Genetics, ethnicity can influence pathway between early drinking and alcohol use disorders

Studies have shown that an early age of drinking initiation (ADI) increases the chance of developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD). There is limited evidence that ADI differs across ethnic groups. This study examined whether the pathway from ADI to AUD symptoms by early adulthood is influenced by two factors: ethnicity and having the alcohol metabolizing gene variant allele, ALDH2*2. This allele produces an inactive enzyme that leads to higher levels of acetaldehyde during alcohol metabolism, which are associated with unpleasant effects after drinking alcohol and a decreased risk for an AUD.

Researchers examined 604 college students recruited from the University of California, San Diego: 214 of Korean ancestry (107 men, 107 women), 200 of European ancestry (106 men, 94 women), and 190 of Chinese ancestry (99 women, 91 men), each with both biological parents having the same heritage. Participants were genotyped for the ALDH2*2 variant allele and completed a self-report assessment.

Full story at Science Daily

Binge drinking accelerates alcohol use disorder, but stable daily drinking may be just as risky in the long-term

Prior research suggests that binge drinking may increase people’s risk of developing alcohol use disorders (AUDs), especially adolescents and young adults. It is unclear whether different drinking patterns — for example, intermittent versus regular drinking -have a different impact on the compulsive drinking that characterizes people with AUDs. This study used rats to examine whether chronic intermittent alcohol access facilitates a transition to compulsive-like drinking.

Researchers gave rats access to either intermittent (binge) or continuous (stable) alcohol for five months, followed by chronic exposure to alcohol vapors. They then measured the rats’ escalation of alcohol intake and compulsive-like responses to alcohol.

Full story of binge drinking and alcohol use disorder at Science Daily

Research reveals how family history can affect your memory of hangovers

People with a family history of alcoholism are already known to be at a greater risk of developing a drinking problem, but new research led by Psychologist Dr Richard Stephens at Keele University has found they are also more likely to hold onto the painful memory of hangovers.

Dr Stephens’ latest research paper, “Does familial risk for alcohol use disorder predict alcohol hangover?,” involved two studies focusing on hangover frequency and severity.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism people with a family history of alcoholism are four times more likely to develop a drinking problem. Based on this, Dr Stephens’ research explores whether hangovers — unpleasant effects felt the morning after drinking alcohol — impact on this.

Full story of family history affecting memory of hangovers at Science Daily

More Than 20% of World’s Adults Smoke; 5% Have Alcohol Use Disorder

More than 20 percent of the world’s adult population—one billion people—smoke, while almost 5 percent—240 million—have an alcohol use disorder, according to a new report.

Alcohol’s impact in terms of disability is more than three times higher than the impact of illegal drugs, the researchers report in the journal Addiction.

While reliable statistics on illicit drugs are difficult to determine, the researchers estimate about 15 million people worldwide inject illegal drugs such as heroin.

Full story of  smoking and alcohol use disorder at drugfree.org