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Expert fears shift to home drinking may fuel increases in violence, fires and dependence

Alcohol is an “unhelpful coping strategy” for the possible stress and isolation of coronavirus lockdown, a World Health Organisation (WHO) expert has warned.

The UN agency acknowledged that many turn to drugs and alcohol in times of crisis, as a new survey suggested the pandemic has caused nearly two thirds of adults in the UK to feel anxious or worried.

But using substances to cope “can make things worse”, cautioned Dr Aiysha Malik, a technical officer at WHO Europe’s mental health and substance abuse department.

Dr Piper warned that “with routines out of the window we might well find ourselves reaching for a drink more often”.

Initial reports of supermarkets running out of alcohol and online retailers being overwhelmed with orders may point to a possible increase in consumption, but experts say it is too early to tell the overall impact that coronavirus will have on the nation’s drinking habits.

But it is logical to predict that alcohol only being available for home consumption may lead to rises in domestic violence, fires and potential increases dependence, according to James Morris of South Bank London University’s centre for addictive behaviours research.

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  • Researchers looked at brain scans of 11,600 people aged between 45 to 81
  • Every extra gram of alcohol per day added 0.02 years onto a person's brain age
  • Similar results were found for each additional pack of cigarettes smoked
  • An 'old' brain would show more signs of deterioration than what is normal 

By VANESSA CHALMERS HEALTH REPORTER FOR MAILONLINE PUBLISHED: 31 January 2020 

Blurred vision and slurred speech are expected when someone has drank too much.

How alcohol harms the brain in the long term is not so clearly understood - particularly how it ages the brain.

Now, a study has found drinkers who like a pint of beer or glass of wine every day show more signs their vital organ is shrinking.

Researchers looked at brain scans from thousands of Britons aged between 45 to 81, and compared it with their drinking habits.

For every extra gram of alcohol consumed per day, participants brains' were 0.02 years older - the equivalent of a day and a half. 

An 'old' brain would show more signs of deterioration than the brains of average people the same age in scans.

In the 11,600 individuals for whom information on drinking behavior was collected, those who drank alcohol on most days had a higher relative brain age than those who drank less frequently or not at all.

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Lebanese were in mourning in both Beirut and nearly 9,000 miles away in Sydney, Australia, after a horrific car crash claimed the lives of four Lebanese-Australian children on Saturday night.


An alleged drunk driver lost control of his vehicle in the Sydney suburb of Oatlands, ploughing into a group of seven children. They had been riding their bikes along a footpath on their way to buy ice cream, family members said.Samuel Davidson, 29, was on Sunday denied bail and charged by the Parramatta court on 20 counts, including manslaughter and drink driving. He allegedly had a blood alcohol level three times over the legal limit.The horrific incident caused the deaths of 13-year-old Antony Abdullah and his siblings Angelina, 12, and Sienna, 9, as well as their cousin Veronique Sakr, 11.

"Yesterday I lost three of my children. I had a cousin, Bridget, she lost her daughter as well," Daniel Abdullah said on Sunday morning according to AFP. Leila and Daniel Abdullah are left with three remaining children.

"I'm numb, probably that's how I feel at the moment," he said, adding that his children had gone on to "a better place".

"All I just want to say is, please, drivers be careful. These kids were just walking innocently, enjoying each others' company and this morning I woke up, I have lost three kids."

A makeshift memorial was put in place overnight at the site of the crash, with people coming to place flowers, teddy bears and candles.Another three children from the Lebanese-Australian family were injured in the crash, with the Abdullahs' 10-year-old son in hospital in a serious but stable condition.The tragic incident has been widely shared on social media in Lebanon, with many paying their respects.

Lebanon's foreign ministry has instructed the country's ambassador to Australia to follow up on the incident and aid the grieving families, The Daily Star reported.Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, Archbishop of Australia's Maronite Diocese, also gave his condolences for the families. The Living Maronite organisation added on its Facebook page: "Tonight before you sleep we ask that you remember in your prayers a young Maronite family from our Parish who has been devastatingly affected by a serious accident."

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How many more lives? How many more? We need a Zero B.A.C. For all drivers as well as a Zero Illicit Drug Content for ALL drivers. Yet we continue to passively promote or at the very least give a tacit approval of growing drug use of all kinds, and expect Road Tolls, Family Violence and/or Hospitalizations do drop! The cognitive dissonance in culture and policy is breathtaking. Children are always the ones who pay the greatest price in ‘drug approved’ environments. The pro-drug and pro-alcohol lobby declare ‘you cant arrest your way out of this mess’. Be rest assured, as we repeatedly declare – ‘you most definitely wont be able to ‘treat’ your way out either!”

Dalgarno Institute

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BY KEVIN NGUYENUPDATED WED AT 5:41AM

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Parents are being asked to reconsider allowing their kids to drink alcohol these holidays.

PIXABAY

Thinking about giving a child wine or beer during Christmas dinner? Researchers say even a "sip" could lead to toxic drinking habits as they become older.

Key points:

  • Drinking even once as a child was associated with binge drinking in later years
  • A researcher said Australia had an unhealthy approach to alcohol compared to other countries
  • Health authorities have revised their "safe" levels of alcohol consumption to 10 standard drinks a week

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) said it was conventional wisdom among parents that giving their underage children was a safe way to introduce them to drinking.

But the centre has published the results of an ongoing study about parental supply of alcohol — so far tracking 1,927 children from Year 7 to Year 12 — which indicated otherwise.

Amy Peacock, a senior research fellow at NDARC, said there was no benefit to supervising children's alcohol consumption and it was instead likely to increase how often adolescents drank.

"Providing alcohol, even if in the form of sips rather than full drinks, is associated with increased risks of later binge drinking and harms," Dr Peacock said.

She said even if a child drinks only once, especially when they are under 16 years old, it was more likely they would become regular drinkers in their senior years of high school.

"The sooner an adolescent is introduced to alcohol, the greater the chance they could be affected by harms like violence and serious accidents caused by drinking," she said.

"Also the greater change with an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, like binge drinking and dependence."

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  • Researchers studied more than 120,000 people in Japan and their cancer rates
  • They found risk of any cancer rose by five per cent with a daily drink for a decade
  • Cancers of the mouth, throat and breast were most commonly triggered 
  • Scientists said people who had never drunk alcohol in their lives were least likely to get any form of the disease.

'NO AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL IS SAFE' 

A major study by the University of Washington last year ruled there is no safe level of alcohol to drink.

The good sides of the occasional glass of wine, such as protecting against heart disease, are heavily outweighed by the downsides – links to a great swathe of cancers, they said.

Their study showed alcohol is responsible for 2.8million deaths each year worldwide and the only way to avoid alcohol-related health issues is to stop drinking altogether.

Globally, one in three people drink alcohol - the equivalent to 2.4 billion people, while 2.2 per cent of women and 6.8 per cent of men die from alcohol-related health problems each year.

Alcohol use was ranked as the seventh leading risk factor for premature death and disability worldwide in 2016, and was the leading cause for people aged 15 to 49.

In that age group it is associated with tuberculosis, road injuries, and self-harm. For people aged 50 and older, cancers were a leading cause of alcohol-related death, constituting 27.1 per cent of deaths in women and 18.9 per cent of deaths in men.

Study lead author Dr Max Griswold said: 'The widely held view of the health benefits of alcohol needs revising, particularly as improved methods and analyses continue to shed light on how much alcohol contributes to global death and disability.'  

The research was published in UK medical journal, The Lancet.

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