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Fall 2004, Number 5

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Drs. Li and Koob

On November 9, NIAAA Director Dr. Ting–Kai Li (left) presented the 2004 Mark Keller Award to Dr. George F. Koob of The Scripps Research Institute. The annual award recognizes an outstanding researcher who has made significant and long–term contributions to the field of research on alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

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Steering Committee Meets to Address Underage Drinking

On September 20, 2004, NIAAA convened the first meeting of the Steering Committee on Underage Drinking Research and Prevention. NIAAA organizers assembled a multidisciplinary group with broad and varied expertise in child and adolescent development, neuroscience, genetics, prevention research, public policy, communications, alcohol research, and other fields. Serving on the steering committee are Richard J. Bonnie, Jane D. Brown, Sandra A. Brown, Ronald E. Dahl, Thomas J. Dishion, Cindy L. Ehlers, Mimi Fleury, Ann S. Masten, Matthew McGue, Frank Middleton, Stacia A. Murphy, Daniel Pine, Sir Michael Rutter, Linda Spear, Michael Windle, and Robert A. Zucker.

The committee also includes two members of the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free: Kendel Ehrlich, First Lady of Maryland; and Nancy Freudenthal, First Lady of Wyoming. The Leadership initiative is a unique national public–private coalition led by State governors’ spouses. For the complete steering committee roster, including the committee members’ affiliations, visit http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/about/underage.htm#roster.

The meeting began with a review of what is known about underage drinking from multiple disciplines—epidemiology, neuroscience, genetics, and research on prevention/intervention and treatment. The summary was developed as a briefing book by NIAAA’s in–house team on underage drinking. The committee recommended that the briefing book, after additional fine–tuning, should be published to serve as a resource for the field.

Next the committee discussed opportunities and challenges in reducing underage drinking. The recent recognition that initiation of alcohol use, abuse, and dependence is intimately connected with the processes of growing up requires a major shift in thinking in both the research and practice communities. NIAAA Associate Director Mark Goldman, Ph.D., who moderated the meeting, said, “We can no longer exclusively address alcoholism as a disease of middle age. Instead, we now believe that youth represents a critical window of opportunity for understanding, preventing, and treating alcoholism.” The committee members saw the potential advantage of concentrating resources at key points in development that could provide opportunities to foster significant change.

To address these issues further, NIAAA will form smaller task groups with additional outside experts to work in conjunction with the steering committee. The next meeting is scheduled for March 3 and 4, 2005. For updates on steering committee activities, visit NIAAA’s Web site at www.niaaa.nih.gov/about/underage.htm.

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NIAAA Gives Youth Web Site a Makeover

By Kenneth Gosnell

Cool Spot home page

In November NIAAA launched a new version of “The Cool Spot,” a Web site about underage drinking prevention for middle–school children. The site’s engaging games and graphics deliver important messages to young audiences about the risks of underage drinking and ways to resist peer pressure. Visitors can find the new look and content at www.thecoolspot.gov.

With comic–book artwork and kid–friendly language tailored to 11–to–13–year olds, The Cool Spot offers many fun and educational activities. The Reality Check section quizzes users about how much drinking really is going on nationwide. Know Your No’s is an interactive section that introduces a variety of ways to say “no” in different circumstances. The animated Peer Pressure Bag of Tricks invites kids to identify some common peer pressure tactics.

The site encourages users to glean specific learning objectives through a 10–question quiz. For students, the challenge offers the chance to collect Instant Messaging icons and other free downloads. For middle–school teachers, counselors, and parents, the quiz adds a teaching dimension, allowing them to track how students have grasped important prevention messages.

The revamped site is part of NIAAA’s ongoing commitment to develop strategies to help adolescents make healthy decisions. NIAAA director Ting–Kai Li, M.D., said, “It’s vital to reach this age group, because the younger people are when they start to drink, the higher their chances of developing an alcohol problem at some point in their lives.” For more information about the Web site, contact Maureen Gardner at mgardner@niaaa.nih.gov.

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Personnel News

Appointments

Antonio Noronha

Dr. Antonio Noronha

Antonio Noronha, Ph.D., was appointed director of the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior. Dr. Noronha came to NIAAA in 1990 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Since 1999 he has served as chief of the Neuroscience and Behavioral Research Branch in the former Division of Basic Research. Dr. Noronha’s research interests include alcohol and the brain; alcohol–induced behavioral effects; neurodegenerative disorders, such as multiple sclerosis; peripheral neuropathies; and alcohol–related damage to the fetus. He has conducted research on the biochemistry of myelin–associated glycoprotein, and on the role of cell adhesion molecules and other glycoconjugates in demyelinating disorders. Dr. Noronha has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University, Chicago, and has received many honors and awards, including the NIH Director’s Award in 2001.

Vivian Faden, Ph.D., has been named Deputy Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research. Dr. Faden also serves as co–leader of NIAAA’s team on preventing underage drinking.

David W. Herion, M.D., has been appointed as a staff clinician in the Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies in NIAAA’s Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research (DICBR). He will serve as the principal patient care manager for research protocol participants.

DICBR also welcomes new visiting fellows Jose F. Covian–Nares, Ph.D., Olivier Soubias, Ph.D., and Jacob A. Theruvathu, Ph.D.; and postdoctoral intramural research training award fellows Janel M. Boyce–Rustay, Ph.D., Jessica Holden, Ph.D., and Alicia Izquierdo, Ph.D.

Retirements/Resignations

Gayle Boyd, Ph.D., has left NIAAA to join the Center for Scientific Review at NIH. She came to NIAAA in 1992 and was program director for research on youth and aging.

Eugene Hayunga, Ph.D., former chief of NIAAA’s Extramural Project Review Branch, has left NIAAA to become Deputy Director of the Office of Extramural Policy, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at NIH.

Charlene LeFauve, Ph.D., a health science administrator, has accepted an appointment as chief of the Co–Occurring and Homeless Activities Branch in the Division of State and Community Assistance in SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

Ed Linehan, NIAAA’s budget officer for the last three years, retired on September 30. He joined NIAAA in 1989 as a program analyst in the Financial Management Branch, where he became chief in 2001.

Kathy Salaita, Ph.D., a health science administrator, has left to take a position with the Center for Scientific Review at NIH. Dr. Salaita oversaw the portfolios on impaired driving and alcohol advertising.

Elsie Taylor has retired from NIAAA after a career that spanned three decades. She worked in an intramural laboratory before transitioning to the extramural program.

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New Office to Handle Grants and Contracts

NIAAA recently created the Office of Extramural Activities (OEA). Dr. Ernestine Vanderveen will serve as Acting Director of the new office, which incorporates the Extramural Project Review Branch and the Grants Management Branch. Formerly, these departments were part of the Office of Scientific Affairs. The OEA is responsible for extramural grant and contract review, the management of chartered initial review groups and special emphasis panels, and all grants management activities.

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New Publications

AR&H 27.2 cover

Alcohol Research & Health

Alcohol can affect a person’s brain and behavior in a variety of ways, from simple “slips” in memory to severe, debilitating damage that results in the need for long–term custodial care. AR&H, Vol. 27, No. 2, explores topics related to alcoholic brain disease, including common alcohol–related brain disorders, people who are at the greatest risk for impairment, and the high–tech tools that are helping scientists to better understand the effects of alcohol on the brain.

One of the leading alcohol–related causes of death is alcoholic liver disease, which is examined in a special two–part series of AR&H. Part I (Vol. 27, No. 3) presents a general overview of alcohol and liver damage, including the epidemiology of ALD, common accompanying disorders, and available treatments. Part II (Vol. 27, No. 4) examines the particular mechanisms that may give rise to ALD, including oxidative stress, formation of adducts, changes in energy availability, and the role of endotoxins, cytokines, and proteolytic systems. Together, these two issues offer a comprehensive review of the current state of research on alcohol’s effects on the liver. The journal is available at www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aharw.htm.

COMBINE Treatment Monographs Now Available

Vol. 1, Combined Behavioral Intervention Manual: A Clinical Research Guide for Therapists Treating People With Alcohol Abuse and Dependence highlights the use of Combined Behavioral Intervention (CBI), an intensive treatment that combines several successful features from previously evaluated interventions. CBI is suitable for delivery by trained psychotherapists working in specialized alcoholism treatment facilities.

Vol. 2, Medical Management Treatment Manual: A Clinical Research Guide for Medically Trained Clinicians Providing Pharmacotherapy as Part of the Treatment for Alcohol Dependence describes the use of medical management and brief counseling sessions to enhance medication adherence and abstinence from alcohol. This brief–session therapy might be suitable for delivery in primary care settings. An order form for COMBINE may be downloaded at www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/COMBINE.htm.

New Alcohol Alert

With the edition of Alcohol Alert, Number 62, “Alcohol: An Important Women’s Health Issue,” NIAAA established a new, expanded color format featuring photos and other graphics for this popular series. Each subsequent Alert condenses articles originally published in Alcohol Research & Health. The latest issue is Alcohol Alert, Number 63, “Alcohol’s Damaging Effects on the Brain.” The Alerts may be downloaded from the NIAAA Web site (www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/alalerts.htm). Free subscriptions also are available, either electronically or by postal mail. Sign up at the NIAAA Web site or write to: NIAAA, Attn: Alcohol Alert, Publications Distribution Center, P.O. Box 10686, Rockville, MD 20849–0686; fax: 703/312–5230.

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Calendar of Events

NIAAA will participate in or exhibit at the meetings and conferences listed below. For additional information or updates on these events, consult the sponsoring organizations.

December

December 1–4
SECAD 2004—National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP)

Atlanta, GA
Contact: http://www.naatp.org/secad/index.php

December 9–12
American Academy of Addiction Psychiatrists (AAAP) Annual Meeting & Symposium

San Juan, Puerto Rico
Contact: http://www.aaap.org/meetings/2004am/2004info.html

January

January 11–13
Community Anti–Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Leadership Forum

Washington, DC
Contact: http://cadca.org/Events/Forum/ Forum15/default.asp

February

February 3
Meeting of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

5635 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD
Contact: Ida Nestorio 301/443–4376; inestori@willco.niaaa.nih.gov

Drs. Li, Caetano, Koob, and Mirin

At the 107th meeting of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism on September 9, 2004, NIAAA Director Dr. Ting–Kai Li (left) presented certificates of appreciation to several Council members upon the completion of their four–year term of service (left to right): Dr. Raul Caetano, Dr. George F. Koob, and Dr. Steven M. Mirin (Dr. Sandra A. Brown, who also completed a four–year term, was not available for this photo).

 

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Published by the Office of Research Translation and Communications, NIAAA, NIH, DHHS

NIH Publication No. 04–5346

Web address: http://www.niaaa.nih.gov

E–mail: NIAAAnewsletter@nih.gov

Editor: Gregory Roa
NIAAA Office of Research Translation and Communications
5635 Fishers Lane, MSC 9304
Bethesda, MD 20892–9304
Phone: 301/443–3860
Fax: 301/480–1726

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