26 November 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: There are limited longitudinal data on the associations between different social contexts of alcohol use and risky adolescent drinking.

METHODS: Australian prospective longitudinal cohort of 1943 adolescents with 6 assessment waves at ages 14-17 years. Drinkers were asked where and how frequently they drank. Contexts were: at home with family, at home alone, at a party with friends, in a park/car, or at a bar/nightclub. The outcomes were prevalence and incidence of risky drinking (>/=5 standard drinks (10g alcohol) on a day, past week) and very risky drinking (>20 standard drinks for males and >11 for females) in early (waves 1-2) and late (waves 3-6) adolescence.

RESULTS: Forty-four percent (95 % CI: 41-46 %) reported past-week risky drinking on at least one wave during adolescence (waves 1-6). Drinking at a party was the most common repeated drinking context in early adolescence (28 %, 95 % CI 26-30 %); 15 % reported drinking repeatedly (3+ times) with their family in early adolescence (95 % CI: 14-17 %). For all contexts (including drinking with family), drinking 3+ times in a given context was associated with increased the risk of risky drinking in later adolescence. These effects remained apparent after adjustment for potential confounders (e.g. for drinking with family, adjusted RR 1.9; 95 % CI: 1.5-2.4). Similar patterns were observed for very risky drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that consumption with family does not protect against risky drinking. Furthermore, parents who wish to minimise high risk drinking by their adolescent children might also limit their children's opportunities to consume alcohol in unsupervised settings.

16 October 2015 In Social and Cultural Aspects

OBJECTIVE: Disagreement exists over whether permissive minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) laws affected underage adolescents (e.g., those age 17 years with the MLDA of 18). We used MLDA changes during the 1970s and 1980s as a natural experiment to investigate how underage exposure to permissive MLDA affected high school dropout.

METHOD: MLDA exposure was added to two data sets: (a) the 5% public use microdata samples of the 1990 and 2000 censuses (n = 3,671,075), and (b) a combined data set based on the 1991-1992 National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiological Survey (NLAES) and the 2001-2002 National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC; n = 16,331). We used logistic regression to model different thresholds of MLDA on high school dropout. We also estimated models conditioned on demographic variables and familial risk of developing alcohol problems.

RESULTS: Only the MLDA of 18 predicted high school dropout. Exposure was associated with 4% and 13% higher odds of high school dropout for the census and NLAES/NESARC samples, respectively. We noted greater impact on women (5%-18%), Blacks (5%-19%), and Hispanics (6%). Self-report of parental alcohol problems was associated with 40% higher odds, which equals a 4.14-point increase in dropout rate for that population.

CONCLUSIONS: The MLDA of 18 likely had a large impact on high school dropout rates, suggesting that the presence of legal-aged peers in a high school setting increased access to alcohol for younger students. Our results also suggest that policy can promote less dangerous drinking behavior even when familial risk of alcohol use disorders is high.

16 October 2015 In Pregnant Women

BACKGROUND: Deficits in information processing may be a core deficit after fetal alcohol exposure. This study was designed to investigate the possible effects of weekly low to moderate maternal alcohol consumption and binge drinking episodes in early pregnancy on choice reaction time (CRT) and information processing time (IPT) in young children.

METHOD: Participants were sampled based on maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy. At the age of 60-64 months, 1,333 children were administered a modified version of the Sternberg paradigm to assess CRT and IPT. In addition, a test of general intelligence (WPPSI-R) was administered.

RESULTS: Adjusted for a wide range of potential confounders, this study showed no significant effects of average weekly maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy on CRT or IPT. There was, however, an indication of slower CRT associated with binge drinking episodes in gestational weeks 1-4.

CONCLUSION: This study observed no significant effects of average weekly maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy on CRT or IPT as assessed by the Sternberg paradigm. However, there were some indications of CRT being associated with binge drinking during very early pregnancy. Further large-scale studies are needed to investigate effects of different patterns of maternal alcohol consumption on basic cognitive processes in offspring.

28 August 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

OBJECTIVE: Alternative methods of alcohol consumption have recently emerged among adolescents and young adults, including the alcohol "eyeballing", which consist in the direct pouring of alcoholic substances on the ocular surface epithelium. In a context of drug and behavioural addictions change, "eyeballing" can be seen as one of the latest and potentially highly risky new trends. We aimed to analyze the existing medical literature as well as online material on this emerging trend of alcohol misuse.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Literature on alcohol eyeballing was searched in PsychInfo and Pubmed databases. Results were integrated with a multilingual qualitative assessment of the database provided by The Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN) and of a range of websites, drug fora and other online resources between March 2013 and July 2013.

RESULTS: Alcohol eyeballing is common among adolescents and young adults; substances with high alcohol content, typically vodka, are used for this practice across the EU and internationally. The need for a rapid/intense effect of alcohol, competitiveness, novelty seeking and avoidance of "alcoholic fetor" are the most frequently reported motivations of "eyeballers". Local effects of alcohol eyeballing include pain, burning, blurred vision, conjunctive injection, corneal ulcers or scarring, permanent vision damage and eventually blindness.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol eyeballing represents a phenomenon with potential permanent adverse consequences, deserving the attention of families and healthcare providers. Health and other professionals should be informed about this alerting trend of misuse. Larger observational studies are warranted to estimate the prevalence, characterize the effects, and identify adequate forms of interventions for this emerging phenomenon.

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