Alcoholism research to the real world: Addiction Science Made Easy

April 21, 2015

Maureen Fitzgerald
Communications Coordinator, ATTC Network
Editor, NIATx
Held every year in April, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) Alcohol Awareness Month has a special focus on underage drinking—a particular problem in April, the beginning of prom and graduation season.

NCADD promotes early education as key to preventing underage drinking and to helping individuals and families seek help for drinking problems. If you’re looking for quick access to research to accompany your alcohol and addiction related education activities during April—or any other time of the year—look no further than the Addiction Science Made Easy (ASME) feature on the ATTC website. There, you’ll find research briefs based on articles from the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research and the the NIDA CTN Dissemination Library.

Since the ATTC Network first launched ASME in 1999, the inventory of articles, searchable by keyword, has grown to more than 600. Today the ASME library offers an overview of research on alcohol conducted over the past 15 years. A search using the keyword "adolescent" brings up 126 articles, many of them sharing results of studies on alcohol and teens' developing brains.  Here's a sample of a few of them:  

This is Your Adolescent Brain on Alcohol. This article published in 2000 shares some of the first research that investigated alcohol-related brain damage in alcohol-dependent teenagers.

An ASME article from 2001, Specifying Alcohol-related Brain Damage in Young Women used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)—a fairly new tool in SUD research at the time—to examine the brains of young women with alcohol dependence.

In 2008, Adolescents at Risk of Developing a Substance-Use Disorder have Deficits in Front Brain Activation shared results of another study that used MRI to explore the link between brain functioning and risk of developing an SUD.

An article from 2011 provides more evidence of the harm of binge drinking: Heavy Drinking Suggests Serious Detrimental Effects on Teens Developing Minds, and a 2014 article, Family History of AODA Disorders Affects Youths’ Forebrain Function, talks about studying the brain mechanisms that might make people more vulnerable to addiction as keys to creating more effective treatment and prevention strategies.

Addiction Science Made Easy resulted from a partnership between the ATTC Network, the Research Society on Alcoholism, and the journal, Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research.

Dr. Carleton Erickson, director of the Addiction Science Research and Education Center at the University of Texas and and also currently one of the field editors for Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research was instrumental in establishing this partnership.

Science writer Sherry Wasilow developed and wrote all of the more than 600 ASME briefs after reading articles from Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research and interviewing the scientists who conducted the research studies. She then skillfully translated the findings into a compact and easy-to-read format designed for busy treatment professionals who don’t always have time to read academic journals.

The ATTC Network thanks our ASME partners for bringing the latest research on alcoholism to the ATTC community and beyond. While the last ASME research brief was published in February 2015, marking the end of an era, ASME will remain as a resource the ATTC website, and we'll continue to offer the latest research news with research briefs  from NIDA’s Clinical Trials Network, written by Meg Brunner, MLIS, CTN Network Dissemination Library. Look for the CTN research briefs each month in the ATTC Messenger and also on the website.

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