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Measuring the Burden - Editor's Note

Alcohol use is associated with tremendous costs to the drinker, those around him or her, and society as a whole. These costs result from the increased health risks (both physical and mental) associated with alcohol consumption as well as from the social harms caused by alcohol. This issue of Alcohol Research: Current Reviews examines the public health impact of alcohol consumption, looking at the...

Community Indicators: Assessing the Impact of Alcohol Use on Communities

In the United States and other countries around the world, researchers have long been interested in community-level measurement of population health in the form of community indicators. Community indicators are measures that communicate information about a given dimension of a community’s well-being (Besleme and Mullin 1997). In the United States, the current popularity of community indicators can...

Ecological Momentary Assessment and Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

The ability to capture real-time data on human behavior inexpensively, efficiently, and accurately holds promise to transform and broaden our understanding of many areas of health science. One approach to acquiring this type of real-time data is ecological momentary assessment (EMA). This method has been used to collect data in many domains of addiction research, including research on the...

Using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) to Assess Situation-Level Predictors of Alcohol Use and Alcohol-Related Consequences

Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) has afforded several important advances in the field of alcohol research, including testing prominent models of alcohol abuse etiology in “high resolution.” Using high-tech methods for signaling and/or assessment, such as mobile electronic diaries, personal data assistants, and smartphones, EMA approaches potentially can improve understanding of precipitants...

Tracking the When, Where, and With Whom of Alcohol Use: Integrating Ecological Momentary Assessment and Geospatial Data to Examine Risk for Alcohol-Related Problems

Prevention researchers have found that drinking in different contexts is related to different alcohol problems. Where and with whom people drink affects the types of alcohol-related problems they experience. Consequently, identifying those contexts that result in the greatest number of problems provides a novel opportunity to target new prevention efforts aimed at those contexts. However...

Measuring the Burden—Current and Future Research Trends: Results From the NIAAA Expert Panel on Alcohol and Chronic Disease Epidemiology

Research is continuing to investigate how alcohol impacts chronic disease. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) hosted a 2-day Expert Panel on Alcohol and Chronic Disease Epidemiology in August 2011 to review the state of the field on alcohol and chronic disease. The panel was chaired by Kenneth J. Mukamal, M.D., and Rosalind A. Breslow, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., and was...

Biomonitoring for Improving Alcohol Consumption Surveys: The New Gold Standard?

To assess alcohol consumption levels in large populations, researchers often rely on self-report measures. However, these approaches are associated with several limitations, particularly underreporting. Use of noninvasive biomonitoring approaches may help validate self-report alcohol consumption measurements and thus improve their accuracy. Two such devices currently are available, the WrisTAS™and...

Brain Structure and Function in Recovery

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) commonly is associated with compromise in neurobiological and/or neurobehavioral processes. The severity of this compromise varies across individuals and outcomes, as does the degree to which recovery of function is achieved. This narrative review first summarizes neurobehavioral, neurophysiological, structural, and neurochemical aberrations/deficits that are frequently...

Clinical Laboratory Stressors Used to Study Alcohol–Stress Relationships

A comprehensive understanding of the relationship between stress and alcohol use is important for understanding the risks of developing alcohol problems and subsequent relapse. Although the relationship is complex, substantial evidence supports that exposure to chronic stress early in life (e.g., Sher et al. 1997), adult trauma (Kessler et al. 1995), and the presence of anxiety disorders (Grant et...