Social rejection by those closest to you can lead to subsequent drinking

The need to belong and experience social connections is a fundamental human characteristic. Prior research has shown that social rejection is linked to increases in negative emotions, distress, and hostility. This study examined the impact of social rejection on alcohol use, and whether the impact differed when the social rejection was by close others, such as friends, spouses or family members, or by strangers or acquaintances.

Researchers gathered data from 77 community participants (41 women, 36 men) who used their smartphones to record their social interactions and alcohol use for 14 consecutive days. The analysis examined associations between rejection experiences and daily alcohol use.

Full story of social rejection and alcohol abuse at Science Daily

‘Hair of the dog’ won’t cure that hangover

In medieval Europe, when astrology and blood-letting were frequently employed in the diagnosis and treatment of disease, one therapy for rabies was to place some pieces of hair from the rabid dog onto the victim’s bite wound.

It didn’t work.

But it did give rise to the notion that “the hair of the dog that bit you” — a drink — can cure a hangover. This concept is rather ancient, too, having first appeared in print in 1546.

It doesn’t work, either.

“There’s no scientific evidence that having an alcoholic drink will cure a hangover,” said Laura Veach, Ph.D., director of screening and counseling intervention services and training in the Department of Surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “It will, at best, postpone one.”

Full story of ‘hair of the dog’ and hangovers at Science Daily

Brain potassium channels may unlock future precision medicine approaches for alcoholism

A handful of FDA-approved drugs exist for treating individuals with alcohol use disorder but they have been largely ineffective at reducing the high rates of relapse. As such, there remains a critical need to identify and develop alternative pharmacological treatment options.

Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), through collaborative efforts with the NIH-funded INIAstress Consortium, have identified novel potassium (K+) channel genes within addiction brain circuitry that are altered by alcohol dependence and correlate with drinking levels in a mouse model of alcohol drinking.

Significant reduction of heavy alcohol drinking after administration of a KV7 channel-positive modulator validated Kcnq, one of the identified genes that encodes KV7 type K+ channels, as a potential pharmacogenetic target. These preclinical findings, published in the February 2017 special issue of Alcohol on mouse genetic models of alcohol-stress interactions, suggest that K+ channels could be promising therapeutic targets that may advance personalized medicine approaches for treating heavy drinking in alcoholics.

Full story of brain potassium channels and medicine for alcoholism at Science Daily

Device Worn on Skin Can Measure Blood Alcohol Content From Sweat

A newly developed device worn on the skin as a temporary tattoo can measure a person’s blood alcohol level from sweat. The device can transmit the data wirelessly to a laptop or smartphone, according to engineers at the University of California San Diego.

The device could be used by doctors and police officers, Science Daily reports. A portable flexible electronic circuit board is connected to the tattoo by a magnet. The circuit board communicates the information to a mobile device via Bluetooth. The researchers describe the device in the journal ACS Sensors.

Full story of skin device to measure blood alcohol content at drugfree.org

“Drunkorexia” on the Rise Among College Students

A growing number of college students are trying to avoid alcohol-related weight gain through a practice known as “drunkorexia,” CBS News reports. Students skip meals, exercise heavily before drinking alcohol, take laxatives or diuretics, or vomit after drinking.

Some students engage in drunkorexia to get a faster buzz, the article notes. Researchers at the University of Houston presented data at the recent Research Society on Alcoholism annual meeting that suggests the practice is increasing.

They surveyed 1,184 college students, who said they had drunk alcohol heavily at least once in the previous month. More than 80 percent said they had engaged in at least one drunkorexia-related behavior in the previous three months. College athletes and those who lived in fraternity and sorority houses were more likely to engage in drunkorexia, study author Dipali Rinker told CBS News.

Full story of drunkorexia at drugfree.org