No differences in ventral striatum responsivity between adolescents with a positive family history of alcoholism and controls
Addiction Biology, 20, 534-545, 2015
Abstract: Individuals with alcohol‐dependent parents show an elevated risk of developing alcohol‐related problems themselves. Modulations of the mesolimbic reward circuit have been postulated as a pre‐existing marker of alcoholism. We tested whether a positive family history of alcoholism is correlated with ventral striatum functionality during a reward task. All participants performed a modified version of the monetary incentive delay task while their brain responses were measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging. We compared 206 healthy adolescents (aged 13–15) who had any first‐ or second‐degree relative with alcoholism to 206 matched controls with no biological relative with alcoholism. Reward anticipation as well as feedback of win recruited the ventral striatum in all participants, but adolescents with a positive family history of alcoholism did not differ from their matched peers. Also we did not find any correlation between family history density and reward anticipation or feedback of win. This finding of no differences did not change when we analyzed a subsample of 77 adolescents with at least one parent with alcohol use disorder and their matched controls. Because this result is in line with another study reporting no differences between children with alcohol‐dependent parents and controls at young age, but contrasts with studies of older individuals, one might conclude that at younger age the effect of family history has not yet exerted its influence on the still developing mesolimbic reward circuit.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).