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
|Contact: Liz Rosdeitcher|