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Comment & Response
November 2013

Relapse in Alcohol Use Disorder

Author Affiliations
  • 1Alltyr, Inc: Transforming Treatment for Addictions, St Paul, Minnesota
JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(11):1248. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.2877

To the Editor The recent report by Seo and colleagues1 is an important contribution to our understanding of the underlying neural mechanisms of relapse in alcohol use disorder. The accompanying editorial2 offered a useful interpretation and placed this current study in the context of our emerging understanding of the neural bases of preference weighting and decision making. However, the editorial was cowritten by the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and another NIDA scientist, while the study was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and was focused entirely on individuals with alcohol use disorder, not other substance use disorders. Nora Volkow, MD, the director of NIDA, is well recognized for her research and expertise on the functional neuroimaging of cocaine and other intoxicants, but her work regarding alcohol use is relatively minimal. I write this letter not to disparage her or NIDA but rather to point out that the journal editors made a rather odd choice when there are many qualified NIAAA-funded neuroscientists available to write the editorial. Given the recent contentious proposal to merge NIDA and NIAAA (a move many in the alcohol research community viewed as an attempt by NIDA to annex NIAAA), it would have seemed much more appropriate to seek an editorial by scientists at NIAAA or at least primary alcohol researchers with NIAAA support.

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