Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Anterior cingulate cortex activity may represent a neurobiological risk for alcohol dependence

Date:
March 2, 2010
Source:
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
Summary:
Activation of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) has been associated with risk factors for alcohol use disorders in adolescents. A new study has used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine ACC activity among adults. The increased ACC activation found during a working-memory task among alcohol-dependent participants may be an indicator of less control over alcohol-consuming behavior.

Previous research has found that activation of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is associated with risk factors for alcohol use disorders -- such as low alcohol effects and positive alcohol expectations -- among adolescents. This study used a spatial working-memory task to examine ACC activity among adults, finding that alcohol-dependent (AD) participants had a greater activation of the dorsal ACC (dACC) when compared to light and heavy social drinkers.

Related Articles


Results will be published in the May 2010 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"In our study, we examined non-dependent light and heavy social drinkers as well as non-treatment-seeking AD drinkers with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a spatial working memory task," explained Sabine Vollstädt-Klein, a researcher at the Central Institute of Mental Health of the University of Heidelberg as well as corresponding author for the study. "To our knowledge, our study is the first to examine spatial working memory with fMRI in a spectrum of active drinking adults."

"In general, AD is a disorder that is characterized by neuronal adaptations that result from repeatedly exposing the brain to alcohol abuse," explained Kent Hutchison, a professor of psychology at The University of New Mexico. "It is also possible that there are premorbid differences in brain structure and function that increase risk for the development of dependence. It is therefore critical to develop a better understanding of the neural networks that change as a result of AD, as well as an understanding of alterations in networks that may reflect premorbid risk factors."

To better understand these mechanisms, researchers asked 30 participants (16 men, 14 women) -- divided into three groups of 12 light social drinkers, seven heavy social drinkers, and 11 alcohol-dependent drinkers -- to perform a spatial working-memory task during fMRI. All of the participants were also asked to complete measures of automatic alcohol-related thoughts and behavior, provide information about alcohol use in the preceding 90 days, and answer questions designed to measure general intelligence.

"Although alcohol consumption in non-dependent heavy drinkers and AD drinkers was similar," said Vollstädt-Klein, "we found increased activation of the ACC in the group of AD drinkers. Furthermore, we found increased activation in the hippocampus and the thalamus in participants with frequent and intense automatic alcohol-related thoughts and behaviour."

Vollstädt-Klein explained that previous studies on natural reward have linked low capacity of working memory to more automatic and less self-regulatory behaviour regarding food and sexual stimuli.

"In other words, altered brain activation that we found in AD participants might be an indicator of less control over their alcohol-consuming behaviour and might in fact be the reason why this group became AD." She suggested that longitudinal studies should be conducted to examine whether increased ACC activation during a spatial working-memory task might be a neurobiological risk factor for, or a consequence of, the development of AD.

"These results suggest that working memory and ACC function may be critical for AD," said Hutchison. "At some point in the future, these studies may lead to diagnostic tools that will help match individuals with the best possible treatment. For example, deficits in ACC function may eventually suggest that a particular medication or psychosocial intervention is more likely to be effective than others."

The study was funded through the University of Heidelberg. 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vollstädt-Klein et al. Increased Activation of the ACC During a Spatial Working Memory Task in Alcohol-Dependence Versus Heavy Social Drinking. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2010.01149.x

Cite This Page:

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Anterior cingulate cortex activity may represent a neurobiological risk for alcohol dependence." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301165600.htm>.
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. (2010, March 2). Anterior cingulate cortex activity may represent a neurobiological risk for alcohol dependence. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301165600.htm
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Anterior cingulate cortex activity may represent a neurobiological risk for alcohol dependence." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301165600.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) — We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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