Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain Study Considers Motor Function, Cognition With Alcohol Consumption

Date:
April 26, 2006
Source:
Dartmouth College
Summary:
Dartmouth researchers have learned more about how the brain works to mask or suppress the impact that alcohol has on motor skills, like reaching for and manipulating objects. In other words, the researchers are learning how people process visual information in concert with motor performance while under the influence of alcohol.

The image illustrates the brain regions suppressed by alcohol in the frontal lobes between visuomotor feedback conditions.
Credit: Courtesy of the Dartmouth Brain Imaging Center in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Dartmouth researchers are learning more about the effects of alcohol on the brain. They've discovered more about how the brain works to mask or suppress the impact that alcohol has on motor skills, like reaching for and manipulating objects. In other words, the researchers are learning how people process visual information in concert with motor performance while under the influence of alcohol.

"We found that the brain does a pretty good job at compensating for the effect that alcohol has on the brain's ability to process the visual information needed to adjust motor commands," says John D. Van Horn, a research associate professor of psychological and brain sciences and the lead author on the paper. "Alcohol selectively suppresses the brain areas needed to incorporate new information into subsequent and correct motor function."

For the study, eight people, ranging in age from 21-25, were asked to maneuver a joy stick both while sober and when experiencing a blood alcohol level of 0.07 percent (just below the legal definition of intoxicated). Brain activity during this task was captured using functional magnetic resonance imaging, known as fMRI. The study was published online in the journal NeuroImage on March 6, 2006.

The study found that alcohol selectively suppresses cognitive activity in the frontal and posterior parietal brain regions; these are regions most commonly associated with the brain's ability to monitor and process visuomotor feedback. Van Horn explains that this study is one of the first ever to directly illustrate this suppression effect in the brain in humans using neuroimaging.

"We know that alcohol has a global effect on the brain. This study was unique in that it isolated the specific network that underlies the processing and translation of visual and motor commands. The poor coordination one feels after a couple of drinks is due to the poor feedback processing in brain areas critical for updating the mental models for motor action. While this idea is not entirely new, our demonstration, using functional neuroimaging is a first and likely the start of a more extensive neuroimaging research paradigm into the effects of alcohol on the brain," says Van Horn.

Van Horn's coauthors on the study are Melana Yanos, a member of the Dartmouth class of 2004, Paul Schmidt, a 2003 Dartmouth graduate, and Scott Grafton, the John Sloan Dickey Third Century Professorship in the Social Sciences and a professor of psychological and brain sciences.
The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and a Dartmouth College sponsored Richter Grant, Marie A. Center 1982 Memorial Fund Award, and Susan L. Burkhardt 1982 Award.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dartmouth College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Dartmouth College. "Brain Study Considers Motor Function, Cognition With Alcohol Consumption." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060426000314.htm>.
Dartmouth College. (2006, April 26). Brain Study Considers Motor Function, Cognition With Alcohol Consumption. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060426000314.htm
Dartmouth College. "Brain Study Considers Motor Function, Cognition With Alcohol Consumption." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060426000314.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins