Archive for November, 2016

Moms’ Sensitivity a Key to Preventing Early Substance Abuse

Research from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions suggests the approach to preventing alcohol and drug use by some adolescents should begin in early childhood.

“The children of parents with alcohol problems are at much greater risk for underage drinking and developing a substance use disorder,” says the study’s author, Rina Das Eiden, PhD, senior research scientist at RIA. “It’s important to understand when and under what circumstances such problems develop, so we can craft interventions to steer this high-risk population away from substance use and its attendant problems.”

Pathway Begins Early for Children of Alcoholics

Eiden examined different pathways to adolescent substance use, starting in infancy, for children of parents with alcohol use disorder (AUD), and found that maternal warmth and sensitivity in early childhood played a significant role.

“When mothers can be warm and sensitive during interactions with their toddlers, even under the stresses associated with their partners’ alcohol problems, there is a lower likelihood of adolescent substance use,” Eiden says.

Drinking Parents Less Sensitive

Parents with AUD demonstrated lower rates of maternal sensitivity toward their toddlers, continuing into kindergarten age, Eiden found. As the children entered middle school (6th grade), their mothers were less likely to monitor peer groups and activities, leading to higher engagement with substance-using and delinquent peers and drinking in early adolescence (8th grade).

These children also displayed lower self-regulation, or the ability to behave according to rules without supervision, at preschool age, leading to problem behaviors from kindergarten age to early adolescence and higher alcohol and marijuana use in late adolescence.

Encouraging Mothers to Be Sensitive

The results have implications for both the timing and content of preventive interventions against substance use among adolescents of parents with AUD. Timing interventions in early childhood and before major developmental transitions, such as transition to school and moving from elementary to middle school, may be most beneficial.

For content, the most helpful interventions would be to encourage and support mothers in being warm and sensitive during interactions with their toddlers, and to keep a close eye their children’s activities and peer groups during the transition from middle childhood to early adolescence.

“This attention also would promote children’s self-regulation in the preschool years, which may lead to a decrease in problem behaviors from school age into adolescence,” Eiden says.

The article appears in the October issue of Developmental Psychology.

November 20th, 2016  in Alcohol No Comments »

Antibiotic may help in treatment of alcoholism

There are currently few effective therapies for alcohol use disorder (AUD), with only three FDA approved drugs along with behavioral modification programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Together or alone, none are particularly effective and relapse is common, making the development of new therapies vital.

A collaborative effort between Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) researchers Susan Bergeson, Ph.D., Joseé Guindon, Ph.D., Peter Syapin, Ph.D., clinicians David Edwards, M.D., David Trotter, Ph.D., and Deborah Finn, Ph.D., at Oregon Health and Science University has identified a potential new treatment for AUD.

“Recent research has used new technologies to identify genes and pathways related to neuroinflammation as part of alcohol’s action on addiction processes,” said Bergeson, associate professor in the TTUHSC Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience. “Minocycline, a tetracycline antibiotic normally used against bacterial infections, has known anti-inflammatory actions and recently was shown to reduce alcohol consumption.”

Tigercycline Is Also Anti-Inflammatory

In research described in four companion papers published by the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, the teams first reported the screening of several tetracycline drugs to see if all were effective in reducing alcohol use.

The results pointed to a specific structural component of the drugs as responsible for positive outcomes and led to the discovery that tigecycline, a minocycline analog, was highly effective in reducing binge and chronic consumption, in both dependent and non-dependent animals.

Also Helps to Reduce Withdrawal Seizures

In addition, withdrawal seizures, which represent a medical emergency in humans, also were reduced in mice by tigecycline. Finally, binge drinking was shown to cause a persistent change in pain perception, which was reduced in males, but not females, by tigecycline.

The Bergeson, Finn, Guindon and Syapin labs’ research lead to the conclusion that tigecycline, already approved by the FDA for use in humans for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA infections, may be a good lead drug for the effective reduction of alcohol drinking, withdrawal symptoms and pain.

Already Approved by FDA

“We have known that high levels of alcohol consumption can cause damage to the liver and brain, but it has been more difficult to understand how AUD is cemented,” said Bergeson. “Every person knows a family member or close friend that struggles with AUD, and now with these findings, a simple antibiotic that is already FDA approved could help.”

November 20th, 2016  in Alcohol No Comments »