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August 1983

The EEG After Alcohol Administration in Men at Risk for Alcoholism

Author Affiliations

From the Social Science Research Institute and the Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (Ms Pollock and Drs Mednick and Gabrielli); the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, New York University, New York (Dr Volavka); the Department of Psychiatry, University of Kansas Medical Center, Lawrence (Dr Goodwin); and the Psykologisk Institut, Kommunehospitalet, Copenhagen (Drs Mednik, Knop, and Schulsinger).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1983;40(8):857-861. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790070047006

• The biologic sons of alcoholics constitute a group at high risk (HR) for alcoholism. A 0.5-g/kg dose of alcohol was administered to HR and control subjects aged 19 to 21 years. Blood alcohol concentration measurements failed to distinguish HR from control subjects, but quantitative measures of EEG alpha activity differentiated them. The HR subjects exhibited greater increases of slow alpha energy and greater decreases of fast alpha energy after alcohol administration than controls; the HR subjects also showed greater decreases in mean alpha frequency after alcohol administration. These EEG findings suggest that subjects at high risk for alcoholism are physiologically more sensitive to alcohol than control subjects.