Tag Archives | Alcohol

Can Alcohol Help the Brain Remember? Science Now Says So!

Homer's BeerVia ScienceDaily:

The common view that drinking is bad for learning and memory isn’t wrong, says neurobiologist Hitoshi Morikawa, but it highlights only one side of what ethanol consumption does to the brain.

“Usually, when we talk about learning and memory, we’re talking about conscious memory,” says Morikawa, whose results were published last month in The Journal of Neuroscience. “Alcohol diminishes our ability to hold on to pieces of information like your colleague’s name, or the definition of a word, or where you parked your car this morning. But our subconscious is learning and remembering too, and alcohol may actually increase our capacity to learn, or ‘conditionability,’ at that level.”

Morikawa’s study, which found that repeated ethanol exposure enhances synaptic plasticity in a key area in the brain, is further evidence toward an emerging consensus in the neuroscience community that drug and alcohol addiction is fundamentally a learning and memory disorder.

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Police Warn Of Growing Teen ‘Vodka Tampon’ Use

34051Time to check in on the latest youth trends: teens (both girls and boys) are increasingly using liquor-soaked tampons as a novel and stealthy means of getting drunk. A number of Facebook pages have popped in honor of the practice, called “slimming”. Ah, kids with their crazy fads! The Local enlightens on the scourge every parent should be most worried about:

Police in southern Germany warned this week of a dangerous new form of alcohol abuse among teens – using tampons soaked in vodka to get drunk quickly and hide the smell. The practice poses grave health risks, they said.

In early March a 14-year-old girl collapsed during a street festival in Konstanz, apparently highly intoxicated from using a vodka tampon, the paper reported. Youth researchers have since found out that this form of alcohol abuse is trendy in the region.

The trend arose among teens in the United States, where it is known as “slimming.” But it has reportedly caught on in Scandinavia and other places where alcohol is difficult for young people to acquire.

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Too Much Alcohol May Cause Cancer

Photo: André Karwath aka Aka (CC)

Photo: André Karwath aka Aka (CC)

Just when you thought that drinking a few glasses of red wine every day was going to prolong your life comes this report in the British Medical Journal that it raises the risk of cancer. From AFP:

About one in 10 cancers in men and one in 33 in women in western European countries are caused by current and past alcohol consumption, according to a study released on Friday.

For some types of cancer, the rates are significantly higher, it said.

In 2008, for men, 44, 25 and 33 percent of upper digestive track, liver and colon cancers respectively were caused by alcohol in six of the countries examined, the study found.

The countries were Britain, Italy, Spain, Greece, Germany and Denmark.

The study also showed that half of these cancer cases occurred in men who drank more than a recommended daily limit of 24 grammes of alcohol, roughly two small glasses of wine or a pint of beer.

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Imagine Free Beer At Your Office, But You Are Recorded For How Much You Drink…

Photo: Strom Carlson (CC)

Photo: Strom Carlson (CC)

Ryan Flinn reports for Bloomberg:

At Yelp Inc.’s San Francisco headquarters, a keg refrigerator provides a never-ending supply of beer to employees, letting them drink as much as they like.

They just have to be comfortable with full disclosure: Workers badge in to an iPad application attached to the keg that records every ounce they drink.

“If you’re at the top of the leader board consistently, I don’t know if that’s a place that you’d want to be,” said Eric Singley, director of Yelp consumer and mobile products. “Luckily, that hasn’t really even been an issue.”

In a contemporary version of “Mad Men” and its bibulous ad executives, more dot-coms are embracing the idea of drinking at work. That means keeping bars stocked at all hours, installing kegerators and letting programmers tip back a few while they code. It also raises questions about the effect of alcohol on productivity and the safety of employees.

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Beer To Be Classified as Alcohol for First Time in Russia

YeltsinAndrew Osborn writes in the Telegraph:

The beverage is technically classified as a foodstuff for now, an anomaly that has allowed producers to avoid a sweeping new crackdown on alcohol advertising and night-time sales.

But a new Kremlin-backed bill that passed its first reading in the lower house of the Russian parliament on Tuesday will abolish beer’s special status, dragging Russian alcohol regulation into the 21st century.

“Normalising the beer production market and classifying it as alcohol is totally the right thing to do and will boost the health of our population,” Yevgeny Bryun, the ministry of health’s chief specialist on alcohol and drug abuse, said.

“We have been talking about and have wanted such a measure for ages. I take my hat off to the parliament.”

The new law would restrict beer sales at night, ban its sale in or close to many public places such as schools, and limit cans and bottles to a maximum size of 0.33 litres.

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This Is What Global Alcohol Consumption Looks Like (Map)

Who knew? Moldovans are the heaviest drinkers in the world, downing more than 18 liters/person every year. And the United States is well behind Europe, with most Europeans drinking nearly double as much as Americans.

So you’re not #1 in this respect, USA. Americans, what are you going to do about this? Via the Economist:

World Alcohol Consumption

Another “fun” fact: Moonshine accounts for almost 30% of the world’s drinking…

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U.S. Government Proposes In-Car Alcohol Detection Device To Stop Drunk Driving

This is sure to divide opinion nationwide. Is it a great idea to stop potentially homicidal behavior, or Big Brother-like governmental restriction on personal freedom? The in-vehicle Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), prevents a car from moving if the driver is above the .08 legal limit and “may hold the promise for stopping drunk driving before it happens,” according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. AP reports on a prototype that uses automatic sensors to instantly gauge a driver's fitness.
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NYC’s Ilicit Four Loko Underground

4118584_f260Since the FDA outlawed the sickly-sweet, caffeinated, vomit-inducing alcoholic drink Four Loko, a brisk black market has sprung up on the internet. Twelve-packs readily available, at inflated prices that will only rise, NBC New York reports:

It may be banned from store shelves but Four Loko is one of the hottest products on Craigslist.

A 4NewYork hidden-camera investigation exposed just how easy it is to buy the alcoholic energy drink from private dealers who stocked up before the FDA forced Four Loko manufacturers to eliminate caffeine from their recipe.

After responding to posting from an Upper East Side Four Loko dealer, WNBC was able to purchase a case of twelve cans for $80, a mark-up of more than 300 percent. Since November, dozens of sellers have posted craigslist ads charging anywhere from $4 to $8 per can. When the drink was legal, buyers paid only $2 to $3 per can.

The controversial drink, nicknamed “Alcopop” or “Blackout in a Can” was first banned from the New Jersey campus of Ramapo College when 17 students were hospitalized after drinking the potent formula.

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Do Intelligent People Drink More?

Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson

Here’s a recent story from Discovery News as Liz Day writes:

The next time you’re inclined to enjoy an extra glass of wine, consider that it may be a reflection of your intelligence.

That is one of the findings from data from the National Child Development Study in the United Kingdom and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States.

Childhood intelligence, measured before the age of 16, was categorized in five cognitive classes, ranging from “very dull,” “dull,” “normal,” “bright” and “very bright.”

The Americans were revisited seven years later. The British youths, on the other hand, were followed in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Researchers measured their drinking habits as the participants became older.

More intelligent children in both studies grew up to drink alcohol more frequently and in greater quantities than less intelligent children. In the Brits’ case, “very bright” children grew up to consume nearly eight-tenths of a standard deviation more alcohol than their “very dull” cohorts.

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Australian Search Engine ‘Groggle’ Gets Pushed Off The Wagon By Google

drinkleGroggle got its name from the word “grog,” Australian slang for booze. A search engine intended to help users compare alcohol prices in Australian stores easily lends itself to the “grog”-“Google” mash up, but Google didn’t seem to think it was clever. After a six-month legal battle, Google has had Groggle change it’s name. It is now Drinkle. Instead of spending the money and time on such a lawsuit, Google should have used the site to find itself a drink. BBC News reports:

An Australian hoping to quench his nation’s thirst via the web has agreed to change the name of his alcohol search site after protests from Google.

Cameron Collie set up Groggle to allow users to find the best-priced “grog” in nearby stores.

Search giant Google complained at his effort to trademark the name, prompting a six-month legal wrangle.

Now the name Groggle has been changed to a more conventional title, Drinkle, ahead of its launch in 2011.

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