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Saturday, May 12, 2012

How Acute and Chronic Alcohol Consumption Affects Brain Networks: Insights into Multimodal Neuroimaging

Multimodal imaging combining 2 or more techniques is becoming increasingly important because no single imaging approach has the capacity to elucidate all clinically relevant characteristics of a network.

This review highlights recent advances in multimodal neuroimaging (i.e., combined use and interpretation of data collected through magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], functional MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, positron emission tomography, magnetoencephalography, MR perfusion, and MR spectroscopy methods) that leads to a more comprehensive understanding of how acute and chronic alcohol consumption affect neural networks underlying cognition, emotion, reward processing, and drinking behavior.

Several innovative investigators have started utilizing multiple imaging approaches within the same individual to better understand how alcohol influences brain systems, both during intoxication and after years of chronic heavy use.

Their findings can help identify mechanism-based therapeutic and pharmacological treatment options, and they may increase the efficacy and cost effectiveness of such treatments by predicting those at greatest risk for relapse.

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