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Measuring brain activity for emotional markers that may indicate risk for developing alcoholism

viduals with depression. "Although this finding dovetails with research that indicates shared genetic influences on these disorders, it is important to note that the difference we found between controls and alcoholic subjects was pretty small," she said.

Nonetheless, said Grekin, "these results are compelling and suggest that EEG asymmetry may be an index of a general vulnerability to psychopathology. Interestingly, participants with both alcohol dependence and depression were found to exhibit less EEG asymmetry than individuals with alcohol dependence alone. These findings are puzzling and warrant further study."

"Our findings probably have the most relevance for understanding vulnerability markers for alcoholism," said Hayden. "We know from research with preschoolers and infants that individual differences in frontal asymmetry may be meaningfully linked to behavior and personality even early in life. It seems likely that these brain measures are trait-like and exist prior to the development of problems. An important next step in this line of research would be to see whether the same is true of frontal brain activity in alcoholism, possibly by looking at the children of alcoholics.

If these patterns of brain activity emerge early in development, we may be able to use these measures in conjunction with other information to understand who is vulnerable to developing alcoholism."


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26-Nov-2006


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