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Concept: Binge drinking


The aim of this study was to evaluate the characteristics of traffic offenders with unusually high blood-alcohol concentrations (BAC>0.4g%) when arrested. The BAC that kills one person might be easily tolerated by another, depending on, among other things, the person’s age, pattern of drinking, and the development of tolerance. The archives of two forensic laboratories, one in Sweden and the other in Wisconsin (USA), were searched to find traffic offenders with BACs>0.4g%. The results were compared in relation to the person’s age and gender, mean BAC and the weekday and time of day of the arrest. The mean age (±standard deviation) of N=158 Swedish offenders was 45±9.0y, which was not significantly different from the 43±9.4y in N=233 Wisconsin drivers (p>0.05). Overall there were more men (78%) than women (22%) arrested with BAC’s>0.4g%, although the proportion of women in Wisconsin (35%) was higher than in Sweden (9%) (p<0.001). The mean (median) and highest BAC did not differ between jurisdictions; 0.429g% (0.422) and 0.546g% in Sweden and 0.428g% (0.421g%) and 0.526g% in Wisconsin. In Sweden 40% of the arrests occurred on Fridays and Saturdays, whereas in Wisconsin the arrests of people with such high BAC's were more evenly distributed throughout the week. Forty eight percent of the arrests in Sweden were made between 12 noon and 6pm compared with 37% in Wisconsin. Neither the mean age of offenders nor their mean BAC seemed to depend on the weekday or time of day of the arrest. Attempting to drive with a BAC above 0.4g% verifies the development of an appreciable tolerance to ethanol-induced cognitive and psychomotor impairment. Reaching such a high BAC probably requires continuous heavy drinking over several days as opposed to an evening's binge drinking.

Concepts: Alcoholism, Arithmetic mean, Alcohol abuse, Blood alcohol content, Drinking culture, Binge drinking, Arrest, Law enforcement agency powers


Associations between different alcohol outcomes and outlet density measures vary between studies and may not be generalisable to adolescents. In a cross-sectional study of 979 15-year old Glaswegians, we investigated the association between alcohol outlet availability (outlet density and proximity), outlet type (on-premise vs. off-premise) and frequent (weekly) alcohol consumption. We adjusted for social background (gender, social class, family structure). Proximity and density of on-premise outlets were not associated with weekly drinking. However, adolescents living close (within 200m) to an off-sales outlet were more likely to drink frequently (OR 1.97, p=0.004), as were adolescents living in areas with many nearby off-premises outlets (OR 1.60, p=0.016). Our findings suggest that certain alcohol behaviours (e.g. binge drinking) may be linked to the characteristics of alcohol outlets in the vicinity.

Concepts: Alcoholism, Sociology, Alcohol abuse, Alcoholic beverage, Beer, Drinking culture, Binge drinking, Kefir


To investigate the relationship between alcohol expectancies and alcohol use in a community sample as a function of age and gender.

Concepts: Alcohol, Mathematics, Alcohol abuse, Social sciences, Wine, Alcoholic beverage, Drinking culture, Binge drinking


Binge drinking (four or more drinks for women, five or more drinks for men on an occasion) accounts for more than half of the 88,000 U.S. deaths resulting from excessive drinking annually. Adult binge drinkers do so frequently and at high intensity; however, there are known disparities in binge drinking that are not well characterized by any single binge-drinking measure. A new measure of total annual binge drinks was used to assess these disparities at the state and national levels.

Concepts: Binge drinking


Stronger alcohol policies predict decreased alcohol consumption and binge drinking in the United States. We examined the relationship between the strength of states' alcohol policies and alcoholic cirrhosis mortality rates.

Concepts: Alcohol, United States, Cirrhosis, Alcoholism, Alcohol abuse, Beer, Drinking culture, Binge drinking


A comprehensive account of the causes of alcohol misuse must accommodate individual differences in biology, psychology and environment, and must disentangle cause and effect. Animal models can demonstrate the effects of neurotoxic substances; however, they provide limited insight into the psycho-social and higher cognitive factors involved in the initiation of substance use and progression to misuse. One can search for pre-existing risk factors by testing for endophenotypic biomarkers in non-using relatives; however, these relatives may have personality or neural resilience factors that protect them from developing dependence. A longitudinal study has potential to identify predictors of adolescent substance misuse, particularly if it can incorporate a wide range of potential causal factors, both proximal and distal, and their influence on numerous social, psychological and biological mechanisms. Here we apply machine learning to a wide range of data from a large sample of adolescents (n = 692) to generate models of current and future adolescent alcohol misuse that incorporate brain structure and function, individual personality and cognitive differences, environmental factors (including gestational cigarette and alcohol exposure), life experiences, and candidate genes. These models were accurate and generalized to novel data, and point to life experiences, neurobiological differences and personality as important antecedents of binge drinking. By identifying the vulnerability factors underlying individual differences in alcohol misuse, these models shed light on the aetiology of alcohol misuse and suggest targets for prevention.

Concepts: Psychology, Brain, Causality, Alcoholism, Drug addiction, Alcohol abuse, Drinking culture, Binge drinking


Binge drinking, the most common form of alcohol consumption, is associated with increased mortality and morbidity; yet, its biological consequences are poorly defined. Previous studies demonstrated that chronic alcohol use results in increased gut permeability and increased serum endotoxin levels that contribute to many of the biological effects of chronic alcohol, including alcoholic liver disease. In this study, we evaluated the effects of acute binge drinking in healthy adults on serum endotoxin levels. We found that acute alcohol binge resulted in a rapid increase in serum endotoxin and 16S rDNA, a marker of bacterial translocation from the gut. Compared to men, women had higher blood alcohol and circulating endotoxin levels. In addition, alcohol binge caused a prolonged increase in acute phase protein levels in the systemic circulation. The biological significance of the in vivo endotoxin elevation was underscored by increased levels of inflammatory cytokines, TNFα and IL-6, and chemokine, MCP-1, measured in total blood after in vitro lipopolysaccharide stimulation. Our findings indicate that even a single alcohol binge results in increased serum endotoxin levels likely due to translocation of gut bacterial products and disturbs innate immune responses that can contribute to the deleterious effects of binge drinking.

Concepts: Immune system, Alcohol, Innate immune system, Alcoholism, Alcohol abuse, Beer, Drinking culture, Binge drinking


Excessive and/or risky alcohol use* resulted in $249 billion in economic costs in 2010 (1) and >88,000 deaths in the United States every year from 2006 to 2010 (2). It is associated with birth defects and disabilities (e.g., fetal alcohol spectrum disorders [FASDs]), increases in chronic diseases (e.g., heart disease and breast cancer), and injuries and violence (e.g., motor vehicle crashes, suicide, and homicide).(†) Since 2004, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended alcohol misuse screening and brief counseling (also known as alcohol screening and brief intervention or ASBI) for adults aged ≥18 years (3).(§) Among adults, ASBI reduces episodes of binge-level consumption, reduces weekly alcohol consumption, and increases compliance with recommended drinking limits in those who have an intervention in comparison to those who do not (3). A recent study suggested that health care providers rarely talk with patients about alcohol use (4). To estimate the prevalence of U.S. adults who reported receiving elements of ASBI, CDC analyzed 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 17 states(¶) and the District of Columbia (DC). Weighted crude and age-standardized overall and state-level prevalence estimates were calculated by selected drinking patterns and demographic characteristics. Overall, 77.7% of adults (age-standardized estimate) reported being asked about alcohol use by a health professional in person or on a form during a checkup, but only 32.9% reported being asked about binge-level alcohol consumption (3). Among binge drinkers, only 37.2% reported being asked about alcohol use and advised about the harms of drinking too much, and only 18.1% reported being asked about alcohol use and advised to reduce or quit drinking. Widespread implementation of ASBI and other evidence-based interventions could help reduce excessive alcohol use in adults and related harms.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Alcohol, United States, Alcoholism, Alcohol abuse, Drinking culture, Binge drinking


Abstinence from alcohol is associated with the recruitment of neurons in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) in nondependent rats that binge drink alcohol and in alcohol-dependent rats. However, whether the recruitment of this neuronal ensemble in the CeA is causally related to excessive alcohol drinking or if it represents a consequence of excessive drinking remains unknown. We tested the hypothesis that the recruitment of a neuronal ensemble in the CeA during abstinence is required for excessive alcohol drinking in nondependent rats that binge drink alcohol and in alcohol-dependent rats. We found that inactivation of the CeA neuronal ensemble during abstinence significantly decreased alcohol drinking in both groups. In nondependent rats, the decrease in alcohol intake was transient and returned to normal the day after the injection. In dependent rats, inactivation of the neuronal ensemble with Daun02 produced a long-term decrease in alcohol drinking. Moreover, we observed a significant reduction of somatic withdrawal signs in dependent animals that were injected with Daun02 in the CeA. These results indicate that the recruitment of a neuronal ensemble in the CeA during abstinence from alcohol is causally related to excessive alcohol drinking in alcohol-dependent rats, whereas a similar neuronal ensemble only partially contributed to alcohol-binge-like drinking in nondependent rats. These results identify a critical neurobiological mechanism that may be required for the transition to alcohol dependence, suggesting that focusing on the neuronal ensemble in the CeA may lead to a better understanding of the etiology of alcohol use disorders and improve medication development.

Concepts: Nervous system, Alcoholism, Alcohol abuse, Alcoholic beverage, Beer, Drinking culture, Binge drinking, Get Your Sexy Back


Adolescence is a period of ongoing brain maturation characterized by hierarchical changes in the functional and structural networks. For this reason, the young brain is particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of alcohol. Nowadays, binge drinking is a pattern of alcohol consumption increasingly prevalent among adolescents. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the evolution of the functional and anatomical connectivity of the Default Mode Network (DMN) in young binge drinkers along two years. Magnetoencephalography signal during eyes closed resting state as well as Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) were acquired twice within a 2-year interval from 39 undergraduate students (22 controls, 17 binge drinkers) with neither personal nor family history of alcoholism. The group comparison showed that, after maintaining a binge drinking pattern along at least two years, binge drinkers displayed an increased brain connectivity of the DMN in comparison with the control group. On the other hand, the structural connectivity did not show significant differences neither between groups nor over the time. These findings point out that a continued pattern of binge drinking leads to functional alterations in the normal brain maturation process, even before anatomical changes can be detected.

Concepts: Present, Time, Alcohol, Alcoholism, Alcohol abuse, Beer, Drinking culture, Binge drinking