Researchers Identify Key Factor in Transition from Moderate to Problem Drinking

A team of UC San Francisco researchers has found that a tiny segment of genetic material known as a microRNA plays a central role in the transition from moderate drinking to binge drinking and other alcohol use disorders.

Previous research in the UCSF laboratory of Dorit Ron, PhD, Endowed Chair of Cell Biology of Addiction in Neurology, has demonstrated that the level of a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, is increased in the brain when alcohol consumed in moderation. In turn, experiments in Ron’s lab have shown, BDNF prevents the development of alcohol use disorders.

In the new study, Ron and first author Emmanuel Darcq, PhD, a former postdoctoral fellow now at McGill University in Canada, found that when mice consumed excessive amounts of alcohol for a prolonged period, there was a marked decrease in the amount of BDNF in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a brain region important for decision making. As reported in the October 21, 2014 online edition of Molecular Psychiatry, this decline was associated with a corresponding increase in the level of a microRNA called miR-30a-5p.

MicroRNAs lower the levels of proteins such as BDNF by binding to messenger RNA, the molecular middleman that carries instructions from genes to the protein-making machinery of the cell, and tagging it for destruction.

Ron and colleagues then showed that if they increased the levels of miR-30a-5p in the mPFC, BDNF was reduced, and the mice consumed large amounts of alcohol. When mice were treated with an inhibitor of miR-30a-5p, however, the level of BDNF in the mPFC was restored to normal and alcohol consumption was restored to normal, moderate levels.

“Our results suggest BDNF protects against the transition from moderate to uncontrolled drinking and alcohol use disorders,” said Ron, senior author of the study and a professor in UCSF’s Department of Neurology. “When there is a breakdown in this protective pathway, however, uncontrolled excessive drinking develops, and microRNAs are a possible mechanism in this breakdown. This mechanism may be one possible explanation as to why 10 percent of the population develop alcohol use disorders and this study may be helpful for the development of future medications to treat this devastating disease.”

One reason many potential therapies for alcohol abuse have been unsuccessful is because they inhibit the brain’s reward pathways, causing an overall decline in the experience of pleasure. But in the new study, these pathways continued to function in mice in which the actions of miR-30a-5p had been tamped down—the mice retained the preference for a sweetened solution over plain water that is seen in normal mice.

This result has significant implications for future treatments, Ron said. “In searching for potential therapies for alcohol abuse, it is important that we look for future medications that target drinking without affecting the reward system in general. One problem with current alcohol abuse medications is that patients tend to stop taking them because they interfere with the sense of pleasure.”


Berkeley vs. Big Soda

I got a call the other day from a stooge of Big Soda who was doing a “push poll” — trying to get me and all my neighbors to vote against Berkeley’s proposed one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary soft drinks.

Big Soda is pulling out all the stops — and the money — to prevent the tax, because Big Soda knows that if it fails in Berkeley it can’t pass anywhere.

Yet, just like tobacco, we know a small tax reduces consumption. And just like tobacco, consumption of sugary soft drinks is a huge health problem.

One out of three American kids is obese and at risk of early-onset diabetes. A major culprit is Big Soda.

Isn’t it time the people stood up against corporate moneyed interests that are determined to prevent us from protecting ourselves and our kids? (Please see the attached video, and share.)



anonymous said:

what do you mean when you say, "Bihet women sell lesbians out to gain what institutional power then can from men."? what are some examples of that?

Every time a woman says something akin to “being a feminist doesn’t mean you’re a lesbian”, she is selling us out. She’s erasing us to make feminism more palatable to men, to reassure men that they can still fuck feminist women. Every time she says “I have short hair, but I’m not a lesbian”, or “I’m not one of those hairy lesbians”, she is selling us out, using us as a strawman. She is dividing feminism into nice, soft, good feminism who still caters to men and evil feminism which is full of angry, mean lesbians who hate men.

They erase our existence and our contributions to feminism to calm men down, to sweeten feminism for men’s consumption. And then when we try to split off from their watered-down, innefective, male-worshipping mockery of feminism to do our own thing, they chase us down and whine about how mean and exclusionary we are, about how men are so bad to them, about how we should coddle them and take them under our wings, so they can chew us up and spit us out when their men require another proof of allegiance.

They compare us to predatory men, police our sexuality, tear us down in front of their males to prove to them that they’re different from us. They make a public show of that so men will be nicer to them. They give more importance to their boyfriends and husbands than to women, and then they get all pissy at us when we point that out. I, for one, am tired of that shit. We’re not sidekicks for bihet girls and we’re not emotional band-aids for them to use and throw away when they feel like having straight-passing privilege again.

At the current rate of growth in humanity’s population and resource consumption, by the early 2030s we would require the ecological services of two planets to keep up with our demand. Globally, we have already exceeded the carrying capacity of our one and only planet.
—  The New Good Life, by John Robbins
[social sandbox] Listening to the audience

Good afternoon! Here are three quick hits for you today.

1. “The average Fox News or msnbc viewer is less (yes, less!) ideological than the average NPR listener.” That is how Vox framed their Facebook post yesterday about a Pew report on polarization in the media. Many of the FB comments on the post took issue with this characterization.

2. What would you like to see from journalists on Facebook? That’s the question Nicholas Kristof of the NYT posted to his account yesterday, and the answers came pouring in. Mostly, they’re happy with the work he’s doing.

3. “Millennial media-consumption habits explained, in 5 charts.” Digiday writes that a survey of 3,000 millennials across 10 countries finds 60 percent rely on social media for keeping up with the news.


I know it’s a stupid waste of electricity and they’re intended for office break rooms, but one of these days when I actually have money, I’m probably going to end up buying one of those always-on water boilers.

I drink a lot of tea, okay.

anonymous said:

People say overpopulation isn't the problem, rather that consumption or over consumption is. However, we could all consume more if there were less people on Earth, this giving those who are alive a better quality of life. I am not saying "kill all of *insert race here*"! I'm saying if people collectively had fewer children, of those children we could provide better qualities of life. (Assuming the government would disperse of resources equally, which they wouldn't but hey I can dream)

So you’re not saying lets kill everyone in the global south but if they didn’t reproduce as much that’d be dandy?

Do you see how that’s shitty and puts the onus of the problem on the people with the least ability to change things?

Mod r
(Stuff for Savior since im on my weekly bus: classism imperialism racism)

Nicholas is a friend of mine. He has opinions about sharing food (he doesn’t). When asked to move from point A to point B in a straight line, he refuses. His favorite scratching spot is beneath his neck, alongside the curve and arch of his velvet soft back. If he sees a pile of tanbark, he promptly kneels down to rub his head in it.

He ignores all requests to come when called. But he accepts all attention from human and bovine. When he is in a sleepy mood, he rests his headupon my lap and dreams the dreams of cows.

The saddest part of my friend’s story? He was stolen from his mom. Her cries might have echoed in his ears and heart as he was carried, then trucked far from the dairy farm of his birth. His milk, the milk of his mother, was sold for human consumption. I sometimes cry thinking of this theft, of the casual disregard directed at a day-old baby.

Today my friend is out grazing in an irrigated pasture surrounded by his own kind. He breathes in and out, his muscles propel him forward, blood rushes through veins and arteries. He thinks. He feels. He thirsts for existence and life. Like us all, really. His life is his. Not mine. Not yours. Stubbornly, beautifully his.

-marji beach, education director

Photo by Sylvia Elzafon


Light Alcohol Consumption During Later Life Associated With Better Episodic Memory

Read the full article Light Alcohol Consumption During Later Life Associated With Better Episodic Memory at

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, University of Kentucky, and University of Maryland found that for people 60 and older who do not have dementia, light alcohol consumption during late life is associated with higher episodic memory — the ability to recall memories of events.

The research is in  American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias. (full access paywall)

Research: “Effects of Alcohol Consumption on Cognition and Regional Brain Volumes Among Older Adults” by Brian Downer, PhD, Yang Jiang, PhD, Faika Zanjani, PhD and David Fardo, PhD in American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias. doi:10.1177/1533317514549411

Image: Researchers found that light and moderate alcohol consumption in older people is associated with higher episodic memory and is linked with larger hippocampal brain volume. This image is for illustrative purposes only. Credit rudolf_langer.

gonowandspeedwell said:

I want the K (erm more Dorwinion?)

Send me ‘I want the K’ and I’ll generate a number


  • 21: Then there’s tongue

Long are the hours spent beside the bargeman, within some dodgy tavern, though Disenwe is dimly aware of such a vast passing. Instead he concerns himself with the alarming bout of vertigo plaguing his entirety, for too great is the gap between his previous consumption of Dorwinion and now. He fears himself in this state given the lack of restraint when he leans too readily upon Bard, and utters fond words in his native tongue, words that ought only meet the ears of one beloved. Thankfully the mortal seems to fair no better nor worse than he, releasing a hearty, albeit unknowing, laugh as they make for his temporary lodgings.

As the besotted duo finally manages to reach the elven hunter’s guestroom he implores Bard stay, against his wiser judgement. Little resistance meets the following clasp of his hands around the other’s wrists as he gently leads beyond onlookers and into the privacy of his bedchambers. Neither favor speech, as they engaged in that long enough downstairs, opting to simply recline on the extending windowsill. A mild chuckle of amusement escapes the silvan as his gaze settles on the wine glass still in the bargeman’s grasp; a subtle caress of fingers over the cup’s lip suggests the desire to drink. Alternatively those battle familiar digits drift farther, climbing Bard’s forearms, and receding in pace over warmly dressed biceps.

He barely speaks above a whisper, though he doubts he will remember such an eventful evening, much less what is vocalized at this very moment. "Ni lassui, mellon."

Disenwe’s hands hence resume their journey, finally resting against the bowman’s neck. Without a word he gently beckons the mortal situate at a lesser distance, humming comfortably when opportunity, and intoxication, permit him to impose a kiss. Drunken hunger keeps them joined at the mouth, exchanging lustful sighs as their lips pursue leisurely strokes. At least until the elf decides it is no longer satisfactory, pressing his tongue forth, only to find Bard feels very much the same. Subtle warmth gathers within his chest as he endures the maddeningly slow gestures of intimacy, sighing into the deepening caress as he vaguely detects the cradle of a calloused hand beneath the southern curve of his head. 

The aroma of Dorwinion wine is thick within his nostrils, for Bard still keeps a firm hold of his glass, although he rather enjoys its accent, perhaps more than he intends. It not only lingers between them, but within their breath, subtly reminding them of their inebriation. Alas this goes without care nor interest, as the duo clearly focuses on a more primal activity. This lasts for what seems to be favorable eternity, earning a subtle exhale of malcontent from the silvan when they eventually part from one another. Still he understands, as the eve calls the bargeman home to three awaiting children. For this he bids farewell, after restoring a suitable composure, and oversees the man disappearing into the night crowd through a faded, dirty window.


Censorship appears to be Ice T’s favorite topic, followed closely by free speech — or what he says he perceives as a lack of it.

“I don’t believe there’s such a thing as free speech,” he says. “I think it’s a nice concept but as long you have to use somebody else’s vehicle, you’re going to be censored. You can’t even say anything you want in your house. You have the right to say it, but you have to be ready to deal with the ramifications.”

Ice T’s “ramifications” may have been prompted by “Cop Killer.” But that widely derided song aside, Ice T’s band Body Count also paved the way for the metal-rap fusion commercialized today by Korn and Limp Bizkit. Before these popular groups blended the two genres into a product ready for mainstream teen consumption, Ice T moshed with rock bands.

He played at the first Lollapalooza festival with bands including Jane’s Addiction and Nine Inch Nails, and opened for Metallica and Guns N’ Roses.

“Body Count started it,” he says. “Everyone knows that. Rage Against the Machine was our opening act. Korn was playing at a clothing convention when I saw them. A member of Limp Bizkit used to be in another group I was associated with, House of Pain. So if you track the movement, you can see that it’s all connected.” [Read More]