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Category Archives: Science

Alcohol Dependence in Women

I can’t link this because the web site of the U.C. Berkeley Wellness Letter (to which I subscribe) is password protected; so I’m typing the whole thing out because it’s important. This is a WellnessFact from the February 2013 issue:

Alcohol dependence shortens the lives of millions of people worldwide, but is especially dangerous for women. A new German study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research found that while alcohol dependence (also called alcoholism) nearly doubles death rates in men, it more than quadruples them in women, shortening their lives by about 23 years. Alcohol dependence may be riskier for women because they end up with higher blood levels of alcohol and thus become more impaired than men from the same amount of alcohol; they also tend to develop damage to the liver, heart muscle, and brain at lower intakes.

Update: see an article from the Science Daily website about this study: click HERE


Lifering speaker on Democracy Now

Dr. Gabor Mate, who is the keynote speaker at Lifering’s 2013 annual convention or Congress, discusses stress and addiction issues on Democracy Now. It’s a full hour of compilation of three interviews from 2010.

Here is the link to the program should the video not load.

Mindfulness – the rational way

Sherlock Holmes/NYT image

Mindfulness, including possible benefits for sobriety, has been a hot topic in recent years.

Many people may associate mindfulness, and even more meditation, with some “spiritual practice,” Buddhism above all.

But, that need not be the case.

A New York Times column offers up, instead — Sherlock Holmes! Yes, the meerschaum pipe, and its smoker’s focus, are a lead-in to mindfulness practices in a modern way, without stereotypes some people may have Read on for more.

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What is recovery? A new definition

The US federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers some thoughts.

First, it lists four main cornerstones for a life in recovery:

• Health: overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms—for example, abstaining from use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and non-prescribed medications if one has an addiction problem—and for everyone in recovery, making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional wellbeing.
• Home: a stable and safe place to live;
• Purpose: meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society; and
• Community: relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.
Informed choice is part of the self-empowerment of Lifering.

SAMHSA’s definition has other elements congenial to Lifering, too.

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Are alcoholic drinkers more sensitive to social rejection?

The image above, from Scientific American, illustrates fMRI findings of brain activity differences over social rejectoin.

Some new research indicates that may be true even if the drinkers say they don’t feel the social rejection more than others.

The new research studied brain responses, via fMRI, and found increased response in one area of the brain, and decreased response in another, versus the control group:

When they looked at the results, they found that both groups, the alcohol dependent and the controls, felt the same amount of social exclusion during the exclusion part of the game. But their fMRI responses showed some major differences. All participants saw increases in activity in the cingulate cortex and ventral prefrontal cortex during social exclusion. But the alcohol dependent patients showed less ventral prefrontal cortex activity than controls, and also showed additional increased activity in the insula.

Two caveats should apply. One is the small size of the study, in terms of numbers observed, and the other is that fMRIs aren’t anywhere near a perfect representation of human mental activity.

That said, this does have food for thought.

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