JUNE 18. 2020
Aaron White, Ph.D.
Senior Scientific Advisor to the Director
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
I am a Biological Psychologist (Neuroscientist) in the Office of the Director at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), where I serve as Senior Scientific Advisor to the Director. I received my PhD from Miami University (Ohio) in 1999. My graduate research focused on brain mechanisms underlying alcohol-induced amnesia (i.e., “blackouts”). In 2001, I completed a two year post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center and was appointed to the faculty as an Assistant Professor. My research there focused on the effects of alcohol on adolescent brain function and development, alcohol-induced blackouts in college students, and adolescent substance abuse treatment. During that time, I was fortunate to help create an online science focused alcohol education course for college students, called AlcoholEdu, which has been completed by more than 2,000,000 students. In 2008, I began my position at NIAAA, where I remain interested in adolescent development, the influence of alcohol and other drugs on it, and strategies for promoting adolescent health. Over the years, I have appeared in dozens of educational videos, documentaries and news stories, delivered hundreds of presentations and published 50+ scientific articles and book chapters, mostly related to excessive alcohol use and its impact on adolescent brain function and behavior. I have published two books on adolescent development, one focused on research in psychology and the other on findings from brain science, and a third on the immune system and disease (recently translated into Chinese). Recent manuscripts examined hospitalizations for alcohol and drug overdoses among teens and young adults in the United States, trends in suicide-related drug poisonings and co-occurring alcohol overdoses, research on the consequences of excessive drinking for young adults and trends in drinking by females relative to males in the United States.
Uncovering the Impact of Alcohol Use on Women's Health
Alcohol is a growing women's health issue, with recent research shedding light on the different, heightened risks women face by drinking. Such as: One serving of alcohol per day raises the risk of breast cancer for women by roughly 10% and among adults, alcohol-related emergency department visits and deaths have increased more for women than for men. Part of the story involves studies suggesting women are more likely to drink to cope. That leads into a discussion about alcohol use during the pandemic, coping with despair and combining alcohol with other drugs. Additionally, this session discussed alcohol use among adolescents and young adults and although fewer teens are drinking, more are drinking alone now, particularly girls. For the first time in the history of research on alcohol consumption, teen and young adult females are now more likely to drink and report being drunk than males. Females also experience blackouts and hangovers at lower doses of alcohol than males and are more susceptible to alcohol-related cancers, liver disease, etc. This workshop will prepare professionals to understand the changing data on alcohol use and the impact on woman’s health.