Alcohol

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Posted by r2d2 04/19/2009 @ 07:16

Tags : alcohol, food and wine, leisure

News headlines
Witness cites brain damage, alcohol in Silver Comet killer's defense - Atlanta Journal Constitution
By RHONDA COOK A childhood fall from a tree and decades of alcohol abuse damaged the areas that control anger and impulse in the brain of Silver Comet Trail murderer Michael Ledford, according to an expert. Dr. Thomas Sacky, a forensic psychiatrist,...
24% of adults 'risking health through alcohol' - guardian.co.uk
The latest figures, which are for 2007, also show a big rise in the numbers of people admitted to hospital for alcohol-related conditions, including injuries from falls or fights. In 2007-08 there were 863300 admissions linked to drinking,...
Ballard Proposes Boosting Alcohol Tax To Bail Out CIB - INDYchannel.com
INDIANAPOLIS -- A new proposal from Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard would raise the alcohol tax in Marion County to bail out the financially strapped Capital Improvement Board. The proposal would also allow the surrounding counties to raise their...
City manager seeks program to fight alcohol-related crime - San Diego Union Tribune
By Mark Arner Union-Tribune Staff Writer IMPERIAL BEACH — The Imperial Beach city manager will urge the City Council tonight to consider a new program to fight drunken driving, public drunkenness and other crimes linked to alcohol abuse....
Taxes on alcohol could soon increase - KSWO
Richard said like tobacco users, a lot of people who consume alcohol are lower income Americans. "It's taxing people who don't pay income taxes. They won't admit it, but that's in reality what they're talking about." The proposed tax increase may not...
Sales tax on alcohol approved by Senate - WWLP 22News
(WWLP) - Massachusetts residents may not only have to pay a higher sales tax, but they may soon have to pay more for alcohol as well. The State Senate voted to remove the tax exemption for alcohol sales when it approved a sales tax hike from 5% to...
Police: 2 Sioux Falls businesses fail alcohol compliance check - Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Two liquor establishments sold alcohol in a monthly compliance check done Wednesday by Sioux Falls police, authorities said. Bake's Liquors, 3406 S. Marion Road, and Lambo's BP, 3501 W. 49th St., had clerks who were cited for furnishing alcohol to a...
Minors, Alcohol Dangerous Mix - Wheeling News Register
If the adults facilitated or even tolerated use of alcohol by minors, they used exceedingly bad judgment. They also were guilty of a crime. Local law enforcement officers have arrested several adults for similar offenses during the past few years....
New Alcohol Tax Calculator Tool - PR Newswire (press release)
SAN RAFAEL, Calif., May 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As state budgets sink, Marin Institute, the alcohol industry watchdog, today released a tool to calculate the rising tide of alcohol taxes and fees. The user-friendly alcohol tax calculator can be...
Student arraigned in death of pedestrian - Boston Globe
He pleaded not guilty to charges of negligent motor vehicle homicide, operating under the influence of alcohol, and being a minor transporting liquor. Despite a request by Ronan that Caruso be held on $20000 cash bail, the judge ordered him held on...

Alcohol

Functional group of an alcohol molecule. The carbon atom is bound to hydrogen atoms and may bind to other carbon atom(s) to form a carbon chain. Methanol, an alcohol with a single carbon atom, is pictured. Ethanol, which is drinking alcohol, has two carbon atoms.

In chemistry, an alcohol is any organic compound in which a hydroxyl group (-OH) is bound to a carbon atom of an alkyl or substituted alkyl group. The general formula for a simple acyclic alcohol is CnH2n+1OH. In common terms, the word alcohol refers to ethanol, the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages.

Ethanol is a colorless, volatile liquid with a mild odor which can be obtained by the fermentation of sugars. (Industrially, it is more commonly obtained by ethylene hydration—the reaction of ethylene with water in the presence of phosphoric acid.) Ethanol is the most widely used depressant in the world, and has been for thousands of years. This sense underlies the term alcoholism (addiction to alcohol).

Other alcohols are usually described with a clarifying adjective, as in isopropyl alcohol (propan-2-ol) or wood alcohol (methyl alcohol, or methanol). The suffix -ol appears in the "official" IUPAC chemical name of all alcohols.

There are three major subsets of alcohols: primary (1°), secondary (2°) and tertiary (3°), based upon the number of carbon atoms the C-OH group's carbon (shown in red) is bonded to. Ethanol is a simple 'primary' alcohol. The simplest secondary alcohol is isopropyl alcohol (propan-2-ol), and a simple tertiary alcohol is tert-butyl alcohol (2-methylpropan-2-ol).

The simplest and most commonly used alcohols are methanol and ethanol. Methanol was formerly obtained by the distillation of wood and called "wood alcohol." Methanol is intoxicating but not directly poisonous. It is toxic by its breakdown (toxication) by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase in the liver by forming formic acid and formaldehyde which cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve.

Apart from its familiar role in alcoholic beverages, ethanol is also used as a highly controlled industrial solvent and raw material. To avoid the high taxes on ethanol for consumption, additives are added to make it unpalatable (such as denatonium benzoate—"Bitrex") or poisonous (such as methanol). Ethanol in this form is known generally as denatured alcohol; when methanol is used, it may be referred to as methylated spirits ("Meths") or "surgical spirits".

In the IUPAC system, the name of the alkane chain loses the terminal "e" and adds "ol", e.g. "methanol" and "ethanol". When necessary, the position of the hydroxyl group is indicated by a number between the alkane name and the "ol": propan-1-ol for CH3CH2CH2OH, propan-2-ol for CH3CH(OH)CH3. Sometimes, the position number is written before the IUPAC name: 1-propanol and 2-propanol. If a higher priority group is present (such as an aldehyde, ketone or carboxylic acid), then it is necessary to use the prefix "hydroxy", for example: 1-hydroxy-2-propanone (CH3COCH2OH).

Common names for alcohols usually takes name of the corresponding alkyl group and add the word "alcohol", e.g. methyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol or tert-butyl alcohol. Propyl alcohol may be n-propyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol depending on whether the hydroxyl group is bonded to the 1st or 2nd carbon on the propane chain. Isopropyl alcohol is also occasionally called sec-propyl alcohol.

As mentioned above alcohols are classified as primary (1°), secondary (2°) or tertiary (3°), and common names often indicate this in the alkyl group prefix. For example (CH3)3COH is a tertiary alcohol is commonly known as tert-butyl alcohol. This would be named 2-methylpropan-2-ol under IUPAC rules, indicating a propane chain with methyl and hydroxyl groups both attached to the middle (#2) carbon.

The word alcohol appears in English in the 16th century, loaned via French from medical Latin, ultimately from the Arabic الكحل (al-kuḥl, "the kohl, a powder used as an eyeliner").

The Classical Arabic term is الغول al-ġawl, but the Latin transcription may have been confused with that for الكحل al-kuḥl, and most dictionaries give the latter etymology.

The current Arabic name for alcohol is الكحول al-kuḥūl, re-introduced from western usage, while the Classical Arabic word is الغول al-ġawl (e.g. sura 37:47), literally "spirit" (the word al-ġawl is also the origin of the English word "ghoul", and the name of the star Algol).

William Johnson in his 1657 Lexicon Chymicum glosses the word as antimonium sive stibium. By extension, the word came to refer to any fluid obtained by distillation, including "alcohol of wine", the distilled essence of wine. Libavius in Alchymia (1594) has vini alcohol vel vinum alcalisatum. Johnson (1657) glosses alcohol vini as quando omnis superfluitas vini a vino separatur, ita ut accensum ardeat donec totum consumatur, nihilque fæcum aut phlegmatis in fundo remaneat. The word's meaning became restricted to "spirit of wine" (ethanol) in the 18th century, and was again extended to the family of substances so called in modern chemistry from 1850.

Alcohols have an odor that is often described as “biting” and as “hanging” in the nasal passages.

The hydroxyl group generally makes the alcohol molecule polar. Those groups can form hydrogen bonds to one another and to other compounds. This hydrogen bonding means that alcohols can be used as protic solvents. Two opposing solubility trends in alcohols are: the tendency of the polar OH to promote solubility in water, and of the carbon chain to resist it. Thus, methanol, ethanol, and propanol are miscible in water because the hydroxyl group wins out over the short carbon chain. Butanol, with a four-carbon chain, is moderately soluble because of a balance between the two trends. Alcohols of five or more carbons (Pentanol and higher) are effectively insoluble in water because of the hydrocarbon chain's dominance. All simple alcohols are miscible in organic solvents.

Because of hydrogen bonding, alcohols tend to have higher boiling points than comparable hydrocarbons and ethers. The boiling point of the alcohol ethanol is 78.29 °C, compared to 69 °C for the hydrocarbon Hexane (a common constituent of gasoline), and 34.6 °C for Diethyl ether.

Alcohols, like water, can show either acidic or basic properties at the O-H group. With a pKa of around 16-19 they are generally slightly weaker acids than water, but they are still able to react with strong bases such as sodium hydride or reactive metals such as sodium. The salts that result are called alkoxides, with the general formula RO- M+.

Alcohols can also undergo oxidation to give aldehydes, ketones or carboxylic acids, or they can be dehydrated to alkenes. They can react to form ester compounds, and they can (if activated first) undergo nucleophilic substitution reactions. The lone pairs of electrons on the oxygen of the hydroxyl group also makes alcohols nucleophiles. For more details see the reactions of alcohols section below.

Alcohols can be used as a beverage (ethanol only), as fuel and for many scientific, medical, and industrial utilities. Ethanol in the form of alcoholic beverages has been consumed by humans since pre-historic times. A 50% v/v solution of ethylene glycol in water is commonly used as an antifreeze.

Some alcohols, mainly ethanol and methanol, can be used as an alcohol fuel. Fuel performance can be increased in forced induction internal combustion engines by injecting alcohol into the air intake after the turbocharger or supercharger has pressurized the air. This cools the pressurized air, providing a denser air charge, which allows for more fuel, and therefore more power.

Alcohols have applications in industry and science as reagents or solvents. Because of its low toxicity and ability to dissolve non-polar substances, ethanol can be used as a solvent in medical drugs, perfumes, and vegetable essences such as vanilla. In organic synthesis, alcohols serve as versatile intermediates.

Ethanol can be used as an antiseptic to disinfect the skin before injections are given, often along with iodine. Ethanol-based soaps are becoming common in restaurants and are convenient because they do not require drying due to the volatility of the compound. Alcohol is also used as a preservative for specimens.

Alcohol gels have become common as hand sanitizers.

It is inevitable that all humans always have some amount of alcohol in their bodies at all times, even if they never drink alcoholic beverages in their lives. This is because of a process called endogenous ethanol production. Many of the bacteria in the intestines use alcohol fermentation as a form of respiration. This metabolic method produces alcohol as a waste product, in the same way that metabolism results in the formation of carbon dioxide and water. Thus, human bodies always contain some quantity of alcohol produced by these benign bacteria.

Several methods exist for the preparation of alcohols in the laboratory.

Alcohols can behave as weak acids, undergoing deprotonation. The deprotonation reaction to produce an alkoxide salt is either performed with a strong base such as sodium hydride or n-butyllithium, or with sodium or potassium metal.

It should be noted, though, that the bases used to deprotonate alcohols are strong themselves. The bases used and the alkoxides created are both highly moisture sensitive chemical reagents.

The acidity of alcohols is also affected by the overall stability of the alkoxide ion. Electron-withdrawing groups attached to the carbon containing the hydroxyl group will serve to stabilize the alkoxide when formed, thus resulting in greater acidity. On the other hand, the presence of electron-donating group will result in a less stable alkoxide ion formed. This will result in a scenario whereby the unstable alkoxide ion formed will tend to accept a proton to reform the original alcohol.

With alkyl halides alkoxides give rise to ethers in the Williamson ether synthesis.

The OH group is not a good leaving group in nucleophilic substitution reactions, so neutral alcohols do not react in such reactions. However, if the oxygen is first protonated to give R−OH2+, the leaving group (water) is much more stable, and the nucleophilic substitution can take place. For instance, tertiary alcohols react with hydrochloric acid to produce tertiary alkyl halides, where the hydroxyl group is replaced by a chlorine atom by unimolecular nucleophilic substitution. If primary or secondary alcohols are to be reacted with hydrochloric acid, an activator such as zinc chloride is needed. Alternatively the conversion may be performed directly using thionyl chloride.

In the Barton-McCombie deoxygenation an alcohol is deoxygenated to an alkane with tributyltin hydride or a trimethylborane-water complex in a radical substitution reaction.

Alcohols are themselves nucleophilic, so R−OH2+ can react with ROH to produce ethers and water in a dehydration reaction, although this reaction is rarely used except in the manufacture of diethyl ether.

More useful is the E1 elimination reaction of alcohols to produce alkenes. The reaction generally obeys Zaitsev's Rule, which states that the most stable (usually the most substituted) alkene is formed. Tertiary alcohols eliminate easily at just above room temperature, but primary alcohols require a higher temperature.

A more controlled elimination reaction is the Chugaev elimination with carbon disulfide and iodomethane.

In order to drive the equilibrium to the right and produce a good yield of ester, water is usually removed, either by an excess of H2SO4 or by using a Dean-Stark apparatus. Esters may also be prepared by reaction of the alcohol with an acid chloride in the presence of a base such as pyridine.

Other types of ester are prepared similarly- for example tosyl (tosylate) esters are made by reaction of the alcohol with p-toluenesulfonyl chloride in pyridine.

Primary alcohols (R-CH2-OH) can be oxidized either to aldehydes (R-CHO) or to carboxylic acids (R-CO2H), while the oxidation of secondary alcohols (R1R2CH-OH) normally terminates at the ketone (R1R2C=O) stage. Tertiary alcohols (R1R2R3C-OH) are resistant to oxidation.

The direct oxidation of primary alcohols to carboxylic acids normally proceeds via the corresponding aldehyde, which is transformed via an aldehyde hydrate (R-CH(OH)2) by reaction with water before it can be further oxidized to the carboxylic acid.

Often it is possible to interrupt the oxidation of a primary alcohol at the aldehyde level by performing the reaction in absence of water, so that no aldehyde hydrate can be formed.

Allylic and benzylic alcohols can be oxidized in presence of other alcohols using certain selective oxidants such as manganese dioxide (MnO2).

Reagents useful for the oxidation of secondary alcohols to ketones, but normally inefficient for oxidation of primary alcohols to aldehydes, include chromium trioxide (CrO3) in a mixture of sulfuric acid and acetone (Jones oxidation) and certain ketones, such as cyclohexanone, in the presence of aluminium isopropoxide (Oppenauer oxidation).

Alcohols possessing two hydroxy groups located on adjacent carbons —that is, 1,2-diols— suffer oxidative breakage at a carbon-carbon bond with some oxidants such as sodium periodate (NaIO4) or lead tetraacetate (Pb(OAc)4), resulting in generation of two carbonyl groups.

Ethanol in alcoholic beverages has been consumed by humans since prehistoric times for a variety of hygienic, dietary, medicinal, religious, and recreational reasons. The consumption of large doses of ethanol causes drunkenness (intoxication), which may lead to a hangover as its effects wear off. Depending upon the dose and the regularity of its consumption, ethanol can cause acute respiratory failure or death. Because ethanol impairs judgment in humans, it can be a catalyst for reckless or irresponsible behavior.

The LD50 of ethanol in rats is 10,300 mg/kg. Other alcohols are substantially more poisonous than ethanol, partly because they take much longer to be metabolized and partly because their metabolzation produces substances that are even more toxic. Methanol (wood alcohol), for instance, is oxidized to the poisonous formaldehyde in the liver by alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes; this can cause blindness or death.

An effective treatment to prevent formaldehyde toxicity after methanol ingestion is to administer ethanol. Alcohol dehydrogenase has a higher affinity for ethanol, thus preventing methanol from binding and acting as a substrate. Any remaining methanol will then have time to be excreted through the kidneys. Remaining formaldehyde will be converted to formic acid and excreted.

Methanol itself, while poisonous, has a much weaker sedative effect than ethanol. Some longer-chain alcohols such as n-propanol, isopropanol, n-butanol, t-butanol and 2-methyl-2-butanol do however have stronger sedative effects, but also have higher toxicity than ethanol. These longer chain alcohols are found as contaminants in some alcoholic beverages and are known as fusel alcohols, and are reputed to cause severe hangovers although it is unclear if the fusel alcohols are actually responsible. Many longer chain alcohols are used in industry as solvents and are occasionally abused by alcoholics, leading to a range of adverse health effects.

Alcohol has been found outside the Solar system. It can be found in low densities in star and planetary system forming regions of space.

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Alcohol abuse

Alcohol abuse, as described in the DSM-IV, is a psychiatric diagnosis describing the use of alcoholic beverages despite negative consequences. It is differentiated from alcohol dependence by the lack of symptoms such as tolerance and withdrawal. Alcohol abuse is sometimes referred to by the less specific term alcoholism. However, many definitions of alcoholism exist, and only some are compatible with alcohol abuse.

Treatment can vary for alcohol abuse, but there are many programs that exist from prevention to age and gender specific rehab centers. Many times there are abuse issues associated with alcoholism and group treatment entirely composed of women, for example, can help tend to issues surrounding male abusers. Rehabilitation centers are recommended for detoxification as there can be serious physical effects, including death, if treated improperly.

A study in 2001 indicated ‘”29 percent of college students have driven a car while under the influence of alcohol’” (Windel). A separate study was performed and the results were that ‘”2.1 million students between the ages of 18 and 24 drove a vehicle under the influence of alcohol’”(USA.gov). These two studies show college drinking and driving is an issue. The 1995 Centers for Disease Control and prevention National College Risk Behavior Survey reported that ‘”39.9% of college students between the ages of 18-24 rode with a drunk driver in the past month’” (Beck).

The findings regarding gender differences indicate that as many females as males are consuming alcohol. However, males are shown to have more of a problem with bad drinking, such as binge drinking and everyday drinking.

A study done of the campus of University of North Carolina at Wilmington suggests that men binge drink to feel “macho” and women binge drink to try to feel equal to men.

Drinking learner permits have been proposed as a way to reduce alcohol abuse among young adults. Proponents argue that learner's permits would be analogous to driving learner permits. A person who wishes to obtain a driver's license must first acquire a learner's permit. This requires that the person pass a written test of driving knowledge and then pass a test of driving ability by successfully operating a motor vehicle. Issuance of the learner's permit then allows the driver to operate a vehicle under the oversight of an older driver and the permit holder is restricted to driving only during certain hours and under a number of other restrictions designed to help the person learn to drive safely.

Proponents of alcoholic beverage drinking learner permits argue that they should be available to adults age 18 to 21 with parental or guardian permission after successfully completing an alcohol education course and written tests. The permit would restrict the locations, times, and amounts of alcohol that could legally be consumed. The permit could be revoked immediately at any time by the parents or guardians or any law enforcement officer. Opponents of drinking learner permits argue that persons under the age of 21 should not be permitted to drink any amount of alcohol for any reason, including religious, because they believe their brains lack the necessary physiological development. Proponents emphasize that the applicability of this research to light and moderate drinking is speculative because it is based on rats and young people who are serious alcohol abusers who are typically in treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. It also fails to address the fact that Jews, Italians, Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese and many others typically drink from an early age without any reported cognitive impairment.

Opponents also argue that adults age 18, 19 and 20 lack the maturity to make informed decisions about drinking. Proponents emphasize that citizens are legally adults at the age of 18.

The organization Choose Responsibility actively promotes drinking learner permits.

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Long-term effects of alcohol

Total recorded alcohol per capita consumption (15+), in litres of pure alcohol[1]

The long term effects of alcohol in excessive quantities is capable of damaging every organ and system in the body. Regularly consuming alcohol is correlated with an increased risk of developing alcoholism, cardiovascular disease, malabsorption, chronic pancreatitis, alcoholic liver disease, and cancer. Damage to the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system can occur from sustained alcohol misuse. Research has found a correlation between light consumption of alcohol, less than 13 standardised drinks a week, and reduced risk of heart disease as well as other health benefits . However, more recent research found that moderate consumption of alcohol did not decrease heart disease and that the positive effects were due to methodological flaws in research studies. Health authorities typically do not recommend the consumption of alcohol and set an upper, but no lower, limit on the amount of alcohol that should be consumed.

Alcohol at moderate levels has some positive and negative effects on health. The negative effects include increased risk of liver diseases, oropharyngeal cancer, esophageal cancer and pancreatitis. Conversely moderate intake of alcohol may have some benefitial effects on gastritis and cholelithiasis. Chronic alcohol misuse and abuse has serious effects on physical and mental health. Chronic excess alcohol intake, or alcohol dependence, can lead to a wide range of neuropsychiatric or neurological impairment, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and malignant neoplasms. The psychiatric disorders which are associated with alcoholism include, major depression, dysthymia, mania, hypomania, panic disorder, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, personality disorders, schizophrenia, and suicide, neurologic deficits (eg impairments of working memory, emotions, executive functions, visuospatial abilities and gait and balance) and brain damage. Alcohol dependence is associated with hypertension, coronary heart disease, and ischemic stroke, cancer of the respiratory system, but also cancers of the digestive system, liver, breast and ovaries. Heavy drinking is associated with liver disease, such as cirrhosis. Studies have focused on both men and women, various age groups, and people of many ethnic groups. Published papers now total in the many hundreds, with studies having shown correlation between moderate alcohol use and health that may instead have been due to the beneficial effects of socialization that is often accompanied by alcohol consumption. Some of the specific ways alcohol affects cardiovascular health have been studied.

Research in various countries has found the all-cause mortality rates range from 16 to 28% lower among moderate drinkers (1 - 2 drinks per day) than among abstainers.

A 23-year prospective study of 12,000 male British physicians aged 48–78, found that overall mortality was significantly lower in the group consuming an less than 2 "units" (British unit = 8 g) per day than in the non-alcohol-drinking group. Greater than 2 units per day was associated with an increased risk of mortality. Alcohol represented 5% of deaths in the sample of physicians.

Alcohol consumption is one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide. Countries collect statistics on alcohol-related deaths. Whilst some categories relate to short-term effects, such as accidents, many relate to long-term effects of alcohol.

Moderate alcohol consumption has been argued to be a protective against cardiovascular disorders. On the other hand, some have disputed this, claiming that the apparent benefits of alcohol on cardiovascular function could be explained by improper statistical analysis, inappropriate questionaires and other serious methodological problems. A doctor at the World Health Organisation stated that recommending moderate alcohol consumption for health benefits is "ridiculous and dangerous".

However, much medical research suggests that, consumed in moderation, alcohol increases HDL (“good cholesterol”), decreases thrombosis (blood clotting), reduces fibrinogen (a blood clotter), increases fibrinolysis (clot dissolving), reduces artery spasm from stress, increases coronary blood flow and increases insulin sensitivity – all good for heart health. Additionally, Thrombosis is lower among moderate drinkers than teetotalers.

A study found that moderate consumption of alcohol had a protective effect against intermittent claudication, The lowest risk was seen in men who drank 1 to 2 drinks per day and in women who drank half to 1 drink per day.

Drinking in moderation has been found to help those who have suffered a heart attack survive it. However, excessive alcohol consumption leads to an increased risk of heart failure. A review of the literature found that half a drink of alcohol offered the best level of protection. However, they noted that at present there have been no randomised trials to confirm the evidence which suggests a protective role of low doses of alcohol against heart attacks. There is an increased risk of hypertriglyceridemia, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, and stroke if 3 or more standard drinks of alcohol are taken per day.

Compared to abstaining, drinking in moderation is associated with an increased risk of stroke. Light drinking offers no benefits in prevention of stroke.

Large amount of alcohol can lead to alcoholic cardiomyopathy, commonly known as "holiday heart syndrome." Alcoholic cardiomyopathy presents in a manner clinically identical to idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, involving hypertrophy of the musculature of the heart that can lead to a form of cardiac arrythmia. These electrical anomalies, represented on an EKG, often vary in nature, but range from nominal changes of the PR, QRS, or QT intervals to paroxsysmal episodes of ventricular tachycardia. The pathophysiology of alcoholic cardiomyopathy has not been firmly identified, but certain hypotheses cite an increased secretion of epinephrine and norepinephrine, increased sympathetic output, or a rise in the level of plasma free fatty acids as possible mechanisms.

Alcoholics may have anemia from several causes; they may also develop thrombocytopenia from direct toxic effect on megakaryocytes, or from hypersplenism.

Chronic heavy alcohol consumption impairs brain development, causes brain shrinkage, dementia, physical dependence, increases neuropsychiatric and cognitive disorders and causes distortion of the brain chemistry. Some studies however have shown that moderate alcohol consumption may decrease risk of dementia, including Alzheimer disease, although there are studies which find opposite. At present due to poor study design and methodology the literature is inconclusive on whether moderate alcohol consumptions increases the risk of dementia or decreases it.

A 2003 Johns Hopkins study has linked moderate alcohol use to brain shrinkage and did not find any reduced risk of stroke among moderate drinkers.

Consuming large amounts of alcohol over a period of time can impair normal brain development in humans. Deficits in retrieval of verbal and nonverbal information and in visuospatial functioning were evident in youths with histories of heavy drinking during early and middle adolescence.

Heavy alcohol consumption inhibits new brain cell development.

Nearly half of chronic alcoholics may have myopathy. Proximal muscle groups are especially affected. Twenty-five percent of alcoholics may have peripheral neuropathy, including autonomic.

One of the organs most sensitive to the toxic effects of chronic alcohol consumption is the brain. In France approximately 20% of admissions to mental health facilities are related to alcohol related cognitive impairment most notably alcohol related dementia. Chronic excessive alcohol intake is also associated with serious cognitive decline and a range of neuropsychiatric complications. The elderly are the most sensitive to the toxic effects of alcohol on the brain. There is some inconclusive evidence that small amounts of alcohol taken in earlier adult life is protective in later life against cognitive decline and dementia.

Essential tremors can be temporarily relieved in up to two-thirds of patients by drinking small amounts of alcohol, thus avoiding the serious side effects of the most effective and expensive medications or the dangers of surgery.

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a manifestation of thiamine deficiency, usually as a secondary effect of alcohol abuse. The syndrome is a combined manifestation of two eponymous disorders, Korsakoff's Psychosis and Wernicke's encephalopathy, named after Drs. Sergei Korsakoff and Carl Wernicke. Wernicke's encephalopathy is the acute presentation of the syndrome and is characterised by a confusional state while Korsakoff's psychosis main symptoms are amnesia and executive dysfunction.

High rates of major depressive disorder occur in heavy drinkers and those who abuse alcohol. Controversy has previously surrounded whether those who abused alcohol who developed major depressive disorder were self medicating (which may be true in some cases) but recent research has now concluded that chronic excessive alcohol intake itself directly causes the development of major depressive disorder in a significant number of alcohol abusers. Alcohol misuse is associated with a number of mental health disorders and alcoholics have a very high suicide rate. Studies have shown that alcohol dependence relates directly to cravings and irritability. Another study has shown that alcohol use is a significant predisposing factor towards antisocial behavior in children. Depression, anxiety and panic disorder are disorders commonly reported by alcohol dependent people. The mental health disorders are often induced by alcohol misuse via distortion of brain neurochemistry as the disorders typically improve or disappear with prolonged abstinence although temporarily worsening in early withdrawal and recovery occurs. Psychosis is secondary to several alcohol-related conditions including acute intoxication and withdrawal after significant exposure. Chronic alcohol misuse can cause psychotic type symptoms to develop, more so than with other drugs of abuse. Alcohol abuse has been shown to cause an 800% increased risk of psychotic disorders in men and a 300% increased risk of psychotic disorders in women which are not related to pre-existing psychiatric disorders. This is significantly higher than the increased risk of psychotic disorders seen from cannabis use making alcohol abuse a very significant cause of psychotic disorders. Prominent hallucinations and/or delusions are usually present when a patient is intoxicated or recently withdrawn from alcohol. Whilst alcohol initially helps social phobia or panic symptoms, with longer term alcohol misuse can often worsen social phobia symptoms and can cause panic disorder to develop or worsen, during alcohol intoxication and especially during the alcohol withdrawal syndrome. This effect is not unique to alcohol but can also occur with long term use of drugs which have a similar mechanism of action to alcohol such as the benzodiazepines which are sometimes prescribed as tranquillisers to people with alcohol problems. Approximately half of patients attending mental health services for conditions including anxiety disorders such as panic disorder or social phobia are the result of alcohol or benzodiazepine dependence. It was noted that every individual has an individual sensitivity level to alcohol or sedative hypnotic drugs and what one person can tolerate without ill health another will suffer very ill health and that even moderate drinking can cause rebound anxiety syndromes and sleep disorders. A person who is suffering the toxic effects of alcohol will not benefit from other therapies or medications as they do not address the root cause of the symptoms.

The impact of alcohol on weight-gain is contentious: some studies find no effect, others find decreased or increased effect on weight gain.

Alcohol use increases the risk of chronic gastritis (stomach inflammation); it is one cause of cirrhosis, hepatitis, and pancreatitis in both its chronic and acute forms.

Consumption of alcohol is unrelated to gallbladder disease. However one study suggested that drinkers who take Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) might reduce their risk of gallbladder disease.

Alcoholic liver disease is a major public health problem. For example in the United States up to two million people have alcohol related liver disorders. Chronic alcohol abuse can cause fatty liver, cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis. Treatment options are limited and consist of most importantly discontinuing alcohol consumption. In cases of severe liver disease, the only treatment option may be a liver transplant in alcohol abstinent patients. Research is being conducted into the effectiveness of anti-TNF's. Certain complimentary medications eg milk thistle and silymarin appear to offer some benefit. Alcohol is a leading cause of liver cancer in the western world accounting for 32-45% of hepatic cancers. Up to half a million people in the United States develop alcohol related liver cancer.

Alcohol misuse is a leading cause of both acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis. Chronic excessive intake of alcohol can cause destruction of the pancreas resulting in severe chronic pain, which may progress to pancreatic cancer. Chronic pancreatitis often results in malabsorption problems and diabetes.

Research indicates that drinking alcohol is associated with a lower risk of developing kidney stones. One study concludes, "Since beer seemed to be protective against kidney stones, the physiologic effects of other substances besides ethanol, especially those of hops, should also be examined." "...consumption of coffee, alcohol, and vitamin C supplements were negatively associated with stones." "After mutually adjusting for the intake of other beverages, the risk of stone formation decreased by the following amount for each 240-ml (8-oz) serving consumed daily: caffeinated coffee, 10%; decaffeinated coffee, 10%; tea, 14%; beer, 21%; and wine, 39%." "...stone formation decreased by the following amount for each 240-mL (8-oz) serving consumed daily: 10% for caffeinated coffee, 9% for decaffeinated coffee, 8% for tea, and 59% for wine." (CI data excised from last two quotes.).

Long term use of alcohol can lead to damage to the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system resulting in loss of sexual desire and impotence in men.

Alcohol consumption promotes insulin sensitivity. However, the small number of benefits of alcohol consumption are greatly outweighed by the large amount of negative effects on health of moderate alcohol consumption including injuries, violence, fetal damage, certain forms of cancer, liver disease and hypertension. Moderate alcohol intake is therefore not recommended by doctors as the risks greatly outweigh any small benefits.

Regular consumption of alcohol is associated with an increased risk of gouty arthritis. Alcohol consumption is associated with decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Two recent studies report that the more alcohol consumed, the lower the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Among those who drank regularly, the one-quarter who drank the most were up to 50% less likely to develop the disease compared to the half who drank the least.

The researchers noted that moderate alcohol consumption also reduces the risk of other inflammatory processes such as cardiovascualar disease. Some of the biological mechanisms by which ethanol reduces the risk of destructive arthritis and prevents the loss of bone mineral density (BMD), which is part of the disease process.

Chronic excessive alcohol abuse is associated with a wide range of skin disorders including urticaria, porphyria cutanea tarda, flushing, cutaneous stigmata of cirrhosis, psoriasis, pruritus, seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea.

There is a protective effect of alcohol consumption against active infection with H pylori In contrast, alcohol intake (comparing those who drink > 30 gm of alcohol per day to nondrinkers) is not associated with higher risk of duodenal ulcer.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ National Toxicology Program listed alcohol as a known carcinogen in 2000.

The World Cancer Research Fund panel report Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective finds the evidence "convincing" that alcoholic drinks increase the risk of the following cancers: mouth, pharynx and larynx, oesophagus, colorectum (men), breast (pre- and postmenopause).

High concentrations of acetaldehyde, which is produced as the body breaks down ethanol, may damage DNA in healthy cells. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have shown that acetaldehyde reacts with polyamines which are naturally occurring compounds essential for cell growth - to create a particularly dangerous type of mutagenic DNA base called a Cr-Pdg adduct.

Fetal alcohol syndrome or FAS is a disorder of permanent birth defects that occurs in the offspring of women who drink alcohol during pregnancy. Drinking heavily or during the early stages of prenatal development has been conclusively linked to FAS; the impact of light or moderate consumption is not yet fully understood. Alcohol crosses the placental barrier and can stunt foetal growth or weight, create distinctive facial stigmata, damaged neurons and brain structures, and cause other physical, mental, or behavioural problems. Fetal alcohol exposure is the leading known cause of mental retardation in the Western world.

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Alcohol advertising

One of the Guinness advertising posters from the Gilroy Era of the 40's

Alcohol advertising is the promotion of alcoholic beverages by alcohol producers through a variety of media. Along with tobacco advertising, it is one of the most highly-regulated forms of marketing.

Scientific research around the world conducted by governments, health agencies and universities has, over decades, been able to demonstrate a correlation between alcohol beverage advertising and alcohol consumption. However, it has not been proven that alcohol advertising causes higher consumption. It is in the alcohol industry's interest to demonstrate that effective alcohol campaigns only increase a producer's market share and also brand loyalty.

Many advertising campaigns have attempted to increase consumption, brand and customer loyalty.

The intended audience of the alcohol advertising campaigns have changed over the years, with some brands being specifically targeted towards a particular demographic. Some drinks are traditionally seen as a male drink, particularly beers, while others are drunk by females. Some brands have allegedly been specifically developed to appeal to people that would not normally drink that kind of beverage.

One area in which the alcohol industry have faced criticism and tightened legislation is in their alleged targeting of young people. Central to this is the development of alcopops – sweet-tasting, brightly coloured drinks with names that may appeal to a younger audience. However, numerous government and other reports have failed to support that allegation.

This article on alcohol advertising restrictions is implemented in each EU country largely through the self-regulatory bodies dealing with advertising.

The EU law 'TV without Frontiers' Directive is currently being revised to broaden the scope to new media formats such as digital television. Now called the 'Audiovisual Directive', the European Parliament is voting on the new text of the legislation in December 2006.

A number of non-governmental organisations working on alcohol policy have raised questions about whether the restrictions on alcohol advertising in Article 15 are effective and being properly implemented. For the Audiovisual Directive, they are calling on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to vote for a ban on alcohol adverts on televisions before 9.00 p.m.

Some countries, such as Kenya and Norway, have banned all alcohol advertising on television and billboard.

Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority has some control over what can and cannot appear in advertising campaigns in the United Kingdom. In January 2005 an Ofcom ruling stated that the campaigns should not imply that there is a link between the consumption of alcohol and social or sexual success, or the perception of physical attractiveness. Lambrini, for example, were told to change their adverts in July 2005 when it depicted three women gaining the attention of an attractive man – they were told to change it to a show an unattractive man. The first billboards to be withdrawn under this ruling were those of Young's Bitter on 11 January 2006. Greene King, a brewer which owns over 750 pubs in the UK, decided in February 2005 to cease the sale of drinks and cocktails with undesirable connotations behind their names. Any that had an association "with sexual promiscuity, machismo, anti-social behaviour or illegal acts" were banned.

In the United States, spirits advertising has self-regulatory bodies that create standards for the ethical advertising of alcohol. The special concern is where advertising is placed. Currently, the standard is that alcohol advertisements can only be placed in media where 70% of the audience is over the legal drinking age. Alcohol advertising's creative messages should not be designed to appeal to people under the age of 21, for example, using cartoon characters as spokespeople is discouraged. Advertising cannot promote brands based on alcohol content or its effects. Advertising must not encourage irresponsible drinking. Another issue in media placement is whether media vendors will accept alcohol advertising. The decision to accept an individual ad or a category of advertising is always at the discretion of the owner or publisher of a media outlet. In the United States, there are several television networks that, although their viewers may be above the legal drinking age, do not accept "vice" advertising like alcohol advertising on principle. Currently the tobacco industry is forbidden to advertise on TV. Because of strong self-regulation, alcohol advertising has mostly avoided regulation by the federal government. The Federal Trade Commission has conducted investigations of possible targeting to those under the age of 21. However, its investigations and that of scholars have not found evidence of such targeting. Concerns exist that irresponsible advertising practices or "pushing the envelope" with audience composition may lead to permanent legislation governing the advertising of beverage alcohol.

According to Swedish law, alcohol advertising is forbidden. However there is a loophole, in that light beer can be advertised. This advertising (that needs to say it is for "class 1" or "light beer") gives marketing effects also for medium (in Sweden 3.5%) and strong beer with same name. From year 2005 the newspapers have allowed first wine advertising, later spirits advertising, based on an EU law. The government of Sweden has protested this advertising, but EU laws are valid in Sweden unless it has been clearly shown they are not. The wine and spirits advertising have warning texts, not so strong text as for tobacco (which says "tobacco kills" and so on), more in the style "Avoid drinking while pregnant" and so on.

There have been various campaigns to help prevent alcoholism, under-age drinking and drunk driving. The Portman Group, an association of leading drinks producers in the UK, are responsible for various such campaigns. These include responsible drinking, drink driving (and designated drivers), proof of age cards. The Drink Aware campaign, for example, aims to educate people about how to drink sensibly and avoid binge drinking. The web site address is displayed as part of all of the adverts for products made by members of the group.

The Century Council, financially supported by a group of alcoholic beverage distillers in the United States, promotes responsible decision-making regarding drinking or non-drinking and works to reduce all forms of irresponsible consumption. Since its founding in 1991, it has invested over 175 million dollars in its programs.

Many campaigns by the alcoholic beverage industry that advocate responsible drinking presuppose that drinking for recreational purposes is a positive activity and reinforce this idea as an example of sensible consumption. Persons who believe alcohol can never simultaneously be used "sensibly" and recreationally would obviously disagree with the focus or direction of these campaigns.

The sponsorship of sporting events and sportspeople is banned in many countries. For example, the primary club competition in European rugby union, the Heineken Cup, is called the H Cup in France because of that country's restrictions on alcohol advertising. However, such sponsorship is still common in other areas, such as the United States.

Alcohol advertising is common in motor racing competitions, and is particularly prominent in NASCAR racing. One major example of this was the Busch Series (since renamed Nationwide Series), sponsored by a brand of beer sold by Anheuser-Busch. That sponsorship, which started in the series' conversion from a national Late Model Sportsman races around the country to the present touring format in 1982, ended after 2007.

Budweiser, the best-known Anheuser-Busch brand, currently sponsors the car of Kasey Kahne, arguably one of the most popular Sprint Cup Series drivers.

Furthermore, NASCAR mandates drivers under 21 not be permitted to wear any alcohol-branded sticker on their cars. In cases with below drinking age drivers, a specialised "Coors Pole Award - 21 Means 21" sticker is placed on such drivers' cars. One team, Petty Enterprises, refuses to participate in alcohol advertising and forfeits all alcohol monies and bonuses.

Although tobacco companies have been the main source of financial backing in Formula One, some alcohol brands have also been associated with the sport. For example, Budweiser appears on the WilliamsF1 car and the Foster's Group (with the Foster's Lager brand) sponsor numerous circuits around the world, most notably Fosters Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Becks had been Jaguar's sponsor. Johnnie Walker has sponsored McLaren since 2006.

Anheuser-Busch, being a conglomerate with non-alcoholic properties, complies with the French alcohol advertising ban in Formula One by placing their Busch Entertainment theme park logos (mostly Sea World) where their Budweiser logo would appear on the WilliamsF1 car at races where alcohol advertising is banned and in Middle Eastern countries, where alcohol advertising is discouraged. Few companies, however, added responsible drinking campaigns with their sponsorship, notably the 1989-90 BTCC Ford Sierra RS500 of Tim Harvey and Lawrence Bristow, which was sponsored by Labatt. Throughout the two seasons, the car bore a "Please Don't Drink and Drive" message.

Some stadiums, particularly in the U.S., bear the names of breweries or beer brands via naming rights arrangements, such as Busch Stadium, Coors Field, and Miller Park; those three venues are all in or near the cities of their headquarters.

Diageo are a major sponsor of many sporting events through their various brands. For example, Johnnie Walker sponsor the Championship at Gleneagles and Classic golf tournaments along with the Team McLaren Formula One car.

Cricket is a sport with a large amount of alcohol sponsorship. The 2005 Ashes, for example, featured sponsorship hoardings by brands such as Red Stripe, Thwaites Lancaster Bomber and Wolf Blass wines.

Rugby union also has a substantial amount of alcohol sponsorship. The All Blacks feature Steinlager sponsorship prominently. The Scotland national team has a long-established relationship with The Famous Grouse, a brand of Scotch whisky. Wales has a more recent relationship with the Brains brewery, and the Springboks of South Africa agreed for South African Breweries to put the Castle Lager brand on their shirt until 2004. Magners is the title sponsor of the Magners League, the top competition in Ireland, Scotland and Wales,Guinness is the title sponsor of the Guinness Premiership, the top competition in England, and the beer brand Tooheys New was the Australian sponsor of the Southern Hemisphere Super 14 competition through the 2006 season. Bundaberg Rum is one of the sponsors of the Australia national rugby union team.

Guinness' iconic stature can be attributed in part to its advertising campaigns. One of the most notable and recognizable series of adverts was created by Benson's advertising, primarily John Gilroy, in the 1930s and 40s. Gilroy was responsible for creating posters which included such phrases such as "Guinness for Strength", "It's a Lovely Day for a Guinness", and, most famously, "Guinness is Good For You". The posters featured Gilroy's distinctive artwork and more often than not featured animals such as a kangaroo, ostrich, seal, lion, and notably a toucan, which has become as much a symbol of Guinness as the Trinity College Harp. Another famous campaign more recently is the surfer ad on the television. Regarded by many as the most successful and amazingly produced TV ad of all time, it's cinematography and underlying message of the fact that patience is a good thing (good things come to those who wait) contribute to the imagination and creativity of the ad. Guinness advertising paraphernalia attracts high prices on the collectible market.

In a campaign reminiscent of viral marketing techniques, one advert quickly appeared as a screensaver distributed over the Internet. It was a simple concept, featuring Dublin actor Joe McKinney dancing around the drink while it was given time to settle. The accompanying music (mambo tune Guaglione by Pérez Prado) was released as a single and reached number one on the Irish charts and number two on the UK charts in May 1995.

In Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, Guinness launched a $8 million advertising campaign using the fictional character of Adam King to promote the embodiment of Guinness as a man could be incredibly powerful. The advertising campaign was handled by notable advertising firm, Saatchi & Saatchi.

In Africa, the character of Michael Power has been used since 1999 to boost sales.

Absolut vodka is made in Sweden and was introduced to the United States in the year 1979. Its launch was a true challenge due to a variety of factors: Sweden was not perceived as a vodka-producing country, the bottle was very awkward for bartenders to use, and vodka was perceived as a cheap, tasteless drink. Absolut's advertising campaign by TBWA exploited the shape of the bottle to create clever advertisements that caused people to become involved in the advertising, and the brand took off. Before Absolut, there were very few distinctions in the vodka category. Today there are regular, premium, and superpremium vodkas each at different price points and qualities. Flavored vodkas have become ubiquitous and may be found commonly at regular and premium price points.

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Source : Wikipedia