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Blame It On The Alcohol: How Drinking Ads Impact Young People

Binge drinking and booze – this is the stuff those poisonous hip-hop videos are made up of. These and so many alcohol advertisements Black youth are exposed to have a pervasive effect on them. A recent report compiled by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has shed some new light on the subject.

An excerpt of the report reads that youth from the African-American community are known to receive substantial pressure from alcohol advertisement in magazines and other forms of media. This is due to two reasons: brands that are targeting the youth have more capital for advertisement as opposed to other companies and they have higher control over media.

While this report went ahead to prove their hypothesis, there are also studies out there that signify that the Caucasian counterparts of the Black society are more likely to be affected by alcohol adverts. These studies have cited reasons such as religion, social norms, and poverty.

The African-American culture has a more conservative view when it comes to drinking and this level of conservativeness is missing from other cultures in the United States. Even an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh was quoted in this research supporting this societal perception of the Black community. She said that Black children generally have a stronger feeling of retention because their parents mostly disapprove of drinking as opposed to European and American parents.

Insiders from the alcohol Industry have completely refuted the claims in both the above mentioned reports. Frank Coleman, who is the Senior Vice President of the United States Distilled Spirits Council, simply told NBC that the spirits, wine, and beer industry is completely against underage drinking and spends millions every year to fight it.

It has been found by researchers and psychologists that when the individuals from the Black community do drink, there are some repetitive consequences. These include problems in relationships, legal problems, financial problems, and even unemployment. All these problems are seen in the white community as well, but in lesser numbers as opposed to African-Americans.

That being said, we would like the adults to practice responsible drinking habits while keeping an eye out for young drinkers.


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‘I quit drinking for a month – this is what happened to my liver’

fibroscan
Credit: REX

One writer put a booze ban – and the Fibroscan – to the test

How much do you drink on an average night out? Two glasses of Prosecco? Three? A bottle – or two?

No judgement here. Personally, I fall onto the latter end of the scale, and add a couple of Tequilas for good measure. I’ll readily admit it – I’m a binge drinker. I’d never buy a bottle of wine to drink on a school night, but as soon as the weekend hits it’s a different story. I’ll spend Saturday evening knocking back the bubbles and Sunday afternoon glued to the couch eating toasted sandwiches and gulping down mugs of gravy (it’s a cure, don’t @ me).

And I’m definitely not alone. The UK has a bit of a bad rep when it comes to alcohol; according to a study by Drink Aware, 27% of Brits were identified as binge drinkers because they consumed more than six to eight units (between two large glasses of wine to four low-strength pints) in a single session. The Office for National Statistics found that 7.8 million people in the UK binge drink.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that there are so many campaigns to get people cutting out alcohol for a month. Whether it’s to offset the effects of an indulgent Christmas period, or simply to ‘detox’ and improve our health, 4.2 million of us vowed to quit drinking (for thirty days, at least) this January.

Giving up your favourite tipple for just over four weeks of the year can reportedly aid weight loss, decrease blood pressure, and reduce the risk of diabetes. On top of that, it’ll supposedly give you a healthy glow, shiny eyes and a new lease of life.

Waking up one morning with no memory of getting home and an empty bank account, I decided I wanted to try going dry. I was desperate to see if a month without shots and bubbles would really make a difference to my health.

My life might be wildly different. I could smugly run 10ks on a Sunday morning, and I’d never avoid reading my Whatsapp sent messages again.

But first, I needed to know what was going on inside. I had to find out what state my liver was in.

I booked an appointment with Consultant Hepatologist Dr. William Alazawi at London Bridge Hospital, part of HCA UK, about whether a month off the sauce can really make a difference to your liver health.

‘Let’s say it’s Friday night, how much would you drink?’ he starts.

prosecco

I cringe and consider offering a conservative estimation instead. We work out that my weekendly two-and-a-half bottles of Prosecco plus a couple of tequilas gave me a grand total of 26 units. Add to that what I’d drink if I had mid-week dinner plans and my average weekly total, rather worryingly, became 30 units.

For context, the recommended weekly is fourteen. FOURTEEN. I start to panic a little about what I’d been doing to my poor liver for the last 10+ years. How much does an individual have to drink before it starts having a negative impact?

Unfortunately, he tells me that there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

‘What we know is that continued harmful drinking at a very high level in excess of those recommended limits increases your risk of developing liver problems. But that’s not to say that everybody who drinks more than that is going to end up with cirrhosis,’ he explains.

So can thirty booze-free days really make a difference if you’ve spent as many years as I have torturing the poor organ?

‘If you stop drinking for a month, I can’t guarantee you that every last wisp of scar tissue will go away, I can’t guarantee you that the fat will go away, so I can’t guarantee you that your Fibroscan score will get better,’ Dr Alazawi admits.

‘But by stopping drinking, it can give a bit of breathing space. If someone is otherwise healthy, eats well, has no underlying genetic abnormalities that may predispose you to liver disease, then stopping drinking can help.’

It was time to bite the bullet and see what was going on.

So what is a Fibroscan?

A Fibroscan is essentially an ultrasound of the liver to test its condition and get a good idea of how fatty and stiff it is. It’s non-invasive, instead checking for inflammation using high frequency sound waves. The quicker the sound bounces back, the more supple the liver, and the more supple the liver, the healthier it is.

‘The most common thing we find when we do a scan is a bit of fat in the liver,’ Dr Alazawi explains.

‘Fat in the liver may represent being overweight, it might be associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol – or it might be related to alcohol.

‘Over time, what can happen is that the liver can become very fatty. While that in itself doesn’t harm the liver, in some people the fat and alcohol can injure the liver cells themselves. So they’re no longer just sitting there with fat inside them but they’re actually now being damaged.

‘There’s inflammation because that’s our body’s response when there’s any damage, and if the injury doesn’t go away then you get scar tissue, and that scar tissue is called fibrosis and the extreme end of this is called cirrhosis. The scar tissue is harder than normal soft, supple liver tissue and that’s where the Fibroscan comes in.’

Dr. Alazawi began the examination by lightly knocking at my right side, attempting to find a good hollow point. Thanks to some rather inconveniently placed ribs, it took a little longer than expected to find the sweet spot. But once we got there, it was over in just a few minutes.

Using a pen-like device, he gently prodded the spot where my liver could most easily be examined through my awkwardly positioned bones and the readings began appearing on the screen. With every light pulse, new numbers and images appeared that I couldn’t decipher, but they were rating my liver for fattiness and scarring/inflammation.

After ten light pops, it was done. Easy. So what did it tell me?

As expected, the Fibroscan detected that my liver was a little on the tough side. Slightly stiffer than it should be, but nothing to be too concerned about, apparently. Phew. Maybe I could reverse the damage after all. But could I do it in a month?

The results of not drinking for a month

fibroscan

Photo by Konstantin Planinski on Unsplash

I decided to conduct this experiment during a month when I knew there would be plenty of opportunities to drink – December. As my family and friends knocked back flute after flute, I was sipping on soda waters with fresh lime.

But I did it. A month without drinking – I felt like a new woman. I was sleeping better, I was more sociable on the weekends and my skin definitely looked brighter. Not to mention the money I saved. I was happy to bow out early at parties, meaning no costly 3am Ubers, and I was free of ‘The Fear’.

Satisfactorily smug, I skipped back to the London Digestive Centre to see Dr. Alazawi and find out if my booze-free month had made a difference to my slighter-tougher-than-it-should-be liver.

And the results were surprising. The Fibroscan read that my liver had indeed softened up dramatically after just thirty days – but the test also revealed that it was fattier. Huh?

The reason for this, Dr Alazawi explains, could be that the tests are not usually repeated so close together and the amount of fat in the liver does vary a lot from day to day. Also, when it comes to excessive fat it’s usually down to a combination of things: a healthy diet and lifestyle also come into play. So while cutting out alcohol over an extended period of time can help a fatty liver, it’s important to remember that it’s not the only cause. While the Fibroscan is used as an indication of liver health, it’s not an exact science.

‘The other issue is it’s not just your liver,’ Dr Alazawi explains.

‘[Alcohol] can affect the heart, the skin, the reproductive system, the brain, your kidneys. There are a lot of ways that alcohol can affect your body.’

But if thirty days booze-free doesn’t make that much difference to your liver, should you bother with these ‘detoxes’ or are they all just a fad?

‘If by stepping away from the booze for a month you also think about your diet, more exercise, if it makes you sleep better, gives you a better sense of wellbeing, makes you more positive, whatever it may be…. then it’s probably a good thing,’ he continues.

‘People might think about how they feel when they drink less, and that may well have a resetting beneficial impact throughout the year.’

Who should have a Fibroscan?

According to Dr Alazawi, NICE recommends that if a woman drinks more than 35 units a week, and a man 50, and they’re worried about their alcohol consumption, they should have a Fibroscan.

However, it can also give a good indication of what else is going on with your body – as I found out.

A week after my consultation, I got a phone call from Dr. Alazawi. Something had caught his attention after our meeting. Following the Fibroscan, I had several blood tests under his instruction just to make sure that everything was okay, and they detected that I potentially have an underactive thyroid which would need to be monitored regularly and could result in me taking lifelong medication. It’s something that affects my mum and sister, but without having the test done, I would have been none the wiser.

So whether you’re a binge or heavy drinker, or just want a peek at what’s going on with your liver, the Fibroscan can be used as a tool to see inside and get a good glimpse of your health.

For information, prices and to book a Fibroscan, visit www.hcahealthcare.co.uk

The post ‘I quit drinking for a month – this is what happened to my liver’ appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Drinking contexts associated with early onset of alcohol intoxication among adolescents

New research has begun to identify the circumstances by examining relationships between early age of first intoxication (less than 15 years), drinking in different contexts such as one’s own home, at friends’ homes, or outdoor settings, and problems that arise in those contexts.
Teen Health News — ScienceDaily

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Shooter Jennings Breaks Down the Drinking Song

Jeff Zorabedian for The Daily Beast

Two men, a bottle of straight rye whiskey, an empty bar and the ghosts of country music legends Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard.

It sounds like the making of a great drinking song but on a recent afternoon Shooter Jennings was in Brooklyn for a concert at the Knitting Factory. Given that his latest catchy song, D.R.U.N.K., is all about the joys of a good drink, it seemed only logical to meet before the show at the Shanty in Williamsburg for a glass or two of its signature Ragtime Rye and a look inside the adjoining New York Distilling Company.

Despite being a second-generation star, Jennings rolled in with a small entourage of just two. I fixed us a couple of healthy whiskies on the rocks and he quickly settled into a stool at the edge of the industrial bar top. Despite admitting, “I’m usually Jack Daniel’s all the time,” he was up for drinking something new. “I like trying different stuff, man.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Children of problem drinkers more likely to marry someone with a drinking problem

Children of parents who have alcohol use disorder are more likely to get married under the age of 25, less likely to get married later in life, and more likely to marry a person who has alcohol use disorder themselves, according to a new study.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Gutfeld on James Bond’s drinking problem

James Bond is a drunk.
FOX News

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

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The Long Tradition of Americans Drinking in Paris

Bettmann

In his recent book, A Drinkable Feast, my fellow Daily Beast cocktail historian Philip Greene presents an informative and lively account of the drinks that put the “Lost” into “Lost Generation,” all linked up to the legendary bars in which those young Americans who flooded into Paris in the 1920s drank them. Sidecars at Harry’s New York Bar, Champagne Cocktails at the Ritz bar, Rose Cocktails at the Chatham, Jimmie Specials at the Dingo—as Phil ably shows, Paris at the time was a buffet of delights for the discerning cocktail-drinker.

But Ernest Hemingway, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Harry and Caresse Crosby and their ilk weren’t the first Americans to set up camp in the City of Lights and Harry’s, the Ritz and all the rest of the famous watering holes weren’t the first Parisian bars that set out to make Cocktails, Sours, Juleps, Cobblers and all the other stations of the American drinking cross.

In fact, from at least the 1840s until the German Wehrmacht came goose-stepping in a hundred years later it was Paris, not London or Havana, that was the Cocktail’s strongest bastion outside North America, although those cities loom far larger in modern Cocktail mythology.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Beer sold in 77-packs has Maryland’s comptroller accusing Anheuser-Busch of promoting binge drinking

Beer sold in 77-packs around one college campus is causing more than a little brew-haha, er, brouhaha.

Maryland’s chief financial officer is accusing Anheuser-Busch of promoting binge drinking to college students thanks to its limited time 77-packs of Natural Light beer that were sold in stores…

Life Style – New York Daily News

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