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Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’

Reuters (10/26, Pittman) reports that according to a meta analysis of 64 studies published in the journal Addiction, the medications naltrexone (Revia) and acamprosate (Campral) may be good initial treatments of alcoholism. Both acamprosate and naltrexone tended to work better when patients had abstained from alcohol for at least a few days before starting the medications, or had been through a detox program.  Acamprosate is known to calm brain activity, so it can stabilize a brain that gets agitated when an alcoholic stops drinking. Naltrexone,  works on the brain’s reward and reinforcement system, so if people were to drink while on the drug, it would block some of the positive feelings produced by alcohol and keep them from overdoing it.

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HealthDay (3/27, McKeever) reported that, according to a study published in the March issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, college women may not “need to drink to excess to impress college men.” For the study, researchers from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles “surveyed 3,616 college students about women’s drinking habits and men’s views of drinking by women.” The team found that the majority “of the women overestimated, by an average of a drink-and-a-half, how much men would like them to drink at any given event.” Specifically, nearly “26 percent said they thought men would most likely want to be friends with a woman who drinks five or more drinks, and 16 percent said women who drank the most attracted men sexually.” In reality, “both estimates were twice what the men said they actually preferred.” The authors are now undertaking a follow-up study “to determine how men think women view male drinking habits.”

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Time (3/8, Cloud) reported that, according to a study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, Chantix (varenicline) “has…helped a group of regular drinkers consume less alcohol.” For the study, conducted by researchers at Yale University, “twenty regular drinkers (defined as those who consume at least one drink per day and, at least once a week, three or more drinks in a single sitting) took varenicline or a placebo daily for a week before showing up for the experiment.” None of the subjects “was dependent on alcohol, and none had tested positive for illicit drugs.” At approximately “3 p.m. on the day of the experiment, all were asked to drink a cocktail of their choosing. Afterward, if they wanted, they could have more cocktails.” The researchers found that “the 10 who had taken varenicline drank an average of just .5 drinks after their first cocktail. By contrast, the 10 who were taking placebos consumed 2.6 drinks.”

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HealthDay (10/24, Pallarito) reported that new research suggests that people with alcoholism who also smoke may have more success recovering from alcohol dependency if they tackle both addictions simultaneously. “A study of alcoholics in treatment for their alcohol problems used brain scans to examine how performance on cognitive tests changes with abstinence from alcohol. Twenty-five alcoholics stopped drinking for six to nine months, but the 12 who smoked continued to smoke.” Dieter J. Meyerhoff, a professor of radiology at the University of California-San Francisco and study author, said, “We found that the smoking alcoholics over six to nine months of abstinence did not recover certain types of brain function as the non-smoking alcoholics did.” He added that “decision-making skills, thinking speed, 3-D visualization and short-term memory were affected, calling into question the prospects of long-term sobriety.” The findings appear in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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