NIH Launches Landmark Study on Substance Use and Adolescent Brain Development

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded 13 grants to research institutions around the country as part of a landmark study about the effects of adolescent substance use on the developing brain. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study will follow approximately 10,000 children beginning at ages 9 to10, before they initiate drug use, through the period of highest risk for substance use and other mental health disorders.  Scientists will track exposure to substances (including nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana), academic achievement, cognitive skills, mental health, and brain structure and function using advanced research methods. Click HERE for more in this…

The North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM)

The North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) is an independent, quasi-state agency that was chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1983 to provide balanced, nonpartisan information on issues of relevance to the health of North Carolina’s population.  The site offers NC Health Data, resources, and relevant information.

Alcohol Abuse Prevention Crucial in Curbing Cancer

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Cancer Report 2014 warns that alcohol consumption, the second biggest risk factor in developing cancer, is related to hundreds of thousands of cancer deaths globally, including stomach, liver and breast cancer.  Big Alcohol companies have hastened this epidemic by glamorizing alcohol use and obstructing effective policy efforts such as controls on price, availability, and advertising.  The WHO stresses that prevention efforts are crucial to stemming the epidemic of alcohol-related cancer. Check out the new fact sheet by Alcohol Justice for more information

Call for Proposal: Prevention Practice In Action

  The National Prevention Network (NPN) – the prevention component of the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) – is pleased to announce the Call for Proposals for the 27th Annual NPN Prevention Research Conference.   The planning committee is seeking proposals from high-quality prevention programming that have combined research, data, and practical application.   The conference is scheduled to take place in Hartford, Connecticut, September 15 through September 18, 2014.  The conference theme is “CONNECTing Healthy Communities through Prevention Research and Practice”. Click HERE for more information 

2014 Summer Research Opportunity to Students

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) invites high school and under-graduate students to submit applications for the 2014 Summer Research Program.  Under this program students underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences are paired with NIDA funded scientists at research institutions across the United States for 8-10 weeks during the summer to work in the field of substance abuse and addiction research.  Internships may involve a variety of experiences including laboratory experiments, data collection, data analysis, patient interviews, library research and literature reviews. Student interns receive a stipend, and if necessary and eligible, provisions for travel and housing expenses….

3D Imaging Could Improve Detection of Children Affected by Prenatal Alcohol

According to a study conducted through the NIAAA-funded Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD), three-dimensional (3-D) imaging could allow earlier identification of children at risk for cognitive deficits from heavy prenatal alcohol exposure, especially those who lack the classic facial characteristics of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).  The computerized image analysis can detect subtle changes in facial features that can occur when children are exposed to alcohol before birth. Click HERE to continue reading

Combination of Smoking and Heavy Drinking ‘Speeds Up Cognitive Decline’

  Researchers from UCL (University College London) found that smokers who drank alcohol heavily had a 36% faster cognitive decline compared to non-smoking moderate drinkers.  Smoking and heavier alcohol consumption often co-occur, and their combined effect on cognition may be larger than the sum of their individual effects.  The research team found that in current smokers who were also heavy drinkers, cognitive decline was 36% faster than in non-smoking moderate drinkers. Click here for full story…

Brain’s Response to Sweets May Indicate Risk for Development of Alcoholism

  Several human and animal studies have shown a relationship between a preference for highly sweet tastes and alcohol use disorders.  Furthermore, the brain mechanisms of sweet-taste responses may share common neural pathways with responses to alcohol and other drugs.  A new study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has found that recent drinking is related to the orbitofrontal-region brain response to an intensely sweet stimulus, a brain response that may serve as an important phenotype, or observable characteristic, of alcoholism risk. “Our study was designed to determine which brain areas responded to sweet taste — as compared to plain…

School Policies Reduce Student Drinking – If They’re Perceived to Be Enforced

  University of Washington professor of social work Richard Catalano and colleagues studied whether anti-alcohol policies in public and private schools were effective for eighth and ninth-graders.  What they found was that each school’s particular policy mattered less than the students’ perceived enforcement of it. So, even if a school had a suspension or expulsion policy, if students felt the school didn’t enforce it then they were more likely to drink on campus. But, even if a school’s policy was less harsh — such as requiring counseling — students were less likely to drink at school if they believed school officials…