The main purpose of the research is to determine whether or not CNS differences between boys with the presence or absence of a family history of alcoholism are predictors for the later development of alcohol problems. A sample of 180 boys (11-and 12-year old), who have not yet started to use alcohol and any other drugs, will be rigorously screened and selected for four groups: (1) 45 sons of recovering alcoholic fathers with a positive history of alcoholism (RFH+) (2) 45 sons of active alcoholic fathers with a positive family history of alcoholism, (AFH+), (3) 45 sons of nonalcoholic but schizophrenic parents (SC+) with a negative family history of alcoholism and (4) 45 sons of nonalcoholic fathers with a negative family history of alcoholism (FH-). Each dimensions: (a) neuropsychological performance and (b) electrophysiological measures. Alcohol use/misuse will be ascertained longitudinally through questionnaires as each boy enters the study and during three subsequent years of his participation, finally, from this data, prediction of early alcohol problem behaviors will be determined from the best neurocognitive descriptors between boys with a positive and negative family history of alcoholism. A unique feature of this study is its concern about the significance of the CNS differences among the four groups of boys for """"""""real world"""""""" alcohol-related behaviors during early adolescence. On the basic of an initial study in our laboratory, two separate but interrelated components of CNS functioning have been examined and will be used in a larger sample to identify neurocognitive differences among the four groups of boys who have not yet begun to use alcohol and other drugs. The stability of this neurocognitive characterization will be measured through a second assessment two years later. The study will also undertake a prospective longitudinal description of adolescent alcohol use/misuse in these boys. Finally, the most significant goal of this study is to develop the first predictive model of adolescent alcohol problem behavior based on those neurocognitive parameters which maximally differentiate boys with a positive and negative family history of alcoholism. Such a model could increase the specificity of identifying high risk individuals and improve the efficacy of focused prevention efforts.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
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Alcohol Biomedical Research Review Committee (ALCB)
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University of California Los Angeles
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Noble, E P; Ozkaragoz, T Z; Ritchie, T L et al. (1998) D2 and D4 dopamine receptor polymorphisms and personality. Am J Med Genet 81:257-67
Berman, S M; Noble, E P (1997) The D2 dopamine receptor (DRD2) gene and family stress; interactive effects on cognitive functions in children. Behav Genet 27:33-43
Ozkaragoz, T; Satz, P; Noble, E P (1997) Neuropsychological functioning in sons of active alcoholic, recovering alcoholic, and social drinking fathers. Alcohol 14:31-7
Berman, S M; Noble, E P (1995) Reduced visuospatial performance in children with the D2 dopamine receptor A1 allele. Behav Genet 25:45-58
Ozkaragoz, T Z; Noble, E P (1995) Neuropsychological differences between sons of active alcoholic and non-alcoholic fathers. Alcohol Alcohol 30:115-23
Berman, S (1995) ERP signs of distractibility and selectivity in children. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol Suppl 44:326-33
Noble, E P; Berman, S M; Ozkaragoz, T Z et al. (1994) Prolonged P300 latency in children with the D2 dopamine receptor A1 allele. Am J Hum Genet 54:658-68
Berman, S M; Whipple, S C; Fitch, R J et al. (1993) P3 in young boys as a predictor of adolescent substance use. Alcohol 10:69-76
Berman, S M; Martinez, R A; Noble, E P (1993) Familial alcoholism and ERPs: differences in probability sensitivity? Alcohol Alcohol 28:695-707
Noble, E P; Runco, M A; Ozkaragoz, T Z (1993) Creativity in alcoholic and nonalcoholic families. Alcohol 10:317-22

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