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The branch of the National Institutes of Health that studies alcohol abuse has not funded any new research by outside scientists specifically on the effects of alcohol advertising since its current director took over in 2014, according to a STAT analysis of grants.

At least seven such studies were funded in the decade before George Koob became director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in 2014. No new grants have been awarded since.


An NIAAA spokesman denied that the institute’s priorities have changed. Koob “has maintained the Institute’s long-standing strategic areas of focus,” the spokesman said, and NIAAA support of research on “epidemiology and prevention, treatment, metabolism and health effects, and neuroscience and behavior have remained at the same level that they were.” He added that “behavioral and social science research to prevent and reduce alcohol misuse remains an Institute research priority.”

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  • Thank you for this excellent and fair reporting. More like this please.
    I note the contrast to some STAT reporting – often regarding pharma and the opioid crisis – which feels narrative-based rather than objective.

  • The study does not accept healthy volunteers. Participants must be at “high risk for the occurrence of a new cardiovascular disease event.” But the study also excludes individuals who receive dual antiplatelet therapy from participating. This stacks the study in favor of light drinkers faring better than abstainers in cardiovascular risk.

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