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Alcohol Health Res World. 1997;21(3):236-40.

Event-related potentials in COA's.

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Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York Health Science Center, Brooklyn, New York, USA.


Evidence suggests that people at risk for developing alcoholism can be distinguished from those not at risk by measuring the electrical activity of the brain. Event-related potentials (ERP's) are brain electrical signals produced in response to specific sensory stimuli. Reduced voltage of an ERP called P300, or P3, appears to characterize offspring of alcoholic families, regardless of whether the offspring are themselves alcoholic. Reduced P3 may indicate susceptibility to alcoholism and may elucidate mechanisms of alcohol's effects on the nervous system.

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