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U.S. death rate from alcohol-related liver disease is soaring.


"Deaths from liver disease have increased sharply in recent years in the United States, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. Cirrhosis-related deaths increased by 65 percent from 1999 to 2016, and deaths from liver cancer doubled, the study said. The rise in death rates was driven predominantly by alcohol-induced disease, the report said.

"Over the past decade, people ages 25 to 34 had the highest increase in cirrhosis deaths — an average of 10.5 percent per year — of the demographic groups examined, researchers reported.

Here's a link to the Washington Post article.

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Addiction Inbox by Dirk Hanson - 1M ago


Officials halt government study on moderate drinking funded by alcohol industry


“The extensive government trial was intended to settle an age-old question about alcohol and diet: Does a daily cocktail or beer really protect against heart attacks and stroke?

To find out, the National Institutes of Health gave scientists $100 million to fund a global study comparing people who drink with those who don’t. Its conclusions could have enshrined alcohol as part of a healthy diet.
As it turned out, much of the money for the study came from the alcohol industry. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that officials at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) part of the N.I.H., had solicited that funding from alcohol manufacturers, a violation of federal policy.

On Friday, an advisory panel to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the N.I.H., recommended that the trial be stopped altogether. Shortly afterward, Dr. Collins agreed.”

for the rest of the story, go HERE.
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Another meta-study demolishes decades of wishful thinking.



Vox notes that "an impressive new meta-study involving 600,000 participants, published recently in The Lancet, suggests that levels of alcohol previously thought to be relatively harmless are linked with an earlier death. What’s more, drinking small amounts of alcohol may not carry all the long-touted protective effects on the cardiovascular system."

Readers of Addiction Inbox will not be surprised by this finding. Back in 2014, I wrote a blog post entitled "Alcohol and Your Heart: Health benefits of moderate drinking come under fire." The post referenced studies suggesting that recent findings were bringing “the hypothesized cardioprotective effect of alcohol into question.”

Also in 2014, I published a report with the headline "Single Bout of Binge Drinking Linked to Immune System Effects."

It's not at all surprising that research touting alcohol's health benefits has been heavily pushed by the alcohol industry. See my post, "Alcoholic Deception: Big Alcohol Wants a Piece of the Health Market".

In the end, the myth about the health effects of moderate drinking made its way into the public consciousness for one obvious reason: People very much wanted it to be true.


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It's complicated. 


In an article appearing in the June 29 edition of the journal Addiction, researchers ask women what they think about it:

"Women‐only addiction services tend to be provided on a poorly evidenced assumption that women want single‐sex treatment. We draw upon women's expectations and experiences of women‐only residential rehabilitation to stimulate debate on this issue."

Full text available HERE.
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Depression, alcoholism, and other psychiatric
illnesses share disease-related “signatures”
involving a disruption in how brain cells 
communicate with each other.


The study, entitled “Shared molecular neuropathology across major psychiatric disorders parallels polygenic overlap,” by Michael J. Gandal et. al., appears in Science,  February 9, 2018.

A Washington Post article on the study says:

“The scientists found similar levels of particular molecules in the brains of people with autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; other commonalities between bipolar and major depression; and other matches between major depression and alcoholism.

“We’re on the threshold to using genomics and molecular technology to look at [mental illness] in a way we’ve never been able to do before,” said Daniel Geschwind, a neurogeneticist at the University of California at Los Angeles and a leader of the study. “Psychiatric disorders have no obvious pathology in the brain, but now we have the genomic tools to ask what actually goes awry in these brains.”

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The recent Hari/Hart/Lewis hypothesis that addiction is not primarily metabolic or genetic, but rather the result of "despair" or "sociological conditions" or "flawed learning," takes a major hit in a new report appearing in The National Bureau of Economic Research. The study suggests that "changes in economic conditions account for less than one-tenth of the rise in drug and opioid-involved mortality rates." 

Jason Schwartz at Addiction & Recovery News does a deep dive into the flawed thinking behind the new (old?) sociological views of addiction here.
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"Alcohol and endogenous aldehydes damage chromosomes and mutate stem cells"

Juan I. Garaycoechea, Gerry P. Crossan, Frédéric Langevin, Lee Mulderrig, Sandra Louzada,  Fentang Yang, Guillaume Guilbaud, Naomi Park, Sophie Roerink, Serena Nik-Zainal, Michael R.
Stratton & Ketan J. Patel

    Nature doi:10.1038/nature25154

This pay-walled article, published in "Nature," presents fresh evidence that alcohol can damage chromosomes and cause mutations. If you don't have a zillion dollars to spare, The American Cancer Society has put together a layman's version of the subject here.

Here's an explainer from Britain's National Health Service. And here's an interview with one of the authors, published in "Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News." Suffice to say that among the many health problems alcohol can cause, the one that all too often goes unmentioned, namely cancer, is not a trivial side effect.
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Without a doubt, the alcohol you're drinking this Holiday Season is too damn cheap.

By all means check out the new piece by German Lopez at Vox: "The case for setting a minimum price on alcohol."
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Sen. Booker's petition would remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances.


 "For decades, the failed War on Drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders, especially for marijuana-related offenses. This has wasted human potential, torn apart families and communities, and squandered massive sums of taxpayer dollars.

"That's why I introduced the Marijuana Justice Act on Tuesday to call for the legalization of marijuana at the federal level. Will you sign my petition and call on your senators to join me in moving this critical legislation forward?

"If passed into law, this would have an immediate impact on our criminal justice system, on policing, on our communities, and even on the economy. This legislation would remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, making it legal at the federal level.

"The bill would also incentivize states to change their marijuana laws if those laws are shown to disproportionately affect low-income individuals and/or people of color. The Marijuana Justice Act would be applied retroactively for those already serving time for marijuana-related offenses, providing for a judge's review of marijuana sentences. That means we could reduce our prison population, a goal that Democrats and Republicans alike have claimed to support.

"States have, so far, led the way in reforming our failed drug policy and in beginning to fix our criminal justice system. Unfortunately, the federal government isn't doing its share—and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, among his many offenses, is working actively to undermine the progress in this area. We can't let Sessions roll back our progress, criminalize more Americans, and terrorize our communities by doubling down on failed policy."
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