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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Decreased Amygdala Activation during Risk Taking in Non-Dependent Habitual Alcohol Users: A Preliminary fMRI Study of the Stop Signal Task

The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Published Online 2 July 2009

Habitual alcohol use is prodromal to alcohol dependence. It has been suggested that impairment in impulse control contributes to habitual drinking. Little is known whether neural processes associated with impulse control is altered in non-dependent social drinkers. The current preliminary study combined functional magnetic resonance imaging and the stop signal task (SST) to address this issue.

We showed that moderate/heavy alcohol drinkers were decreased in amygdala activation during risk taking, while indistinguishable in neural measures of inhibitory control, when compared to non/light drinkers.

Altered amygdala activation during risk taking may be a key neural process underlying early habitual alcohol use and a potential marker mediating transition to alcohol dependence.

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