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Brain Alcohol Detectability in Human Subjects with and without a Paternal History of Alcoholism
Tak-Ming Chiu, Jack H. Mendelson, Michelle B. Sholar, Nicole H. Mutschler, James D. Wines, Victor M. Hesselbrock, Nancy K. Mello
Objective: This study examined the putative effects of a paternal history of alcoholism on the apparent detectability of brain alcohol in human subjects. Method: Brain to blood ethanol ratios in two cohorts of men were determined, using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging in a brain voxel (2 × 2 × 2 cm) containing the putamen. The men were light drinkers with a positive (n = 8) or a negative (n = 8) paternal history of alcoholism and were given an alcohol dose of 0.8 g/kg body weight. Results: In both groups, brain alcohol detectability was less than 100%. No significant difference (p = .37) was found in the brain/blood ethanol ratios of the two groups. However, subjective assessments of feeling the extreme effects of alcohol and the extent of intoxication (“how drunk”) were highly correlated with a paternal history of alcoholism, with the paternal history negative group reporting significantly more intense feelings of intoxication. Conclusions: A review of existing literature evidence and data obtained in this study indicate that brain alcohol detectability via magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging is less than 100%. There were no significant differences in brain alcohol detectability between paternal history positive and paternal history negative men. Differences in the Subjective High Assessment Scale ratings between the two groups, however, indicate the importance of a genetic influence on the subjective response to alcohol. (J. Stud. Alcohol 65: 16-21, 2004)