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Early-Onset Alcohol Dependence Increases the Acoustic Startle Reflex.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22273252     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
BACKGROUND: Hyperreactivity and impaired sensory gating of the acoustic startle response in alcohol dependence has been suggested to reflect a residual effect of previous detoxifications, increasing the severity of subsequent withdrawal episodes. Previous studies on the acoustic startle only included early-onset alcohol-dependent patients. The observed abnormalities may therefore also be specific for this subtype of alcohol dependence. We investigated the acoustic startle response in alcohol-dependent patients and healthy controls and hypothesized that (i) early-onset alcohol-dependent patients show increased acoustic startle responses compared with late-onset alcohol-dependent patients and healthy controls, and (ii) the duration of alcohol dependence or the number of prior detoxifications would not explain the differences in the acoustic startle between early- and late-onset alcohol dependence. METHODS: The acoustic startle reflex was assessed in detoxified, male alcohol-dependent patients (N = 83) and age-matched healthy male controls (N = 86). Reflex eye blink responses to an auditory startle stimulus were measured by means of electromyographic recordings over the right orbicularis oculi muscle. Reflex amplitudes and levels of prepulse inhibition (PPI) were analyzed. RESULTS: There was no association between number of previous withdrawals and the startle response or PPI. Early-onset alcohol-dependent patients showed higher acoustic startle amplitudes compared with late-onset alcohol-dependent patients and healthy controls [75/105 dB: F(2, 166) = 9.2, p < 0.001; 85/105 dB: F(2, 166) = 12.1, p < 0.001; 95 dB: F(2, 166) = 8.2, p < 0.001; 105 dB: F(2, 166) = 9.7, p < 0.001], and there were no differences in PPI. CONCLUSIONS: Increased acoustic startle response in detoxified early-onset alcohol-dependent patients may reflect a trait marker specifically involved in early-onset alcohol dependence. The findings of the current study do not support the hypothesis that the increased startle response is a residual state marker.
Arnt F A Schellekens; Peter C R Mulders; Bart Ellenbroek; Cor A J de Jong; Jan K Buitelaar; Alexander Cools; Robbert-Jan Verkes
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-1-24
Journal Detail:
Title:  Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1530-0277     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2012 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-1-25     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7707242     Medline TA:  Alcohol Clin Exp Res     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 by the Research Society on Alcoholism.
Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Centre St Radboud, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Nijmegen Institute for Science Practitioners in Addiction, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
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