A gene mutation for excessive alcohol drinking found

Researchers have discovered a gene that regulates alcohol consumption and when faulty can cause excessive drinking. They have also identified the mechanism underlying this phenomenon.

The study showed that normal mice show no interest in alcohol and drink little or no alcohol when offered a free choice between a bottle of water and a bottle of diluted alcohol.

However, mice with a genetic mutation to the gene Gabrb1 overwhelmingly preferred drinking alcohol over water, choosing to consume almost 85% of their daily fluid as drinks containing alcohol - about the strength of wine.

The consortium of researchers from five UK universities – Newcastle University, Imperial College London,  Sussex University, University College London and University of Dundee – and the MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit at Harwell, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), Wellcome Trust and ERAB, publish their findings today in Nature Communications.

Dr Quentin Anstee, Consultant Hepatologist at Newcastle University, joint lead author said: “It’s amazing to think that a small change in the code for just one gene can have such profound effects on complex behaviours like alcohol consumption.

“We are continuing our work to establish whether the gene has a similar influence in humans, though we know that in people alcoholism is much more complicated as environmental factors come into play. But there is the real potential for this to guide development of better treatments for alcoholism in the future.”

Identifying the gene for alcohol preference

Working at the MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit, a team led by Professor Howard Thomas from Imperial College London introduced subtle mutations into the genetic code at random throughout the genome and tested mice for alcohol preference. This led the researchers to identify the gene Gabrb1 which changes alcohol preference so strongly that mice carrying either of two single base-pair point mutations in this gene preferred drinking alcohol (10% ethanol v/v - about the strength of wine), over water.

The group showed that mice carrying this mutation were willing to work to obtain the alcohol-containing drink by pushing a lever and, unlike normal mice, continued to do so even over long periods. They would voluntarily consume sufficient alcohol in an hour to become intoxicated and even have difficulty in coordinating their movements.

The cause of the excessive drinking was tracked down to single base-pair point mutations in the gene Gabrb1, which codes for the beta 1 subunit, an important component of the GABAA receptor in the brain. This receptor responds to the brain’s most important inhibitory chemical messenger (GABA) to regulate brain activity. The researchers found that the gene mutation caused the receptor to activate spontaneously even when the usual GABA trigger was not present.

These changes were particularly strong in the region of the brain that controls pleasurable emotions and reward, the nucleus accumbens, as Dr Anstee explains: “The mutation of the beta1 containing receptor is altering its structure and creating spontaneous electrical activity in the brain in this pleasure zone, the nucleus accumbens. As the electrical signal from these receptors increases, so does the desire to drink to such an extent that mice will actually work to get the alcohol, for much longer than we would have expected.”

Professor Howard Thomas said: “We know from previous human studies that the GABA system is involved in controlling alcohol intake. Our studies in mice show that a particular subunit of GABAA receptor has a significant effect and most importantly the existence of these mice has allowed our collaborative group to investigate the mechanism involved. This is important when we come to try to modify this process first in mice and then in man.”

Leading to a treatment for alcohol addiction

Initially funded by the MRC, the 10-year project aimed to find genes affecting alcohol consumption. Professor Hugh Perry, Chair of the MRC’s Neurosciences and Mental Health Board, said: “Alcohol addiction places a huge burden on the individual, their family and wider society. There’s still a great deal we don’t understand about how and why consumption progresses into addiction, but the results of this long-running project suggest that, in some individuals, there may be a genetic component. If further research confirms that a similar mechanism is present in humans, it could help us to identify those most at risk of developing an addiction and ensure they receive the most effective treatment.”

Most colleges require students to go through some sort of alcohol education program. When I was a freshman in college, I was required to play a video game that involved helping Franklin the frog navigate through various college parties without succumbing to alcohol poisoning. (Easy, Frank — remember to hydrate).

Other universities require students to watch educational videos or take online quizzes about appropriate alcohol use.These one-time interventions do work, but their effect tends to wear off as the school year progresses, according to a recent study.

Programs Help Students Cut Back On Booze, But Not For Long

Photo Credit: iStockphoto

Just Stay

Note: I started this fic back in september but have since had time to reflect on the story I’d like to tell. I have made the decision to rewrite/rework what I already have and then write to it’s completion. If it sounds familiar, that’s why. (Warnings for this chapter are in the tags) 

On Ao3

Being without Ian was hell.  Mickey was moving through it in search of some kind of reprieve but he’d been living in the Milkovich household long enough to know not to hope for everything.  His ability to do such a thing had been beaten out of him years ago.  Ian had begun to change that, taught him how to hope again, and look where that fucking got him. So he didn’t hope.

Mickey was back to merely surviving and he’d be lying if he didn’t admit that it was a hell of a lot harder to do so after he had lost Ian than it was before Ian was ever part of his life. Whoever said it was better to have loved and lost than never loved at all was full of shit and obviously not the gay son of the likes of Terry Milkovich.

Keep reading

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.”

Alcohol Consumption Harmful or Helpful?

Alcohol Consumption Harmful or Helpful?

ACE Fitness did a recent infographic on 6 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Health. I expected all the info to be bad, but some of it surprised me. Alcohol seemed to improve your health in some ways, but hurt it in others. However, a word they kept using over and over was “moderate” consumption – which led me to the question “What is moderate consumption?”

In bodybuilding, competitors drink a few…

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Researchers find that alcohol consumption damages brain’s support cells

Alcohol consumption affects the brain in multiple ways, ranging from acute changes in behavior to permanent molecular and functional alterations. The general consensus is that in the brain, alcohol targets mainly neurons. However, recent research suggests that other cells of the brain known as astrocytic glial cells or astrocytes are necessary for the rewarding effects of alcohol and the development of alcohol tolerance. The study, first-authored by Dr. Leonardo Pignataro, was published in the February 6th issue of the scientific journal Brain and Behavior.

“This is a fascinating result that we could have never anticipated. We know that astrocytes are the most abundant cell type in the central nervous system and that they are crucial for neuronal growth and survival, but so far, these cells had been thought to be involved only in brain’s support functions. Our results, however, show that astrocytes have an active role in alcohol tolerance and dependence,” explains Dr. Pignataro.

The team of researchers from Columbia and Yale Universities analyzed how alcohol exposure changes gene expression in astrocyte cells and identified gene sets associated with stress, immune response, cell death, and lipid metabolism, which may have profound implications for normal neuronal activity in the brain. “Our findings may explain many of the long-term inflammatory and degenerative effects observed in the brain of alcoholics,” says Dr. Pignataro. “The change in gene expression observed in alcohol-exposed astrocytes supports the idea that some of the alcohol consumed reaches the brain and that ethanol (the active component of alcoholic beverages) is locally metabolized, increasing the production free radicals that react with cell components to affect the normal function of cells. This activates a cellular stress response in the cells in an attempt to defend from this chemical damage. On the other hand, the body recognizes these oxidized molecules as "foreign objects” generating an immune response against them that leads to the death of damage cells. This mechanism can explain the inflammatory degenerative process observed in the brain of chronic alcoholics, allowing for the development of different and novel therapeutically approaches to treat this disease" added Dr. Pignataro.

The consequences of alcohol on astrocytes revealed in this study go far beyond what happens to this particular cell type. Astrocytes play a crucial role in the CNS, supporting normal neuronal activity by maintaining homeostasis. Therefore, alcohol changes in gene expression in astrocytes may have profound implications for neuronal activity in the brain.

These findings will help scientists better understand alcohol-associated disorders, such as the brain neurodegenerative damage associated with chronic alcoholism and alcohol tolerance and dependence. “We hope that this newly discovered role of astrocytes will give scientists new targets other than neurons to develop novel therapies to treat alcoholism,” Leonardo Pignataro concluded.

anonymous asked:

Thoughts on having a single glass of wine for the holidays?

I say go for it. It’s a single glass of wine.

If you’re pregnant, I still say go for it. It’s a single glass of wine! Some doctors say it’s alright to have a single glass of red wine a day during pregnancy. :)

We just talked about this the other day I believe, but I think it was about alcoholic egg nog.

Mamas, thoughts?


zantehchanteh asked:

Mate, is it true that your govt is battling against alcohol consumption to the point of ridiculousness? What do you think of it?

Yes, it’s true and it’s pretty fucking stupid.

Basically they’re talking about banning all alcohol advertising to “protect the impressionable children” which means that all alcohol related advertising in public areas would be illegal. Because apparently adverts encourage people to start drinking younger to which I’ll point out that if stuff’s illegal “just because” then someone will sure as hell rebel. And this includes underage drinking so I doubt the advertising blackout will do shit. 

The new laws also mean that a restaurant can’t for example use a following kind of positive Facebook review in their advertising, social media or otherwise: “Great restaurant, absolutely mouthwatering food, make sure to check out their shrimps, nice atmosphere, a large selection of beers for all tastes.” They’re also forbidden from creating content that can be shared, which has also apparently lead to Finnish government to asking Facebook to ban the Share button in Finland. 

Private individuals would be allowed to post about alcohol as much as they want on Facebook, because then it would be viewed as private communication. 

This basically means that it will be about impossible for breweries to advertise to the actual consumers. 

The logic being; if you don’t know there’s alcohol, you can’t have it.

There’s also another law in the works that would greatly restrict the opening hours of bars and restaurants, allowing them to be closed hours earlier. This would also curtail alcohol consumption of course. 

I mean, we already pretty much have all alcoholic beverages under a monopoly in Finland but controlling that isn’t really working because we can get cheap booze from Estonia (it’s only few hours across the gulf, a day trip on the faster ferries). Alcohol has been like this big bad boogieman for a pretty long time in Finland. We tried Prohibition 1919-1932 and that just encouraged making moonshine and smuggling of alcohol and also raised general violence and crime rates. It all kinda goes back to stereotypes really; Finland was for thousands of years the backwater of Europe and everything came here pretty late, including strong alcohol and during long and dark winters there really wasn’t much to do but drink. Seriously, there are stories from 17th century about Finns serving in the Swedish army being uncontrollable drunks. And then when temperance movement became a thing in the late 19th century, all of these uncontrollable drunk stereotypes were upped to the max. 

With all of these “let’s control alcohol consumption” things going on, it feels like we’ve never learnt how to consume alcohol responsibly. When the laws tighten, we drink because “fuck the government,” when they loosen, we drink to celebrate, it’s like there’s no middle ground. Sometimes there’s a news article about how we should try to be like Mediterraneans with our drinking habits but it doesn’t really work out. This has all kinda let into a culture where it’s the norm to kinda not drink for like a week and then drink a lot come weekend because Saturday sauna is always a good time for a few cold beers. And it kinda easily leads to overindulging. Most of our crime rates are also tied really closely to alcohol consumption. Most violent deaths in Finland include alcohol, a fight and whatever the closest weapon happens to be and are accidents. And sure, if there was less alcohol involved, the number of those deaths would be less. But the fact remains that people never like to be told what not to do. I won’t say anything about those who appear to be perpetually drunk, I don’t personally know any. 

That’s why we sometimes call our society “holhousyhteiskunta,” a tutelage society.

Personally I’ve never been really big on alcohol. I tasted some when I was underage by accident and decided it tasted horrid (and I consider that a good way to discourage underage drinking, choose the shittiest and most disgusting alcoholic beverage and let the kid taste just a bit – by the time they want to try again they’ll hopefully be old enough to drink responsibly). I drink at most like three or four times a year and I’ve never in my life had a hangover because I moderate and stop early enough. 

But I do think the government is making stupid decisions about this. They fail to take into account how badly stuff like this has worked in the past and the basic human nature. Could it be done smarter? Dunno, I’m not an expert.

Pre-sleep drinking disrupts sleep

For individuals who drink before sleeping, alcohol initially acts as a sedative - marked by the delta frequency electroencephalogram (EEG) activity of Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) - but is later associated with sleep disruption. Significant reductions in EEG delta frequency activity and power also occur with normal development between the ages of 12 and 16; likewise this is a time when alcohol is commonly consumed for the first time, with dramatic increases in drinking occurring among collage-age individuals. A study of the effects of alcohol on sleep EEG power spectra in college students has found that pre-sleep drinking not only causes an initial increase in SWS-related delta power but also causes an increase in frontal alpha power, which is thought to reflect disturbed sleep.

Results will be published in the February 2015 online-only issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

“People likely tend to focus on the commonly reported sedative properties of alcohol, which is reflected in shorter times to fall asleep, particularly in adults, rather than the sleep disruption that occurs later in the night,” said Christian L. Nicholas, National Health & Medical Research Council Peter Doherty Research Fellow in the Sleep Research Laboratory at The University of Melbourne as well as corresponding author for the study.

“The reduction in delta frequency EEG activity we see across the ages is thought to represent normal brain maturational processes as the adolescent brain continues to develop to full maturity,” said Nicholas. “Although the exact function of non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep, and in particular SWS, is a topic of debate, it is thought to reflect sleep need and quality; thus any disruption to this may affect the underlying restorative properties of sleep and be detrimental to daytime functioning.”

Nicholas and his colleagues recruited 24 participants (12 female, 12 male), healthy 18- to 21-year-old social drinkers who had consumed less than seven standard drinks per week during the previous 30 days. Each participant underwent two conditions: pre-sleep alcohol as well as a placebo, followed by standard polysomnography with comprehensive EEG recordings.

Results showed that alcohol increased SWS delta power during NREM. However, there was a simultaneous increase in frontal alpha power.

“For individuals researching sleep in the field of alcohol studies,” said Nicholas, “our findings indicate that care needs to be taken when interpreting increases in ‘visually scored’ SWS associated with alcohol consumption. Increases in SWS, which traditionally would be interpreted as a good thing, can be associated with more subtle changes indicating disrupted sleep, such as the increases we observed in alpha activity, which are revealed when more detailed micro-structural components of the sleep electroencephalogram are assessed.”

Nicholas explained that the increase in frontal alpha power that occurs as a result of pre-sleep drinking likely reflects a disruption of the normal properties of NREM slow wave sleep.

“Similar increases in alpha-delta activity, which are associated with poor or unrefreshing sleep and daytime function, have been observed in individuals with chronic pain conditions,” he said. “Thus, if sleep is being disrupted regularly by pre-sleep alcohol consumption, particularly over long periods of time, this could have significant detrimental effects on daytime wellbeing and neurocognitive function such as learning and memory processes.”

Alcohol is not a sleep aid, said Nicholas. “The take-home message here is that alcohol is not actually a particularly good sleep aid even though it may seem like it helps you get to sleep quicker. In fact, the quality of the sleep you get is significantly altered and disrupted.”

Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines

Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (LRDG) help Canadians moderate their alcohol consumption and reduce their immediate and long-term alcohol-related harm.

The Guidelines recommend no more than two drinks a day, 10 per week for women, and three drinks a day, 15 per week for men, with an extra drink allowed on special occasions.

(From Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse)

Economic Insights - Migration, Tourism, Car Sales & Alcohol Consumption

Australia as you know it might be changing. Data on migration, tourism, car sales and alcohol consumption were released.

Beer consumption has fallen to a 62-year low, 4.62 litres to 4.56 litres over the year to June 2010. The fall has cause a rise in another form of alcohol, wine, it rose from 3.73 litres to 3.81 litres in 2009/10. It could be caused by many factors like education, perception, and health issues. The fall in spending on take-away outlets could be aligned with the fall in beer consumption. Aussies are going on a health kick.

Aussies are also seizing the opportunity that the Aussie dollar is strong to travel, in April there was a near 20% lift in short-term overseas departures. People have been saving up and taking advantage of the best exchange rate Australia has seen in the past 30 years. When people save, money is kept, when they travel, the money they kept are spent not domestically but overseas, thus not benefiting the local businesses.

Also with the strong Aussie dollar, the tourism industry suffered a tourism deficit of record high 201,500 (arrivals less departures). Though arrivals to Australia has risen for the third month, the increase is not sufficient comparative to last year, the arrivals are down 22.1%.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) reported that 77,406 new vehicles were sold in May, down 13.2% comparative to last year. It could be caused by the reduced availability due to the Japanese tsunami. In addition, people are relatively conservative, some might be waiting closer to the end of financial year before purchasing for tax benefits.

Lastly the Performance of Services Index fell to 49.9, under 50, indicating a contraction of activity within the services sector. Alongside, the new wage increase might further hurt the services sector, where businesses might be forced to reduce employment further.

All information are not to be taken for personal advice, please speak to your financial adviser or stock broker for proper strategies.

Monday’s medical myth: alcohol kills brain cells

Do you ever wake up with a raging hangover and picture the row of brain cells that you suspect have have started to decay? Or wonder whether that final glass of wine was too much for those tiny cells, and pushed you over the line?

Well, it’s true that alcohol can indeed harm the brain in many ways. But directly killing off brain cells isn’t one of them.

The brain is made up of nerve cells (neurons) and glial cells. These cells communicate with each other, sending signals from one part of the brain to the other, telling your body what to do. Brain cells enable us to learn, imagine, experience sensation, feel emotion and control our body’s movement.

Alcohol’s effects can be seen on our brain even after a few drinks, causing us to feel tipsy. But these symptoms are temporary and reversible. The available evidence suggests alcohol doesn’t kill brain cells directly.

There is some evidence that moderate drinking is linked to improved mental function. A 2005 Australian study of 7,500 people in three age cohorts (early 20s, early 40s and early 60s) found moderate drinkers (up to 14 drinks for men and seven drinks for women per week) had better cognitive functioning than non-drinkers, occasional drinkers and heavy drinkers.

But there is also evidence that even moderate drinking may impair brain plasticity and cell production. Researchers in the United States gave rats alcohol over a two-week period, to raise their alcohol blood concentration to about 0.08. While this level did not impair the rats’ motor skills or short-term learning, it impacted the brain’s ability to produce and retain new cells, reducing new brain cell production by almost 40%. Therefore, we need to protect our brains as best we can.

Excessive alcohol undoubtedly damages brain cells and brain function. Heavy consumption over long periods can damage the connections between brain cells, even if the cells are not killed. It can also affect the way your body functions. Long-term drinking can cause brain atrophy or shrinkage, as seen in brain diseases such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

There is debate about whether permanent brain damage is caused directly or indirectly.

We know, for example, that severe alcoholic liver disease has an indirect effect on the brain. When the liver is damaged, it’s no longer effective at processing toxins to make them harmless. As a result, poisonous toxins reach the brain, and may cause hepatic encephalopathy (decline in brain function). This can result in changes to cognition and personality, sleep disruption and even coma and death.

Alcoholism is also associated with nutritional and absorptive deficiencies. A lack of Vitamin B1 (thiamine) causes brain disorders called Wernicke’s ncephalopathy (which manifests in confusion, unsteadiness, paralysis of eye movements) and Korsakoff’s syndrome (where patients lose their short-term memory and coordination).

So, how much alcohol is okay?

To reduce the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, the National Health and Medical Research Council recommends healthy adults drink no more than two standard drinks on any day. Drinking less frequently (such as weekly rather than daily) and drinking less on each occasion will reduce your lifetime risk.

To avoid alcohol-related injuries, adults shouldn’t drink more than four standard drinks on a single occasion. This applies to both sexes because while women become intoxicated with less alcohol, men tend to take more risks and experience more harmful effects.

For pregnant women and young people under the age of 18, the guidelines say not drinking is the safest option.

So while alcohol may not kill brain cells, if this myth encourages us to rethink that third beer or glass of wine, I won’t mind if it hangs around.

Vodka blamed for high death rates in Russia

The high number of early deaths in Russia is mainly due to people drinking too much alcohol, particularly vodka, research suggests.

The study, in The Lancet, says 25% of Russian men die before they are 55, and most of the deaths are down to alcohol. The comparable UK figure is 7%.

Causes of death include liver disease and alcohol poisoning. Many also die in accidents or after getting into fights.

The study is thought to be the largest of its kind in the country.

Researchers from the Russian Cancer Centre in Moscow, Oxford University in the UK and the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer, in France, tracked the drinking patterns of 151,000 adults in three Russian cities over up to 10 years.

During that time, 8,000 of them died. The researchers also drew on previous studies in which families of 49,000 people who had died were asked about their loved ones’ drinking habits.

Study co-author Prof Sir Richard Peto, from the University of Oxford, said: “Russian death rates have fluctuated wildly over the last 30 years as alcohol restrictions and social stability varied under Presidents Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Putin, and the main thing driving these wild fluctuations in death was vodka.”

Binge drinking

In 1985, the then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev drastically cut vodka production and did not allow it to be sold before lunch-time.

Researchers say alcohol consumption fell by around a quarter when the restrictions came in, and so did overall death rates. Then, when communism collapsed, people started drinking more again and the death rates also rose.

Sir Richard said: “When President Yeltsin took over from President Gorbachev, the overall death rates in young men more than doubled. This was as society collapsed and vodka became much more freely available.

"There was a huge increase in drinking and they were drinking in a destructive way. They were getting drunk on spirits and then buying and drinking more, producing a big risk of death.”

The consumption rates for women also fluctuated according to political events, but they drank less so mortality rates were also lower.

Most drinkers were smokers as well which researchers say “aggravated” the death rates.

Russia brought in stricter alcohol control measures in 2006, including raising taxes and restricting sales.

Researchers say alcohol consumption has fallen by a third since then and the proportion of men dying before they reach 55 years old has fallen from 37% to 25%.

Half a litre of vodka costs around £3.00 (150 roubles). Heavy drinkers in this study were getting through at least a litre and a half of vodka a week.

In 2011, each Russian adult drank on average 13 litres of pure alcohol every year, of which eight litres was in spirits, mainly vodka.

In the UK the comparable figure is 10 litres per adult - but just less than two litres of that is in spirits.

Researchers say the key problem driving the high death rate is the way Russians drink alcohol.

Researcher Prof David Zaridze, from the Russian Cancer Research Centre, said: “They binge drink. That’s the main problem. It’s the pattern of drinking not the per-capita amount they are drinking.”

“Russians have always drunk a lot. They sometimes say it’s because of the cold weather but this is just an excuse. This is the nation’s lifestyle that needs to change.

"Since the average life expectancy from birth for men in Russia is still only 64 years, ranking among the lowest 50 countries in the world, more effective alcohol and tobacco policy measures are urgently needed.”

(From BBC)