Traditionally, consumption of moderate alcohol doses has been considered safe due to the minimal level of intoxication they confer. Recent studies, however, suggest that even low to moderate dose levels may be associated with impairments in complex neurobehavioral tasks relevant to daily activities. Further work to uncover the neurobehavioral system(s) underlying these deficits is needed. In the current project, we plan to use electrophysiological techniques to measure disruptions in preconscious sensory processing induced by moderate alcohol doses and test the extent to which these disruptions are associated with performance deficits on a task of attentional bias. We posit that consumption of these doses will impair sensory mechanisms used to protect higher-order attentional systems by filtering irrelevant environmental stimuli, resulting in poorer performance on our behavioral task. In light of recent data regarding the disassociation between performance and perceived impairment, we will also investigate the relationship between self-reported levels of intoxication and disruptions of sensory and attentional systems. Using healthy, male and female non-problem moderate drinkers between the ages of 25 and 55, a double-blind, placebo controlled design with three dose levels (0.0%, 0.04% and 0.065%) will be employed. The results of these experiments will provide us with important information regarding the effects of alcohol doses typically believed to be benign on important preconscious neurobehavioral processes.

Public Health Relevance

Despite a growing acceptance that a moderate drinking lifestyle affords certain health benefits, episodes of alcohol consumption, even at low and moderate levels, pose risks. The proposed study will clarify a) the effects of moderate alcohol doses on preconscious neurocognitive processes, and b) how these effects may impact performance on complex behavioral tasks. The results will determine the degree of impairment conferred by moderate alcohol doses traditionally believed to be safe, thereby highlighting their potential to disrupt performance on common tasks encountered on a daily basis.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Individual Predoctoral NRSA for M.D./Ph.D. Fellowships (ADAMHA) (F30)
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Biomedical Research Review Subcommittee (AA)
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Grakalic, Ivana
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University of Florida
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Sklar, Alfredo L; Nixon, Sara Jo (2014) Disruption of sensory gating by moderate alcohol doses. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 231:4393-402
Boissoneault, Jeff; Sklar, Alfredo; Prather, Robert et al. (2014) Acute effects of moderate alcohol on psychomotor, set shifting, and working memory function in older and younger social drinkers. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 75:870-9
Sklar, Alfredo L; Boissoneault, Jeff; Fillmore, Mark T et al. (2014) Interactions between age and moderate alcohol effects on simulated driving performance. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 231:557-66
Sklar, Alfredo L; Gilbertson, Rebecca; Boissoneault, Jeff et al. (2012) Differential Effects of Moderate Alcohol Consumption on Performance Among Older and Younger Adults. Alcohol Clin Exp Res :