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The NIH's Cozy Relationship With Big Alcohol Is Bad for Science

Last year, scientists across the world began recruiting adults over the age of 50 to take part in the study. These volunteers have been randomly assigned to either become moderate drinkers (defined as having one daily drink of their choice) or to abstain completely. Over the next six years, they plan to see which group ends up having more heart attacks, strokes, and deaths. It’s expected that nearly 8,000 adults will ultimately take part in the study. Though the $100 million trial is ostensibly NIH-funded, around two-thirds of this money has indirectly come from donations made by five of the largest alcohol companies in the world, including Heineken and Anheuser-Busch InBev (The donations were made to a foundation set up by the NIH to raise private funding). And an investigation by the New York Times last March found that scientists and officials from the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism allegedly tried to solicit these donations from industry representatives several times throughout 2013 and 2014 for their planned trial. Outside scientists involved with the study were allegedly paid by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the NIH, to travel to conventions and give presentations that suggested their eventual findings could vindicate the industry by proving the benefits of moderate drinking. One former NIAAA official told the NYT that she reached out to alcohol industry executives after these talks, pleading for their support. The NIH’s long-running director, Francis Collins, has stood behind the value and scientific integrity of the study itself, but said in a statement to reporters that he was “concerned” about the officials’ and scientists’ reported behavior. Soon after the NYT story broke, he announced that the agency would investigate whether employees have violated policies that prohibit them from asking for outside donations. But the NIH’s alcohol ties seem to run even longer than this large study. On Monday, STAT first reported , other scientists alleged they’ve had their NIH-funded research dismissed and their further funding yanked because it was critical of the alcohol industry. Michael Siegel, a physician and epidemiologist at Boston University, told STAT that he and his colleague, David Jernigan of Johns Hopkins University, were invited to the NIAAA headquarters in Maryland in 2015 to discuss their research. As they presented their work, which suggested that alcohol marketing in TV shows could influence underage drinking, the current head of the NIAAA, George Koob, allegedly yelled that he didn’t “fucking care!” about alcohol advertising. Six months prior to the meeting, in 2014, Koob similarly disparaged the sort of research Siegel and Jernigan had been working on.

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share the love Anne Giles posted the following at www.annegiles.com on September 8, 2017. Though not necessarily a SMART concept, the idea could be an interesting topic to broach at a SMART meeting. Further references are provided on the Giles page. She writes: Given that humans and their brains have derived at least 7000 languages to attempt to express what those brains experience, my next 1,000 words or so don’t stand a chance of conveying the complexity of one individual’s brain, much less the brains of humanity at large. However, when an individual comes to me and says, “Help me,” I need to be able to take action right now, based on the best distillation of the best available information I can. I have been a ruthless, relentless, even desperate student of the Recommended Site research on drug addiction treatment (1) for four years and eight months. While I appreciate that writers like Marc Lewis (2) and Carl Hart (3) even engage in neuroscience research themselves to buttress their theories – and data begins as theories – in my view, currently only journalist Maia Szalavitz cites data for every assertion she makes. I have studied her latest book, her current writing (4), her former writing, and the research studies she cites. In my rural area, addiction threatens premature death. I don’t have time for theories, opinions, “practice wisdom,” legacy “treatments,” or beliefs. I need to know what science says helps people with addiction and offer it right here, right now. When I heard this podcast interview with Maia Szalavitz (5) by Scott Barry Kaufman, released on 9/6/17, pieces fit together in a new way. Here’s an attempt to write a brief, layperson’s version of the latest science on addiction and its treatment. Addiction is defined as compulsive persistence despite negative consequences. Compulsively persisting is quite human and a strength when it comes to discovering a squalling infant’s needs and meeting them, talking with an upset teenager, cleaning up after a hurricane, or at any time when the going gets tough. Persistently engaging in the same behavior over and over again is a strength when one is learning to play the violin or to shoot a basketball. In people who may have any of this list of conditions or some combination of them – past trauma, mental illness, a state of despair, from existential to financial, inadequate social connection, or “social capital,” neuroatypical wiring, and youth – for reasons neuroscientists are beginning to fathom but cannot quite pinpoint, use of a substance can be experienced as what can be termed “love.” The reassurance, comfort and connection that love brings is provided by the substance. Returning to use of a substance that offers this eased state makes sense, fema and could even be termed a “moral” action when it relieves suffering. For people with predisposing conditions, something in the brain’s neurocircuitry causes the brain to learn, to the point of over-learning, to persist despite negative consequences. But the person persists in that love for a substance, rather than in this love – for the self, for a person, for a community, beloved work, or with a beloved activity. Essentially, it’s “love gone awry.” Because substances are hard on the brain and impair cognitive functioning, dysfunctional behavior happens, negative consequences happen, but the use and the behavior persist. “SHARE the Love” with others this week by clicking this graphic!

https://www.smartrecovery.org/love-protocols-addiction-treatment/ how alcohol abuse affects relationships how alcohol abuse affects relationships

Bar graph shows shorter hospital stays, less time in withdrawal treatment, and lower doses of morphine for the offspring of opioid-dependent women who received buprenorphine rather than methadone during pregnancy. Methadone has been the standard of care for the past 40 years for opioid-dependent pregnant women. However, interest is growing in the possible use of buprenorphine, a more recently approved medication, as another option for the treatment of opioid addiction during pregnancy. “Our findings suggest that buprenorphine treatment during pregnancy has some advantages for infants compared with methadone and is equally safe,” says Dr. Hendrée Jones , who led the multicenter study while at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and is now at RTI International. Methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) enhances an opioid-dependent woman’s chances for a trouble-free pregnancy and a healthy baby. Compared with continued opioid abuse, MMT lowers her risk of developing infectious diseases, including hepatitis and HIV; of experiencing pregnancy complications, including spontaneous abortion and miscarriages; and of having a child with challenges including low birth weight and neurobehavioral problems. Along with these benefits, MMT may also produce a serious adverse effect. Like most drugs, methadone enters fetal circulation via the placenta. The fetus becomes dependent on the medication during gestation and typically experiences withdrawal when it separates from the placental circulation at birth. The symptoms of withdrawal, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) include hypersensitivity and hyperirritability, tremors, vomiting, respiratory difficulties, poor sleep, and low-grade fevers. Newborns with NAS often require hospitalization and treatment, during which they receive medication (often morphine) in tapering doses to relieve their symptoms while their bodies adapt to becoming opioid-free. The MOTHER researchers hypothesized that buprenorphine maintenance could yield methadone’s advantages for pregnant women with less neonatal distress. Buprenorphine, like methadone, reduces opioid craving and alleviates withdrawal symptoms without the safety and health risks related to acquiring and abusing drugs.

https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2012/07/buprenorphine-during-pregnancy-reduces-neonate-distress