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Addict Behav. 2004 Jan;29(1):33-50.

fMRI BOLD response to alcohol stimuli in alcohol dependent young women.

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VA San Diego Healthcare System Psychology Service (116B), 3350 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92161, USA.



Cue reactivity in alcohol dependent adults has revealed autonomic, cognitive, and neural responses to alcohol-related stimuli that differ from those of nonabusers. Cue reactivity and craving responses have not been studied in youth.


Alcohol-dependent young women (n=8) and female light social drinkers (n=9) ages 18-24 were administered an alcohol cue reactivity task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine brain response to alcohol-related words.


Alcohol dependent young women demonstrated significantly more blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) response than nonabusers during alcohol word presentation trials relative to neutral word trials in subcallosal, anterior cingulate, left prefrontal, and bilateral insular regions (P<.025). However, controls showed greater response to alcohol words in some right hemisphere cortical regions. Increased craving after cue exposure correlated with increased subcallosal cortex BOLD response to alcohol cues (r=.87) among alcohol dependent subjects.


This pilot study corroborates previous reports of increased limbic and frontal response to substance cues and extends these findings to young alcohol dependent women. This limbic reaction may underlie the elevated physiological response and altered cognitive reactions to alcohol stimuli that are observed in alcohol dependent individuals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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