Alcohol, Author Interviews, BMJ, Pediatrics, Tobacco Research / 16.01.2016

[caption id="attachment_20582" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr Joanne Cranwell PhD, CPsychol The UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS) School of Medicine Division of Epidemiology & Public Health Clinical Sciences Building University of Nottingham City Hospital Nottingham Dr. Joanne Cranwell[/caption] More on Alcohol on MedicalResearch.com MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Joanne Cranwell PhD, CPsychol The UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies  School of Medicine Division of Epidemiology & Public Health Clinical Sciences Building University of Nottingham MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Cranwell: We conducted this particular study because it is well established that adolescent exposure to alcohol and tobacco in the media, such as film, television, and paid for advertising are determinants of subsequent alcohol and tobacco use in young people. The extent of potential exposure has been transformed over the past decade by the emergence of social media, in which exposure to pro-tobacco content has also been linked to favourable attitudes towards tobacco, including intention to smoke, in young non-smokers. Our previous published research highlighted that popular YouTube music videos contain tobacco and substantial alcohol content, including branding. Alcohol advertising is largely self-regulated by the alcohol industry and the Portman Group who speaks on behalf of the UK drinks industry.   The Advertising Standards Authority also provides guidance on marketing of alcohol products in the UK. Broadly speaking the guidelines from these three regulators state that “Marketing communications for alcoholic drinks should not be targeted at people under 18 and should not imply, condone or encourage immoderate, irresponsible or anti-social drinking”. However the extent to which adults and adolescents are exposed to tobacco or alcohol content from YouTube at a population level has not been quantified. In this new study we have therefore estimated population exposure to tobacco and alcohol impressions, defined as appearances in 10-second intervals in a sample of popular videos, in the British adolescent and adult population.
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews / 06.01.2016

[caption id="attachment_20439" align="alignleft" width="180"]Kate Chitty PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Sydney Medical School School of Medical Sciences Pharmacology The University of Sydney Dr. Kate Chitty[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kate Chitty PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Sydney Medical School School of Medical Sciences Pharmacology The University of Sydney  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Chitty: Recreational poisonings, defined here as poisonings that occur as a result of using alcohol and/or illicit or prescribed drugs for recreational purposes or to induce acute rewarding psychoactive effects, represent a significant and potentially lethal form of harm attributed to drug use. There is limited information on hospital admissions for recreational poisonings separately from all hospital admissions for drug harms, despite a surge in overdose occurring at youth events. Identifying trends in recreational poisoning will enable better planning of drug and alcohol services and government initiatives to reduce harms and consequences associated with drug and alcohol use.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, PLoS / 02.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Florian Naudet INSERM Centre d'Investigation Clinique 1414 Faculté de Médecine, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Rennes Laboratoire de Pharmacologie Expérimentale et Clinique Rennes, France Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Naudet: To reduce harm, alcohol-dependent individuals are usually advised to abstain from drinking, but controlled (moderate) drinking may also be helpful. To help people reduce their alcohol consumption, the European Medicines Agency recently approved nalmefene for use in the treatment of alcohol dependence in adults who consume more than 60 g (for men) or 40 g (for women) of alcohol per day. However, several expert bodies have concluded that nalmefene shows no benefit over naltrexone, an older treatment for alcohol dependency, and do not recommend its use for this indication. This is problematic because randomised controlled trials (RCTs) should lead to objective conclusions concerning treatment efficacy and this was not the case concerning nalmefene's approval. We therefore performed a meta-analysis of aggregated data to enable an objective reappraisal of the efficacy of nalmefene for relevant health outcomes and on alcohol consumption endpoints at both 6 months (+/- 1 month) and 1 year (+/- 1 month). We identified five RCTs that met the criteria for inclusion in our study. All five RCTs (which involved 2,567 participants) compared the effects of nalmefene with a placebo; none was undertaken in the population specified by the European Medicines Agency approval. Among the health outcomes examined in the meta-analysis, there were no differences between participants taking nalmefene and those taking placebo in mortality (death) after six months or one year of treatment, in the quality of life at six months. The RCTs included in the meta-analysis did not report other health outcomes. Participants taking nalmefene had fewer heavy drinking days per month at six months and one year of treatment than participants taking placebo, and their total alcohol consumption was lower. These differences were small in terms of clinical significance. Additionally, more people withdrew from the nalmefene groups than from the placebo groups, often for safety reasons. Thus, attrition bias cannot be excluded.
Alcohol, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, BMJ / 11.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_20006" align="alignleft" width="109"]Chia-Yu Chu Dr. Frans Boch Waldorff[/caption]

Professor, Frans Boch Waldorff General Practitioner Research Unit of General Practice Denmark

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Waldorff: While there are numerous studies focusing on alcohol as a risk factor for dementia and mortality in healthy subjects, virtually no attention has been paid to the effect of alcohol consumption in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Considering that AD is a neurodegenerative disorder and that alcohol has known neurotoxic effects, one could easily jump to the conclusion that alcohol is damaging for patients with AD. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the positive association between moderate alcohol intake and mortality shown in population-based studies on healthy subjects can be transferred to patients with mild AD. In our study we found that patients with mild  Alzheimer’s disease , moderate alcohol consumption (two to three units per day) was associated with a significantly lower risk of death compared with those who only had alcohol occasionally (one or less than one unit per day), and with those who had high alcohol intake (more than 3 units per day). Abstinence or high alcohol intake did not significantly raise mortality compared with those drinking only occasionally.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, NIH / 24.11.2015

[caption id="attachment_19579" align="alignleft" width="200"]Aaron White, PhD Senior Scientific Advisor to the Director Office of the Director National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD Dr. Aaron White[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aaron White, PhD Senior Scientific Advisor to the Director Office of the Director National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. White: Recent studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that alcohol use by women in the United States might be on the rise and that long-standing gender gaps in drinking and related consequences might be narrowing. Using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, we found that differences in the drinking patterns of females and males ages 12+ narrowed between 2002 and 2012 for current drinking (drinking at least once in the last 30 days), number of drinking days per month, past year DSM-IV alcohol abuse, and past-year driving under the influence of alcohol. For instance, the percentage of women who drank in the previous 30 days rose from 44% to 48%, while for men the percentage decreased from 57% to 56%. Average drinking days per month increased for women from 6.8 to 7.3 days, but dropped for males from 9.9 to 9.5 days. Driving under the influence (DUI) declined for both, but less so for females (from 10.3% to 7.9%) than males (from 19.0% to 14.4%), thereby narrowing the gender gap for DUI. Analyses revealed additional changes within specific age groups in the population.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Smoking / 30.10.2015

[caption id="attachment_18932" align="alignleft" width="120"]Mahesh Thakkar, Ph.D. Associate professor and director of research School of Medicine's Department of Neurology Missouri University Dr. Thakkar[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mahesh Thakkar, Ph.D. Associate professor and director of research School of Medicine's Department of Neurology Missouri University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Thakkar: It is well known that “smokers drink and drinkers smoke.” The question is why. In our previous research, we had observed that alcohol promotes sleepiness by inhibiting the brain region known as the basal forebrain. So we asked, “Does nicotine override alcohol-induced inhibition and activate the basal forebrain?” This study was performed to address these questions. The main finding of this study is that nicotine, when co-used with alcohol, attenuates alcohol-induced sleepiness by overriding alcohol-induced inhibition of the basal forebrain region.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 28.10.2015

[caption id="attachment_19063" align="alignleft" width="133"]Heather Fay, MHS Program Services FCD Educational Services Newton, MA Heather Fay MHS[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Heather Fay, MHS Program Services FCD Educational Services Newton, MA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was conducted by FCD Prevention Works, an international non-profit focused on school-based, substance abuse prevention. Using FCD’s database of over 50,000 6th-12th grade student survey responses, we sought to explore the relationship between parental permission of student substance use and negative consequences related to substance use. We compared student alcohol and other drug use in the home, with or without a parent’s knowledge, to students’ self-reported negative consequences related to their own alcohol use. As might be expected, students who used alcohol or other drugs at home without their parents knowing were more likely to report negative consequences in the past 12 months related to their alcohol own use. Students who used at home with their parents knowing were protected against some negative consequences. These students were less likely than students who did not report this behavior to feel guilty about their drinking or regret something they did while drinking. However, these same students were at an increased risk of experiencing negative consequences related to addiction. These consequences included those which are indicative of a mounting dependency on alcohol, such as needing a drink or other drug first thing in the morning, using alcohol or other drugs alone, passing out because of drinking, and getting hurt or injured as a direct result of their alcohol use.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 28.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel J. Dickson, M.A. Graduate Student and Brett Laursen PhD Department of Psychology Florida Atlantic University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: With age, adolescents spend more time with peers, and engage in drinking behaviors at increasing levels. In particular, girls who reach puberty at earlier ages than their peers are at higher risk for abusing alcohol. This may be because early maturing girls seek out the company of older more mature peers, ​who have greater access to alcohol and (in the case of those prone to delinquency) may be more welcoming to younger girls who are having difficulties with agemates. Our study investigates the association between changes in parental autonomy granting and girls’ alcohol abuse over a three year period (ages 13-16), as a function of timing of pubertal maturation.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE / 25.09.2015

Cheryl H. Tan, M.P.H. Epidemiologist and lead author of the study National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities CDCMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cheryl H. Tan, M.P.H. Epidemiologist and lead author of the study National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities CDC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One in 10 pregnant women in the United States aged 18 to 44 years reports drinking alcohol in the past 30 days and 3.1 percent of pregnant women report binge drinking – defined as 4 or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion. That means about a third of pregnant women who consume alcohol engage in binge drinking. This is concerning because women who are pregnant or who might be pregnant should avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol use during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of birth defects and developmental disabilities in babies, as well as other pregnancy problems, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and prematurity. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy causes Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), which are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These conditions include physical problems, behavioral problems, and leaning disabilities. FASDs are completely preventable: if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy, her child has zero risk of an FASD.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Heart Disease / 17.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Andrew Smyth PhD Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences Hamilton, ON, Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr Smyth: Alcohol consumption is proposed to be the third most important modifiable risk factor for death and disability. However, alcohol consumption has been associated with both benefits and harms and previous studies were mostly done in high income countries. In this study we explored the associations between alcohol consumption and clinical outcomes in a prospective cohort study of 12 countries from different economic levels. Over an average of four years of follow-up of almost 115,000 participants, we found that although current drinking was associated with a 24% reduction in risk of heart attack, there was no reduction in the risk of death or stroke, and there was a 51% increase in risk of alcohol-related cancers (mouth, oesophagus, stomach, colorectum, liver, breast, ovary and head and neck) and a 29% increase in risk of injury. For a combination of all outcomes, we found no overall benefit from current alcohol use. We also found differences between countries of different income levels: for higher income countries current drinking was associated with a 16% reduction in risk of the combined outcome, but in lower income countries there was a 38% increase in risk.
Alcohol, Author Interviews / 03.09.2015

Dr. Jun Wang MD PhD, Assistant Professor Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience Texas A&M College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jun Wang MD PhD, Assistant Professor Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience Texas A&M College of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Wang: Alcohol use disorder is a very common disease, but the mechanism is not clear and the treatment is limited. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Wang: We have three findings in an animal model of alcoholism:
  1. Alcohol drinking changes brain cells (also called neurons), making them more excitable.
  2. The change occurs only in a group of neuron called D1-neurons.
  3. Suppressing D1-neurons in a sub-region of the brain reduces excessive alcohol intake.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research / 19.08.2015

Dr. Yin Cao MPH, ScD Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public HealthMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Yin Cao MPH, ScD Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cao: Light-to-moderate drinking, defined as up to 1 drink (roughly corresponds to a 355ml bottle of beer, or a small [118-148 ml] glass of wine or 44ml of liquor) for women and up to 2 drinks for men, is prevalent in many western countries. It is believed that light-to-moderate drinking may be healthy for the heart. However, the influence of light-to-moderate drinking on risk of overall cancer is less clear, although it is well known that heavy alcohol intake increases risk of several cancers, including cancers of colorectum, female breast, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, liver, and esophagus. Also because drinkers are more likely to be smokers, and smoking is the major risk factor for all of the alcohol-related cancers (mentioned above) except breast cancer, it is thus difficult to tease out the influence of alcohol on cancer in studies among a mixed population of ever and never smokers. In particular, it is important to know how light and moderate drinking would affect cancer risk particularly among never smokers, who now make up the majority of the population in many western countries. Our main findings are that, light-to-moderate drinking minimally increases risk of overall cancerFor men, the association with alcohol related cancers was primarily observed among smokers, and light to moderate drinking did not appreciably increase risk in never smokers. Among women, even consumption of up to one drink per day was associated with increased risk of alcohol-related cancers (mainly breast cancer) for both never and ever smokers.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Women's Heart Health / 27.05.2015

Alexandra Gonçalves, MD, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Cardiovascular Department Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02115MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexandra Gonçalves, MD, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Cardiovascular Department Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Gonçalves: Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with alcoholic cardiomyopathy, while light to moderate drinking might have benefits in the risk of heart failure (HF). However, the cardiovascular mechanisms and the alcohol dosage associated with risks or potential benefits are uncertain. Furthermore, the variation in the toxic and protective effects of alcohol by sex remains controversial, as women may be more sensitive than men to the toxic effects of alcohol on cardiac function, developing alcoholic cardiomyopathy at a lower total lifetime dose of alcohol compared to men. In this study we assessed the associations between alcohol intake and cardiac structure and function by echocardiography, in elderly men and women in the large, community-based Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Gonçalves: We studied 4466 participants (76±5 years and 60% women) with alcohol consumption ascertained, who underwent transthoracic echocardiography. Participants were classified into 4 categories based on self-reported alcohol intake: non-drinkers, drinkers of up to 7 drinks per week, ?7 to 14 and ? 14 drinks per week. In both genders, increasing alcohol intake was associated with larger left ventricular (LV) diastolic and systolic diameters and larger left atrial diameter. In men, increasing alcohol intake was associated with greater LV mass and higher E/E’ ratio. In women, increasing alcohol intake was associated with lower LV ejection fraction.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, PNAS, Scripps / 19.05.2015

Interview of Candice Contet, Ph.D. Assistant Professor The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CAMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Interview of Candice Contet, Ph.D. Assistant Professor The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Contet: Alcohol changes the activity of numerous proteins in the brain. One of them is an ion channel found in neurons, the G-protein activated inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channel. It is however unknown whether the ability of alcohol to open GIRK channels matters for its effects in vivo, i.e. how tipsy we feel or how motivated we are to drink alcohol. To address this question, we studied mice that are lacking one of the components of GIRK channels, the GIRK3 subunit. These mice behave normally in the absence of alcohol, and we sought to determine whether they respond differently to alcohol. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Dr. Contet: We found that the absence of GIRK3 did not impact how fast the mice clear alcohol from their body nor how sensitive they are to alcohol intoxication. Alcohol reduced their motor coordination, made them sleepy and lowered their body temperature to the same extent as in normal mice. GIRK3-deficient mice also drank as much alcohol as normal mice when they were given continuous access to alcohol, a situation in which mice sporadically drink throughout the day but rarely get intoxicated. By contrast, when mice are given access to alcohol only for a couple hours per day at a specific time of the day, they drink to the point of intoxication. Under these conditions, which emulate “binge drinking”, the GIRK3-deficient mice drank more than normal mice. The next step was to locate the region of the brain responsible for the effect of GIRK3 on binge drinking. We turned our attention to the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic pathway, a neural circuit that facilitates reward seeking. This pathway originates in an area of the midbrain called the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and releases the neurotransmitter dopamine in two forebrain areas: the ventral striatum and the prefrontal cortex. Alcohol, like other drugs of abuse, activates this pathway. When we reintroduced GIRK3 in the VTA of GIRK3-deficient mice, their alcohol intake dropped down to normal levels. Increasing the levels of GIRK3 in the VTA of normal mice reduced their alcohol consumption even further. We concluded that GIRK3 in the VTA keeps binge drinking in check: the more GIRK3, the less binge drinking. We then wanted to understand how GIRK3 controls binge drinking: do the GIRK3-deficient mice drink more because alcohol is more rewarding to them, or because more alcohol is needed for them to experience the same level of reward? To answer this question, we measured the activity of VTA neurons in brain slices. Alcohol usually make VTA neurons fire more – but in the absence of GIRK3, these neurons were completely insensitive to alcohol, even at a very high concentration. We also measured the levels of dopamine in the ventral striatum. Injecting mice with a moderate dose of alcohol usually causes a rise in dopamine levels – but again, GIRK3-deficient mice were completely unresponsive. These results may seem paradoxical. If the canonical “reward pathway” of the brain cannot be activated by alcohol, these mice should not have any motivation to drink alcohol. But the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic pathway is not the only brain circuit responsible for the rewarding properties of alcohol, and we think that GIRK3-deficient mice end up drinking more alcohol to activate alternative circuits more strongly than normal mice would.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, OBGYNE, PLoS / 18.05.2015

Dr. Nina Kaminen-Ahola Ph.D. Department of Medical Genetics Faculty of Medicine University of Helsinki Helsinki, FinlandMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Nina Kaminen-Ahola Ph.D. Department of Medical Genetics Faculty of Medicine University of Helsinki Helsinki, Finland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Kaminen-Ahola: The beginning of embryonic development is vulnerable to the effects of  external influences and disruption of these processes can have long-term effects on development. Our previous study demonstrated, for the first time, that alcohol exposure in early pregnancy can cause permanent changes to the epigenetic regulation, gene function and the appearance of mouse offspring. We discovered increased DNA-methylation, transcriptional silencing of an epigenetically sensitive allele Agouti viable yellow (Avy) and darker coat colour in the offspring. In this study we wanted to see whether alcohol consumed in early pregnancy causes long-term changes to the epigenome and gene expression in hippocampus. According to previous studies the phenotype of offspring in this mouse model is highly variable, but reminiscent of human FAS with growth restriction, similar structural changes to corresponding areas of the face and skull, and hyperactivity. In this study we wanted to determine the impact of alcohol on the structures of the central nervous system. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Kaminen-Ahola: We observed that early exposure to alcohol caused subtle changes in  the epigenome and altered the function of several genes in the hippocampi of adolescent mice. We also detected alcohol-induced alterations in the brain structure of adult offspring. Interestingly, we also found out that in addition to hippocampus, alcohol caused similar changes to gene function in two different tissues of the infant mouse, bone marrow and the olfactory epithelium of the snout. These results support our hypothesis that early gestational ethanol exposure alters the epigenetic reprogramming of the embryo, which leads to alterations in gene regulation and embryonic development, and causes life-long changes in brain structure, function, and behaviour.
Author Interviews, Diabetes / 11.05.2015

Meir Stampfer, MD, DrPH Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Assoc Director, Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MAMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Meir Stampfer, MD, DrPH Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Assoc Director, Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Moderate alcohol has repeatedly been linked to lower risk of developing diabetes, and among diabetics, those who drink moderately at at substantially lower risk for cardiovascular outcomes. However, there have been no long term trial of alcohol among diabetics. In this two-year randomized trial, we found that wine caused modest improvements in glucose metabolism and in blood lipid levels, with a somewhat greater benefit observed for red wine, for changes in lipids.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Pediatrics / 04.05.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer A. Emond, M.Sc., PhD Research Instructor Department of Epidemiology Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College Cancer Control Research Program Lebanon, NH  03756 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Emond: Several studies have documented a link between consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks and an increased risk of negative outcomes while drinking, including binge drinking. It is known that mixing energy drinks with alcohol increases the risk for binge drinking--the high caffeine intake consumed when mixing energy drinks with alcohol may cause individuals to feel what is been called "wide-awake drunk," and they may underestimate their level of intoxication. However, most studies to date have been conducted among undergraduate college students, and we wanted to know if those same associations were also observed among adolescents. In our study of 3,342 adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15-23, we also found a positive link between a history of consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks and abusive alcohol use. Specifically, 22.3% of participants had ever consumed an energy drink mixed with alcohol (including 9.7% of 15-17 year olds), and such a history of mixed use was associated with a more than 4-fold increased likelihood of engaging in binge drinking. Importantly, that association was just as strong among 15-17 year olds as it was among the older participants. One critical component of our study was that we also looked at a validated outcome for alcohol use disorder (i.e., the participants completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test [AUDIT]), and participants with a history of consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks were also 4.2 times more likely to meet that clinically defined criteria for alcohol use disorder as defined for adolescents. Again, those associations were observed for all participants, regardless of age. Our study has limitations. It was cross-sectional, so we cannot prove that mixed use of alcohol and energy drinks causes abusive alcohol use behaviors. However, our study does support that mixed use of alcohol with energy drinks can identify adolescents at risk for alcohol abuse.
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Lifestyle & Health, Weight Research / 18.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sirpa Soini, MHC, researcher Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care University of Helsinki Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Short-term weight loss is often successful, but he obtained results are difficult to maintain. Therefore, a study focusing on obese people who successfully lost weight, with special  emphasis upon methods applied and background factors, is of major importance. Many people are successful in losing weight by themselves without taking part in any organized group activity. The knowledge about their success and the methods applied does not usually reach the health care personnel and is one reason why it is difficult to get reliable information about those who are successful in losing weight.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Primary Care / 27.02.2015

Dr. Kristy Barnes Le MD Department of Internal Medicine Wake Forest School of Medicine Winston-Salem, NCMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kristy Barnes Le MD Department of Internal Medicine Wake Forest School of Medicine Winston-Salem, NC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Because about 1 in 6 Americans binge drink, it is important that physicians know how to screen for at-risk drinking and be able to effectively address alcohol use with their patients.   Alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) has been shown to be an effective tool to detect and reduce hazardous alcohol use, but it has not yet gained wide acceptance in practice or in medical education.  We know that lack of confidence contributes to practicing physicians’ hesitancy to screen and intervene with at-risk drinkers, but this had not been studied in resident physicians. We set out to determine how primary care resident physicians screen and intervene with their patients who drink, how they feel about discussing at-risk drinking, and what barriers they have to performing  Alcohol screening and brief intervention. Our main findings are: 1.)  Resident physicians are using the wrong screening instruments at the wrong times, and are not adequately performing the brief intervention when they do detect hazardous drinking. Less than 20% of residents in this study used screening instruments that are capable of detecting at-risk or binge drinking, while the remainder used instruments designed to detect alcohol use disorders.  And, only 17% screened for at-risk drinking at acute-care visits, where the consequences of binge drinking (such as injuries) are most likely to appear.  Additionally, when a brief intervention was performed, only a quarter of residents usually or always included the three recommended elements of feedback, advice, and goal-setting. 2.)  Resident physicians do not feel confident addressing at-risk drinking with their patients. Only 21% felt they could help their patient with hazardous drinking cut down or stop using alcohol and only 17% felt they had been successful in doing so in the past.  Interestingly, U.S.-born residents and those reporting no religious affiliation were even more likely to express lack of confidence. 3.)  Lastly, residents report barriers that include lack of adequate training (53 %), the belief that talking with patients is unlikely to make a difference (44 %), and just being too busy (39%).  The hours of reported  Alcohol screening training did not vary with residency year, perhaps indicating that most of it was done prior to residency. Clearly, the several hours they report getting (mean of 9.8 hours) is either not covering the right topics, or not teaching them in a way that leads to changes in practice.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Personalized Medicine / 18.02.2015

Sean M. Murphy, Ph.D. Assistant Professor  Department of Health Policy & Administration Washington State University MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sean M. Murphy, Ph.D. Assistant Professor  Department of Health Policy & Administration Washington State University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Murphy: Professional healthcare advice regarding excessive alcohol consumption has been shown to reduce demand in a controlled setting. However, success in a clinical trial isn’t always indicative of an intervention’s effectiveness in everyday use. Studies testing the effect of provider advice on alcohol demand in a non-controlled environment are few, and have failed to control for non-moderate drinkers.  Therefore, it is possible that the estimated effect of professional-health advice primarily reflected moderate-drinkers’ responses. The distinction between moderate and non-moderate drinkers is an important one, as society bears a large cost for those who consume above-moderate quantities, while moderate drinkers have been shown to be relatively productive and healthy. Excise taxes may not be efficient given that they impose negative externalities on moderate drinkers, while excessive drinkers have been shown to be relatively unresponsive to price increases. We found that personalized information from a healthcare professional was negatively associated with reported alcohol consumption among both “risky” and “binge" drinkers. Moreover, we found that personalized drinking advice may have an impact on those who are reluctant to state that they were given such advice.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease / 28.01.2015

Gro Askgaard MD Department of Hepatology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark Copenhagen DenmarkMedicalResearch.com Interview with Gro Askgaard MD Department of Hepatology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark Copenhagen Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Askgaard: Alcohol is the main risk factor of cirrhosis in Europe, where 1.8% of all deaths are attributable to liver disease. Alcohol amount is known to be a significant factor of development of cirrhosis - the greater alcohol amount, the greater risk. Less is known about drinking pattern - how the way you drink alcohol affects your risk. In this study we evaluated the influence of drinking frequency (drinking days/week), of lifetime alcohol consumption versus recent alcohol consumption, and alcohol type (wine, beer, liquor).
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Circadian Rhythm / 20.01.2015

Timo Partonen MD, Research Professor National Institute for Health and Welfare Helsinki, FinlandMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Timo Partonen MD, Research Professor National Institute for Health and Welfare Helsinki, Finland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Alcohol-use disorders are often comorbid conditions with mood and anxiety disorders. Clinical studies have demonstrated that there are abnormalities in circadian rhythms and intrinsic clocks in patients with alcohol-use disorders. Circadian clock gene variants are therefore a fruitful target of interest. The main findings are that variants of key clock genes, namely those of ARNTL, ARNTL2, PER1 and PER2, have association with alcohol consumption, with alcohol abuse, or with alcohol dependence. It is of interest that variants of a fifth clock gene of key importance, that is those of CLOCK, are associated with alcohol-use disorders only if comorbid with depressive disorders.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, BMJ, Occupational Health / 14.01.2015

Professor Marianna Virtanen PhD Unit of Expertise for Work and Organizations Finnish Institute of Occupational Health Helsinki, Finland.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Marianna Virtanen PhD Unit of Expertise for Work and Organizations Finnish Institute of Occupational Health Helsinki, Finland. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Professor Virtanen: Risky alcohol use is common among working populations but the contribution of work-related factors such as long working hours has rarely been studied. In the present study we performed the first systematic analysis on published studies regarding long working hours and risky alcohol use and added unpublished individual participant data to the analyses. Altogether 61 studies were included in the cross sectional analysis and 20 studies in the prospective analysis. The pooled cross sectional analysis showed 11% higher alcohol use associated with long working hours. In the prospective analysis we found that working 49-54 hours a week was associated with a 13% increase in the probability of new-onset risky alcohol use and working 55 hours or more with a 12% increased risk.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Insomnia / 23.12.2014

Michael Nadorff, PhD, Assistant professor Mississippi State University Starkville, Miss.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Nadorff, PhD, Assistant professor Mississippi State University Starkville, Miss. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Nadorff: A growing literature has found that insomnia symptoms are associated with suicidal behavior, and several studies suggest that this relation may be independent of several different forms of psychopathology.  However, little research has examined the role sleep disorders, such as insomnia, play in explaining why known risk factors, such as alcohol use, are associated with suicidal behavior.  In our study, we examined whether insomnia symptoms explained a significant portion of the relation between alcohol symptoms and suicide risk.  We found that for both men and women insomnia symptoms explained a significant amount of the variance in the relation between alcohol use and suicide risk.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Nature, University Texas / 05.12.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: R. Dayne Mayfield PhD and Sean Farris Post Doc Fellow Harris Lab Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research University of Texas at Austin MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Response: Alcoholism is psychiatric disorder adversely affecting the health of millions of individuals worldwide. Despite considerable research efforts, alcoholism cannot be attributed to any individual gene. We sought out to identify coordinately regulated gene networks, rather than a single candidate gene, that may be collectively driving the consumption of alcohol.
Alcohol, Author Interviews / 20.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kirsten Mehli Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Mehlig: Many studies found that the ‘good’ HDL-cholesterol is associated with lower risk for atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular risk. This finding has not been translated into clinical practice because medical trials with HDL-cholesterol rising medication did rise the HDL-cholesterol but did not prevent CVD. One possible explanation could be that a high level of HDL-cholesterol is but a marker for other factors that truly contribute to reduced cardiovascular risk. One such factor is alcohol consumption, and ethanol intake in grams / day is associated with higher HDL-C in our study, too. Another factor is a certain genotype that has been found to modulate HDL-cholesterol levels. The fact that co-called ‘moderate’ alcohol consumption is beneficial wrt. CVD has been observed and discussed often, and is confirmed in our study. Here, we asked whether the beneficial effect of alcohol was further strengthened by having a favorable CETP genotype wrt. HDL-cholesterol.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Hearing Loss / 06.11.2014

Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Internal Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Internal Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Curhan: Hearing loss is a highly prevalent and disabling chronic condition that can impair communication, quality of life, and health. Although it is often perceived as an inevitable companion of aging, recent evidence suggests modifiable factors can potentially aid in prevention or slow progression of hearing loss. Alcohol consumption may influence several mechanisms that have been proposed to underlie age-related hearing decline. Although chronic excess alcohol intake has been associated with irreversible hearing loss and acute alcohol intake may temporarily impair auditory function, some evidence suggests that long-term moderate alcohol intake may protect against hearing loss.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, BMJ, HPV, Sexual Health / 03.10.2014

Matthew B. Schabath, Ph.D Assistant Member, Department of Cancer Epidemiology  Moffitt Cancer Center Tampa, Florida MedicalResearch.com: Interview with: Matthew B. Schabath, Ph.D Assistant Member, Department of Cancer Epidemiology Moffitt Cancer Center Tampa, Florida   Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Schabath: Overall, the results from these analyses demonstrated that men who consumed the highest amounts of alcohol were associated with an increased risk for genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infections.
Alcohol, Author Interviews / 30.09.2014

Keren Lehavot, PhD Research Clinical Psychologist VA Puget Sound Health Care System Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences University of WashingtonMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Keren Lehavot, PhD Research Clinical Psychologist VA Puget Sound Health Care System Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences University of Washington Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Lehavot: Alcohol misuse is a significant public health concern among women living in the U.S. Women who have served in the military are a unique population who report relatively high rates of hazardous drinking, and those who identify as lesbian or bisexual (LB) may be at especially high risk for alcohol misuse. While previous research suggests that lesbian or bisexual veterans report higher rates of alcohol misuse than their heterosexual counterparts, mediators that might explain this disparity have not been identified. To that end, we examined the role of civilian and military traumas and mental health symptoms (i.e., depression, post-traumatic stress disorder) in explaining disparities in alcohol misuse between sexual minority and heterosexual women veterans across the U.S. Women veterans were recruited using the Internet to participate in an online, anonymous, national survey. Findings indicated that lesbian or bisexual veterans scored significantly higher on an alcohol misuse measure than heterosexual women veterans. LB veterans also reported higher rates of childhood trauma, physical victimization in adulthood both during the military and as a civilian, and mental health symptoms, partly accounting for their higher rates of alcohol misuse.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Social Issues / 31.07.2014

Magdalena Cerdá, DrPH MPH Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University New York, NY 10032-3727MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Magdalena Cerdá, DrPH MPH Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University New York, NY 10032-3727 Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Cerdá: We evaluated 1,095 Ohio National Guard soldiers, who had primarily served in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2008 and 2009 to determine the effect of civilian stressors and deployment-related traumatic events and stressors on post-deployment alcohol use disorder. Participants were interviewed three times over 3 years about alcohol use disorder, exposure to deployment-related traumatic events like land mines, vehicle crashes, taking enemy fire, and witnessing casualties, and about experiences of civilian life setbacks since returning from duty, including job loss, legal problems, divorce, and serious financial and legal problems. We found that having at least one civilian stressor or a reported incident of sexual harassment during deployment raised the odds of alcohol use disorders. In contrast, combat-related traumatic events were only marginally associated with alcohol problems.