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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019 Sep 1;202:76-86. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.06.001. Epub 2019 Jul 6.

CR-19-0950: Event-related responses to alcohol-related stimuli in Mexican-American young adults: Relation to age, gender, comorbidity and "dark side" symptoms.

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Neurosciences Department, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA. Electronic address:
Neurosciences Department, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.
Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA, 94608, USA.



Electrophysiological variables may represent sensitive biomarkers of vulnerability to or endophenotypes for alcohol use disorders (AUD).


Young adults (age 18-30 yrs, n = 580) of Mexican American heritage were assessed with the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism and event-related oscillations (EROs) generated in response to a task that used pictures of objects, food, and alcohol-related and non-alcohol-related drinks as stimuli.


Decreases in energy in the alpha and beta frequencies and higher phase synchrony within cortical brain areas were seen in response to the alcohol-related as compared to the non-alcohol-related stimuli. Differences in ERO energy and synchrony responses to alcohol-related stimuli were also found as a function of age, sex, AUD status and comorbidity. Age-related decreases in energy and increases in synchrony were found. Females had significantly higher energy and lower synchrony values than males. Participants with AUD had higher synchrony values specifically in the beta frequencies, whereas those with a lifetime diagnosis of conduct disorder and/or antisocial personality disorder had lower alpha power and synchrony, and those with any affective disorder had lower ERO energy in the beta frequencies. Those with substance-associated affective "dark-side" symptoms had slower reaction times to the task, lower energy in the beta frequencies, lower local synchrony in the theta frequencies, and higher long-range synchrony in the delta and beta frequencies.


These findings suggest that EROs recorded to alcohol-related stimuli may be biomarkers of comorbid risk factors, symptoms and disorders associated with AUD that also can differentiate those with "dark-side symptoms".


Alcohol-related stimuli; Comorbidity; Event-related oscillations; Mexican American

[Available on 2020-09-01]

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