Associate Professor of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthMajken K. Jensen, PhD Associate Professor of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are highly prevalent conditions. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 50 million people are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias worldwide. Given the lack of a cure or even disease-modifying therapies for most dementias, the identification of risk factors or factors that prevent or delay the onset of dementia remains of paramount concern. Alcohol is a globally consumed beverage and light-to-moderate alcohol consumption, defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men, tends to be associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, a major risk factor for dementia. However, the effects of light-to-moderate alcohol intake on the brain are less clear.  (more…)
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Opiods / 21.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Greg Midgette, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice University of Maryland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This report estimates marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine use in the U.S. between 2006 and 2016 on three dimensions: the number of past-month chronic users per year, where "chronic" has previously been defined as consuming the drug at least four days in the past month, expenditure per drug among those users, and consumption of each drug. These measures are meant to aid the public and policy makers' understanding of changes in drug use, outcomes, and policies.   (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, CMAJ, Emergency Care / 22.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel Myran, MD, MPH, CCFP Public Health & Preventive Medicine, PGY-5 University of Ottawa MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We know that alcohol consumption results in enormous health and societal harms globally and in Canada. While several studies have looked at changes in alcohol harms, such as Emergency Department (ED) visits and Hospitalizations due alcohol, this study is the first to examine in detail how harms related to alcohol have been changing over time in Canada. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Environmental Risks / 02.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: alcohol, bottles, Dr Andrew Turner, PhD Associate Professor (Reader) in Environmental Sciences School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: This study was part of a wider study to look at potentially toxic metals in everyday household and consumer products. The main findings here are that many enameled bottles, mainly used to store alcoholic beverages, contain very high levels of cadmium and lead in the décor.   (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, JAMA / 07.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robert Wong, MD, MS, FACG Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine Director, GI Education & Research Highland Hospital   I A member of Alameda Health System Oakland, CA 94602  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Alcoholic liver disease is a major cause of chronic liver disease in the United States and has become the leading indication for liver transplantation in the U.S.  However, accurate estimates of the true burden among U.S. adults is not well studies due to challenges in accurately identifying alcoholic liver disease or lack of awareness is screening individuals for alcohol use disorder.  Given the gaps in knowledge regarding the epidemiology of alcoholic liver disease in the U.S., our current study attempts to further contribute to the understanding of alcoholic liver disease epidemiology in the U.S We utilized a U.S. national cross sectional database and focused on the specific subset of alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is the earlier stage of disease along the spectrum of alcoholic liver disease.  Focusing on alcoholic fatty liver disease allowed us to more accurately define and capture the prevalence of this disease.  Furthermore, given that alcoholic fatty liver disease is early on the overall spectrum of alcoholic liver disease, it is a disease state that early identification provides opportunities to implement therapy and counseling for alcohol abstinence that can prevent further liver damage and disease progression. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Lifestyle & Health, Sugar / 25.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: E. van Eekelen, MSc | PhD Candidate Leiden University Medical Center Dept. Clinical Epidemiology Leiden, The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Fatty liver, defined as excess accumulation of fat within the liver, covers a broad clinical spectrum and is the leading cause of chronic liver diseases. It has also been linked to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The consumption of alcohol is a well-established risk factor for fatty liver. However, we hypothesized that consumption of non-alcoholic energy-containing beverages also leads to liver fat accumulation. We analysed data from the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study, which is a prospective population-based cohort study including non-invasive measurements of liver fat content by magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Besides consumption of alcoholic beverages, sugar sweetened beverages were associated with more liver fat. We specifically showed that replacement of alcoholic beverages with milk was associated with less liver fat, whereas replacement with sugar sweetened beverages was associated with a similar amount of liver fat, even when taking calories into account.  (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nature, University of Pennsylvania / 05.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Henry R. Kranzler, MD Professor of Psychiatry Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are moderately heritable traits.  To date, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have not examined these traits in the same sample, which limits an assessment of the extent to which genetic variation is unique to one or the other or shared. This GWAS examined a large sample (nearly 275,000 individuals) from the U.S. Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Program (MVP) for whom data on both alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorder diagnoses were available from an electronic health record.  We identified 18 genetic variants that were significantly associated with either alcohol consumption, AUD, or both. Five of the variants were associated with both traits, eight with consumption only, and five with alcohol use disorder only.  (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, JAMA, Weight Research / 12.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alice R Carter MSc Doctor of Philosophy Student MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit Population Health Science, Bristol Medical School University of Bristol MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Higher body mass index and alcohol intake have been shown to increase the risk of liver disease. Some studies have looked at their combined effect by comparing the risk of liver disease between individuals with both high BMI and high alcohol intake and individuals with low BMI and low alcohol intake. However, these studies have produced mixed results. Some possible reasons for that are errors in self-reported BMI and alcohol intake, other factors confounding the association of BMI & alcohol intake with liver disease risk and changes in lifestyle that individuals with ill health may have been advised to adopt. One way to overcome these limitations is to use a technique called Mendelian randomisation. This method uses genetic differences between individuals that influence their characteristics (e.g. their body mass and how much alcohol they drink) to help understand whether these characteristics are causally related to diseases. Our study used this method to explore the joint effects of BMI and alcohol consumption on liver disease and biomarkers of liver injury.  (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA / 09.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ingunn Olea Lund, PhD The Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo, Norway MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There are significant amounts of research on children of parents with alcohol use disorders – where the children are shown to be at risk of several adverse outcomes, including mental disorders, substance use disorders, suicide, impaired school performance, and employment problems. There is very little previous research on how other, more normal levels of parental drinking may influence child outcomes, such as mental health. This is a grave oversight, as there are vastly more parents with normal drinking patterns than there are parents who suffer from an alcohol use disorder. This means that there are potentially a lot more cases of adverse effect for children, and the number of children at risk may be higher than previously assumed. In addition to parents' alcohol use, several other risk factors in the family that may affect child mental health outcomes, such as parents' mental health and socio-economic status. Researchers have tended to look at these risk factors separately, but as these risks tend to co-occur, it may be more informative to consider them together. To our knowledge, this is the first study that examines possible harm from normal levels of parental drinking, alone or in combination with other parental risk factors, on children’s anxiety and depression. The sample consists of more than 8700 triads: children and both their parents. We combined information from three health registries with survey data where both adolescents and their parents provided information about health and social conditions. The health registers include information about the children 's actual contact with the health care system; we used information about whether children received diagnoses and/or treatment for anxiety and/or depression. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA / 29.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David L. Brown, MD, FACC Professor of Medicine Cardiovascular Division Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, MO 63110 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The genesis of this study was a patient asking me if he could continue to have a nightly cocktail or two after he was hospitalized with the new diagnosis of heart failure. The main findings are that moderate drinking after the diagnosis of heart failure in older adults is probably safe and is associated with longer survival. These types of studies can not prove a causal relationship between alcohol consumption and survival.  (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Smoking / 28.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sarah Dermody, PhD Assistant Professor School of Psychological Science Oregon State University Corvallis Oregon  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Drinking alcohol is a risk factor for sustained smoking. In a sample of daily cigarette smokers receiving treatment for alcohol use disorder, we examined if reductions in drinking corresponded with reductions in nicotine metabolism as indexed by the nicotine metabolite ratio. The nicotine metabolite ratio is important because it is associated with smoking level and lapses. We found that for men, alcohol use and the nicotine metabolite ratio reduced significantly; however, for women, neither drinking nor nicotine metabolite ratio changed. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews / 16.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Schott Zwiesel Wine Glasses" by Didriks is licensed under CC BY 2.0 <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0"> CC BY 2.0</a>Simona Costanzo MS, PhD Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Prevention. IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We investigated how the different intake of alcohol relates to all-cause and cause-specific hospitalizations. In particular, we mainly investigated the association of alcohol consumption with total number of hospitalizations that occurred during 6 years of follow-up. We also examined cause-specific hospitalizations (e.g., alcohol-related diseases, vascular diseases, cancer, traumatic injury, and neurodegenerative diseases). (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, Primary Care, USPSTF / 20.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Carol Mangione M.D., M.S.P.H., F.A.C.P Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Division Chief of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research Professor of Medicine. Barbara A. Levey, MD, and Gerald S. Levey, MD Endowed chair in medicine David Geffen School of Medicine University of California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Unhealthy alcohol use is relatively common and is increasing among U.S. adults. Alcohol use is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and contributes to more than 88,000 deaths per year. In pregnancy, it also leads to birth defects and developmental problems in children. The Task Force found that screening tests and brief counseling interventions can help detect and reduce unhealthy alcohol use among adults, and in turn help prevent negative consequences related to alcohol use. For adolescents ages 12 to 17, clinicians should use their best judgment when deciding whether or not to screen and refer their patients to counseling, until we have better studies available. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews / 08.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Alcohol” by Jorge Mejía peralta is licensed under CC BY 2.0Sarah Hartz, MD PhD Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: This study is the first to show that daily drinking is dangerous. Specifically, drinking four or more times weekly, even if it’s only 1-2 drinks at a time, increases risk of mortality. This is in line with recent studies published in the Lancet, but we were able to break down their lowest drinking categories (up to 12.5 drinks weekly in one and up to 5.6 drinks weekly in the other) and found that the frequency is important, not just the average number of drinks per week. It looks like the increased mortality is predominantly due to cancer-related deaths. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Alcohol, Author Interviews / 03.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pamela Trangenstein, PhD While  a predoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY)  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Research repeatedly shows that alcohol outlet density (the number of businesses that sell alcohol in an area) is associated with violent crime, but studies disagree about whether alcohol outlets that are on premise (e.g., bars, restaurants) or off premise (e.g., liquor stores, beer and wine stores) have a stronger association with violent crime. We used advanced methods that consider both the number of alcohol outlets and their locations to better understand how the association between alcohol outlets and violent crime differs by type of outlet. We found that alcohol outlets that allow off-premise sales like liquor stores had a stronger association with homicide, aggravated assault, and robbery than on-premise outlets like bars and restaurants. We also found that disadvantaged neighborhoods had higher access to the types of alcohol outlets associated with the most harms: off-premise outlets.  (more…)