Chronic use of alcohol can disrupt a person’s sleep months or even years after a person stops drinking, according to researchers from Boston University School of Medicine.
The researchers say chronic alcohol use can disrupt cells in an area of the brain stem involved in regulating many aspects of sleep, Boston Magazine reports. As a result of prolonged exposure to alcohol, the activity that excite neurons in the brain increases, while at the same time decreasing the activity of a chemical that inhibits activity of these neurons. This causes over-activity of brain chemicals, and leads to a disruption in the normal sleep cycle, the researchers write in Behavioral Brain Research.
Lead author Subimal Datta says more research is needed to identify exactly how these brain changes are occurring, and to create medications to treat alcohol-related sleep disorders. “Identifying the specific mechanisms that lead to change in brain activity will allow us to develop targeted medications, which could help treat people suffering from sleep issues related to alcohol use disorders,” Datta said in a news release.
Full story of alcohol use and sleep disruption at drugfree.org
Women who drink alcohol may have an increased risk of persistent infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV), according to researchers in Korea. Some varieties of the virus have the potential to cause cervical abnormalities that can lead to cancer.
Most cases of HPV disappear on their own, but in some cases the infection persists, Yahoo Health reports. The virus is sexually transmitted.
The Korean researchers tested 9,230 women for HPV and asked them about their alcohol intake. They found women who drank alcohol were almost three times more likely than non-drinkers to test positive for HPV at the beginning of the study, and again after two years.
Full story of alcohol and HPV infection at drugfree.org
Drinking problems in returning U.S. National Guard soldiers are more likely to be caused by civilian life, rather than wartime experiences, according to new research.
As many as 13 percent of veterans may drink because of problems such as job loss, financial problems or divorce, the researchers found. Almost 7 percent of Americans overall have drinking problems, HealthDay reports.
The study appears in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
Full story of National Guard soldiers drinking problem at drugfree.org
A new study of thousands of Americans finds people with a history of drinking problems have more than twice the risk of memory problems later in life, compared with those who have never been heavy drinkers.
The researchers asked participants four questions: Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking? Have people ever annoyed you by criticizing your drinking? Have you ever felt guilty about drinking? And have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning? These questions come from a widely used screening questionnaire for alcoholism, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Participants were born between 1931 and 1941. They answered the questions about alcohol use when they were first interviewed, when they were in their 50s and 60s. They were considered to have a drinking problem if they answered yes to at least two of the four questions. They had follow-up memory tests every other year from 1996 to 2010, the article notes.
Full story of drinking history and memory problems at drugfree.org
A new study finds mixing energy drinks with alcohol increases the urge to drink. People who consume the mixture may drink more alcohol than they planned, according to the researchers.
“Obviously these findings are not going to deter young people from drinking if they want to get drunk, but they need to be mindful that they may be unwittingly putting themselves at a greater risk of accidents and injuries because they end up drinking more than they had intended,” lead author Rebecca McKetin told Reuters.
The study included 75 participants ages 18 to 30. They were assigned to drink either vodka mixed with soda water or vodka mixed with an energy drink. Both groups also had fruit juice in their drinks. Participants did not know which drink they were receiving.
Full story of energy drinks and alcohol at drugfree.org