How Human and Animal Studies Strengthen Our Understanding of Alcoholism

Translational Studies in Alcoholism

About the Course:

Human studies are necessary to identify and classify the brain systems predisposing individuals to develop alcohol use disorders and those modified by alcohol, while animal models of alcoholism are essential for a mechanistic understanding of how chronic voluntary alcohol consumption becomes compulsive, how brain systems become damaged, and how damage resolves. Our current knowledge of the neuroscience of alcohol dependence has evolved from the interchange of information gathered from both human alcoholics and animal models of alcoholism.

Journal/Publisher:

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Publication Date:

Alcohol Research and Health, Volume 21, Number 3, 2008

Author

Natalie M. Zahr, Ph.D., and Edith V. Sullivan, Ph.D.

About the Author:

Natalie M. Zahr, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow at SRI International, Menlo Park, California, and a research scientist with professor Edith V. Sullivan, Ph.D., who is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially addiction counselors, psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, and nurses who seek knowledge about how human and animal studies strengthen our understanding of alcoholism. It is appropriate for all levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Discuss what human and animal studies indicate regarding alcoholism, the brain, disinhibition, and frontocerebellar circuitry.

  2. Identify brain processes related to reward, habit formation, stress, and inflammation, and their relationship to the development of alcoholism.

  3. Describe evidence for brain recovery with alcohol abstinence and
    what animal models of recovery add to the current understanding.

Exam Questions

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