Alcohol Effects on Mood, Equilibrium, and Simulated Driving

Authors

  • Anthony Liguori,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physiology arid Pharmacology (A.L., S.I.D.) and the Department of Public Health Sciences (R.B.D'A.). Wake Forest University School of Medicine; and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (D.E., J.H.R.), Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Currently at the Department of Psychology (S.I.D.), University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina.
      Reprints requests: Anthony Liguori, Ph.D., Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27/04; FWC 336-716-8501.
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  • Ralph B. D'Agostino Jr.,

    1. Department of Physiology arid Pharmacology (A.L., S.I.D.) and the Department of Public Health Sciences (R.B.D'A.). Wake Forest University School of Medicine; and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (D.E., J.H.R.), Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Currently at the Department of Psychology (S.I.D.), University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina.
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  • Steven I. Dworkin,

    1. Department of Physiology arid Pharmacology (A.L., S.I.D.) and the Department of Public Health Sciences (R.B.D'A.). Wake Forest University School of Medicine; and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (D.E., J.H.R.), Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Currently at the Department of Psychology (S.I.D.), University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina.
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  • Don Edwards,

    1. Department of Physiology arid Pharmacology (A.L., S.I.D.) and the Department of Public Health Sciences (R.B.D'A.). Wake Forest University School of Medicine; and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (D.E., J.H.R.), Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Currently at the Department of Psychology (S.I.D.), University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina.
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  • John H. Robinson

    1. Department of Physiology arid Pharmacology (A.L., S.I.D.) and the Department of Public Health Sciences (R.B.D'A.). Wake Forest University School of Medicine; and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (D.E., J.H.R.), Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Currently at the Department of Psychology (S.I.D.), University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina.
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  • This research was supported by a gift from the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Winston-Salem, NC. Data from this manuscript were presented at the 59th Annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, June 18, 1997, in Nashville, TN.

  • The authors acknowledge G. Gatto, T. McCollum, and S. Mirkis for assistance with data collection and analysis, and K.A. Grant, H.H. Samson, and D. Woodward for comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.

Reprints requests: Anthony Liguori, Ph.D., Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27/04; FWC 336-716-8501.

Abstract

Background

: The effects of alcohol on simple versus complex psychomotor performance were compared in 18 adults.

Methods

: Subjects received ethanol doses of 0.0, 0.5, and 0.8 g/kg in a randomized, double-blind, within-subject design. Forty minutes after finishing their drinking, the subjects completed a 60-min battery of tests that included: 1) a sensory organization posturography test (EquiTest); 2) latency to apply the brake after appearance of a barrier in a driving simulator (brake reaction time); 3) visual analog subjective-effects scales (VAS); 4) the Profile of Mood States (POMS); 5) critical flicker fusion (CFF); and 6) choice reaction time (CRT).

Results

: Alcohol dose dependently reduced composite equilibrium scores and increased brake reaction time. On the CRT task, total reaction time was significantly increased after the high dose but not the low dose. Alcohol dose dependently increased VAS “dizzy,”“high,” and “drug effect” ratings. The POMS and CFF were not significantly affected by alcohol.

Conclusions

: These data suggest that an ethanol dose that neither influences certain mood states nor impairs simple psychomotor task performance nonetheless may impair equilibrium and complex psychomotor tasks (e.g., driving).

Ancillary