Last updated on June 2020

Characterization Imaging Instruments in Alcoholics and Non-Alcoholics

Brief description of study

  • People with alcoholism have differences in their brains compared with healthy people. People who are dependent on alcohol also perform differently on behavioral tasks. Researchers want to find out more about these differences. They also want to see if these differences are related to DNA.
  • To see if differences in brain structure relate to personality and behavior differences in people with and without alcohol dependence.
  • Adults age 18 and older.
  • Participants will visit the NIH Clinical Center once during the study.
  • Participants will be screened with a medical history, EKG, and physical exam. They will give blood and urine samples and undergo a psychiatric interview.
  • Participants will be asked about their alcohol drinking, to see if they have an alcohol use disorder.
  • Participants will play three computerized games. Some will play these games inside a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner.
  • MRI: strong magnetic field and radio waves take pictures of the brain. Participants lie on a table that slides in and out of a cylinder. They will be in the scanner for about 90 minutes. They may lie still for up to 20 minutes at a time. The scanner makes loud knocking noises. They will get earplugs.

Detailed Study Description

Objective: The purpose of this protocol is to obtain a standard set of assessments, including brain behavioral, structural, functional, and connectivity (structural and functional) information, on all NIAAA research participants, referred to hereinafter as Characterization Imaging Instruments (CII); a) to determine how individual differences in brain structure and evoked responses relate to generalized trait personality and behavior differences (as assessed by psychometric questionnaire instruments and behavioral measures); and b) to determine whether these individual differences relate specifically to genetic polymorphisms in genes governing neurotransmitter activity. Thus, our goal of the CII is to identify the brain structural, functional, behavioral, genetic, and other phenotypic factors that are associated with alcoholism.

Study population: Non-treatment seeking adult volunteers and inpatient participants with alcohol dependence (ADs). Inpatient ADs refer to individuals diagnosed as alcohol dependent through DSM-IV-RT criteria or at least Moderate Alcohol Use Disorder as determined by DSM-5.

Design: This study will require one visit that will include an MRI scan (if the participant is determined to be eligible for the scanner) consisting of a whole brain structural MRI, Diffusion Tensor MRI, Resting State MRI (rsMRI) as well as several task-based functional MRIs, while performing computerized behavioral, motivational, and cognitive/emotional tasks. If the participant does not qualify for the MR scans, he/she will perform only the computerized behavioral, motivational, and cognitive/emotional tasks outside the scanner. These instruments include instruments in common with a similar protocol at NIDA.

Outcome measures: The outcome measures are differences in behavioral responses using standard statistical methods, in brain structural data in blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal measured using standard techniques and analyzed using established image analysis approaches and software tools such as AFNI, SPM, FSL, DTI, Studio, etc. Secondary outcome measures are to compare the genetic, behavioral and phenotypic factors to imaging and behavioral data acquired across other protocols.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02108080

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Recruitment Status: Open

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