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Summer 2005, Number 7

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Table of Contents


ARC Directors Meet

On March 14 and 15, the directors of the Alcohol Research Centers (ARC) met in La Jolla, California. Dr. Sam Zakhari, director of NIAAA’s Division of Metabolism and Health Effects, said the meeting highlighted a growing number of cooperative projects. For example, Howard University is working with four other centers to increase participation of minority populations in their studies. Other centers have established ties with the Integrative Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism, a separate NIAAA-supported network.

Dr. Zhakari thanked Dr. George Koob, director of the ARC at the Scripps Research Institute, for hosting the meeting.

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NIAAA Budget Request Goes to Congress

In April, NIAAA Director Dr. Ting-Kai Li joined other directors from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in presenting the President’s Budget Request for FY 2006 before the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees. This budget request calls for a 0.5-percent increase for the NIH overall and a 0.5-percent increase for NIAAA as well. The FY 2006 budget request for the NIAAA is $440.3 million. This represents an increase of $2.1 million over the FY 2005 comparable level.

In a written statement to Congress about the budget request, Dr. Li highlighted ongoing research to advance our understanding in areas of neuroscience, alcohol metabolism, and youth drinking. He also emphasized recent progress in developing medications to treat alcohol use disorders.

Dr. Li stated, “We are at a crossroads, in which we are able to identify new medications, even while the pharmaceutical and medical communities are relatively unresponsive to new findings in alcohol research, and prevention and treatment are not reimbursed adequately by private insurers.” A high priority for NIAAA is to develop strategies to increase the likelihood that clinicians, communities, and health care systems will adopt research findings.

At a separate congressional “theme” hearing on substance abuse and mental health on April 27, NIAAA Deputy Director Dr. Faye Calhoun described Federal collaborations to address underage drinking, comorbid disorders, diagnostic criteria, neuroscience, and other areas.

For complete text of the statements by Drs. Li and Calhoun, visit the NIAAA Web site, www.niaaa.nih.gov.

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NHRI staff stand with Dr. Li

NHRI staff stand with Dr. Li (front row, center); Dr. Keh-Ming Lin (left), director of the NHRI Division of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Research; and Dr. Ming Tsuang (right) of The University of California–San Diego.

Li Represents NIH in Taiwan

NIAAA Director Ting-Kai Li recently visited Taiwan to represent NIH Director Elias Zerhouni at Taiwan’s National Health Research Institutes (NHRI). On April 25, he lectured on “The Global Health Problems Attributable to Common Complex Disorders: Opportunities for International Collaboration.” His speech was part of the opening of a new campus in Zhunan.

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Personnel News

Appointments

Karen Peterson, Ph.D., has been named chief of the Research Policy and Special Programs Branch, Office of Scientific Affairs. Dr. Peterson’s responsibilities include managing NIAAA’s Advanced Research Program on Alcohol, coordinating the Small Business Innovation Research program, serving as executive secretary of NIAAA’s National Advisory Council, and coordinating activities related to the Government Performance and Results Act.

Retirements/Resignations

Suzanne Medgyesi-Mitschang, Ph.D., retired from NIAAA in March. As special advisor to the director since 1998, Dr. Medgyesi-Mitschang was instrumental in the creation and growth of the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free. Launched in 2000, the Leadership now counts 37 governor’s spouses as members, 15 of whom have completed their terms in State houses but continue their efforts in the Leadership’s emeritus group. At its meeting on February 3, the NIAAA Advisory Council recognized the contributions of Dr. Medgyesi-Mitschang and thanked her for her outstanding work.

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Dr. Linda Spear

Dr. Linda Spear

Dr. Spear to Receive Keller Award

Linda P. Spear, Ph.D., has been selected to receive the 2005 Mark Keller Award and to deliver the accompanying lecture, “Adolescence: Neurobehavioral characteristics, differential alcohol sensitivities and intake,” on November 3, at NIH.

Her lab has published landmark studies on the effects of alcohol on the developing brain. Her work centers, in particular, on alcohol sensitivity and use during adolescence, the age when many young people first drink alcohol. Dr. Spear’s investigations use animal models to identify factors that might contribute to adolescents’ propensity to experiment with alcohol and to determine why this age group seems to be at particular risk for alcohol’s deleterious effects. Her findings are helping scientists understand how alcohol affects the developing brain and ultimately how drinking during adolescence may contribute to alcohol-related problems later in life.

The annual Keller award is given to an outstanding alcohol researcher who has made significant and long-term contributions to our understanding of how alcohol affects the body and mind, how we can prevent and treat alcohol abuse and alcoholism, and how today’s scientific advancements can provide hope for tomorrow. Regarding her selection to deliver this year’s lecture, Dr. Spear said, “I am honored to receive this award, and am excited that alcohol research in adolescence is receiving so much recognition.”

Visit the NIAAA Web site, www.niaaa.nih.gov in the coming months for updates about the lecture.

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Experts Discuss Building an Alcohol Education Curriculum for Nurses

On May 18, NIAAA hosted a two-day “research to practice” conference on developing a nursing education curriculum for the prevention and treatment of alcohol problems. “The meeting brought together more than a dozen leaders with diverse expertise in nursing and education,” said Peggy Murray, chief of NIAAA’s Health Sciences Education Branch, which spearheaded the conference.

Angela Barron McBride, Ph.D., R.N., Distinguished Professor and University Dean Emerita of the Indiana University School of Nursing, called the meeting “stimulating” and “full of ideas.” A curriculum on alcohol and health would benefit the nursing profession in many ways, she said. For example, nurses do assessments of new patients and may be the first to notice alcohol-related problems such as withdrawal.

Melinda Tinkle, Ph.D., R.N., W.H.C.N.P., director of Intramural Research and Training at the National Institute of Nursing Research, said the conference participants discussed various curriculum options. These included implementing Web-based learning modules for new courses or as continuing-education requirements. These materials could be developed to maximize flexibility in terms of target audience and tailored content.

The attendees “were particularly appreciative...that the NIAAA leadership understood that nurses are the interface between patients, their families, and the health care system in a broad array of clinical settings,” Dr. McBride said.

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New Publications

Alcohol: Un tema de salud de la mujer Alcohol: Un tema de salud de la mujer
This Spanish-language translation of the booklet Alcohol: A Women’s Health Issue presents information on alcohol’s health effects on women and discusses both moderate and heavy drinking. It features the most up-to-date statistics available.
Screening and Brief Intervention for Alcohol Use Problems
Early identification of excessive or harmful drinking enables clinicians to administer brief interventions to help curb or stop alcohol-related problems. A special two-part series of Alcohol Research & Health offers a comprehensive picture of the current state of research on screening and brief intervention for alcohol problems.
Part 1 cover Part I (Vol. 28, No. 1) reviews the history of screening, the effectiveness of various screening instruments, the role that biomarkers can play in identifying alcohol use and abuse, and the use of brief interventions.
Part 2 cover Part II (Vol. 28, No. 2) examines screening and brief interventions in various settings, including primary care offices, prenatal care clinics, emergency departments and trauma centers, college campuses, and within the criminal justice system.

To order:

For NIAAA publications online visit www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/publications.htm. Recent issues of Alcohol Research & Health are available in full text. For a subscription to Alcohol Research & Health, contact the U.S. Government Printing Office at 202/512–1800; online: http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

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Medical Journals To Require Public Registration of Clinical Trials

On May 23, 2005, members of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) repeated their call for investigators to register all clinical trials in a public registry.

In an editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and other journals, the editors stated that they will only consider publishing the results of clinical trials that were entered in an electronically searchable registry, which is accessible to the public at no charge, before the first patient was enrolled.

Deadlines and Criteria
The editors intend to apply this policy to trials with drugs and behavioral treatments that begin to recruit patients on or after July 1, 2005. For ongoing trials, the editors wrote: “we will consider for publication ongoing trials that are registered before September 13, 2005.” The editorial, titled “Is This Trial Fully Registered? A Statement from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors,” is online at the ICMJE Web site, www.icmje.org/clin_trialup.htm. It updates a previous editorial published in September 2004 and provides definitions of a clinical trial and key criteria to include when registering a trial.

NIH Offers Free Registry
Federally sponsored investigators can register trials at www.clinicaltrials.gov, a free public access site created by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The site is maintained by the NIH’s National Library of Medicine. NIAAA-sponsored investigators seeking to register information with the NIH site should email Gregory Roa, Office of Research Translation and Communications, at greg.roa@nih.gov.

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New Research Initiatives

Genomic, Proteomic, and Metabolomic Fingerprints as Alcohol Biomarkers (RFA-AA-06-001).This RFA solicits applications for Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Research projects that use genomic, proteomic, and/or metabolomic technologies to identify molecular fingerprints as novel biomarkers for alcohol exposure and alcohol-induced organ damage. Receipt date: July 15, 2005. Full text and contact information available at http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AA-06-001.html.

Mechanisms of Alcohol Induced Tissue Injury (PA-05-074). This program announcement invites grant applications to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms of tissue injury caused by ethanol consumption. Full text and contact information available at http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-05-074.html.

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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.

June

June 25–29
Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) Annual Scientific Meeting

Santa Barbara, CA
Contact: www.rsoa.org

June 25
RSA Satellite Symposium:

“Molecular Mechanisms of Alcohol-Induced Hepatic Fibrosis” (Ron Thurman Symposium)
Santa Barbara, CA
Contact: Dr. Vishnu Purohit, NIAAA, 301/443–2689; vpurohit@mail.nih.gov

July

July 7–9
The Association of Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) Annual Conference

Corpus Christi, TX
Contact: http://naadac.org/home.php

July 23–28
National Medical Association Annual Convention

New York, NY
Contact: www.nmanet.org

August

August 18–21
American Psychological Association Annual Convention

Washington, DC
Contact: www.apa.org/convention05/

September

September 15
National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Rockville, MD
Contact: Ida Nestorio, NIAAA, 301/443–4376; ida.nestorio@fda.hhs.gov

October

October 3
Betaine Symposium:
“The Role of Betaine (trimethylglycine) in the Treatment of Alcoholic Liver Disease”
Bethesda, MD
Sponsored by NIAAA in collaboration with NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements
Contact: Dr. Vishnu Purohit, NIAAA, 301/443–2689; vpurohit@mail.nih.gov

November

November 3
Mark Keller Honorary Lecture
“Adolescence: Neurobehavioral Characteristics, Differential Alcohol Sensitivities and Intake”
Bethesda, MD
Linda Spear, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology,
State University of New York at Binghamton
Contact: www.niaaa.nih.gov/NewsEvents/Conferences/default.htm

November 5–9, 2005
American Public Health Association Annual Meeting

New Orleans, LA
Contact: www.apha.org/meetings/

November 12–16
Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting

Washington, DC
Contact: http://web.sfn.org/am2005

November 17–18
NIAAA Steering Committee on Underage Drinking Research and Prevention

Bethesda, MD
Contact: www.niaaa.nih.gov/NewsEvents/Conferences/default.htm

 

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

NIH Publication No. 05–5346

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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