Prior research suggests that binge drinking may increase people’s risk of developing alcohol use disorders (AUDs), especially adolescents and young adults. It is unclear whether different drinking patterns — for example, intermittent versus regular drinking -have a different impact on the compulsive drinking that characterizes people with AUDs. This study used rats to examine whether chronic intermittent alcohol access facilitates a transition to compulsive-like drinking.
Researchers gave rats access to either intermittent (binge) or continuous (stable) alcohol for five months, followed by chronic exposure to alcohol vapors. They then measured the rats’ escalation of alcohol intake and compulsive-like responses to alcohol.
Full story of binge drinking and alcohol use disorder at Science Daily
The startle response, often recorded as an eye-blink reflex, is a defensive measure believed to reflect emotional processing. Patients with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) show abnormal startle-reflex responses to alcohol-related stimuli. This study examined startle-reflex responses to various visual stimuli among heavy drinkers, and assessed whether certain patterns predict the development of AUDs four years later.
Researchers measured the startle-reflex responses of 287 men recruited from public health-care centers in Spain: 239 non-dependent, heavy-drinking men and 48 healthy men who comprised the control group. All participants were exposed to four types of pictures: alcohol-related, aversive, appetitive, and neutral. The participants were subsequently examined four years later to determine the predictive value of their startle response on drinking status.
Full story of eye-blink reflex and AUDs at Science Daily