TIME Research

Your Kids Should Know About the Dangers of Drinking By Age 10, Doctors Say

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Kids should know about the dangers of alcohol before their first sip

Health care professionals should be talking to children about the risks of alcoholic drinks when they are as young as nine, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

“Surveys indicate that children start to think positively about alcohol between ages 9 and 13 years,” the AAP authors write in the report. “The more young people are exposed to alcohol advertising and marketing, the more likely they are to drink, and if they are already drinking, this exposure leads them to drink more. Therefore, it is very important to start talking to children about the dangers of drinking as early as 9 years of age.”

In the United States, alcohol is the substance most commonly abused by kids and adolescents. The new report says that 21% of young people say they had more than a sip of an alcoholic beverage before they were 13 years old, and 79% have tried alcoholic drinks by the time they were seniors in high school.

The study also found that 80% of adolescents say their parents are the biggest influence on whether they drink or not, which suggests parents have a role as well. “We must approach drinking in children, particularly binge drinking, differently than we do in adults,” said co author and pediatrician Dr. Lorena Siqueira, a member of the AAP Committee on Substance Abuse. “Given their lack of experience with alcohol and smaller bodies, children and adolescents can have serious consequences — including death — with their first episode of binge drinking.”

Other research reviewed by the AAP committee suggested that continued use of alcohol at a young age can hinder brain development, lead to alcohol-induced brain damage, and increase the risk of substance use problems later on. The AAP says every pediatrician should screen their adolescent patients for alcohol use during appointments and offer preventative messaging.

The report authors focused specifically on the risks of binge drinking, which is classified as three or more drinks in a two-hour period for girls between ages nine and 17. For boys it’s three or more drinks in two hours between age 9 to 13, four or more drinks for boys ages 14 to 15, and five or more drinks for boys ages 16 to 17. The authors note that drinking rates increase in high school with 36 to 50% of high school students drinking and 28% to 60% binge drinking.

MONEY Food & Drink

Amazon Starts Delivering Booze On Demand

The company might be experimenting with take-out food, too.

On-demand booze. It’s hard to imagine a more important delivery, and now you can order it online from Amazon. If you’re a Prime Now subscriber (read: if you pay $99 a year), you can get your favorite red wine delivered to your door in one or two hours. If you live in Amazon’s home base of Seattle, that is. Amazon is also considering jumping into the food delivery business, joining the likes of GrubHub. Food delivery requires a lot of logistics, but let’s face it: if there’s any company that can handle logistics, it’s Amazon.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Should Alcohol Be Forced to List Calories?

Chris Mellor—Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Your booze is full of "invisible calories"

Right now, alcoholic beverages in the U.S. and the European Union aren’t required to spell out what’s in the bottle. But they should be, argues a public health expert in a new paper calling for calorie counts on all alcoholic beverages.

Fiona Sim, chair of the Royal Society for Public Health in the U.K. argues in her paper published in The BMJ that alcoholic beverages should be required to display calorie labels, since alcohol in general plays a contributing role to obesity. Many adults do not know how many calories they are consuming when they drink alcohol, she says. In people who drink regularly, that proportion can be significant: an estimated 10% of their daily calories come from booze.

“Most women, for example, do not realize that two large glasses of wine, containing 370 calories, comprise almost a fifth of their daily recommended energy intake, as well as containing more than the recommended daily limit of alcohol units,” Sim writes. “With the insidious increase in the size of wine glasses in bars and restaurants in the past decade, it seems likely that many of us have unwittingly increased the number of ‘invisible’ calories we consume in alcohol.”

Sim’s argument is aimed at the U.K., which currently does not require restaurant menus or bottles of alcohol to list their calorie content. The United States does require that calories for alcoholic beverages be listed in restaurants that have 20 or more locations. In the U.S. calories are not required to be listed on the bottle, though manufactures can voluntarily do so. U.S.-based consumer groups have called on industry players and regulators to include them.

Sim says that the calories in alcohol should be treated the same as calories in other foods and beverages. If regulation is not implemented, she says that people in the medical community have a responsibility to set the record straight.

“Those of us in clinical practice regularly ask patients about their weight, eating habits, and exercise in the context of primary or secondary prevention, but how many of us routinely ask about their calories from alcohol?” she writes. “It is time that we started.”

TIME Holidays

It’s New Year’s Day and Everyone Is Googling ‘Hangover Cure’

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Google searches reveal that Jan. 1 is the most hungover day of the year, by a lot

You may not fully remember what you did for New Year’s Eve 2014, but Google has a pretty good idea.

The number of people Googling the phrase “hangover cure” surges January 1–a point illustrated clearly in this chart posted by Wonkblog’s Christopher Ingraham. It’s the biggest day of the year (by far) for searches on ways to heal a booze-addled brain after one too many champagne toasts to ring in the new year.

Next down the list for the year’s most hungover days are the Saturday after Halloween, followed by May 17 (for unknown reasons; personally, I suspect it’s because it’s the day after a particularly entertaining friend’s birthday), and then July 5.

Read more at Wonkblog

MONEY Shopping

The 3 Things People Buy on Christmas Day

The shopping frenzy may be over, but that doesn't mean people aren't shelling out for these things on Christmas Day.

Christmas is supposed to be the day the buying frenzy ends. But consumerism never rests, not even for a single day. Especially not if you’re spending money on these three things, which top the list of Christmas Day purchases.

1. Movie Tickets

OK, you’ve opened presents, you’ve schmoozed with cousin Ralph, you’ve had your fill of turkey—now what? I know, let’s go see a movie! That impulse has made Christmas day openings a huge source of profits for Hollywood.

Major flicks like Annie and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken (not to mention some movie about North Korea) are opening Christmas Eve, and if history is any guide, they’ll have a chance to make quite a bit of coin. Last year, total domestic box office gross for the week that included Christmas was almost $400,000. According to BoxOfficeMojo, the single-day record for Christmas earnings belongs to Robert Downey Jr.’s 2012 Sherlock Holmes remake, which took in $25.6 million.

2. Chinese Food

The stereotype of non-Christians eating Chinese food on Christmas appears to be based in truth, according to Slate. The site partnered with food delivery app GrubHub to find out how much interest in Chinese food increased on Christmas by measuring what percentage the cuisine made up out of all the service’s orders and then looking at how much that percentage increased on Christmas.

The result? Chinese food experienced a relative increase in order percentage of 152% on Christmas (at least in the urban areas GrubHub servers). So there you have it: Christmas is definitely a big day for Chinese restaurants.

3. Booze

Going to a movie solves some of the stress of hanging out with the in-laws, but you can’t spend all of Christmas in the theater. How to get through the rest of the holiday? According to a Yahoo’s “Alcohol and America” survey, the answer is, well, a stiff drink. Respondents listed Christmas as one of their favorite drinking holidays, second only to New Year’s Day. It’s no accident that Budweiser launched a holiday marketing project to sell expensive, “vintage” crates of beer to millennials.

TIME Addiction

Here’s Who’s Most Likely To Black Out While Drinking

passed out girl
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Blacking out, or getting so drunk that you can’t remember anything that happened the night before, is all too common among underage drinkers, according to a new study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

In the study, Marc Schuckit, professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego, and his colleagues looked at data on 1,402 drinking teenagers in England when they were 15, 16, 18 and 19. They discovered that by the time the teens reached 19, 90% of them had drank so much they experienced a blackout. About half of them had blacked out multiple times.

More than half of people reported having a blackout at every year of follow-up.

Teens who blacked out while drinking tended to be female—likely because they weigh less and have less body water to dilute the alcohol—to smoke, have sensation-seeking and impulsive behaviors, lack conscientiousness and have friends who also drank or used other substances. “It’s not as if a blackout in these kids was an isolated phenomenon,” says Schuckit. “Blackouts are unfortunately often considered to be a funny thing as opposed to dangerous. I am not sure the average person realizes the dangers associated with blackouts.”

A blackout can occur when someone drinks well over their limit. Alcohol is considered a depressant, and when the dose is high enough, depressants are known to impair memory acquisition. When someone blacks out, it means that while they appear to be awake, alert and intoxicated, their brain is actually not making long-term memories of what’s happening. If a person experiencing a blackout is asked what happened to them just 10 minutes ago, they will have no idea.

There are very few, if any, longitudinal studies that have looked at the impact of blacking out on the brain, but experts guess that it isn’t good. High blood alcohol levels are known to cause memory problems later in life, and blacking out is an indicator of drinking too much. Some people may hit that point with fewer drinks than others, and it’s possible that some have a genetically predisposed sensitivity to alcohol’s effects—but blacking out always means you’ve drank too much.

For young people, that behavior concerns experts. “When you really get drunk, literature shows you are opening yourself up to a huge number of problems,” says Schuckit, citing a greater likelihood of getting into accidents and fights, or doing things that one may later regret, including sex.

The study looked at British students, and prior data suggests that they drink more than American students. Still, Schuckit says it should be taken more seriously among young drinkers everywhere.

Read next: This is What Alcohol Does to Your Sleep

TIME drinking

Science Explains Why Men Get Wasted Together

Marcus Richardson—Getty Images/Flickr Select

A new study may shed light on why men seem to like getting drunk together more than women do

Male bonding over booze is a ritual as old as booze but modern science may have finally shed some light on why getting sloshed with your mates can seem like a particularly male pursuit.

Smiles are contagious in a group of men sitting around drinking alcohol, according to a study announced Tuesday in the journal Clinical Psychological Science. This suggests that booze serves as a social lubricant for men, making them more sensitive to social behaviors, like smiling, and freeing them to connect with one another in a way that a soda can’t.

Lest that strike you as laughably obvious, consider this: the effect does not hold if there are any women in the group, according to the study authors.

Researchers divided 720 “healthy social drinkers” — half men, half women, all ages 21 to 28 — into three groups. Each group received either an alcoholic drink (vodka cranberry, regrettably for any lab rats with refined taste, but so it goes), a placebo or a non-alcoholic drink. They found that, among men, smiles — and associated increases in positive mood and social bonding — tend to catch on, leaping from face to face, as it were, but only in exclusively male groups.

“Many men report that the majority of their social support and social bonding time occurs within the context of alcohol consumption,” said lead researcher Catharine Fairbairn. “We wanted to explore the possibility that social alcohol consumption was more rewarding to men than to women — the idea that alcohol might actually ‘lubricate’ social interaction to a greater extent among men.”

More importantly — get ready to never hear the end of this one, boyfriends and husbands of the world — researchers note that genuine smiles are perfectly contagious among sober women, just not sober men. A cold one merely evens the score for men, allowing them to catch smiles from each other, so long as there are no women present.

The authors don’t posit a guess as to why the presence of a woman keeps drunk men from catching smiles from one another, except to say that booze seems to disrupt “processes that would normally prevent them from responding to another person’s smile.”

Nice work, dudes. There’s nothing a girl likes more than an unsmiling humorless dolt.

TIME Booze

New Hampshire Law May Deter D.C. Visitors From Buying Booze

Live free or die...sober?

New Hampshire’s alcohol law might at first look just like those around the country, in that one must be 21 to purchase booze. It differs, however, in its handling of how out-of-town visitors can buy booze.

Here’s the hitch: Because the law focuses on other states and countries, it excludes U.S. territories. Which means that anyone from Washington D.C. may run into some problems when dropping in to one of the Granite State’s fine package stores.

The Associated Press reports that the issue arose earlier this month, when a clerk refused to sell alcohol to a 25-year-old resident of the nation’s capital. After the incident was reported by the Concord Monitor, the New Hampshire Liquor Commission “told retailers they should accept Washington, D.C., driver’s licenses when determining a buyer’s age, even though state law does not explicitly include them,” the AP said.

Liquor Commission’s Executive Councilor, Colin Van Ostern’s statement is as follows:

Tourism is New Hampshire’s second-largest industry, and the state rakes in money from out-of-staters lured by its tax-free booze. It also prides itself on having the nation’s largest state Legislature and its first-in-the-nation presidential primary, which gives lesser-known candidates a fair shot and attracts political visitors from around the country.

Van Ostern said he believes new legislation will likely be needed to permanently fix the problem. As it stands, the commission’s clarification doesn’t take into account residents of U.S. territories, he noted.

“I have no doubt this was an oversight, and I do think a fair reading of legislative intent would be to allow all those IDs, but I don’t think we should be putting it on individual store clerks to be trying to decide what legislators meant 20 years ago when they passed a law,” he said.

As one might guess, the law on New Hampshire’s books regarding tobacco products contains the same wording as the alcohol law.

TIME Television

Drink Like Cersei with Game of Thrones Wines

Common Ventures

Just don’t go boar hunting under the influence

What does Cersei Lannister drink after a hard day of power politics (or every day, all the time)? Why, wine, of course. Dornish wine may be the beverage of choice for the Seven Kingdoms, but The Wines of Westeros allow us non-royalty to take part as well.

The fan-made project, by creative agency Common Ventures, gathers 12 wines named for the major houses plus the Night’s Watch, Dothraki, Wildlings, and White Walkers. The collection is available for pre-order to be delivered next year when season five launches—presumably giving the liquid time to age. Like any great wine, which one you choose is determined by what kind of terroir you’re looking for. House Lannister gets a dark pinot noir and Martell gets a cabernet. The White Walker vintage, unfortunately, is not an ice wine, but a sauvignon blanc.

With their potent personalities, it’s not hard to imagine what flavors the house wines might reveal. Below, some tasting notes.

Dothraki Merlot

Hints of horse’s heart on the tongue. Slightly dusty in the back of the throat. Long, violent finish.

Night’s Watch Shiraz

Tastes like it’s been stewed for days over a smokey fire. Slight suggestions of roasted bird—one might even detect crow. Best savored alone, forever.

Wildling Sauvignon Blanc

Sharp, but with an inner warmth as the liquid moves around the mouth. Best served as cold as the Arctic tundra and poured into a sack made from the skin of a dead animal.

TIME Gadgets

Asus Gets Boozy, Names Padfone After a Whisky


The Padfone E comes in "Johnnie Walker Black."

Apparently someone at Asus really enjoys half-decent blended Scotch.

The company’s latest phone-tablet hybrid, the Padfone E, lists “Johnnie Walker Black” as a color option, along with the less-exciting “Pearl White.” I’ve reached out to Asus to find out whether this is a sponsorship deal or just the result of a wicked bender by the Asus marketing department.

In any case, it’s unclear whether we’ll see the Padfone E outside of Taiwan. Asus has been putting out phones with tablet docks for years, and except for the Scotch-inspired name, this particular model is unremarkable, with a 4.7-inch smartphone screen, 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM and 13-megapixel camera, and it slides into a 10-inch tablet dock. Both devices have 1280-by-720 resolution displays.

In the United States, Asus is working with AT&T to launch the Padfone X. We suspect Asus will sober up by the time it has to pick a color.

[via AndroidCentral]

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