Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Impulse Control Area In Brain Affected In Teens With Genetic Vulnerability For Alcoholism

Date:
November 7, 2008
Source:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Summary:
A new study suggests that genetic factors influence size variations in a certain region of the brain, which could in turn be partly responsible for increased susceptibility to alcohol dependence. It appears that the size of the right orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain that is involved in regulating emotional processing and impulsive behavior, is smaller in teenagers and young adults who have several relatives that are alcohol dependent.

A new study suggests that genetic factors influence size variations in a certain region of the brain, which could in turn be partly responsible for increased susceptibility to alcohol dependence.

It appears that the size of the right orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), an area of the brain that is involved in regulating emotional processing and impulsive behavior, is smaller in teenagers and young adults who have several relatives that are alcohol dependent, according to a study led by Dr. Shirley Hill, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

In the research, which was published this week in the early online version of Biological Psychiatry, Dr. Hill and her team imaged the brains of 107 teens and young adults using magnetic resonance imaging. They also examined variation in certain genes of the participants and administered a well-validated questionnaire to measure the youngsters' tendency to be impulsive.

The participants included 63 individuals who were selected for the study because they had multiple alcohol-dependent family members, suggesting a genetic predisposition, and 44 who had no close relatives dependent on drugs or alcohol. Those with several alcohol-dependent relatives were more likely to have reduced volume of the OFC.

When the investigators looked at two genes, 5-HTT and BDNF, they found certain variants that led to a reduction in white matter volume in the OFC, and that in turn was associated with greater impulsivity.

"We are beginning to understand how genetic factors can lead to structural brain changes that may make people more vulnerable to alcoholism," Dr. Hill said. "These results also support our earlier findings of reduced volume of other brain regions in high-risk kids."

These differences can be observed even before the high-risk offspring start drinking excessively, she added, "leading us to conclude that they are predisposing factors in the cause of this disease, rather than a consequence of it."

The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Impulse Control Area In Brain Affected In Teens With Genetic Vulnerability For Alcoholism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081106153542.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. (2008, November 7). Impulse Control Area In Brain Affected In Teens With Genetic Vulnerability For Alcoholism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081106153542.htm
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Impulse Control Area In Brain Affected In Teens With Genetic Vulnerability For Alcoholism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081106153542.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 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