Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fighting alcoholism on one of the biggest bar nights of the year

Original here.

I concluded Staying safe and healthy during the holidays by promising "a bonus installment for tonight, which is reputed to be one of the biggest bar nights of the year."  First, here's what Drink Philly says about tonight.
You may have heard of Black Friday, but on the flipside of the Thanksgiving holiday is its mirror image, Black Wednesday. Instead of a day invented by marketing firms and ad agencies to sell marked-up-and-slashed-down consumer goods, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving probably organically developed its reputation as the biggest drinking night of the year.

There’s no hard evidence to back up the statement that Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest bar night, but there’s plenty of anecdotal information floating around. Bar owners in nearly every U.S. city say they expect a huge sales bump on that Wednesday night; police forces around the country offer special anti-drunk-driving programs and set up extra checkpoints on that eve; and new car service or designated driver smartphone apps like Uber and StearClear roll out special promotions and partnerships for the night.
So, what happens if the drinking becomes an addiction?  It's time for treatment.  Follow over the jump for health news about alcoholism from KPBS and the University of Iowa.

KPBS describes one course of action in Scripps Research Study Finds Drug Effective In Curbing Cravings For Alcohol.

There are an estimated 18 million problem drinkers in the United States. Frequent heavy drinking takes a major toll on one's health and wellbeing. KPBS Health Reporter Kenny Goldberg says there are different opinions on the best way to break dependence on alcohol. But new research indicates a drug long used to treat seizures can be an effective tool.
Looks promising.

The University of Iowa describes the genetics of addiction in Study finds gene network associated with alcoholism.
39 biologically related genes identified with the condition
By: Jennifer Brown
2013.11.21 | 11:58 AM
There is good evidence from studies of families and twins that genetics plays an important role in the development of alcoholism. However, hundreds of genes likely are involved in this complex disorder, with each variant contributing only a very small effect. Thus, identifying individual risk genes is difficult.

Using a new approach that combines genome-wide association studies ( GWAS) with information about which human proteins interact with one another, researchers from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and Yale University Medical School have identified a group of 39 genes that together are strongly associated with alcoholism.

"The discovery of these genes may open a new window into the biological mechanisms underlying this alcoholism disorder," says Shizhong Han, UI assistant professor of psychiatry and corresponding author of the study, published Nov. 21 in the American Journal of Human Genetics. "Eventually, it's our hope that the findings might help to develop drugs to treat or prevent this disorder."
Be careful out there, and don't drink and drive, even with The Walking Dead.  Speaking of which, The Tipsy Bartender has some killer drinks for the holiday.  Stay tuned!

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