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Published on October 25th, 2016 | from CAMH

Using brain imaging to study alcohol addiction

By Laura Best, U of T Graduate Student, CAMH Addiction Imaging Group |

For Canadians, alcohol consumption has become normal in our culture; however, 18 per cent of Canadians will develop an addiction to alcohol at some point in their life. Alcohol addiction is linked with serious short- and long-term risks and costs our country $14.6 billion per year. Until recently, we have not been able to study the influence of alcohol consumption on the human brain, but thanks to current imaging techniques, we can now explore the link between alcohol and brain function in deeper ways.

Our group is conducting research on alcohol consumption so we can determine who may be at risk for addiction. We hope to identify a neural basis for alcohol addiction by combining current imaging techniques and a new way of administering alcohol – intravenously.

We are looking for healthy participants who are 19-25 years of age and regularly drink alcohol. The goal of this study is to take pictures of a brain enzyme called fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which may be implicated in alcohol addiction.

The study includes four sessions, during which you will be asked to complete cognitive tests/questionnaires as well:

  1. An in-person interview (up to 4 hours). Here we will receive your consent to continue with the study.
  2. An alcohol infusion session (5-6 hours)
  3. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) session (1 hour)
  4. A positron emission tomography (PET) session (4 hours)

You will receive compensation for your time and any expenses including travel and meals that fall within the study sessions can be reimbursed.

For more information about the study, please contact Camh.petstudy@camh.ca, or reach out to:

Laura Best
(416) 535-8501 ext. 36280
Laura.best@camh.ca

Dr. Isabelle Boileau
(416) 535-8501 ext. 34918
Isabelle.boileau@camh.ca

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One Response to Using brain imaging to study alcohol addiction

  1. Alex Lastewka says:

    Interested in the sturdy. 21 year old male, 4 year student at Guelph-Humber. Social drinker

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