Varenicline For Smoking Cessation Also Makes Drinking Less Enjoyable

Main Category: Alcohol / Addiction / Illegal Drugs
Also Included In: Smoking / Quit Smoking
Article Date: 16 Feb 2012 – 2:00 PST

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Varenicline is an effective smoking-cessation medication that may also reduce drinking. However, the means by which it might reduce drinking is unclear. A study of the effects of varenicline on subjective, physiological, and objective responses to low and moderate doses of alcohol among healthy social drinkers has found that varenicline may reduce drinking by increasing alcohol’s aversive effects.

Results will be published in the May 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

“Varenicline was first approved in the USA for treatment of nicotine dependence in 2006,” said Emma Childs, research associate at the University of Chicago as well as corresponding author for the study. “Smokers who use varenicline are approximately two to three times more likely to remain abstinent six months or more after their quit date. After it was approved, several patients treated with varenicline also reported reductions in their drinking, so investigators began to assess if this was an actual effect and how it might be produced.”

“Since there is a high comorbidity between nicotine and alcohol dependence, a single medication that could decrease the use of both substances would be ideal,” added Hugh Myrick, associate professor of psychiatry as well as vice chair of the Psychiatry Practice Plan at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Childs and her colleagues assessed 15 healthy participants (8 males, 7 females) during six randomized sessions: three sessions each with 2 mg varenicline and placebo, followed three hours later by a beverage containing placebo, a low dose of alcohol (0.4g/kg), or a high dose of alcohol (0.8g/kg). Measures included subjective mood and drug effects such as stimulation and drug liking, physiological measures such as heart rate and blood pressure, and the results of eye-tracking tasks before and after drug and alcohol administration.

“We found that varenicline increased the unpleasant effects of alcohol and decreased drug liking,” said Childs, “thus we think that varenicline may reduce drinking by altering the effects of alcohol.”

“There are generally two ways that a medication may help reduce alcohol use,” observed Myrick. “First, the rewarding aspects of alcohol could be reduced. An example of a medication that works by reducing reward is naltrexone, which blocks opiate receptors and therefore reduces the rewarding aspects of dopamine in the ventral striatum. Second, the aversive aspects of alcohol could be increased. In other words, the medication would cause symptoms leading to a decrease in alcohol use. Disulfiram, or Antabuse, is a medication that works by causing aversive effects if alcohol is consumed. Varenicline may work in a similar fashion.”

“Our findings shed light on the mechanism underlying why people consume less alcohol when they have taken varenicline,” said Childs. “The pleasurable effects of alcohol, for example feeling ‘buzzed’ and talkative, are associated with greater consumption and binge drinking. Some people lose control of their alcohol consumption during a drinking episode, for example they may aim to only have one or two drinks but end up drinking say four or five. If varenicline counteracts these positive effects by producing unpleasant effects, then as a result people may consume less alcohol during a drinking episode.”

“Varenicline may find a nice niche in those individuals who are both nicotine and alcohol dependent,” noted Myrick, “who we know represent a large portion of alcohol-dependent individuals.”

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our alcohol / addiction / illegal drugs section for the latest news on this subject. The University of Chicago
Medical University of South Carolina
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Smoking Zaps Healthy Bacteria In The Mouth, Welcomes Pathogens

Main Category: Smoking / Quit Smoking
Also Included In: Infectious Diseases / Bacteria / Viruses;  Dentistry
Article Date: 17 Feb 2012 – 1:00 PST

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According to a new study, smoking causes the body to turn against its own helpful bacteria, leaving smokers more vulnerable to disease.

Despite the daily disturbance of brushing and flossing, the mouth of a healthy person contains a stable ecosystem of healthy bacteria. New research shows that the mouth of a smoker is a much more chaotic, diverse ecosystem – and is much more susceptible to invasion by harmful bacteria.

As a group, smokers suffer from higher rates of oral diseases – especially gum disease – than do nonsmokers, which is a challenge for dentists, according to PurnimaKumar, assistant professor of periodontology at Ohio State University. She and her colleagues are involved in a multi-study investigation of the role the body’s microbial communities play in preventing oral disease.

“The smoker’s mouth kicks out the good bacteria, and the pathogens are called in,” said Kumar. “So they’re allowed to proliferate much more quickly than they would in a non-smoking environment.”

The results suggest that dentists may have to offer more aggressive treatment for smokers and would have good reason to suggest quitting smoking, Kumar said.

“A few hours after you’re born, bacteria start forming communities called biofilms in your mouth,” said Kumar. “Your body learns to live with them, because for most people, healthy biofilms keep the bad bacteria away.”

She likens a healthy biofilm to a lush, green lawn of grass. “When you change the dynamics of what goes into the lawn, like too much water or too little fertilizer,” she said, “you get some of the grass dying, and weeds moving in.” For smokers, the “weeds” are problem bacteria known to cause disease.

In a new study, Kumar’s team looked at how these bacterial ecosystems regrow after being wiped away. For 15 healthy nonsmokers and 15 healthy smokers, the researchers took samples of oral biofilms one, two, four and seven days after professional cleaning.

The researchers were looking for two things when they swabbed subjects’ gums. First, they wanted to see which bacteria were present by analyzing DNA signatures found in dental plaque. They also monitored whether the subjects’ bodies were treating the bacteria as a threat. If so, the swab would show higher levels of cytokines, compounds the body produces to fight infection.

The results of the study were published in the journal Infection and Immunity.

“When you compare a smoker and nonsmoker, there’s a distinct difference,” said Kumar. “The first thing you notice is that the basic ‘lawn,’ which would normally contain thriving populations made of a just few types of helpful bacteria, is absent in smokers.”

The team found that for nonsmokers, bacterial communities regain a similar balance of species to the communities that were scraped away during cleaning. Disease-associated bacteria are largely absent, and low levels of cytokines show that the body is not treating the helpful biofilms as a threat.

“By contrast,” said Kumar, “smokers start getting colonized by pathogens – bacteria that we know are harmful – within 24 hours. It takes longer for smokers to form a stable microbial community, and when they do, it’s a pathogen-rich community.”

Smokers also have higher levels of cytokines, indicating that the body is mounting defenses against infection. Clinically, this immune response takes the form of red, swollen gums – called gingivitis – that can lead to the irreversible bone loss of periodontitis.

In smokers, however, the body is not just trying to fight off harmful bacteria. The types of cytokines in smokers’ gum swabs showed the researchers that smokers’ bodies were treating even healthy bacteria as threatening.

Although they do not yet understand the mechanisms behind these results, Kumar and her team suspect that smoking is confusing the normal communication that goes on between healthy bacterial communities and their human hosts.

Practically speaking, these findings have clear implications for patient care, according to Kumar.

“It has to drive how we treat the smoking population,” she said. “They need a more aggressive form of treatment, because even after a professional cleaning, they’re still at a very high risk for getting these pathogens back in their mouths right away.

“Dentists don’t often talk to their patients about smoking cessation,” she continued. “These results show that dentists should take a really active role in helping patients to get the support they need to quit.”

For Kumar, who is a practicing periodontist as well as a teaching professor, doing research has changed how she treats her patients. “I tell them about our studies, about the bacteria and the host response, and I say, ‘Hey – I’m really scared for you.’ Patients have been more willing to listen, and two actually quit.”

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our smoking / quit smoking section for the latest news on this subject. Written by Maureen Langlois.
Kumar’s collaborators include Chad Matthews and Vinayak Joshi of Ohio State’s College of Dentistry as well as Marko de Jager and Marcelo Aspiras of Philips Oral Healthcare. The research was sponsored by a grant from Philips Oral Healthcare.
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Do Smoking Bans Make People Smoke Less At Home? Probably

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Academic Journal
Main Category: Smoking / Quit Smoking
Article Date: 17 Feb 2012 – 0:00 PST

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A study of four European countries with smoke free legislation, published online in Tobacco Control, revealed that smoking bans do not encourage smokers to smoke more at home. According to the researchers, who base their findings on two waves of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project) Europe Surveys, smoking bans may actually encourage smokers to smoke less at home.

The first survey was conducted in 2003-2004, before the smoking ban in public places was enforced in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands, excluding Scotland, before legislation was enacted. The second survey was conducted after legislation was enacted in 2008-2009.

Around 4,634 smokers (depending on when bans were enacted) in the four countries with smoke-free legislation participated in the surveys, as well as 1,080 smokers in the UK. The UK acted as a comparison country before the smoking ban had come into force.

Before a ban was enacted, the majority of smokers had at least partial restrictions on smoking at home, even though the proportions differed considerably among the four countries. France and Germany had the highest levels of restrictions.

Two of the leading factors linked to choosing to restrict smoking at home was the presence of a young child in the household and supporting a smoking ban in bars.

The researchers found that after the ban came into place, the number of smokers who quit smoking at home increased considerably among all countries by the time of the second survey: 38% in Germany 28% in the Netherlands 25% in Ireland 17% in France The team found that the increase was irrespective of whether the ban allowed for some exceptions or was comprehensive.

Smokers were more likely to ban smoking at home if they supported smoking bans in bars, planned to quit the habit, or when there was a birth of a child.

In the UK, the number of smokers who banned smoking at home also increased by 22% between the two surveys. The second survey was conducted only a few months before the smoking ban came into force.

After the researchers took into account several demographic and smoking history variables, they found that the number of current smokers banning smoking at home rose considerably in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Ireland, but did not considerably rise in the UK.

According to the current theory, public smoking bans either increase the amount of smoking at home as individuals try to compensate “the displacement hypothesis” or encourage smokers to adopt the same ban at home – the social diffusion hypothesis.

The researchers explain:

“Opponents of the workplace or public smoking bans have argued that smoke-free policies – albeit intended to protect non-smokers from tobacco smoke – could lead to displacement of smoking into the home and hence even increase the second hand smoke exposure of non-smoking family members and, most importantly, children.”

Findings from the study support the theory that banning smoking in public places may encourage smokers to ban smoking at home.

Written by Grace Rattue
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

Visit our smoking / quit smoking section for the latest news on this subject. “Towards smoke-free rental cars: an evaluation of voluntary smoking restrictions in California” Georg E Matt et al.
Tob Control doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2011-050231 Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

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posted by Bobby LaGuardia on 17 Feb 2012 at 9:06 am

I dont smoke but allow smokers to smoke freely in my home. When you pay our rent or mortgage you can decide that!

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UM Tobacco Ban Yields Only 3 Referrals Since Becoming Mandatory Jan 1

HomeNewsUM Tobacco Ban Yields Only 3 Referrals Since Becoming Mandatory Jan 1

February 13, 2012   The University of Maine’s Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative has been a mandatory policy since the beginning of the semester. But since Jan. 1, the ban has caused only three referrals for cigarette use, according to David Fiacco, director of Community Standards, Rights and Responsibilities.

“We think it’s going very well,” said Dean of Students Robert Dana. “There’s been another substantial decline in smoking-related behaviors.” The updated policy introduced stricter enforcement and mandatory compliance. Dana said more students and faculty have been asking for help quitting tobacco products. “That was sort of the plan from the public health perspective,” Dana said. “We expected people probably would be fully invested in the change process. “We hoped that people would come forward if they needed some help,” he continued. “It seems to be working.”

For More Information:
http://mainecampus.com/2012/02/13/um-tobacco-ban-yields-only-3-referrals-since-becoming-mandatory-jan-1/

Feb 17, 2012
Why All Hospital Campuses Should be Smoke-Free
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Tobacco Added in to the Cocktail Mix
Read the full story Feb 16, 2012
Smokeless Tobacco May Have Led to Outfielder Tony Gwynn’s Cancer
Read the full story Feb 16, 2012
Electronic Cigarette Explodes in Man’s Mouth
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Smokeless Tobacco May Have Led to Outfielder Tony Gwynn’s Cancer

HomeNewsSmokeless Tobacco May Have Led to Outfielder Tony Gwynn’s Cancer

February 16, 2012   In 20 seasons, Tony Gwynn proved to be one of the most prolific hitters in baseball. Now he steps up to a much more formidable opponent—cancer. Gwynn has had four procedures to remove a cancerous tumor from the right side of his mouth. The Hall of Fame outfielder strongly believes that his tumors resulted from a lengthy history of smokeless tobacco use. Gwynn reportedly started while playing rookie ball to calm his nerves, but soon he became addicted. He claims to have used one and a half cans each day. Recently, to prohibit young baseball fans from starting to use tobacco, Major League Baseball and the players union agreed that players wouldn’t carry smokeless tobacco in their pockets when fans are present at the ballparks or use it during interviews or team functions. Many health organizations and several congressmen have pushed for a full ban.

For More Information:
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2012/feb/16/smokeless-tobacco-may-have-led-to-gwynns-cancer/

Feb 17, 2012
Why All Hospital Campuses Should be Smoke-Free
Read the full story Feb 17, 2012
Tobacco Added in to the Cocktail Mix
Read the full story Feb 16, 2012
Smokeless Tobacco May Have Led to Outfielder Tony Gwynn’s Cancer
Read the full story Feb 16, 2012
Electronic Cigarette Explodes in Man’s Mouth
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After A Cancer Diagnosis, Many People Continue To Smoke

Main Category: Smoking / Quit Smoking
Also Included In: Lung Cancer;  Colorectal Cancer
Article Date: 24 Jan 2012 – 4:00 PST

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A new analysis has found that a substantial number of lung and colorectal cancer patients continue to smoke after being diagnosed. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study provides valuable information on which cancer patients might need help to quit smoking.

When a patient receives a cancer diagnosis, the main focus is to treat the disease. But stopping smoking after a cancer diagnosis is also important because continuing to smoke can negatively affect patients’ responses to treatments, their subsequent cancer risk, and, potentially, their survival. Elyse R. Park, PhD, MPH, of the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, led a team that looked to see how many patients quit smoking around the time of a cancer diagnosis, and which smokers were most likely to quit.

The investigators determined smoking rates around the time of diagnosis and five months after diagnosis in 5,338 lung and colorectal cancer patients. At diagnosis, 39 percent of lung cancer patients and 14 percent of colorectal cancer patients were smoking; five months later, 14 percent of lung cancer patients and 9 percent of colorectal cancer patients were still smoking. These results indicate that a substantial minority of cancer patients continue to smoke after being diagnosed. Also, although lung cancer patients have higher rates of smoking at diagnosis and following diagnosis, colorectal cancer patients are less likely to quit smoking following diagnosis.

Factors and characteristics that predicted continued smoking differed by cancer type. Lung cancer patients who continued smoking tended to have Medicare or other public health insurance, have a lower body mass index, have low emotional support, not have received chemotherapy, not have had surgery, have had prior heart disease, and have smoked a high number of cigarettes per day at some point during their lives. Colorectal cancer patients who continued to smoke tended to be male, have completed less education, be uninsured, not have had surgery, and have once smoked a high number of cigarettes per day.

“These findings can help cancer clinicians identify patients who are at risk for smoking and guide tobacco counseling treatment development for cancer patients,” said Dr. Park.

In an accompanying editorial, Carolyn Dressler, MD, of the Arkansas Department of Health in Little Rock, noted that Dr. Park’s research highlights the critical importance of physicians and other caretakers to address tobacco cessation, particularly at the time of diagnosis. “Most clinicians acknowledge the importance of addressing tobacco cessation in their patients; however, few do it,” she wrote. “We know enough now to implement effective cessation programs to identify and help cancer patients quit at the time of diagnosis and support them to prevent relapse. By doing so, we maximize patients’ response to therapy, their quality of life, and their longevity.”

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our smoking / quit smoking section for the latest news on this subject. Article: “A snapshot of smokers following lung and colorectal cancer diagnosis.” Elyse Park, Sandra Japuntich, Nancy A. Rigotti, Lara Traeger, Yulei He, Robert Wallace, Jennifer Malin, Jennifer C. Pandiscio, and Nancy L. Keating. CANCER; Published Online: January 23, 2012 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.26545).
Editorial: “Oncologists Should Intervene.” Carolyn M. Dresler. CANCER; Published Online: January 23, 2012 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.26538).
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New Book Examines Impact of the U.S. Tobacco Industry

HomeNewsNew Book Examines Impact of the U.S. Tobacco Industry

February 14, 2012   Anthropologist Peter Benson, PhD, released a new book titled “Tobacco Capitalism” that examines the impact of tobacco production in the United States on farmers, workers, and the public. He explains that the tobacco industry is increasingly purchasing their tobacco leaves from developing countries, pressuring American farmers to lower their prices to compete with overseas producers.  Many American farmers are hiring undocumented migrant farm workers to compete economically, putting them at the center of contentious political debates about illegal immigration. These migrant workers live in “labor camps” with poor living conditions, and have little access to resources like health care, legal services, and employment benefits. Benson also discusses tobacco industry marketing strategies, which have undergone what he calls a “corporate social responsibility makeover,” shifting responsibility from the companies (for making a harmful product) to consumers (for supposedly choosing it) and claiming to create “safer” tobacco products.

For More Information:
http://www.healthnewsdigest.com/news/Book_Review_440/New_Book_Examines_Impact_of_U_S_Tobacco_Industry_printer.shtml

Feb 14, 2012
New Book Examines Impact of the U.S. Tobacco Industry
Read the full story Feb 14, 2012
Smoke-Free Laws Lead to Less Smoking At Home
Read the full story Feb 13, 2012
UM Tobacco Ban Yields Only 3 Referrals Since Becoming Mandatory Jan. 1
Read the full story Feb 13, 2012
Largest Addiction Treatment Facility in Central Texas Says, ‘No smoking’
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Largest Addiction Treatment Facility in Central Texas Says, ‘No smoking’

HomeNewsLargest Addiction Treatment Facility in Central Texas Says, ‘No smoking’

February 13, 2012   The image of chain-smoking patients in treatment for drug addiction is no myth, but an Austin nonprofit hopes to make it history. Austin Recovery, the largest inpatient addiction treatment center in Central Texas and one of the biggest in the state, is going smoke-free April 30.

“When you’re in residential treatment, what better time to address your other deadly addiction, which is tobacco use?” said Jonathan Ross , president and CEO of Austin Recovery. The nonprofit treats 3,200 clients annually and has three residential campuses. Ross and his staff hope to dispel the old-school notion that it’s too hard to get people to quit smoking when they are trying to kick a drug or alcohol problem. “Not only are you continuing an addictive behavior and putting yourself at risk of relapse, you’re also killing yourself,” he said.

For More Information:
http://www.statesman.com/news/local/largest-addiction-treatment-facility-in-central-texas-says-2164142.html

Feb 14, 2012
New Book Examines Impact of the U.S. Tobacco Industry
Read the full story Feb 14, 2012
Smoke-Free Laws Lead to Less Smoking At Home
Read the full story Feb 13, 2012
UM Tobacco Ban Yields Only 3 Referrals Since Becoming Mandatory Jan. 1
Read the full story Feb 13, 2012
Largest Addiction Treatment Facility in Central Texas Says, ‘No smoking’
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Comparing Alcohol Use And Other Disorders Between The United States And South Korea

Main Category: Alcohol / Addiction / Illegal Drugs
Also Included In: Depression;  Smoking / Quit Smoking
Article Date: 18 Jan 2012 – 0:00 PST

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Hazardous alcohol use and depression are among the 10 leading causes of disability and premature death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Many low- to middle-income countries have begun to see a steady increase in alcohol use and have entered the early stages of a tobacco epidemic. A study of alcohol use disorders (AUDs), nicotine dependence (ND), and mood and anxiety disorders in the United States and South Korea has found that while AUDs are substantially more common among Americans than South Koreans, alcohol-dependent Americans are significantly more likely to seek treatment.

Results will be published in the April 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

“People in low to middle-income countries are experiencing a lot of stress due to rapid industrialization and urbanization and are therefore likely to use substances more to relieve their stress,” explained Hae Kook Lee, associate professor at the Catholic University of Korea and corresponding author for the study. “Furthermore, westernization might weaken the taboo for female drinking, especially in Eastern countries.”

“Cross-cultural epidemiologic studies like this one are extremely valuable,” added Howard B. Moss, associate director for clinical and translational research at NIAAA. “Despite over thirty years of research emphasizing the biopsychosocial nature of a wide variety of mental disorders, we see an over-emphasis of the neurobiological underpinnings of addictive disorders. Of course alcohol and other drugs of abuse do significantly impact upon brain processes through mechanisms of reward, plasticity, and adaptation leading from use, intoxication, and tolerance to physical dependence. However, the human process of addiction is much more complex than dopamine release in the reward pathways of the brain or the binding occupancy of the endogenous opiate receptors. Cross-cultural studies like this one reveal that we should also appreciate that the personal distress felt by addicted patients, and their frequently challenging illness behaviors, are manifestations of complex psychological processes that may be culturally bound and exist within a sociocultural paradigm. Thus, research like this reminds the scientific community of the complexity of alcoholism and comorbid conditions.”

Lee and his colleagues used nationally representative samples of the U.S. and South Korean general populations to compare rates of AUDs, ND, and mood and anxiety disorders between the two countries. Study authors also examined the rates and comorbidity patterns among individuals with AUDs who sought treatment in the preceding 12 months.

“Results showed that the prevalence of AUDs among Americans was substantially greater than among South Koreans,” said Lee. More specifically, the 12-month prevalences of AUDs, ND, and any mood and any anxiety disorders were 9.7, 14.4, 9.5 and 11.9 percent among Americans, compared to 7.1, 6.6, 2.0, and 5.2 percent among South Koreans. “The differences in overall prevalence of AUD rates between the two countries was largely due to prevalence among females, that is, drinking by women has historically been tempered by Confucian culture in Korea even though it is increasing rapidly now.”

“America has a longer cultural history with alcohol than do South Koreans,” added Moss. “At the time of the colonization of North America, most European colonists came from countries with strong cultural ties to regular and heavy alcohol consumption. While the Korean people historically used alcohol, its use was limited during the colonial period. Alcohol use was then stimulated in 1986 by a government policy to identify and support culturally important Korean alcoholic beverages. While Prohibition, in theory, limited American access to legal drinking for 13 years, Americans did not have a prolonged abstinence period that shifted cultural norms as occurred in Korea.”

“Even though we found a greater prevalence of alcoholism, mood and anxiety disorders among Americans in comparison to South Koreans,” said Lee, “alcohol-dependent Americans were four times more likely to seek treatment compared to their Korean counterparts, which may indicate the influence of a social stigma toward substance-abuse or mental-health problems despite national health insurance in Korea.”

While Moss agreed that it is clear that South Koreans are less likely to seek treatment for their alcohol problems than Americans, he questioned that this is because of stigma and saving face. “Americans with alcohol dependence and psychiatric comorbidity are more likely to seek treatment than those with alcohol dependence alone,” he observed. “I think seeking treatment has more to do with the degree of discomfort and suffering experienced by the individual, perhaps combined with issues of stigma and face-saving.”

Another finding, comorbidity of mood and anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorders, is the norm rather than the exception, added Lee. “These patterns were similar among American and Korean alcoholics,” he said. “Further, socio-cultural factors might also affect treatment seeking and rates of comorbidity as the higher social stigma of psychiatric treatment might make the patients with mood disorders drink more to relieve their symptoms.”

However, added Moss, the patterns of comorbid psychiatric disorders were different among Korean smokers versus American smokers as American smokers displayed more comorbid mood and anxiety disorders than did Korean smokers.

“Fundamentally,” said Moss, “I think this study forces us to think more about cultural and environmental influences on the etiology of alcohol dependence in conjunction with the neurobiology and genetics of addiction. This study reminds us that neither biological determinism nor social determinism is the whole story. Human behavior is extremely complex, and reductionism of any sort is, more often than not, incorrect.”

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our alcohol / addiction / illegal drugs section for the latest news on this subject. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (ACER) is the official journal of the Research Society on Alcoholism and the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism. Co-authors of the ACER paper, “Alcohol Use Disorders, Nicotine Dependence and Co-Occurring Mood and Anxiety Disorders in the United States and South Korea: A Cross-National Comparison,” were: S. Patricia Chou, Deborah A. Dawson, and Bridget F. Grant of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; Maeng Je Cho of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science in the Institute of Behavioral Medicine at Seoul National University; and Jong-Ik Park of the Department of Psychiatry at Kangwon National University College of Medicine in Korea. This release is supported by the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network at http://www.attcnetwork.org/.
The Catholic University of Korea
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
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Important Target Playing Role In Tobacco-Related Lung Cancers Discovered By Researchers

Main Category: Lung Cancer
Also Included In: Smoking / Quit Smoking;  Immune System / Vaccines
Article Date: 13 Feb 2012 – 0:00 PST

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Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., have discovered that the immune response regulator IKBKE (serine/threonine kinase) plays two roles in tobacco-related non-small cell lung cancers. Tobacco carcinogens induce IKBKE and, in turn, IKBKE induces chemotherapy resistance.

The study was published in a recent issue of Oncogene.

“IKBKE is a newly identified oconogene, a gene linked to cancer,” said study lead author Jin Q. Cheng, Ph.D., M.D., who studies genetic alterations and their molecular mechanisms in cancer. “In our study, we demonstrated that IKBKE is a STAT 3 target gene and is induced by tobacco. STAT3 is a signaling and transcription gene that is activated in various types of cancer and is required for cell transformation.”

As a “transcription factor” STAT3 plays a key role in many cellular processes, such as cell growth and programmed cell death, or “apoptosis.”

“It has been well documented that STAT3 is activated by growth factors and environmental carcinogenesis, such as nicotine,” said Cheng. “STAT3 directly binds to the IKBKE promoter and induces IKBKE transcription.”

Tobacco smoke is the strongest documented tumor initiator and promoter in lung cancer. The underlying molecular mechanism is still largely unknown.

“IKBKE is induced by tobacco carcinogens and mediates tobacco action in promoting lung cancer cell survival,” said Cheng. “Armed with this knowledge, interventions targeting the IKBKE pathway could be developed.”

Cheng and his colleagues found that when STAT3 induces IKBKE expression, IKBKE’s expression induces chemotherapy resistance. Conversely, “knocking down” IKBKE sensitizes cells to chemotherapy, suggesting that there is a therapeutic role for targeting IKBKE.

While IKBKE has been found to be “over expressed” in ovarian, breast and prostate cancers, in this study IKBKE has for the first time been associated with non-small cell lung cancer in patients with a history of tobacco use, and particularly by tobacco’s nicotine component. The researchers stated that upon exposure to nicotine, cells express high levels of IKBKE protein. In their study co-expression of STAT3 and IKBKE was “observed in primary non-small cell lung cancer.”

“Current treatments for non-small cell lung cancer include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy,” explained Cheng. “Advanced patients generally develop chemotherapy and radiotherapy resistance, so there is a great need to understand the molecular mechanism of therapy resistance in order to find ‘targets’ to overcome resistance.”

The discovery that STAT3 appears to regulate IKBKE in response to nicotine induced by tobacco carcinogen may also help develop a strategy for an intervention in non-small cell lung cancer by targeting IKBKE.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
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H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. “Important Target Playing Role In Tobacco-Related Lung Cancers Discovered By Researchers.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 13 Feb. 2012. Web.
14 Feb. 2012. APA

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