Top-down modulation of interoception – a new frontier for drug and alcohol addiction treatments? - Dr. Martin Paulus
May. 14th 2012 - 3:45pm - CMHC, Room W-2
Impact of chronic alcohol on the neural circuits regulating extinction and decision-making - Dr. Andrew Holmes
April. 2nd 2012 - 3:45pm - CMHC, Room W-2
As with other addictions, alcoholism can be usefully conceptualized as a progressive disease involving impairments in executive and cognitive processes that are critically dependent upon functions of the prefrontal cortex and its interactions with subcortical structures such as the amygdala and striatum. An emerging body of evidence, from studies in rodents, will be discussed that demonstrate profound effects of chronic alcohol exposure on the structure and certain in vivo functions of the prefrontal cortex, amygdala and dorsal striatum. The focus will be on alcohol’s effects on fear extinction, as an exemplar of a fronto-amygdala function with direct translational relevance to appreciating how alcohol might serve as a risk factor for extinction-impaired neuropsychiatric conditions, such as PTSD.
Ethanol Dependence and relapse Drinking: Role of Adaptations in Glutamate Transmission and Treatment Implications - Dr. Howard Becker
March. 19th 2012 - 3:45pm - CMHC, Room W-2
Alcohol Dependence: Identifying Genetic and Epigenetic Factors Associated with Intermediate Neurobiological Phenotypes - Dr. Kent Hutchison
Feb. 13th 2012 - 3:45pm - CMHC, Room W-2
The etiology of alcohol dependence is related to changes in the neuronal systems involved in the anticipation of reward and executive control. Genetic and epigenetic variations that are associated with individual differences in these systems may be important in terms of predicting the course of the disorder and the effectiveness of treatment approaches. To identify these genetic and epigenetic variations, intermediate neurobiological phenotypes are used as a bridge to link genetic variation with clinical variables. The intermediate phenotypes include measures of BOLD response to alcohol cues as well as measures of functional connectivity. In a recent study, an exploratory genome wide analysis identified a set of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were associated with large clusters of brain activation as well as focal activation of the dorsal striatum after exposure to alcohol cues. On the epigenetic front, recent analyses have identified an epigenetic site near the DRD2 gene that is related to BOLD response to alcohol cues, impaired control over alcohol consumption, and clinical outcomes. In sum, preliminary data suggest that genetic and epigenetic biomarkers may be related to functional brain changes in response to alcohol cues as well as clinical measures.