Alcohol Use and Cerebral White Matter Compromise in Adolescence.

Alcohol use and cerebral white matter compromise in adolescence.

Addict Behav. 2013 Mar 15; 38(7): 2295-2305
Elofson J, Gongvatana W, Carey KB

Alcohol use is typically initiated during adolescence, a period known to be critical in neurodevelopment. The adolescent brain may be particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of alcohol. While the cognitive deficits associated with alcohol use during adolescence have been well-documented, the neural substrates underlying these effects remain inadequately understood. Cerebral white matter has been suggested as a primary site of alcohol-related damage and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) allows for the quantification of white matter integrity in vivo. This review summarizes results from both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies employing DTI that indicate that white matter tracts, particularly those thought to be involved in executive functioning, continue to develop throughout adolescence and into adulthood. Numerous DTI studies reveal a positive correlation between white matter integrity and neurocognitive performance and, in adults, the detrimental effects of prolonged alcohol-dependence on white matter integrity. We provide a comprehensive review of the DTI studies exploring the relationship between alcohol use and white matter integrity in adolescents. Results from most of these studies suggest that alcohol use is associated with reduced white matter integrity, particularly in the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), and some evidence suggests that this relationship may be influenced by sex. We conclude by highlighting confounds and limitations of the available research and suggesting directions for future research. HubMed – addiction


Rasch model of the GAIN Substance Problem Scale among Canadian adults seeking residential and outpatient addiction treatment.

Addict Behav. 2013 Mar 6; 38(7): 2279-2287
Kenaszchuk C, Wild TC, Rush BR, Urbanoski K

BACKGROUND: The GAIN Substance Problem Scale (SPS) measures alcohol and drug problem severity within a DSM-IV-TR framework. This study builds on prior psychometric evaluation of the SPS by using Rasch analysis to assess scale unidimensionality, item severity, and differential item functioning (DIF). METHODS: Participants were attending residential or outpatient treatment in Alberta and Ontario, Canada, respectively (n=372). Rasch analyses modeled a latent problem severity continuum using SPS scores at treatment admission and 6-week follow-up. We examined DIF by gender, treatment modality (outpatient vs. residential), and assessment timing (baseline vs. follow-up). RESULTS: Model fit was good overall, supporting unidimensionality and a single underlying continuum of substance problem severity. Relative to person severity, however, the range of item severities was narrow. Items were too severe for many clients to endorse, particularly at follow-up. Overall, the rank order of item severities was stable across gender, treatment modality, and time point. Although traditional Rasch criteria indicated a number of statistically significant and substantive DIF estimates across modality and time points, effect size indices did not suggest a net effect on total scale scores. CONCLUSIONS: The analysis broadly supports use of the SPS as an additive measure of global substance severity in men and women and both residential and outpatient settings. Although DIF was not a major concern, there was evidence of item redundancy and suboptimal matching between items and persons. Findings highlight potential opportunities for further improving this scale in future research and clinical applications of the GAIN. HubMed – addiction


Association between tobacco industry denormalization beliefs, tobacco control community discontent and smokers’ level of nicotine dependence.

Addict Behav. 2013 Mar 20; 38(7): 2273-2278
Kushnir V, Selby P, Cunningham JA

INTRODUCTION: Tobacco industry denormalization (TID) informs the public about the tobacco industry’s role in the tobacco epidemic and is an important component of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy. Although TID beliefs have been noted in adult smokers and associated with intent to quit, research has not evaluated whether they are affected by smokers’ level of nicotine dependence. The present article sought to concurrently examine how attitudes towards the tobacco industry and tobacco control groups may differ among smokers of varying levels of nicotine dependence. In addition, it evaluated how these attitudes and beliefs may be associated with smokers’ intentions to reduce or quit smoking. METHODS: A random digit dialing telephone survey was conducted of 889 Canadian current daily smokers, 18years and older. RESULTS: Attitudes towards the tobacco industry were mixed among the entire cohort and differences in beliefs towards the tobacco industry were not found among smokers of varying levels of nicotine dependence. However, smokers that held strong TID beliefs were 5 times more intent to quit smoking than those without such beliefs. Compared to smokers with low level of nicotine dependence, heavy smokers were more likely to report strong overall displeasure with the tobacco control community (OR=1.98, 95% CI=1.23-3.19, p=0.005), however there were no differences with regards to future intent to quit. CONCLUSIONS: The absence of strong negative sentiment toward the tobacco industry among smokers as a whole suggests that more targeted anti-industry messages are needed, raising greater awareness of tobacco industry practices within smokers and non-smokers alike. As heavier smokers’ discontent with the tobacco control community highlights increasing social disapproval and pressure to quit smoking, future educational and media strategies used for smoking cessation purposes may benefit from emphasizing more of the positive attributes associated with quitting smoking, as opposed to the negative features of smoking itself. HubMed – addiction


A tobacco extract containing alkaloids induces distinct effects compared to pure nicotine on dopamine release in the rat.

Neurosci Lett. 2013 Apr 9;
Khalki H, Navailles S, Piron C, De Deurwaerdère P

It has been suggested that minor alkaloids in plants play a role in the biological and neuronal actions of nicotine. We hypothesized that these molecules modulate the effect of nicotine on the activity of central dopamine (DA) neurons, one of the main cellular targets in addiction to drugs. In this study the effect of a single intraperitoneal injection of either nicotine or an alkaloid extract of the tobacco plant (0.5mg/kg.) on the efflux of DA were investigated. DA was measured in vivo by intracerebral microdialysis in the nucleus accumbens and the striatum of freely-moving rats. Results show that nicotine enhanced accumbal and striatal DA extracellular levels (+47 and 20% above baseline, respectively). The extract also evoked a significant increase in DA extracellular levels in both regions (+33 and +38% above baseline). However, this effect was significantly higher compared to nicotine in the striatum only. In conclusion, the tobacco extract enhanced the neurochemical effect of nicotine alone in the striatum, a response that could underlie the higher propensity of developing addictive-like behavior using nicotine with tobacco alkaloids. HubMed – addiction



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