Lauren Pelley · CBC News · Posted: Jan 24, 2023 2:00 AM MST 

Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/alcohol-drinking-brain-science-1.6722942?_cldee=WqmxvHZh89naExonMzwr109zCHEWiuymx_eIqm0t5a_Tm39jIirLW0ERXy9KbwUO&recipientid=contact-e551c9199c4ce8118147480fcff4b171-bd325f752e8248b689ca6f737470728a&esid=6da4d6c1-be9c-ed11-aad1-0022486dc98c

and https://preventionconversation.org/2023/01/27/cbc-hangover-headaches-are-the-least-of-your-worries-scientists-say-drinking-can-be-hard-on-the-brain/

Last year, Jesica Hurst began to reevaluate the role casual drinking played in her life, and what it meant for her wellbeing and mental health. Around six months ago, the Toronto resident decided to give up alcohol entirely. “I still deal with the day-to-day anxieties… but it's a lot more manageable," she said.

Last year, Jesica Hurst began to re-evaluate the role casual drinking played in her life, and what it meant for her wellbeing and mental health. Around six months ago, the Toronto resident gave up alcohol entirely. (Lauren Pelley/CBC)

For Jesica Hurst, kicking off the weekend used to mean having a glass of wine. 

Drinking was also her go-to for all kinds of situations, from combating social anxiety before a big night out, to winding down after a stressful day at work. 

But it came with a downside — feelings of sadness, anxiety and stress in the days that followed. And for someone with diagnosed anxiety and depression, the Toronto resident began to re-evaluate the role casual drinking played in her life, and what it meant for her wellbeing and mental health.

Around six months ago, Hurst gave up alcohol entirely.

Since then, “I’ve noticed that things are a lot more balanced,” she said. “I still deal with the day-to-day anxieties… but it’s a lot more manageable.”

It’s no secret that a night of drinking can rattle your head — from the brain buzz it provides in the moment, to the morning-after headaches and feelings of ‘hangxiety’ people often get after having a bit too much booze.

But what does science actually tell us about how alcohol affects your brain?

While liver issues, heart disease and various types of cancer are typically talked about as potential impacts of long-term drinking, research also suggests alcohol can negatively affect mental health conditions or hike the risk of cognitive problems and dementia. On the flip side, cutting back — or cutting it out — could give your brain a boost.

“We see the world through rose-tinted glasses when we’re drinking,” said Tim Stockwell, a scientist at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research and professor at the University of Victoria.

“However, that’s the short-term effect. The longer-term effect is that, even just over a few hours, alcohol is a [central nervous system] depressant, and that lift of mood is replaced by tiredness, fatigue and anxiety.”

‘Abundant evidence’

There’s a growing body of evidence of both alcohol’s negative impacts on the brain, and the benefits of cutting back, echoed researcher Dr. Henry Kranzler, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Studies of Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

“Sleep is disrupted by alcohol, even modest amounts of alcohol,” he said, adding that heavier drinking has also long been associated with a depressed mood. 

One review of published medical research in the late 1990s suggested that, even then, “abundant evidence” showed patients with mood and anxiety disorders should abstain from even moderate drinking, as it “adversely affects their clinical course and response to treatment.”

Heavier drinking, Stockwell says, can further accelerate and exaggerate emotional ups and downs.

“Anxiety is more pressing, it’s more intense,” he said. “The alcohol will take it away and alleviate it for a short while, but it bounces back more lively than ever.”

A sweeping report on alcohol-related harms released in 2018 by the World Health Organization (WHO) described alcohol as a “psychoactive substance” affecting various neural pathways and parts of the brain.

That means the brain is affected both while someone is drinking — which can show up as increased confidence, reduced inhibitions and reaction times, and eventual impairment that can make activities like driving a car far more dangerous — and after the fact.

Click here to read the full article.


New Webinar: A Digital Handbook on Wraparound Programs

Join us and the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health at this one-hour webinar,  Co-Creating Evidence: A Digital Handbook on Wraparound Programs on January 31, 2023 at 1:00pm EST.

Wraparound supports are essential for those who are pregnant and using substance. The Digital Handbook on Wraparound Programs is a free resource, created to support the development and operation of wraparound programs for pregnant and/or early parenting women and gender diverse people facing substance use and related concerns.

The handbook was developed with multiple different people in mind, including program planners, managers and staff, service partners from a variety of health and social sectors, funders, researchers, community members, and families affected by perinatal substance use. It was produced as part of the Co-Creating Evidence project.

In this webinar, presenters Deborah Rutman, Carol Hubberstey, Marilyn Van Bibber, and Nancy Pool will share more about this resource and how it may be applied to your work. Register now to attend.

You can find all of our past webinars on our website!

Retrieved from https://canfasd.ca/2023/01/18/new-webinar-wraparound-programs-fasd-prevention/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-webinar-wraparound-programs-fasd-prevention



Retrieved from https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/researchers-consider-how-to-denormalize-drinking-culture-ahead-of-new-alcohol-guide-1.6228451

Camille Bains
The Canadian Press

Lee-Anne Richardson is celebrating the three-year anniversary of a support group she founded for people who’ve decided to ditch alcohol or cut back as part of what she considers a movement toward healthier living, especially by younger generations.

Richardson, 38, said she spent much of her 20s binge-drinking. She blames alcohol for destroying many of her relationships and says her self-esteem plummeted as she tried to control how much she consumed.

The turning point came after another night out with friends at a bar in March 2014 when Richardson realized she either had to quit drinking or “something very, very bad is going to happen.”

After attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Richardson realized she needed to replace the social connections she’d made during her “drinking career” with more positive ones while also supporting others through their own journey to sobriety or less alcohol.

In January 2020, she launched a group called Sober City and soon heard from people who were drinking more in isolation during pandemic lockdowns due to boredom and/or anxiety.

Richardson was surprised to learn how much alcohol is considered a “low risk” based on Canada’s current low-risk drinking guidelines — up to two drinks a day, or 10 a week for women and three daily drinks, or 15 per week, for men.

“That’s a fair amount. This is a poison that we’re talking about,” she said of the links to heart disease and cancer associated with alcohol.

The guidelines, set in 2011, are expected to be updated next week by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. Proposed changes released last summer suggest Canada’s recommendations will dramatically decrease.

In its proposal, the centre said research suggests health-related risk from alcohol is negligible to low when consuming two drinks per week; moderate for three-to-six drinks per week; and increasingly high beyond that.

Overall, it recommends no more than two drinks a week.

The update is expected Tuesday after two years of research, a review of nearly 6,000 peer-reviewed studies and about 1,000 survey submissions from the public. Part of the project was funded by Health Canada.

The research includes the impact of alcohol in areas such as women’s health and the association between alcohol use, aggression and violence, the CCSA said. It’s aiming to launch an online advertising campaign by February to raise awareness.

Richardson believes a potential dramatic shift in the guideline is in line with what she’s heard from people in their 20s and 30s about the importance of their mental health and that excessive drinking is “not really that cool.”

“They know that drinking makes mental health and anxiety worse. They’re seeing it,” said Richardson, a data analyst for a shipbuilding company.

However, Catherine Paradis, interim co-chair of the CCSA’s updated guidance project, said the recommendation for Canadians to consider reducing their alcohol intake is “not an easy ask” for those who enjoy drinking regularly, so policy changes will need to be made to highlight the risks.

“A particularly effective one could be the mandatory labelling of all alcoholic beverages with the number of standard drinks, Canada’s guidance on alcohol, and health warnings,” Paradis said, adding that would involve the federal and/or provincial governments.

“People will need support from governments. We will need to shape our whole drinking environment differently so there will need to be policies that promote public health,” she said.

Alcohol is known to affect various organs, putting people at increased risk for cirrhosis, pancreatitis, gastrointestinal bleeding, multiple cancers as well as injury from falls and motor vehicle crashes.

Erin Hobin, a senior scientist at Ontario Public Health and a member of the scientific advisory committee responsible for reviewing the evidence on the updated guidance, said there is relatively low public awareness about the health impacts of alcohol other than increased risk of birth defects for those who drink during pregnancy.

Hobin was a lead investigator on a 2020 study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. It suggested 24.5 per cent of 836 liquor store patrons surveyed at three liquor stores in Yukon and Northwest Territories in 2017 were aware of alcohol-related cancer risks. The study was led by the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria.

The idea behind the updated guidance is to provide Canadians with the latest evidence-based information about the health risks involved, Hobin said.

“Alcohol is present at weddings and anniversaries and birthday parties; on Friday night to relax after a long week of work. So how do we start to shift the Canadian culture around alcohol to denormalize alcohol? Perhaps (warning) labels may play a role in starting this,” she said.

Click here to read the full article.


Join us at the Canada FASD Conference 2023!

Logo for the Canada FASD Conference 2023, November 7-9, 2023 in Saskatoon, SK featuring a line drawing of the Saskatoon skyline.

It’s finally happening! CanFASD is hosting a national conference on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

The Canada FASD Conference 2023 is coming to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan November 7-9, 2023.  

What’s it about?

This conference will bring people from across Canada together to share how research and evidence can inform tangible solutions to address the complexities of FASD. This year’s theme is Connect, Inspire, Innovate: From Evidence to Action.  

What should I expect?

Attendees can expect lots of opportunities to learn and connect with other people who are passionate about FASD. This three-day event will include keynote presentations, workshops, poster sessions, and various speakers. It is being held at TCU Place in Saskatoon. The event will be limited to 500 people. 

Who should come?

Anyone and everyone that is passionate about FASD and neurodevelopmental disabilities are invited. This conference is a great opportunity for:

  • Developmental disability researchers, especially those focused on FASD;
  • Individuals with FASD, their family members, and those that care for them;
  • FASD professionals, including those working in diagnostic clinics and support programs;
  • Professionals working in child welfare and social services;
  • Policymakers and government representatives;
  • Educators and school staff;
  • Mental health, substance use and addictions professionals;
  • Individuals focused on FASD prevention and women’s health promotion;
  • Doctors, nurses, midwives, and other healthcare practitioners;
  • Lawyers, corrections officers, police, judges, and other law and justice professionals;
  • And many more!

Canadian and international attendees are welcome! Stay tuned to the CanFASD channels for more information on registration and keep an eye out for our upcoming call for abstracts.

If you’d like to attend, please fill out our interest form to stay up to date on the latest conference news and updates.

Retrieved from https://canfasd.ca/2023/01/11/join-us-at-the-canada-fasd-conference-2023/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=join-us-at-the-canada-fasd-conference-2023


FASD Online Learning Opportunities this Holiday Season

Optimistic young women crowded around a laptop computer

In total over 30,000 people have taken our online courses, which is incredible. Here are a few course updates to share with you before the holiday season!

The Prevention Conversation

Dedicated to the prevention of FASD and improving women’s health and wellbeing, this course gives frontline health and social service professionals the skills and knowledge to support non-judgemental conversations about alcohol use in pregnancy. We recently updated this course to reflect best practice wisdom and evidence, incorporate diverse peoples and knowledge systems through the addition of new content, reflection questions, and artwork from Indigenous artists from across Canada and the US, and added new resources and content to support practitioners working in different practice settings.

FASD for School Staff

This is one of our most popular courses. It is intended for all school staff, from teachers to principals to office administrators to bus drivers and everyone in between. The course will give you the skills and knowledge you need to help individuals with FASD succeed in school. It covers topics like teaching strategies, school accommodations, and transition planning. Our team updated this course earlier in the year to ensure the information and research is complete and accurate.

FASD for Community and Social Service Professionals

Launched earlier this year, this course is an incredible resource for frontline service providers working directly with individuals with FASD. Community and social service workers in housing, employment programs, shelters and crisis services, FASD Networks, and financial and disability services regularly interact with individuals with FASD. This course will give you the skills you need to effectively advocate for and support people with FASD and their families.

COMING SOON Substance Use Treatment and FASD

This course shares evidence-based knowledge and best practices on how to support individuals with FASD with substance use treatment.

More Learning

These are just a sampling of the many courses that we offer to help professionals and community members better understand and support individuals with FASD. Check out our website to learn more about our other courses, including:

Retrieved from https://canfasd.ca/2022/12/21/fasd-online-learning-opportunities-this-holiday-season/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fasd-online-learning-opportunities-this-holiday-season



If you are thinking about talking to youth about alcohol, it can be hard to
know where to start. You might be unsure about the subject and you might
worry that if you raise the topic of alcohol, it will somehow encourage
experimentation. The intention of this resource is to help alleviate some of
these worries by providing you with information to help you talk to youth
about alcohol, and by encouraging you, as adults, to think about your answers
to these questions:

• What do my own decisions about alcohol role model?
• Do I know how to communicate with youth about alcohol
and health?
• Am I helping youth make responsible decisions?
• Am I helping youth to cope with pressure from their peer group?
• Do I understand why youth might use alcohol and how to recognize
the signs of alcohol use?

Being open and inviting conversations about alcohol can help give children
and teens the support and guidance they need to make healthy decisions.


Retrieved from https://preventionconversation.org/2022/12/16/alcohol-and-health-series-talk-with-youth-about-alcohol/



Luke S, Hobbs AJ, Smith M, Riddell C, Murphy P, Agborsangaya C, et al. (2022) Cannabis use in pregnancy and maternal and infant outcomes: A Canadian cross-jurisdictional population-based cohort study. PLoS ONE 17(11): e0276824. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0276824



With the recent legalization of cannabis in Canada, there is an urgent need to understand the effect of cannabis use in pregnancy. Our population-based study investigated the effects of prenatal cannabis use on maternal and newborn outcomes, and modification by infant sex.


The cohort included 1,280,447 singleton births from the British Columbia Perinatal Data Registry, the Better Outcomes Registry & Network Ontario, and the Perinatal Program Newfoundland Labrador from April 1st, 2012 to March 31st, 2019. Logistic regression determined the associations between prenatal cannabis use and low birth weight, small-for-gestational age, large-for-gestational age, spontaneous and medically indicated preterm birth, very preterm birth, stillbirth, major congenital anomalies, caesarean section, gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension. Models were adjusted for other substance use, socio-demographic and-economic characteristics, co-morbidities. Interaction terms were included to investigate modification by infant sex.


The prevalence of cannabis use in our cohort was approximately 2%. Prenatal cannabis use is associated with increased risks of spontaneous and medically indicated preterm birth (1.80[1.68–1.93] and 1.94[1.77–2.12], respectively), very preterm birth (1.73[1.48–2.02]), low birth weight (1.90[1.79–2.03]), small-for-gestational age (1.21[1.16–1.27]) and large-for-gestational age (1.06[1.01–1.12]), any major congenital anomaly (1.71[1.49–1.97]), caesarean section (1.13[1.09–1.17]), and gestational diabetes (1.32[1.23–1.42]). No association was found for stillbirth or gestational hypertension. Only small-for-gestational age (p = 0.03) and spontaneous preterm birth (p = 0.04) showed evidence of modification by infant sex.


Prenatal cannabis use increases the likelihood of preterm birth, low birth weight, small-for-gestational age and major congenital anomalies with prenatally exposed female infants showing evidence of increased susceptibility. Additional measures are needed to inform the public and providers of the inherent risks of cannabis exposure in pregnancy.


Retrieved from https://preventionconversation.org/2022/12/09/cannabis-use-in-pregnancy-and-maternal-and-infant-outcomes-a-canadian-cross-jurisdictional-population-based-cohort-study/


Shining Through Film

Produced by POP FASD, this 18-minute video shares the talents and strengths of 2 girls with FASD from British Columbia. It is a heartwarming film with a simple theme: when we build from strengths, we all experience more success.

“Music has always been a part of me. When I’m playing music, it makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I know how to do something and people don’t have to put me down for it.” 

Watch the full video here. 

To connect with Education Supports in the NW Peace FASD Network reach out to the FASD Instruction Coach Jen@nwfasd.ca to learn about her program and how she can how in the education system.


Exploring Opportunities for Creating Employment

NOTE: THIS HAS BEEN POSTPONED- The information session on Inclusive Employment has been postponed to the new year. A date for this workshop in 2023 will be announced shortly

Are you or are you close to a person with a developmental disability who wants to pursue meaningful employment? Join Inclusion Alberta on the evening of December 7th to discuss strategies for exploring and developing inclusive employment.

To register https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/exploring-opportunities-for-creating-employment-tickets-467673041657