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An fMRI Study of Response Inhibition in Youths with a Family History of Alcoholism

Authors

  • ALECIA D. SCHWEINSBURG,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California 92161, USA
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  • MARTIN P. PAULUS,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California 92161, USA
    2. Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California 92161, USA
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  • VALERIE C. BARLETT,

    1. Veterans Medical Research Foundation, San Diego, California 92161, USA
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  • LAUREN A. KILLEEN,

    1. Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA
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  • LISA C. CALDWELL,

    1. Veterans Medical Research Foundation, San Diego, California 92161, USA
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  • CARMEN PULIDO,

    1. Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, University of California San Diego and San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92161, USA
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  • SANDRA A. BROWN,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California 92161, USA
    2. Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California 92161, USA
    3. Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California 92161, USA
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  • SUSAN F. TAPERT

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California 92161, USA
    2. Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California 92161, USA
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Address for correspondence: Susan Tapert, Ph.D.,VA San Diego Healthcare System (116B), 3350 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92161. Voice: 858-552-8585, Ext. 2599; fax: 858-642-6474. stapert@ucsd.edu

Abstract

Abstract: Disinhibition among alcoholics may precede or result from alcohol use disorders (AUDs). It remains unclear how disinhibition might contribute to AUD risk among youths with a family history of alcoholism (FHP). We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to explore inhibition-related neural risk factors for AUD. Participants were 12- to 14-year-old nondrinkers, including 12 FHP youths and 14 youths with no family history of alcoholism (FHN). Youths performed a go/no-go task during fMRI acquisition. At a conservative threshold, FHN youths showed less inhibitory response than FHP youths in the left middle frontal gyrus, despite similar task performance between groups. Using a more liberal threshold, FHP youths also demonstrated less response in additional frontal regions. These preliminary findings suggest that FHP youths show less inhibitory frontal response than FHN youths. Altered neural activation among FHP youths may underlie subsequent disinhibition and could be related to the AUD risk.

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