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Alcoholism In The Family Affects How The Brain Shifts Between Active And Resting States - Research
Alcoholism In The Family Affects How The Brain Shifts Between Active And Resting States - Research

Video: Alcoholism In The Family Affects How The Brain Shifts Between Active And Resting States - Research

Video: Alcoholism In The Family Affects How The Brain Shifts Between Active And Resting States - Research
Video: Alcohol and the Female Brain 2023, March

New research, published in the journal NeuroImage, has shown that if one of your parents is an alcoholic, that is, there is an alcoholism in the family, this affects how your brain switches between states of activity and rest, regardless of your own attitude. to drinking alcohol

Typically, after completing a task that requires mental resources, the human brain undergoes a reconfiguration before resting. However, in the brain of someone with a history of alcoholism in the family, this reconfiguration does not occur.

The researchers compare the typical reconfiguration process in the brain to a computer terminating a program. “The moment you close a program, the computer must remove it from memory, reorganize the cache, and possibly clear some temporary files. This helps the computer prepare for the next task,”says Joaquin Gonyi, assistant professor at Purdue University's School of Industrial Engineering and Weldon's School of Biomedical Engineers. "We found that a similar process of reconfiguration occurs in the human brain in connection with the completion of one task and preparation for the next."

Although the absence of this transitional phase in brain activity does not seem to affect the ability to perform mentally demanding tasks, this feature may be related to a wider range of brain functions leading to the formation of addiction-related behavior.

In fact, scientists have found that study participants who do not have this brain process show a much greater impatience in anticipation of reward, and this behavior is associated with addiction.

“Much of the brain's effort goes into switching between different tasks and states. We suspected that this task-switching might be worse in people with a history of alcoholism in the family,”says Dr. David Kareken, professor of neuroscience at Indiana University School of Medicine and director of the Indiana Alcohol Research Center.

When referring to a “family history of alcoholism,” this study means that one of the participant's parents had enough symptoms to speak of an alcohol use disorder. About half of the 54 study participants had this history.

Previous studies have shown that the history of "alcoholism in the family" affects the anatomy and physiology of the human brain, but most studies have looked at this effect only separately in states of activity and rest, and not in the phase of transition between them.

“Previously, we assumed that a non-alcoholic person was a 'healthy' control object for the study. But this work demonstrates that a person with a family history of alcoholism also has some subtle differences in the way their brain works,”says Gonyi.

In this study, researchers measured participants' brain activity using an MRI scanner while they were performing a mentally challenging task on a computer. The assignment required them to refrain from pressing the left or right key in an unpredictable manner. After completing the task, the participants relaxed by looking at a fixed point on the screen.

The side task was aimed at determining how participants respond to rewards. To do this, they were asked questions, such as whether they want to get $ 20 now or $ 200 in a year.

After analyzing the findings, the team devised a computational circuit to establish different patterns of communication between brain regions between completing a mentally challenging task and entering a resting phase. The findings indicate that these models are reconfigured within the first three minutes after the completion of the task. By the fourth minute of rest, the observed effect completely disappears. This is a very complex process: reconfiguration simultaneously involves many parts of the brain.

“These areas of the brain talk to each other and are still doing the task, even though the task has already been completed by this point. It is like an echo of an event that lasts over time,”says Kareken.

Those of the participants who do not have a transitional phase also have risk factors corresponding to developing alcoholism. Among them: belonging to the male sex, more symptoms of depression and impatience in anticipation of a reward. However, the statistically most significant trait in those who display the difference in this brain reconfiguration is a family history of alcoholism.

  • By Tracey Pedersen
  • Translated by Kiril Melamud

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