More Liquor Stores, More Crime

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pamela Trangenstein, PhD While she was a predoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) 

Dr. Trangenstein

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.  Continue reading

The Impact of Alcohol Abuse and Dependency

alcohol-cdc-imageThe 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 26.9 percent of people over the age of 18 have engaged in binge drinking in the past year and 15.1 million adults have Alcohol Use Disorder. With alcohol as the center of many social events and lifestyles, many people can easily forget some of its long-term consequences. However, these consequences could have a major impact on your social life, as well as your health and legal environment.

Physical Life Impacts

An excessive amount of drinking can take a serious toll on your physical health. Alcohol interferes with the communication of pathways to the brain and therefore can disrupt your emotions or mood without any warning. Over time, drinking can also damage the heart and lead to stretching and drooping of the heart muscle known as cardiomyopathy, irregular heartbeat, stroke, or high blood pressure. It can also lead to liver inflammation, fibrosis, swelling of blood vessels, and cancer. Your immune system can also become affected by too much alcohol, leaving you susceptible to a variety of diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Social and Lifestyle Impacts

Excessive drinking can lead to an impact on family, work, and social life. It can have an impact on work performance and cause many people to call off work or miss obligations. Financial problems can also arise when spending too much money on alcohol, which can lead to further family and marital problems. Many alcoholics also tend to lose friends because of the way they act while under the influence and can also face limited career opportunities because of alcohol-related offenses.

Legal Consequences Associated with Alcoholism

Studies have shown that alcohol can contribute to criminal behavior as it reduces inhibitions and diminishes the thought processes and shields you would normally have while you are sober. Some alcohol-related offenses include assault, property damage, disorderly conduct, offensive behavior, and resisting arrest. One legal consequence that is directly related to alcohol consumption is drunk driving. According to this Mesa DUI attorney, a DUI penalty can also lead to further social, emotional, and physical consequences. You could receive jail time, counseling, fines and fees, and a revocation of your driving privileges.

What to Do If You or Your Loved One is Abusing Alcohol

If you or your loved one is experiencing any issues with alcohol, it is important to reach out to a licensed professional. You can partake in counseling, therapy, or other medical treatments. Remember that you’re not alone and that you can change your lifestyle or situation. 

Sep 24, 2018 @ 3:33 pm

 

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Heavy Alcohol Use Early in Life Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emma H. Allott, PhD Research Assistant Professor of Nutrition UNC GILLINGS SCHOOL OF GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 

Dr. Emma Allott

Emma H. Allott, PhD
Research Assistant Professor of Nutrition
UNC GILLINGS SCHOOL OF GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prostate cancer development may span decades. In addition, the prostate grows rapidly during puberty and therefore may be particularly susceptible to dietary or lifestyle factors during this time.

Our study found that heavier alcohol intake earlier in life, as well as higher cumulative alcohol intake across the lifespan, was associated with an increased odds of being diagnosed with an aggressive (clinically significant) prostate cancer in later life. However, current alcohol intake at the time of prostate cancer diagnosis was unrelated to tumor aggressiveness.

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Brain Circuits in Compulsive Alcohol Drinkers Identified

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Erica Grodin, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Dept. of Psychology and Psychiatry  University of California

Dr. Grodin

Erica Grodin, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Dept. of Psychology and Psychiatry
University of California 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The hallmark of addictive disorders, including alcohol use disorder, is drug use that continues despite negative consequences. This pattern of use is referred to as “compulsive” and is one of the major barriers to treating addiction. We don’t yet fully understand what brain regions are responsible for compulsive alcohol use.

Our study used a neuroimaging method called functional magnetic resonance imaging which allows us to see which areas of the brain are more active when an individual is performing a task. To investigate what brain regions are involved in compulsive alcohol seeking, we designed a task during which study participants could try to earn alcohol and food points at the risk of receiving a negative consequence, an electric shock. Study participants were light drinkers (men who drank <15 drinks/week and women who drank <10 drinks/week) and heavy drinkers (men who drank ≥20 drinks/week and women who drank ≥15 drinks/week).

We found that heavy drinking individuals were more likely to try to earn alcohol points that were paired with a potential negative consequence than light drinkers were. This behavior of compulsive alcohol seeking was associated with increased brain activation in the medial prefrontal cortex, anterior insula, and ventral and dorsal striatum.  Continue reading

Understanding How Energy Drinks Plus Alcohol May Increase Risky Behavior

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Energy drink” by joelklal is licensed under CC BY 2.0Barbara D. Fontana

Laboratory of Experimental Neuropsychobiology,
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Natural and Exact Sciences Center
Graduate Program in Biological Sciences
Toxicological Biochemistry, Federal University of Santa Maria,
Santa Maria, Brazil 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Our research group has been working with taurine and alcohol association for a long time. The background for this study is around increased consumption of molecules present in energy drinks frequently used as mixers for alcoholic beverages. Taurine is one of the most abundant molecules found in energetic drinks and has a neuromodulatory role in brain. In this context, we explore the effects of taurine associated to alcohol. Thus, as result we observed that this association exacerbate risky choices and reduces social cohesion in zebrafish, having a negative impact in social and fear-related behavior.

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Moderate Drinkers Had Higher Sperm Count

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“sperm” by Iqbal Osman is licensed under CC BY 2.0Elena Ricci, ScD, PhD
Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico,
Milano

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The role of alcohol drinking on male fertility is still controversial. A negative association between alcohol intake and semen quality has been suggested by some authors, although other studies did not confirm this finding. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a cohort study on subfertile couples, and found that men with a moderate alcohol intake (4 to 7 units of ethanol per week – 1unit=12.5 grams ) had higher semen volume and sperm total count than men with both lower and higher intake.

Abstainers had a better sperm concentration, but the small size of this group prevented us from drawing any significant conclusions. Alcohol was not associated to sperm motility.  Continue reading

Age 21 Can Define Lifelong Drinking Patterns

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“undefined” by Iñaki Queralt is licensed under CC BY 2.0Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, DFASAM

Chair and Professor,Department of Community Health Sciences
Boston University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Most of what we know about the time course of drinking too much (at-risk use) is from people in treatment or special groups and not adults in the US population at large. That’s why we did this study. We need to know how often at-risk drinking persists, how often it resolves, and how often it appears de novo.

Risky drinking means exceeding limits that are associated with health consequences. It includes people with an alcohol use disorder but the vast majority of people drinking risky amounts do not have a disorder, they are simply drinking amounts that can harm their health. Even low amounts can harm health (e.g. breast cancer risk increases at <1 drink a day) but substantial increases in risk occur over 7 in a week on average (for women, and 14 for men) or >5 for men (>4 for women) on an occasion. The latter are associated with acute consequences (e.g. injury, unwanted sex), and the former with chronic conditions (e.g. cirrhosis). People should be aware of their risks and then they can make choices about what risks they want to take (and for those with a disorder, they may need help with those choices and help changing behavior like treatment).

The main findings were….that 3 years later, 3/4ths of adults drinking risky amounts were still doing so. But importantly, a quarter had stopped drinking risky amounts. It is important to know that things change. One factor associated with that positive change was having kids—presumably a positive social change even if stressful.  Of those adults not drinking risky amounts when first interviewed, 15% started doing so 3 years later. Again having children was protective but the main factor associated with starting was young age, particularly those who became of legal drinking age. Despite the fact that youth may be able to access alcohol illegally, this finding confirms that the drinking age of 21 in the US does in fact restrict access, and that turning 21 increases use and risky use by making alcohol more accessible. Continue reading

Risky Drinking By Either Sex Can Affect Future Offspring

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Toni Pak, Ph.D. Professor and Department Chair Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology Loyola University Chicago Maywood, Ill 

Dr. Pak

Toni Pak, Ph.D.
Professor and Department Chair
Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology
Loyola University Chicago
Maywood, Ill 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We have known for many years that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to developmental delays and birth defects in offspring. However, our data demonstrate that drinking large quantities of alcohol in a “binge” fashion before pregnancy can also impact future offspring and importantly, this is true for drinking behaviors of both parents, not just the mother.

Our previous data support the idea that alcohol is affecting the parental sperm and eggs to induce these modifications in the offspring, but this most recent work shows the extent of those effects on social behavior, pubertal maturation, and stress hormones as the offspring grow to adulthood.

This means that the risky behaviors of young people, such as the extremely popular practice of binge drinking, have potentially far-reaching consequences for generations to come.

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How Does Alcohol Affect Risk of Cancer or Premature Death?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Alcohol” by zeevveez is licensed under CC BY 2.0Andrew Kunzmann
Research Fellow
Queen’s Universit
Belfast

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: We decided to conduct this research because the messages about the health effects linked to light-moderate drinking are less consistent. Previous studies suggest that light-moderate drinking is linked to an increased risk of cancer but a lower risk of mortality than never drinking. The international guidelines around what constitutes drinking in moderation also differ, with UK guidelines now recommending intakes below 6 pints of beer or 175ml glasses of wine per week (equivalent to less than 1 per day) but other guidelines recommending intakes of 2 drinks or less per day. We wanted to see what the risk of getting either of these conditions (cancer or mortality) were to give a more comprehensive and less confusing message about the health effects of light-moderate drinking.

This was part of a well-established collaboration between Queen’s University Belfast and the National Cancer Institute in the US. We used data from a cancer screening trial in the US that contained data on over 100,000 people from the US, who were free from cancer at the start of the study and who completed a questionnaire asking how much alcohol they consumed at different periods of their adult life. This was then linked to data over an average of 9 years after they completed the questionnaire to see which individuals developed cancer or died from any cause. We then assessed whether risk of cancer and mortality differed based on lifetime alcohol intakes after accounting for a number of other factors such as age, educational attainment, smoking and dietary intakes.

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Opioid Use Increases Alcohol Relapse Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Katie Witkiewitz PhD Professor, Department of Psychology  University of New Mexico

Dr. Witkiewitz

Dr. Katie Witkiewitz PhD
Professor, Department of Psychology
University of New Mexico

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: The main findings from our study indicate that individuals with alcohol dependence who misused opioids (e.g., used without a prescription or not as prescribed) had a significantly higher likelihood of relapse to heavy drinking during alcohol treatment and were drinking more alcohol during and following alcohol treatment. Continue reading

Alcohol Accelerates Aging of Brain’s Frontal Cortex

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
alcohol-cdc-image
Edith V. Sullivan, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, CA 94305-5723 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Alcohol misuse is a major public health problem worldwide with profound health consequences on the body, brain, and function. Our research group has conducted naturalistic yet controlled studies of alcohol dependence for several decades to further our understanding of when and how alcohol misuse affects specific parts of the brain.  In addition, we wanted to know how alcohol misuse interacts with the typical changes in the brain as we grow older.  The studies are controlled in that we recruit healthy, non-alcohol dependence men and women from the community to undergo the same screening and neuroimaging procedures as our alcoholic recruits.  The studies are quantitative because we use neuroimaging methods (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) that enable us to measure specific regions of brain structural volumes.  Consistent collection of such data over the years positioned us to ask whether age and alcohol dependence interact to produce regional brain volume loss beyond the loss that occurs in normal aging.

A number of cross-sectional studies pointed to the likelihood that the effects of alcohol dependence on brain structure would be exacerbated by normal aging, which we do know from longitudinal neuroimaging studies results in shrinkage of cortical gray matter volume and thinning of the cortex. What was particularly striking about our longitudinal study of men and women with alcohol dependence was the acceleration of the aging of brain structure that was especially prominent in the frontal cortex.  Critically, even those who initiated dependent drinking at an older age showed accelerated loss.

Because our study sample was large enough, we could also test whether our findings were attributable to conditions that commonly co-occur with alcohol dependence, namely, illicit drug use and hepatitis C.  Although both drug use and hepatitis C infection may have exacerbated brain volume loss, these factors did not fully account for the alcoholism-aging interaction we identified.

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Wine Might Be Good For Dental Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Wine” by Uncalno Tekno is licensed under CC BY 2.0
M.Victoria Moreno-Arribas
Spanish National Research Council | CSIC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Recent discoveries indicate polyphenols might also promote health by actively interacting with bacteria in the gut. Also, the intake of specific polyphenol-rich beverages and foods helps the maintenance of digestive health and prevention of disease status. However, the knowledge of the effects of polyphenols in relation to the prevention of dental diseases is still at an early stage.

The use of antiseptics and/or antibiotics in the prevention and treatment of periodontal diseases can lead to unwanted effects. Therefore, there is a need to develop novel antimicrobial strategies useful for the prevention and management of these diseases. Oral epithelial cells normally constitute a physical barrier that prevents infections, but bacterial adhesion to host tissues constitutes a first key step in the infectious process.

With the final goal to elucidate the health properties of wine polyphenols at oral level, we studied their properties as an anti-adhesive therapy for periodontal and cariogenic prevention, as well as the combined action between wine polyphenols and oral probiotic strains in the management of microbial-derived oral diseases. In particular, we checked out the effect of two red wine polyphenols, as well as commercially available grape seed and red wine extracts, on bacteria that stick to teeth and gums and cause dental plaque, cavities and periodontal disease. Also, oral metabolism of polyphenols, including both oral microbiota and human mucosa cells, was investigated.  Continue reading

What is the Biggest Modifiable Risk Factor For Dementia? Alcohol

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“undefined” by Iñaki Queralt is licensed under CC BY 2.0Michaël Schwarzinger, MD, PhD

Translational Health Economics Network (THEN)
Paris

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The association of heavy drinking with dementia has been known for decades. For instance, there is about no Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome without heavy drinking and the syndrome was described in 1890. But this type of dementia is very rare. Also, heavy drinking is knowingly associated with multiple risk factors for dementia onset such as hypertension or diabetes. But heavy drinkers generally refuse to participate to cohort studies and declaration of alcohol use among participants is generally biased downward… So the study rationale is very strong, but supporting empirical evidence is quite scarce.

This nationwide study included all 31+ million adults discharged from hospitals over 6 years, i.e., 50% of the French population before 65 years old and 80% above that age. Of 1.1+ million adults diagnosed with dementia, one in twenty had an early-onset (before 65 years old). Heavy drinking was recorded in most (56%) early-onset dementia cases: two-third in men; one-third in women. In addition, the association of heavy drinking with dementia goes far beyond 65 years old, both directly (>3 times higher risk for dementia onset after controlling for more than 30 known risk factors for dementia) and indirectly as heavy drinking was associated with all other independent risk factors for dementia onset. Accordingly, heavy drinking had the largest effect on dementia risk of all independent modifiable risk factors such as hypertension or diabetes.

The effects were found whatever dementia case definition or population studies.

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Alcohol Doesn’t Cause Aggression By Simple Disinhibition

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Alcohol” by zeevveez is licensed under CC BY 2.0Thomas Denson PhD

University of New South Wales
Australia 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Decades of research have shown that alcohol is a powerful psychotropic contributor to aggressive behaviour. Researchers have long suspected that alcohol increases aggression because it dampens activation in the prefrontal cortex, which leads to reduced inhibition, narrows attentional processing, and exaggerates hostile thinking. However, direct evidence has been lacking. We compared brain activity in intoxicated versus sober participants when they were given the opportunity to behave aggressively in the scanner against other men who provoked them.

We gave 50 healthy young men alcohol or a placebo. Participants who consumed alcohol breathalysed at .05. They did show decreased activation in the prefrontal cortex as expected. This was the first evidence to show that when intoxicated participants behave aggressively, they show reduced prefrontal activity. Interestingly, we found a positively correlation between prefrontal cortex activity and aggression, but only among intoxicated men. We think this reflects the fact that the participants in the alcohol condition were likely engaging in more hostile thinking about the provoking men.  Continue reading

Why Do Persons With Alcohol Use Disorder Not Adhere To Naltrexone Treatment?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Alcohol” by zeevveez is licensed under CC BY 2.0Sarah Dermody PhD

Assistant professor
School of Psychological Science
College of Liberal Art
Oregon State University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Naltrexone is an FDA-approved medication to treat alcohol use disorder. We know that people have difficulty adhering to the prescribed daily medication regimen, and that people who do not adhere to the medication tend not to fair as well in treatment as people who take the medication regularly.

This particular study attempted to address the question of why do people with alcohol use disorder have difficulty taking the medication daily? What we found was that people were less likely to take naltrexone after days of heavy drinking or strong alcohol craving versus typical drinking and craving levels. Furthermore, individuals were less likely to take the medication on weekends versus weekdays, which is particularly worrisome because heaviest drinking episodes tend to happen on the weekends.

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Most Attempts At Reducing Alcohol Consumption Fail

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Alcohol Poisoning PSA Video Shoot” by Stop Alcohol Deaths, Inc. is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Frank de Vocht

Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology and Public Health Research
Academic Lead Year 1 MBChB (MB21) ‘Foundations of Medicine’ Programme
Population Health Sciences
Bristol Medical School
University of Bristol 


MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We were interested in prospectively investigating whether people who drink alcohol in the general population (so not patients), and who indicated that the were planning to reduce their consumption or complete stop drinking in the near future would, on average, succeed and have reduced consumption six months later.  Continue reading

Alcohol-Harm Paradox Linked To Drinking Patterns

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Alcohol” by Jorge Mejía peralta is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Eirik Degerud, PhD

Norwegian Institute of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Alcohol-related hospitalisations and deaths are more frequent among individuals with low socioeconomic position, despite that they tend to drink less on average. This is referred to as the alcohol-harm paradox. Alcohol is associated with both higher and lower risk of cardiovascular disease, depending on the drinking pattern. We wanted to assess if the paradox was relevant to these relationship also. Continue reading

Weight Loss Procedures Can Double Blood Alcohol Absorption

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

“Alcohol” by Takahiro Yamagiwa is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Marta Yanina Pepino PhD

Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our study is not the first to look at whether sleeve gastrectomy affects alcohol absorption and metabolism. Before our study, there were three published studies in the literature on this issue. However, findings from these studies were discrepant. Two of the studies found that sleeve gastrectomy did not affect blood alcohol levels and one of the studies did found that peak blood alcohol levels were higher when people drink after having a sleeve gastrectomy. All these three studies used a breathalyzer to estimate blood alcohol levels.

Our study tested the following two related hypothesis.

First, that similar to Roux-en-Y- gastric bypass (RYGB), sleeve gastrectomy accelerates alcohol absorption, which cause peak blood alcohol levels to be higher and much faster than before surgery. Because the breathalyzer requires a 15 min of waiting time between drinking the last sip of alcohol and the time that you can read a good estimate of blood alcohol levels from the breath, we hypothesized that the breathalyzer was not a good technique to estimate peak blood alcohol levels in people who may reach a peak blood alcohol level before those 15 min have passed, such as people who underwent sleeve gastrectomy or RYGB.

We found these two hypothesis to be truth:

1) Sleeve gastrectomy, similar to RYGB, can double blood alcohol levels; and

2) The breathalyzer technique is invalid to assess effects of gastric surgeries on pharmacokinetics of ingested alcohol (it underestimate blood alcohol levels by ~27% and it may miss peak blood alcohol levels).

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Aldosterone-Mineralocorticoid Pathway Linked To Craving For Alcohol

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D. Chief of the Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology, a NIAAA intramural laboratory 

Dr. Leggio

Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief of the Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology, a NIAAA intramural laboratory

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Aldosterone is an important hormone involved in the control of blood pressure and electrolytes via its mineralcorticoid receptor (MR). In addition to its roles in the periphery in our body, aldosterone also acts on the brain where the MR is particularly present in regions like the amygdala. The amygdala plays an important role in stress, anxiety and excessive alcohol drinking. Back in 2008, we conducted a small pilot study where we found that alcohol-dependent patients with higher blood aldosterone concentrations have higher alcohol craving.

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Opioids Withdrawal in Babies Adding Millions To Health Care Costs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tammy E. Corr, D.O. Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Division of Newborn Medicine Penn State Hershey College of Medicine

Dr. Corr

Tammy E. Corr, D.O.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Division of Newborn Medicine
Penn State Hershey College of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Recent literature has revealed hospital charges related to neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) have increased. However, there are no data available regarding costs of an NAS admission. Because charges are variable and influenced by a number of factors, provider costs to care for a patient offer more meaningful information.

Therefore, we endeavored to determine the incidence of NAS in the United States and estimate the total annual costs and hospital length of stay for an neonatal abstinence syndrome admission as well as the incremental costs and hospital days of admission for an NAS patient compared to a non-NAS admission.

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Pot Plus Alcohol Raises Fatal Traffic Accident Risk Over 500%

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Guohua Li DrPH, MD Professor and Director Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention Department of Epidemiology Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University

Dr. Li

Guohua Li DrPH, MD
Professor and Director
Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention
Department of Epidemiology
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Drugged driving has become a serious problem in the United States in the recent years due to increased consumption of marijuana and opioids. About 20% of fatally injured drivers used two or more substances, with alcohol-marijuana being the most commonly detected polydrug combination.

Our study of over 14000 fatal 2-car crashes indicates that drivers testing positive for alcohol, marijuana, or both are significantly more likely to be responsible for initiating these crashes than those using neither of the substances. Specifically, compared to drivers not using alcohol and marijuana, the risk of being responsible for initiating fatal crashes increases 62% for those testing positive for marijuana and negative for alcohol, 437% for those testing positive for alcohol and negative for marijuana, and 539% for those testing positive for both alcohol and marijuana. These results suggest that when used in combination, alcohol and marijuana have a positive interaction on the risk of fatal crash initiation.

The most common driver error leading to fatal 2-car crashes is failure to keep in proper lane, followed by failure to yield right of way and speeding.

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Moderate Drinking Linked To Faster Cognitive Decline

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Anya Topiwala, BA (Hons) BMBCh (Oxon) MRCPsych DPhil Clinical lecturer Department of Psychiatry University of Oxford

Dr. Topiwala

Dr. Anya Topiwala, BA (Hons) BMBCh (Oxon) MRCPsych DPhil
Clinical lecturer
Department of Psychiatry
University of Oxford

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: I thought the question of whether moderate alcohol consumption is harmful or protective to the brain was a really interesting and important one, particularly because so many people drink this amount. There were a few studies reporting that a little alcohol may protect against dementia or cognitive decline, but the few brain imaging studies were conflicting in their results and had methodological limitations.

We examined whether alcohol consumption over a 30-year period was associated with brain imaging and memory decline in a group of 550 non-alcohol dependent individuals from the remarkable Whitehall II cohort. Subjects completed questionnaires and had clinical examinations approximately every 5 years over the 30 years of the study, and had detailed brain scans at the end.

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Kids From High Achieving Schools Can Be At Risk of Substance Abuse and Addiction

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Suniya S. Luthar, Ph.D. Foundation Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University Professor Emerita, Columbia University's Teachers College President-elect, American Psychological Association's Div.7 (Development

Dr. Luthar

Suniya S. Luthar, Ph.D.
Foundation Professor of Psychology
Arizona State University
Professor Emerita
Columbia University’s Teachers College
President-elect, American Psychological Association’s Div.7 (Developmental)

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Over the last 20 years, we have found that kids in high achieving schools report higher use of drugs and alcohol than do their counterparts in national normative samples. This particular study was the first in which we followed up samples of high school students through young adulthood, to track levels of substance abuse and addiction.

Our findings showed consistently elevated use of various substances across the years. Of greatest concern were diagnoses of dependence (that is, not just abuse of substances but actual addiction to them); among 26 year olds, rates of these diagnoses were two to three times those in national norms.

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Does Alcohol Really Protect Against Heart Disease? Evidence Not Clear Cut

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Jinhui Zhao PhD Scientist, Centre for Addictions Research of BC University of Victoria

Dr. Jinhui Zhao

Dr. Jinhui Zhao PhD
Scientist, Centre for Addictions Research of BC
University of Victoria

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  There are now many studies questioning the validity of the theory that moderate alcohol consumption protects against heart disease. We provided an up to date and comprehensive review of the evidence from ‘cohort’ studies i.e. those that assess health risk behaviours of people then follow them up for a number of years to see what characteristics predict death from a particular condition. We wished to test the theory that the appearance of health benefits in relation to heart disease is due to biases that accumulate and become more severe when cohorts are recruited at older ages (e.g. over 55 years). We found evidence to support this hypothesis. Moderate drinkers recruited before 55 years of age did not show any evidence of reduced risk of heart disease even when followed up into old age. Moderate drinkers from the older cohorts, however, did appear to have significant benefits – a finding we attribute to selection biases that accumulate across the life-course.

Several published meta-analyses showed inconsistent findings about how alcohol consumption affects the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Most systematic reviews find associations between low-volume alcohol consumption and reduced CHD risk, while some also find increased CHD risk for higher levels of consumption (Maclure 1993, Corrao, Rubbiati et al. 2000, Corrao, Bagnardi et al. 2004, Ronksley, Brien et al. 2011, Roerecke and Rehm 2012). More recent evidence has accumulated to suggest that the case for cardio-protection may be less straightforward. The association of alcohol consumption with CHD may be confounded or modified by other factors such as age and sex and / or biased by those factors which have not been investigated or controlled for in these previously published studies.

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Intermittent Explosive Disorder Linked To Higher Risk of Substance Abuse

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emil F. Coccaro, M.D. Ellen C. Manning Professor Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience The University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 60637

Dr. Emil Coccaro

Emil F. Coccaro, M.D.
Ellen C. Manning Professor
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience
The University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois 60637

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Aggressive behavior and drug use have been related for years but this study shows people with problematic aggression (Intermittent Explosive Disorder: IED) are in fact at risk for developing alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use disorders and that the onset of problematic aggression (IED) begins before the onset of the drug use.

The increased risk for alcohol use disorder was nearly six-fold higher, the increased risk for cannabis use disorder was seven-fold higher, and the increased risk for tobacco use disorder  was four-fold higher. In addition, the presence of IED increased the severity of the substance use disorder.

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