Alcoholism
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Rescooped by Chaise Shafer from Politics Scotland
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Alcohol abuse costs Scotland £2.6bn each year

Alcohol abuse costs Scotland £2.6bn each year | Alcoholism | Scoop.it
CAMPAIGNERS have called for licensing boards to concentrate on restricting the availability of alcohol in Scotland.

Via Peter A Bell
Chaise Shafer's insight:
WHAT!? This article gave me a new perspective on the massive effects alcohol can have beyond just the life of the individual. 2.6 billion euro, plus an additional 1 billion if crimes committed and damage done is included. For good reason, this has the people of Scotland petitioning for a sanction to be placed on the availability of alcohol.
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Naltrexone Implant Alcohol Abuse and Depression | Naltrexone Implant

Naltrexone Implant Alcohol Abuse and Depression | Naltrexone Implant | Alcoholism | Scoop.it
I.Thorpe has battled severe depression in his career. Naltrexone alcohol addiction treatment on naltrexone implant clinics UK Europe | Naltrexone Implant

Via NaltrexoneImplant
Chaise Shafer's insight:

This article stood out to me because it talks about Ian Thorpe's (5-time Olympian gold medalist in swimming)  battle with depression and alcoholism. I think it is important to realize that alcoholism is everywhere, even amongst those who are heroes like Thorpe. Luckily for Thorpe, his addiction didn't interfere with his career, and he swears the naltrexone was an intervention that may have saved his life.  

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Rescooped by Chaise Shafer from Addictions and Mental Health
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Executive functions of alcoholics deteriorate before general mental status: A confusing picture for family members and others.

Executive functions of alcoholics deteriorate before general mental status:  A confusing picture for family members and others. | Alcoholism | Scoop.it

 "Findings from a new study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine volumetric measurements of segmented brain structures suggest that executive function and general mental status are affected differently by long-term use of alcohol."


Via Barbara Wood, Ph.D. www.alcoholismandthefamily.com / Author of Children of Alcoholism and Raising Healthy Children in an Alcoholic Home
Chaise Shafer's insight:

It's well known, as was discussed in class, that there have been volumetric discrepancies between the frontal lobes of addicts and control groups. This article took this general observation and correlated it with performance on executive functioning tasks, and found that the brain abnormalities appear before a decline in mental performance is observed behaviorally. This brings up interesting question regarding the pathology of alcoholism; does the brain just reach a point where it can't compensate any longer?

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Barbara Wood, Ph.D. www.alcoholismandthefamily.com / Author of Children of Alcoholism and Raising Healthy Children in an Alcoholic Home's curator insight, November 22, 2013 10:04 AM

 

This study, from  the Neuromodulation Laboratory at Harvard Medical School, will be published in the April 2014 online-only issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.


60 alcoholic subjects were given the Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB) and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) as well as an MRI.  The researchers found that  "structural changes in specific prefrontal areas (of the brain) along with the cerebellum in the left side of the brain can predict executive performance in alcoholics," leading them to speculate that  an alcohol user may present executive dysfunctions even when clinical signs of alcohol dependence are absent or mild and their more global mental status is still preserved. 


The researchers explained that the frontal lobes control and inhibit primitive impulses that prevent people from taking  dangerous risks, or behaving in a deviant way, and damage in this region of the brain can cause people to exhibit inflexible behavior or thinking and difficulty controlling injurious behaviors.  Still, they noted, other neurological functions may be preserved, allowing people to perform quite well in some important daily tasks.  Researchers gave the example of a skilled professional who could perform at a high level at work, in activities requiring good "temporal and spatial orientation, naming things, and calculations" .  The same individual could still make a terrible decision when confronted with a situation that occurs while driving, such as when  "a soccer ball unexpectedly crosses in front of his or her car, likely followed by a child." 


The authors of the study hope that this research will "help relatives of those suffering from this condition to better understand some of the problems they see, especially how difficult is for an alcoholic to control his/her impulses towards alcohol or their behaviors affecting other people".

Barbara Wood, Ph.D. www.alcoholismandthefamily.com / Author of Children of Alcoholism and Raising Healthy Children in an Alcoholic Home's curator insight, November 22, 2013 10:05 AM
Barbara Wood, Ph.D. www.alcoholismandthefamily.com / Author of Children of Alcoholism and Raising Healthy Children in an Alcoholic Home's insight:

 

This study, from  the Neuromodulation Laboratory at Harvard Medical School, will be published in the April 2014 online-only issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

 

60 alcoholic subjects were given the Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB) and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) as well as an MRI.  The researchers found that  "structural changes in specific prefrontal areas (of the brain) along with the cerebellum in the left side of the brain can predict executive performance in alcoholics," leading them to speculate that  an alcohol user may present executive dysfunctions even when clinical signs of alcohol dependence are absent or mild and their more global mental status is still preserved. 

 

The researchers explained that the frontal lobes control and inhibit primitive impulses that prevent people from taking  dangerous risks, or behaving in a deviant way, and damage in this region of the brain can cause people to exhibit inflexible behavior or thinking and difficulty controlling injurious behaviors.  Still, they noted, other neurological functions may be preserved, allowing people to perform quite well in some important daily tasks.  Researchers gave the example of a skilled professional who could perform at a high level at work, in activities requiring good "temporal and spatial orientation, naming things, and calculations" .  The same individual could still make a terrible decision when confronted with a situation that occurs while driving, such as when  "a soccer ball unexpectedly crosses in front of his or her car, likely followed by a child." 

 

The authors of the study hope that this research will "help relatives of those suffering from this condition to better understand some of the problems they see, especially how difficult is for an alcoholic to control his/her impulses towards alcohol or their behaviors affecting other people".

Rescooped by Chaise Shafer from Addictions and Mental Health
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Alcohol and the Emerging Science of Epigenetics

Alcohol and the Emerging Science of Epigenetics | Alcoholism | Scoop.it

Via Barbara Wood, Ph.D. www.alcoholismandthefamily.com / Author of Children of Alcoholism and Raising Healthy Children in an Alcoholic Home
Chaise Shafer's insight:

This article was massively mind-opening as it reviews the potential epigenetic changes associated with alcohol consumption. Alcohol prevents the body from efficiently processing folate, which is an essential chemical in triggering methylation. Thus, alcohol can lead to hypomethylation, which is one of the main mechanisms of epigenetic activity. The direct consequences are less clear, but interfering with the way the body adapts has potentially dire consequences.

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Barbara Wood, Ph.D. www.alcoholismandthefamily.com / Author of Children of Alcoholism and Raising Healthy Children in an Alcoholic Home's curator insight, November 9, 2013 8:45 AM


This new Alcohol Alert from NIAAA describes emerging research into the ways that  age,  environment, and exposure to drugs and other chemicals, including alcohol, can alter  normal genetic patterns and lead to abnormal expression or silencing of essential genes. The alert says that this new research suggests that these epigenetic changes can, in some instances, be passed from one generation to the next, and describes how alcohol-induced epigenetic changes may be associated with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), cancer, liver disease and other gastrointestinal disorders, brain development, the body’s internal clock, and its ability to fight disease.Although much more exploration is to be done, "findings to date suggest that epigenetic changes in gene expression induced by alcohol consumption may underlie the brain pathology and adaptations in brain functioning associated with alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence and may contribute to alcohol relapse and craving."

Rescooped by Chaise Shafer from Alcoholism
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Alcoholics' 'Injured Brains' Work Harder to Complete Simple Tasks

Alcoholics' 'Injured Brains' Work Harder to Complete Simple Tasks | Alcoholism | Scoop.it
Alcoholics' 'Injured Brains' Work Harder to Complete Simple Tasks...

Via Monica Cruz
Chaise Shafer's insight:

This article is about a study that was to be published in February 2012, in which alcoholic and sober individuals performed a finger-tapping task under surveillance by fMRI. They found that alcoholics were able to perform the task equally well, but that different areas of the brain were utilized to complete the task. I found this study interesting because it speaks to the plasticity of the brain and its ability to compensate for damaged or low-functioning brain regions by utilizing a different pathway. 

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Rescooped by Chaise Shafer from Mom Psych
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Study: Alcohol, Drug Abuse Counselors Don't Always Require Total Abstinence

Study: Alcohol, Drug Abuse Counselors Don't Always Require Total Abstinence | Alcoholism | Scoop.it

Compared to a survey conducted nearly 20 years ago, about twice the proportion of addiction counselors now find it acceptable for at least some of their patients to have a drink occasionally – either as an intermediate goal or as their final treatment goal, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.


Via Gina Stepp
Chaise Shafer's insight:

This article provides a fresh look an alcohol rehabilitation as it reviews the program of Rational Recovery. The main idea behind this paradigm is to silent the "alcoholic voice", or "The Beast". Honestly, I'm not sure I whole-heartedly agree with this approach. It's designed to be a counter-point to AA and other such programs to provide an alternative, which is good, but I don't know about the efficacy. I'd have to delve more into the research to make an informed decision, but based on anecdotal evidence from my own life this method isn't the best option. With that said, I'm sure there exists a sub-group of alcoholics for which this is a desirable alternative. 

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Rescooped by Chaise Shafer from VapeHalla!
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Anti-smoking medication shows promise for treating alcohol dependence

Anti-smoking medication shows promise for treating alcohol dependence | Alcoholism | Scoop.it

NIH researchers seek to expand treatment options. Now even Alcoholics can become violent & suicidal by taking Chantx


Via GolfKahn
Chaise Shafer's insight:

A new study has indicated a potential for the anti-smoking medication Chantix (varenicline) to be effective in curbing alcohol cravings in addicted individuals. I find pharmaceutical accidents such as this to be amazing. Researchers are not positive what the mechanism of efficacy is for this drug, but the results have been outstanding. Again, does this point to an underlying brain mechanism that gears an individual towards addiction? Similarly, methadone and other drugs initially developed for other drugs have been shown to work for alcohol as well. 

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GolfKahn's curator insight, June 3, 2013 4:21 PM

Just exactly what the World did Not need////

Rescooped by Chaise Shafer from Addictions and Mental Health
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Alcoholism could be linked to a hyper-active brain dopamine system

Alcoholism could be linked to a hyper-active brain dopamine system | Alcoholism | Scoop.it

 Research from McGill University suggests that people who are vulnerable to developing alcoholism exhibit a distinctive brain response when drinking alcohol, according to a new study by Prof. Marco Leyton, of McGill University's Department of Psychiatry."


Via Barbara Wood, Ph.D. www.alcoholismandthefamily.com / Author of Children of Alcoholism and Raising Healthy Children in an Alcoholic Home
Chaise Shafer's insight:

I loved the way this article talked about addiction in the brain. A study was done involving individual determined to be high-risk for alcohol abuse compared with individuals determined to be low-risk. They found that the dopamine pathways of high risk individuals was dramatically more active than in the brains of low-risk individuals. This may speak to an underlying brain mechanism that plays a role in the development of addiction. 

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Barbara Wood, Ph.D. www.alcoholismandthefamily.com / Author of Children of Alcoholism and Raising Healthy Children in an Alcoholic Home's curator insight, November 18, 2013 4:26 PM

The authors cite "accumulating evidence that there are multiple pathways to alcoholism, each associated with a distinct set of personality traits and neurobiological features".  This study indicated that experiencing a very large dopamine response when drinking likely contributres to "one (or more) of these pathways.

 

Dopamine deficit is believed by many an underlying factor in ADHD, so perhaps this offers some understanding of heightened vulnerability to substance abuse among individuals who have ADHD.

Rescooped by Chaise Shafer from Alcoholism
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Alcoholism Shortens Life More Than Smoking: Study - MedicineNet

Alcoholism Shortens Life More Than Smoking: Study - MedicineNet | Alcoholism | Scoop.it
New research suggests that people who are alcohol-dependent, particularly women, may be cutting their lives even shorter than smokers.

Via Monica Cruz
Chaise Shafer's insight:

This article summarizes a correlational study done on alcohol-dependent men and woman, which suggests that alcohol abuse may be more deadly in the long-term than smoking. This is interesting to me because alcohol is promoted as a socially acceptable behavior, while smoking has been under severe scrutiny for the last couple of decades. I'm not sure how direct the correlation is, however, considering the other behaviors that may accompany drinking (like smoking for example).

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Mother’s alcohol puts boys at risk - Futurity

Mother’s alcohol puts boys at risk - Futurity | Alcoholism | Scoop.it
NORTHWESTERN (US) — A gene variation passed from the mother to her unborn son contributes to why some babies are … Continued (Why are some babies born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder?
Chaise Shafer's insight:

It has been discovered that a gene potentially  involved in the development of alcoholism may be inherited maternally. Variations in this gene resuly in hormonal abnormaliies in the thyroid. 

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