Absence of visual and auditory P300 reduction in nondepressed male and female alcoholics.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pennsylvania, USA.
Biological Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 9.47). 11/1999; 46(7):982-9. DOI: 10.1016/S0006-3223(99)00054-2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The P300 component of the event-related potential has been extensively studied as a possible neurobiological risk marker for the development of alcoholism. Although P300 amplitude reduction has frequently been documented in high-risk children, studies of adult alcoholics are inconsistent.
P300 amplitude from 121 adult alcoholics was compared to 68 controls utilizing event-related potential paradigms from the auditory and visual modalities. All participants were evaluated clinically with psychiatric interviews and administered the MMPI.
Male alcoholics did not show a reduction in amplitude in either the auditory or visual modality. Female alcoholics showed reduced P300 amplitude, but only when a comorbid lifetime diagnosis of depression was present. Similar results were found using current depressed mood (Scale 2 from the MMPI).
No differences in P300 amplitude were found between alcoholics and controls unless comorbid depression was present. Therefore, P300 amplitude reduction seen in children at high-risk for developing alcoholism seems to represent a neurodevelopmental delay that normalizes by adulthood.


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