Neuroimaging Highlights Links between Self Control and Alcohol Use Disorder

Excessive and harmful drinking is a key feature of an alcohol use disorder. The causes of substance use disorders are complex, but deficiences in certain aspects of self-control have been implicated. A tendency to react hastily and seek out risky situations has been linked to the process of addiction, and alterations in certain frontal regions of the brain have been associated both with impulsive and sensation-seeking behavior. In a study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, researchers have used brain imaging to further assess the links between self control and alcohol dependence.

Read more

Study Highlights Impact of Drinking in Pregnancy and Informs Regional Prevention Strategies

Drinking in pregnancy can harm a developing baby. The term fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) describes the range of effects that can be caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. Children with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), the most severe form, have poor growth, atypical facial features, and central nervous system problems. Less severe forms include partial fetal alcohol syndrome (pFAS) and alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND). However, all three require evidence of neurobehavioral impairment affecting cognition or behavior (or both). A recent study in a US Pacific Southwest city estimated that, at a minimum, 2% of first-grade schoolchildren had an FASD. A new report in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research describes the range of FASD among these children and the characteristics of their mothers.

Read more

Severe Alcohol Problems Predicted Among Heavy-Drinking College Students using Behavioral Economics

Most people drink less in situations where there are constraints on alcohol use. The sensitivity of alcohol use to the constraint of drink price can be assessed using an ‘alcohol purchase task’, whereby individuals specify how many drinks they would buy in one drinking episode across a range of prices. The data indicate an individual’s ‘demand’ for alcohol, which correlates with severity of alcohol use and related consequences. A new study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research builds on such research by assessing the constraint of next-day responsibility on alcohol-related consequence in college students.

Read more