Alcohol Awareness Month
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. This year's theme is "Changing attitudes: It's not a 'rite of passage.'"
Essay: A journey to sobriety
Just days before graduating with his Ph.D., pseudonymous health systems researcher Dr. 24hours was arrested for drunk driving. Read his moving essay on his journey to recovery and what it cost him.
Infographic: The biochemistry of alcohol abuse
In an exclusive-to-ASBMB-Today rendering, an undergraduate studying biochemistry demonstrated how alcohol dehydrogenase converts a molecule nicknamed "el feliz" (the happy) into "el doloroso" (the painful). Find out how here.
News: A link between noncoding RNAs and alcoholic liver disease
What can a study of microRNAs upregulated in a mouse model of alcoholism tell us about the inflammation that leads to alcoholic liver disease? Read about the paper
Research findings: A receptor driving fatty liver disease
Alcoholic liver disease, or steatohepatosis, is a common complication of alcoholism. Scientists late last year reported the identification of a nuclear receptor that drives fat accumulation in the liver in response to ethanol. Read more
Research findings: How alcohol slows healing
Did you know that alcohol can delay the healing of bone fractures? Researchers investigated the molecular mechanism for this effect, which can increase mortality from traumatic injuries. They found that alcohol reduces TGF-beta 1 production in response to the bone remodeling factor osteopontin, which may explain problems with fracture healing. Read more
Research findings: Diagnosing oral cancers
Alcohol use is a major risk factor for cancers of the oral cavity (including tongue, lip, floor of mouth, and hard palate). Scientists in Taiwan used a targeted proteomics assay to discover diagnostic biomarkers for oral cancer. Read more
News: Alcohol and hepatitis interact to raise cholesterol
Excessive alcohol use and the viral infection hepatitis B are both known to damage the liver. Researchers recently discovered that alcohol and hepatitis have synergistic effects on the liver, dramatically affecting cholesterol metabolism. Read a brief summary of their research here.
Research findings: Obesity compounds alcohol's effect
Damage to the liver from alcohol can coexist with obesity-related liver diseases. Scientists assayed all lipids in the liver of lean and obese mice after alcohol consumption and found that obesity dramatically increased the inflammation and oxidative stress that alcohol caused. Read more
Classic study: How drinking affects "bad" cholesterol
In this classic article, researchers showed that acetaldehyde, which is produced from ethanol by alcohol dehydrogenase, can react with lipoproteins in the liver. The reaction may explain the dramatically higher very low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels observed in heavy alcohol users. Read more
Research findings: how drinking affects "good" cholesterol
Even though alcohol consumption raises liver fat and cholesterol levels, it is known to slightly reduce the risk of heart disease. In this study, researchers tested the hypothesis that alcohol may change the amount of reverse cholesterol transport, or removal of free cholesterol from the peripheral tissues to return it to the liver. Read more
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University of Illinois at Chicago researchers and colleagues report a new mechanism for detecting foreign material during early immune responses.
Drugs like aspirin dampen inflammation by inhibiting certain enzymes but can have nasty gastrointestinal side effects, so enzymologists are investigating the structure of the enzymes’ active sites in hopes of designing more selective inhibitors.