Archive for the ‘alcohol abuse’ Category

You may have seen articles like “the 23 Types of Drunk People You See on a Night Out,” but can changes to personality traits linked to intoxication from alcohol consumption be empirically categorized? A study in the journal Addiction Research & Theory sought to use the Five-Factor Model of personality as a framework to describe variations in “drunk personality,” identify clusters of personalities, and assess how cluster membership is linked to alcohol-related harms.

A total of 187 undergraduate “drinking buddy” pairs (mean age 18.4) were recruited for the study in which participants completed a survey on demographics, alcohol consumption patterns, alcohol-related consequences (measured with the Young Adult Alcohol Problems Screening Test), and a 50-item scale from Goldberg’s International Personality Item Pool on their own behavior when sober, behavior when drunk, their friend’s behavior when sober, and their friend’s behavior while intoxicated.

Four clusters were identified:

1.Hemingway

•This was the largest group; only slight changes in behavior were reported when intoxicated
•This group decreased less in Conscientiousness (being prepared, organized, prompt) and Intellect (being imaginative, understanding abstract ideas) than the other groups
•Not associated with experiencing more alcohol-related consequences
•Encapsulates the majority of drinkers that do not undergo drastic changes or experience harm while drinking

2. Mr. Hyde

•This group had larger than average alcohol-related decreases in Conscientiousness, Intellect, and Agreeableness
•Compared to the other groups, this group tended to be less intellectual, more hostile, and less responsible under the influence of alcohol compared to when they are sober
•Only group that was statistically more likely to have alcohol consequences, indicating that they are more likely to incur acute harm (memory blackout, being arrested for drunken behavior) and have less pleasing personality characteristics when they drink

3. Mary Poppins

•14% of the sample were classified in this group
•When sober this group is highly Agreeable; when intoxicated, this group decreases less than average in Conscientiousness, Intellect, and Agreeableness
•This group reported fewer alcohol consequences overall compared to the Mr. Hyde group
•Considered the sweet, responsible drinkers who experience less alcohol-related problems versus those that are most affected

4. The Nutty Professor

•This group tended to be introverted when sober but showed an increase in Extraversion and decrease in Conscientiousness when drunk
•Compared to the other groups, this cluster had the biggest discrepancy between reported sober and drunk five-factor model traits
•However, this group was not associated with having experienced more alcohol-related consequences
•While the personality change for this group was most dramatic, this cluster was not associated with increased harm, possibly due to the fact that the mean drunk levels for these traits, while different from their sober levels, were still within normal range

Conclusions

This is the first empirical investigation into unique personality changes due to intoxication from alcohol consumption. While not all personality types had a risk of experiencing negative consequences from drinking, tempering alcohol consumption is advised for anyone regardless of “drunk personality.”

For more information visit InformaHealthcare.com.

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Chinese researchers have found that Sprite may actually be one of the best options for getting over a hangover.

Rather than focusing on a cure, researchers at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou looked at how a hangover could be prevented before it even started. To do this, they looked at the metabolic processes that the body goes through when drinking alcohol. First, the ethanol in alcoholic drinks gets metabolized by an enzyme known as alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is believed to be the real cause of alcohol-related effects, including hangovers. It’s then metabolized into acetate by the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). Contrary to acetaldehyde’s effects, acetate could be responsible for some of alcohol’s health benefits, the researchers said.

Knowing these processes, the researchers tested 57 different drinks, including herbal infusions, teas, and carbonated beverages, and gauged their effects on ADH and ALDH. They found that every drink had a different effect. For example, an herbal infusion with huo ma ren seeds, also known as hemp seeds, increased the ADH process and inhibited the ALDH process, meaning that the adverse effects of drinking would linger for a longer time. Conversely, Sprite, known as Xue bi, was among the drinks that increased the ALDH process, causing acetaldehyde to break down at a faster pace, and reducing the duration of alcohol-related effects on the body.

“These results are a reminder that herbal and other supplements can have pharmacological activities that both harm and benefit our health,” Edzard Ernst, an expert in medicinal science at the University of Exeter in the U.K., told Chemistry World about the study. But he also noted that the tests should be done over, in living organisms, before the tests are regarded as conclusive. The researchers plan to do this next.

Sprite is also a more reasonable “cure” for the hangover. One recent fad had people drinking Pedialyte, the baby formula, in hopes of replacing lost vitamins and minerals from drinking. Still, going even further, some Vietnamese millionaires felt that the keratin in rhinoceros horns, which costs as much as gold per ounce, was the answer to their morning-after woes.

Source: Li S, Gan L, Li S, et al. Effects of Herbal Infusion, Tea and Carbonated Beverage on Alcohol Dehydrogenase and Aldehyde Dehydrogenase Activities. Food & Function. 2013.

http://www.medicaldaily.com/sprite-could-cure-your-hangover-beverage-shortens-duration-alcohols-damaging-metabolic-process

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The croc-infested Daly River was up to 9m deep when this man was tackling the flow on a log.

A fisherman risked his life for what he considered a good cause – a bet. He won two cases of bourbon for jumping on to a log racing down a flooded, crocodile-infested river in the nude, riding the makeshift raft for about three minutes before clambering back into a boat.

“I’d enjoyed a few beers and it seemed a good idea at the time,” he said. “We weren’t catching any fish – because the river was flowing too fast – so I thought, ‘Why not?’ “But when I woke up the next morning, it didn’t seem so clever.”

Witness Billy Innes said his friend thought nothing of the dangers of drowning or being eaten by a crocodile. “It was hilarious,” he said.

The daredevil, who asked not to be named, was camping at the Daly River on Sunday when he accepted the bet.

“Huge trees were hammering down the river,” Mr Innes said. “It was quite a sight. Someone dared him to get on to one of the logs and row across the river. We went out in a boat and he jumped overboard on to a tree. He managed to stay on for quite a while before getting back into the boat. He got two cases of Jack Daniels for it – and thought that made it all worthwhile.”

The Daly is one of the Territory big “croc rivers”.

Keith Parry, 20, was killed while swimming across the Daly River in April 2009. He was crossing the river because he wanted more beer.

http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2013/04/04/319219_ntnews.html

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The fruit fly study adds to the evidence “that using toxins in the environment to medicate offspring may be common across the animal kingdom,” says biologist Todd Schlenke.

When fruit flies sense parasitic wasps in their environment, they lay their eggs in an alcohol-soaked environment, essentially forcing their larvae to consume booze as a drug to combat the deadly wasps.

The discovery by biologists at Emory University was published in the journal Science on February 22.

“The adult flies actually anticipate an infection risk to their children, and then they medicate them by depositing them in alcohol,” says Todd Schlenke, the evolutionary geneticist whose lab did the research. “We found that this medicating behavior was shared by diverse fly species, adding to the evidence that using toxins in the environment to medicate offspring may be common across the animal kingdom.”

Adult fruit flies detect the wasps by sight, and appear to have much better vision than previously realized, he adds. “Our data indicate that the flies can visually distinguish the relatively small morphological differences between male and female wasps, and between different species of wasps.”

The experiments were led by Balint Zacsoh, who recently graduated from Emory with a degree in biology and still works in the Schlenke lab. The team also included Emory graduate student Zachary Lynch and postdoc Nathan Mortimer.

The larvae of the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, eat the rot, or fungi and bacteria, that grows on overripe, fermenting fruit. They have evolved a certain amount of resistance to the toxic effects of the alcohol levels in their natural habitat, which can range up to 15 percent.

Tiny, endoparasitoid wasps are major killers of fruit flies. The wasps inject their eggs inside the fruit fly larvae, along with venom that aims to suppress their hosts’ cellular immune response. If the flies fail to kill the wasp egg, a wasp larva hatches inside the fruit fly larva and begins to eat its host from the inside out.

Last year, the Schlenke lab published a study showing how fruit fly larvae infected with wasps prefer to eat food high in alcohol. This behavior greatly improves the survival rate of the fruit flies because they have evolved high tolerance of the toxic effects of the alcohol, but the wasps have not.

“The fruit fly larvae raise their blood alcohol levels, so that the wasps living in their blood will suffer,” Schlenke says. “When you think of an immune system, you usually think of blood cells and immune proteins, but behavior can also be a big part of an organism’s immune defense.”

For the latest study, the researchers asked whether the fruit fly parents could sense when their children were at risk for infection, and whether they then sought out alcohol to prophylactically medicate them.

Adult female fruit flies were released in one mesh cage with parasitic wasps and another mesh cage with no wasps. Both cages had two petri dishes containing yeast, the nourishment for lab-raised fruit flies and their larvae. The yeast in one of the petri dishes was mixed with 6 percent alcohol, while the yeast in the other dish was alcohol free. After 24 hours, the petri dishes were removed and the researchers counted the eggs that the fruit flies had laid.

The results were dramatic. In the mesh cage with parasitic wasps, 90 percent of the eggs laid were in the dish containing alcohol. In the cage with no wasps, only 40 percent of the eggs were in the alcohol dish.

“The fruit flies clearly change their reproductive behavior when the wasps are present,” Schlenke says. “The alcohol is slightly toxic to the fruit flies as well, but the wasps are a bigger danger than the alcohol.”

The fly strains used in the experiments have been bred in the lab for decades. “The flies that we work with have not seen wasps in their lives before, and neither have their ancestors going back hundreds of generations,” Schlenke says. “And yet, the flies still recognize these wasps as a danger when they are put in a cage with them.”

Further experiments showed that the flies are extremely discerning about differences in the wasps. They preferred to lay their eggs in alcohol when female wasps were present, but not if only male wasps were in the cage.

Theorizing that the flies were reacting to pheromones, the researchers conducted experiments using two groups of mutated fruit flies. One group lacked the ability to smell, and another group lacked sight. The flies unable to smell, however, still preferred to lay their eggs in alcohol when female wasps were present. The blind flies did not make the distinction, choosing the non-alcohol food for their offspring, even in the presence of female wasps.

“This result was a surprise to me,” Schlenke says. “I thought the flies were probably using olfaction to sense the female wasps. The small, compound eyes of flies are believed to be more geared to detecting motion than high-resolution images.”

The only obvious visual differences between the female and male wasps, he adds, is that the males have longer antennae, slightly smaller bodies, and lack an ovipositor.

Further experimentation showed that the fruit flies can distinguish different species of wasps, and will only choose the alcohol food in response to wasp species that infect larvae, not fly pupae. “Fly larvae usually leave the food before they pupate,” Schlenke explains, “so there is likely little benefit to laying eggs at alcoholic sites when pupal parasites are present.”

The researchers also connected the exposure to female parasitic wasps to changes in a fruit fly neuropeptide.

Stress, and the resulting reduced level of neuropeptide F, or NPF, has previously been associated with alcohol-seeking behavior in fruit flies. Similarly, levels of a homologous neuropeptide in humans, NPY, is associated with alcoholism.

We found that when a fruit fly is exposed to female parasitic wasps, this exposure reduces the level of NPF in the fly brain, causing the fly to seek out alcoholic sites for oviposition,” Schlenke says. “Furthermore, the alcohol-seeking behavior appears to remain for the duration of the fly’s life, even when the parasitic wasps are no longer present, an example of long-term memory.”

Finally, Drosophila melanogaster is not unique in using this offspring medication behavior. “We tested a number of fly species,” Schlenke says, “and found that each fly species that uses rotting fruit for food mounts this immune behavior against parasitic wasps. Medication may be far more common in nature than we previously thought.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130222102958.htm

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Callum Ward, 25, was seen “pressing” himself against the emergency vehicle before “simulating a sex act” on the hood.

Official police logs show an officer who saw him stated: “It looks as though he is attempting to make love to the front of the ambulance”.

Ward was drunk and had taken cannabis and amphetamine and was “in relatively high spirits” before the incident in November in Barnstaple, Devon.

He was first spotted setting fire to a packet of peanuts inside a phone box before mounting the ambulance, Barnstaple Magistrates Court was told.

He was found guilty of being drunk and disorderly and in possession of Class B drugs.

He was sentenced to a community order with a supervision requirement for six months and ordered to pay £60.

Ward, of Barnstaple, told the court: “I did start using drugs and drinking. I have seen the error of my ways with that.”

In 2007, Robert Stewart, of Ayr, Scotland, was placed on the sex offenders’ register after being caught trying to have sex with a bicycle.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/9870635/Drunk-man-tried-to-have-sex-with-an-ambulance.html

enzymes
Enzymes: Three enzymes are combined with a DNA scaffold along with their enzymatic inhibitors, leading to a triple-compound architecture. A thin polymer is grown around the enzymes, encapsulating them in a sort of nano-pill. Enzymes working in close proximity ensures they can clean up after each other’s toxic byproducts.

Multiple enzymes delivered in a nanocapsule could work as an alcohol antidote, reducing blood alcohol levels and preventing liver damage.

A new nanostructured enzyme complex can lower blood alcohol levels in intoxicated mice, according to a new study. The nano-pill, which assembles and encapsulates three types of enzymes, could work as a type of alcohol antidote. It also suggests that this unique protein-tailoring method could be used for lots of ailments.

Enzymes are proteins that spark a whole host of biological processes, but many can only work when they are in specific places in a cell, or when they are accompanied by other enzymes. Proper positioning speeds up chemical reactions, and it mitigates the potentially nasty byproducts of some of those reactions. Researchers have been trying to use enzymes as drugs for a long time, but it has been difficult to produce the right combinations, meaning they might not function properly or they might be rejected by the body.

After you drink alcohol, it loiters in your bloodstream until enzymes produced in the liver can break it down. But this takes the liver some time, and meanwhile, you’re intoxicated. This new enzyme injection does the same job much quicker, helping the liver break down alcohol and thus sobering up a tipsy mouse in a hurry. This also helps protect the hard-working liver from damage.

Researchers in California packed up complementary enzymes in a nano-capsule, producing what basically amounts to a tiny enzyme pill. The capsule coating, made of a superthin polymer, keeps the enzymes together and protects them from breaking down in the body.

Led by Yunfeng Lu, a chemical and biomolecular engineering professor at UCLA, researchers injected mice with three enzymes related to the breakdown of sugars, and after this worked, they tried it with two enzymes related to the breakdown of alcohol, alcohol oxidase (AOx) and catalase. They wanted to test the enzymes as both an intoxication preventive and a treatment.

When mice were fed a diet of alcohol and the nano-capsule at the same time, their blood alcohol concentrations were greatly reduced within 30-minute increments, compared to mice that were fed just alcohol or alcohol plus one of the enzymes. The team also tested it on drunk mice, and found the treatment greatly lowered yet another enzyme, alanine transaminase, which is a biomarker for liver damage.

“Nanocomplexes containing alcohol oxidase and catalase could reduce blood alcohol levels in intoxicated mice, offering an alternative antidote and [preventive treatment] for alcohol intoxication,” the authors write. The paper appears in Nature Nanotechnology.

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-02/drunk-mice-sober-after-nanoparticle-injection

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The simple choice of whether or not to mix liquor with a diet or regular soda may affect how intoxicated you get, a new study suggests.

In the study, men and women ages 21 to 33 who drank vodka mixed with diet soda had breath alcohol concentrations that were 18 percent higher after 40 minutes compared with people who drank the same dose of vodka mixed with regular soda.

In fact, after three to four drinks, people who used diet soda as a mixer had a breath alcohol level that exceeded the legal limit for an adult operating a motor vehicle. People who used regular soda in their drink did not.

What’s more, people who used diet mixers scored more poorly on a test of reaction time that people who used regular mixers, although both groups reported feeling similar levels of intoxication.

The study was small — just eight men and eight women participated — so more research is needed to confirm the findings. And although results from breath alcohol tests are usually consistent with those from tests of blood alcohol, there can sometimes be a discrepancy between the two methods, so the study should be replicated using blood alcohol tests, the researchers said.

But the findings suggest that diet mixers, although lower in calories, may have insidious effects, said study researcher Cecile Marczinski, an assistant professor of psychology at Northern Kentucky University.

People “think they’re saving some calories by drinking their alcohol with a diet drink, [but] it’s much more harmful to the body to have a high blood alcohol concentration,” Marczinski said.

During the study, the 16 participants came into the laboratory three times, and received either vodka mixed with Squirt, vodka mixed with diet Squirt, or a placebo (Squirt containing a very small dose of alcohol to mimic the appearance and smell of an alcoholic beverage.) Besides the placebo, each drink contained equal amounts of alcohol and mixer. The dose of alcohol in each individual drink was based on the participant’s body weight.

Regular mixers may slow down the time it takes a person to become intoxicated from drinking, the researchers said. Alcohol is absorbed by the body when it reaches the small intestine. But the stomach may treat the sugar in regular mixers as if it were food. As a result, the alcohol doesn’t reach the small intestine as quickly, Marczinski said. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda, on the other hand, may not delay stomach emptying, so the alcohol travels straight through to the small intestine, Marczinski added. An earlier study found that men who drank vodka mixed with a diet beverage had higher blood alcohol levels than men who drank vodka mixed with a regular beverage. Using an ultrasound, the researchers showed that the regular drink delayed stomach emptying, but the diet drink did not.

The new finding “helps people to make an informed decision” about the mixer they chose for their alcohol, said Emma Childs, an assistant professor in the University of Chicago’s Department of Psychiatry, who has researched the effects of alcohol on physiology and behavior, and was not involved in the study.

http://www.livescience.com/26885-diet-soda-alcohol-mixers-intoxication.html