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Neuroimage. 2011 Mar 1;55(1):371-80. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.11.062. Epub 2010 Nov 29.

Effects of alcohol on brain responses to social signals of threat in humans.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

Abstract

Alcohol is a known exogenous modulator of negative affect (anxiety, tension) in both animals and humans. It has been proposed that the anxiolytic effects of alcohol are mediated via the amygdala, an area critical to fear perception and responding. However, little is known about the acute effects of alcohol on amygdala reactivity to threatening information in humans. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and a validated task to probe amygdala responses to social signals of threat in 12 healthy, social drinkers after a double-blind crossover administration of alcohol or placebo. We found that alcohol significantly reduced amygdala reactivity to threat signals. The current findings fit well with the notion that alcohol may attenuate threat-based responding and provide a potential brain-based mechanism for the link between alcohol and anxiety and/or social threat perception.

PMID:
21122818
PMCID:
PMC3031714
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.11.062
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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