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Study uncovers surprising differences in brain activity of alcohol-dependent women
Date:2/18/2014

said, "comparing this pattern of activation to those in alcohol-dependent women, who behaviorally say they're more likely to take the high-risk drink compared to the controls. They don't deactivate anything. In contrast to the controls, alcohol-dependent women activate all three regions in question. They activate regions associated with reward (which release dopamine). They also activate frontal control regions involved in cognitive control and regions associated with the default mode network, involved in resting-state behavior. They are activating everything."

The investigators infer from these findings that alcohol-dependent women have trouble switching between networks. Being unable to activate one region and deactivate another in response to an alcohol-related situation means they are unable to use one strategy over another.

Furthermore, Arcurio said, "a lot of evidence suggests that switching between networks is influenced by the anterior insular and anterior cingulate regions of the brain, and we did find major differences in the insula between the alcohol-dependent women and controls. We're thinking the issue is pinpointed to that region."

The researchers are now running analyses to test the hypothesis that the insula helps in this process, which could offer new possibilities for intervention, with both behavioral therapy and medication.

The research is part of a whole research program, both planned and in the works, to further explore the questions about risky decision-making in alcohol-dependent women: studies of adolescent drinking, risky sexual behavior in alcohol-dependent women, the interaction of visual networks with decision-making networks, as well as the way music (or auditory networks) interacts with decision-making mechanisms in alcohol-dependent women. In the latter experiment, college-age participants choose a song that they associate with drinking and one with quiet reflection.

"There's a lot of Mile
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Contact: Liz Rosdeitcher
rosdeitc@indiana.edu
812-855-4507
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert  

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