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Concept: Alcohol intoxication


A rank based social norms model predicts that drinkers' judgements about their drinking will be based on the rank of their breath alcohol level amongst that of others in the immediate environment, rather than their actual breath alcohol level, with lower relative rank associated with greater feelings of safety. This study tested this hypothesis and examined how people judge their levels of drunkenness and the health consequences of their drinking whilst they are intoxicated in social drinking environments.

Concepts: Sociology, Alcohol abuse, Alcoholic beverage, Blood alcohol content, Drinking culture, Alcohol intoxication


Alcohol is known to facilitate memory if given after learning information in the laboratory; we aimed to investigate whether this effect can be found when alcohol is consumed in a naturalistic setting. Eighty-eight social drinkers were randomly allocated to either an alcohol self-dosing or a sober condition. The study assessed both retrograde facilitation and alcohol induced memory impairment using two independent tasks. In the retrograde task, participants learnt information in their own homes, and then consumed alcohol ad libitum. Participants then undertook an anterograde memory task of alcohol impairment when intoxicated. Both memory tasks were completed again the following day. Mean amount of alcohol consumed was 82.59 grams over the evening. For the retrograde task, as predicted, both conditions exhibited similar performance on the memory task immediately following learning (before intoxication) yet performance was better when tested the morning after encoding in the alcohol condition only. The anterograde task did not reveal significant differences in memory performance post-drinking. Units of alcohol drunk were positively correlated with the amount of retrograde facilitation the following morning. These findings demonstrate the retrograde facilitation effect in a naturalistic setting, and found it to be related to the self-administered grams of alcohol.

Concepts: Alcoholism, Following, English-language films, Learning, Facilitation, Task, Intoxication, Alcohol intoxication


Anecdotal reports link alcohol intoxication to creativity, while cognitive research highlights the crucial role of cognitive control for creative thought. This study examined the effects of mild alcohol intoxication on creative cognition in a placebo-controlled design. Participants completed executive and creative cognition tasks before and after consuming either alcoholic beer (BAC of 0.03) or non-alcoholic beer (placebo). Alcohol impaired executive control, but improved performance in the Remote Associates Test, and did not affect divergent thinking ability. The findings indicate that certain aspects of creative cognition benefit from mild attenuations of cognitive control, and contribute to the growing evidence that higher cognitive control is not always associated with better cognitive performance.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognition, Cognitive science, Educational psychology, Mind, Thought, Executive functions, Alcohol intoxication


Alcohol intoxication is implicated in approximately half of all violent crimes. Over the past several decades, numerous theories have been proposed to account for the influence of alcohol on aggression. Nearly all of these theories imply that altered functioning in the prefrontal cortex is a proximal cause. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment, 50 healthy young men consumed either a low dose of alcohol or a placebo and completed an aggression paradigm against provocative and nonprovocative opponents. Provocation did not affect neural responses. However, relative to sober participants, during acts of aggression, intoxicated participants showed decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex, caudate, and ventral striatum, but heightened activation in the hippocampus. Among intoxicated participants, but not among sober participants, aggressive behavior was positively correlated with activation in the medial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. These results support theories that posit a role for prefrontal cortical dysfunction as an important factor in intoxicated aggression.

Concepts: Brain, Magnetic resonance imaging, Cerebrum, Limbic system, Aggression, Attention versus memory in prefrontal cortex, Violence, Alcohol intoxication


The aim of this study is to develop and test the effectiveness of a drinking-motive-tailored intervention for adolescents hospitalized due to alcohol intoxication in eight cities in Germany between December 2011 and May 2012 against a similar, non-motive-tailored intervention. In a randomized controlled trial, 254 adolescents received a psychosocial intervention plus motive-tailored (intervention group; IG) or general exercises (control group; CG). Adolescents in the IG received exercises in accordance with their drinking motives as indicated at baseline (e.g. alternative ways of spending leisure time or dealing with stress). Exercises for the CG contained alcohol-related information in general (e.g. legal issues). The data of 81 adolescents (age: M = 15.6, SD = 1.0; 42.0% female) who participated in both the baseline and the follow-up were compared using ANOVA with repeated measurements and effect sizes (available case analyses). Adolescents reported lower alcohol use at the four-week follow-up independently of the kind of intervention. Significant interaction effects between time and IG were found for girls in terms of drinking frequency (F = 7.770, p < 0.01) and binge drinking (F = 7.0005, p < 0.05) but not for boys. For the former, the proportional reductions and corresponding effect sizes of drinking frequency (d = - 1.18), binge drinking (d = - 1.61) and drunkenness (d = - 2.87) were much higher than the .8 threshold for large effects. Conducting psychosocial interventions in a motive-tailored way appears more effective for girls admitted to hospital due to alcohol intoxication than without motive-tailoring. Further research is required to address the specific needs of boys in such interventions. (German Clinical Trials Register, DRKS ID: DRKS00005588).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Effect, Effectiveness, Alcoholism, Clinical research, Alcohol abuse, Drinking culture, Alcohol intoxication


Although it is well known that people with alcohol dependence are at a markedly elevated risk for suicide, much less is known about the role of acute alcohol use in suicidal behaviours. The primary aims of this epidemiological study were to assess the prevalence and factors associated with acute alcohol intoxication among 57 813 suicide decedents in 16 states.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Alcoholism, Alcohol abuse, Drinking culture, Suicide, Intoxication, Alcohol intoxication


By measuring alcohol retailers' propensity to illegally sell alcohol to young people who appear highly intoxicated, we examine whether UK legislation is effective at preventing health harms resulting from drunk individuals continuing to access alcohol.

Concepts: Ethanol, Alcoholism, Alcohol abuse, Prevention, Sales, Drinking culture, Intoxication, Alcohol intoxication


Gallic acid, a polyphenyl class natural product from gallnut and green tea, is known to be antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and radical scavenger. In this study, we aimed to investigate the possible protective effects of gallic acid on paraoxonase and arylesterase activities in liver exposed to acute alcohol intoxication. Paraoxonase and arylesterase activities in liver tissue and serum aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and lactate dehydrogenase levels were measured. Histological investigations were also made. In our study, we observed a significant increase of serum alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase and lactate dehydrogenase activities, which are indicators of liver damage after acute ethanol consumption. Gallic acid therapy has significantly reduced the increase in these biomarkers, indicating a possible hepatoprotective effect of gallic acid. Ethanol consumption caused a significant decrease in liver paraoxonase activity (P < 0.001). Gallic acid treatment partly restored this decreased paraoxonase activity, which resulted from ethanol administration. A gallic acid dose of 100 mg/kg was observed as highest restoring effect for paraoxonase activity (P < 0.05). The activity of arylesterase was decreased in the ethanol group as compared with the control group, but this was not significant. However, 50 mg/kg of gallic acid treatment restored the loss of this activity due to ethanol exposure (P < 0.001). We observed that gallic acid ameliorates the liver damage caused by excessive alcohol consumption in a dose-dependent way. Our results in this study showed that gallic acid might have a protective effect against alcoholic liver disease. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Alcohol, Ethanol, Liver, Alcoholism, Liver function tests, Hepatology, Lactate dehydrogenase, Alcohol intoxication


OBJECTIVE: We investigated clinical patterns of crotaline envenomation presenting to a tertiary-care academic hospital in Central California over a 10-year period. METHODS: An IRB-approved, retrospective chart review was conducted on all patients diagnosed with snakebite from December 2000 to December 2010. Data abstracted: demographics, anatomic location of bite, comorbid conditions and intoxicants, length of stay, antivenom dose, laboratory results, and complications or procedures. RESULTS: There were 46 snakebite cases admitted over the study period. Five were “dry bites;” the remaining cases (41/46) received antivenom. There was a male predominance (83% male victims). Upper extremity bites were more common (32/41 upper vs 10/42 lower extremity). One victim sustained bilateral bites to the hands. Thirty-five patients (85%) were admitted, with an average length of stay 2.12 days. The longest hospitalization was 15 days. There were no fatalities. The average time from bite to ED presentation was 2 hours 44 minutes. Bites occurred during every month except November, with the majority occurring during spring and summer months and peaking in June (12/42 cases). Most bites occurred in the hours between noon and 8 pm. The amount of antivenom given ranged from 2 to 35 vials (average, 9 vials). Interfacility transfers were common in our study population: thirteen (32%) patients were transferred into our emergency department for a higher level of care, and 3 (7%) were transferred out (two because of insurance requirements, and one for higher level of Pediatric ICU care). There were no surgical interventions in our study group. Intoxication did not appear to play a major role in this population as only 3 patients (7%) were found to be acutely intoxicated: one with cannabis and amphetamines, 1 with alcohol, and 1 with opioids. CONCLUSIONS: In Central California, crotaline envenomations occurred mainly in adult males. Dry bites, or bites not requiring antivenom administration, were uncommon, comprising only 10% of bites in this study population. Contrary to popular and clinical beliefs, substance abuse and/or alcohol intoxication did not appear to play a role in the majority of patients in this study. Care providers and snakebite specialists should be aware that snakebite patients are often transferred between facilities, a finding that may be useful in designing future first aid protocols and research. We hope these findings add concrete data and help correct some common misconceptions about snakebites in Central California.

Concepts: Hospital, Snakebite, Intoxication, Rattlesnake, Skinny Puppy, Alcohol intoxication, Crotalinae, Remission


The promotion of drinking behaviors correlates with increased drinking behaviors and intent to drink, especially when peers are the promotion source. Similarly, online displays of peer drinking behaviors have been described as a potential type of peer pressure that might lead to alcohol misuse when the peers to whom individuals feel attached value such behaviors. Social media messages about drinking behaviors on Twitter (a popular social media platform among young people) are common but understudied. In response, and given that drinking alcohol is a widespread activity among young people, we examined Twitter chatter about drinking.

Concepts: Ethanol, Alcoholism, Youth, Alcoholic beverage, Drinking culture, Peer group, Alcohol intoxication, Twitter