Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis
University of Florida | UF · Department of Psychiatry

Ph.D.

About

56
Publications
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614
Citations

Publications

Publications (56)
Article
Background Cognitive training interventions appear capable of improving alcohol-associated neurobehavioral deficits in recently detoxified individuals. However, efficacy remains incompletely characterized in alcohol use disorder (AUD) and available data address only non-affective cognitive outcomes; enhancement of social cognition remains uninvesti...
Article
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Objective: Difficulties identifying emotional facial expressions are commonly observed in alcohol use disorder (AUD). Critically, this work utilizes single-race stimulus sets, although study samples are not similarly constrained. This is particularly concerning given evidence among community samples showing the impact of racial incongruity, giving...
Article
About 36,550 people lost their lives in vehicular accidents caused by unresponsiveness and drowsiness in 2018 [1]. Despite advancements in driver-assisted technologies and some automobile industries’ attempts to design technologies to alert drivers in a monotonous driving environment, there is a lack of relevant technology that notably improves dri...
Article
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Alcohol use disorder (AUD) commonly is associated with compromise in neurobiological and/or neurobehavioral processes. The severity of this compromise varies across individuals and outcomes, as does the degree to which recovery of function is achieved. This narrative review first summarizes neurobehavioral, neurophysiological, structural, and neuro...
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Deficits in emotion processing among individuals with AUD are well accepted, however the potential impact of polysubstance use in this population remains uninvestigated. The current work begins to fill this gap by analyzing affective perception and processing in community controls (CCs) and two AUD subgroups differentiated by presence (Alc-Drug) or...
Article
Background Individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) often display compromise in emotional processing and non-affective neurocognitive functions. However, relatively little empirical work explores their intersection. In this study, we examined working memory performance when attending to and ignoring facial stimuli among adults with and without A...
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Objective: Despite increased attention to risks and benefits associated with moderate drinking lifestyles among aging adults, relatively few empirical studies focus on acute alcohol effects in older drinkers. Using electroencephalographic indices of early attention modulation (P1 and N1) and later stimulus processing (P3), we investigated whether...
Article
Introduction Impaired driving has resulted in numerous accidents, fatalities, and costly damage. One particularly concerning type of impairment is driver drowsiness. Despite advancements, modern vehicle safety systems remain ineffective at keeping drowsy drivers alert and aware of their state, even temporarily. Until recently the use of user-centri...
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The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAr) system is critically involved in the pathogenesis and neurobehavioral sequelae of alcohol use disorder (AUD), and constitutes a potential pharmacotherapeutic target. Memantine (Namenda) is an FDA-approved NMDAr antagonist with suggested utility in AUD, however its safety and tolerability during long-term ad...
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Background: Individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) display deficits across a range of cognitive processes. Decrements in social cognition may be particularly important for interpersonal functioning and post-treatment adaptation. Although social cognitive deficits are associated with chronic use of numerous substances, the role of polysubstanc...
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Objective: Cognitive training is an effective means of improving performance in a range of populations. Whether it may serve to facilitate cognitive recovery and longer-term outcomes in persons with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) is unclear. Here, we review historical and current literature and offer perspectives for model development and potential...
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Background: A growing literature suggests deficient emotional facial expression (EFE) processing among recently abstinent individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUDs). Further investigation is needed to clarify valence-related discrepancies and elucidate neural and psychosocial correlates. We examined neurobehavioral indices of EFE processing and...
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Background: Individuals in treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) display deficits across a broad range of cognitive processes. Disruptions in affective processing are understudied, but may be particularly important for interpersonal functioning and post-treatment adaptation. In particular, the role of sex in AUD-associated emotion processing de...
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Objective: Despite the substantial number of older adult drinkers, few studies have examined acute alcohol effects in aging samples. We have explored these interactions across a variety of neurobehavioral domains and modalities and have consistently observed age-contingent vulnerabilities to alcohol-associated decrements in neurobehavioral functio...
Chapter
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Epidemiological estimates indicate not only an increase in the proportion of older adults, but also an increase in those who continue moderate alcohol consumption. Substantial literatures have attempted to characterize health benefits/risks of moderate drinking lifestyles. Not uncommonly, reports address outcomes in a single outcome, such as cardio...
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Background: Treatment-seeking men with alcohol use disorder (AUD) classically exhibit a blunted hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis response to pharmacologic and behavioral provocations during the early phases of abstinence from alcohol. Independent of alcohol, a significant muting of HPA axis reactivity is also observed among racial minorit...
Conference Paper
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Background: Deficits in perception of emotionality are noted among individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUDs), including identification of emotional facial expressions (EFEs). Converging evidence suggests specific differences between AUD and control participants in decoding EFEs with negative valence (e.g., anger). However, few investigations sy...
Article
Accumulating evidence indicates pain may be an important risk factor for development of alcohol use disorder (AUD) and risk of relapse for people recovering from AUD. This study was conducted to characterize the prevalence and severity of significant recurrent pain and various chronic pain conditions in treatment-seeking alcoholics. In addition, we...
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Rationale: Our previous work demonstrated differential neurobehavioral effects of low-dose alcohol consumption on older and younger adults in a driving simulator. However, the ability to enhance or suppress a response in such context has yet to be examined. Objectives: The current study contrasted older and younger drivers' responses to specific...
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Background: Despite high prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) substance use disorder (SUD) comorbidity, little is known regarding demographic characteristics associated with GAD in SUD treatment seekers. Objective: To characterize demographic differences between inpatient SUD treatment seekers reporting varying levels of GAD symptoma...
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Background: Over the last two decades, U.S. rates of prescription opioid (PO) misuse have risen drastically. In response, federal and state governments have begun to implement new PO policies. Recent legislative changes warrant up-to-date assessments of today's misuse rates. Objective: To explore potential changes in opioid misuse trends among s...
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This study examined trajectories of progression from early substance use to treatment entry as a function of race, among inpatient treatment seekers (N = 945). Following primary race-contingent analyses of use progression, secondary analyses were conducted to investigate the effects of socioeconomic status (SES) on the observed differences. African...
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Background: Driver age and blood alcohol concentration are both important factors in predicting driving risk; however, little is known regarding the joint import of these factors on neural activity following socially relevant alcohol doses. We examined age and alcohol effects on brain oscillations during simulated driving, focusing on 2 region-spe...
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Background: Previous studies suggest older adults may be differentially susceptible to the acute neurobehavioral effects of moderate alcohol intake. To our knowledge, no studies have addressed acute moderate alcohol effects on the electrophysiological correlates of working memory in younger and older social drinkers. This study characterized alcoh...
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This review addresses current literature regarding health consequences associated with of a lifestyle or pattern of moderate drinking and the neurobehavioral effects of moderate drinking episodes in older adults. Discussed studies include both large-scale epidemiological investigations of the effect of moderate alcohol use on multiple health-relate...
Article
Background Available evidence indicates women with substance use disorders may experience more rapid progression through usage milestones (telescoping). The few investigations of sex differences in treatment-seeking populations often focus on single substances and typically do not account for significant polysubstance abuse. The current study exami...
Article
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In this chapter, we review existing research regarding sex differences in alcohol's effects on neurobehavioral functions/processes. Drawn largely from laboratory studies, literature regarding acute alcohol administration and chronic alcohol misuse is explored focusing on commonly employed neuropsychologic domains (e.g., executive function, visuospa...
Conference Paper
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Although its rates in the general population have decreased in recent decades, cigarette smoking remains a highly comorbid condition among persons with substance use dependencies. Recent data reported by our laboratory indicate that ~ 90% of men and women seeking treatment for alcohol and other substances are current smokers. Our initial studies of...
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Background: Available evidence suggests women may be more vulnerable to the effects of chronic alcohol consumption than men. The few investigations of gender differences in treatment-seeking populations have often involved study samples restricted by selection criteria (e.g., age, education). The current study examined gender differences in a hete...
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Although the biphasic effects of acute alcohol during ascending and descending Breath Alcohol Concentrations (BrACs) are well described, the plateau period between peak and steadily descending BrACs is generally unrecognized and under-studied by researchers. Naturalistic examinations indicate such periods persist for substantial intervals, with a t...
Article
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Background: Nearly 40% of adults aged 65 and older in the United States consume alcohol. Research in older adults has largely examined potential health effects of a moderate drinking lifestyle. Examination of acute effects in this population is generally lacking. To investigate alcohol-induced alteration of electrophysiological correlates of atten...
Article
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Relapse and neurodegeneration are two of the major therapeutic targets in alcoholism. Fortuitously, the roles of glutamate/NMDA receptors (NMDARs) in withdrawal, conditioning and neurotoxicity mean that NMDAR inhibitors are potentially valuable for both targets. Preclinical studies further suggest that inhibitory modulators that specifically reduce...
Article
NMDAR-mediated excitotoxicity has been implicated in some of the impairments following fetal ethanol exposure. Previous studies suggest that both neuronal cell death and some of the behavioral deficits can be reduced by NMDAR antagonism during withdrawal, including antagonism of a subpopulation of receptors containing NR2B subunits. To further inve...
Article
Rat pups, in isolation, produce ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs). These USVs have been used as a diagnostic tool for developmental toxicity. We have shown that neonatal ethanol (ETOH) exposure produces deficits in this behavior. The current study was designed to examine whether agmatine (AG), which binds to imidazoline receptors and modulates n-meth...
Article
Lobeline is a partial nicotinic agonist and is currently being investigated as a therapeutic drug for several addictive disorders particularly for smoking cessation. The present study evaluated the effects of repeated (continuous and recurring) administration of lobeline on alcohol consumption (10% alcohol vs. water) and alcohol preference using a...
Article
Alcohol and nicotine (in the form of tobacco) are 2 commonly used recreational drugs and studies show a high correlation between tobacco use and alcohol consumption. In the present study, using C57BL/6J mice, we investigated the ability of mecamylamine (a nicotinic antagonist) to reduce alcohol consumption and alcohol preference with free 24-hour a...
Article
Neonatal ethanol (EtOH) exposure is associated with central nervous system dysfunction and neurotoxicity in rats. Increases in polyamine levels have been implicated as one underlying mechanism for some of EtOH's effects on the developing brain. In this study we addressed whether the inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis by alpha-difluoromethylornith...
Article
Stress increases the risk for alcohol abuse and relapse behaviors. However, there are hardly any medications to counteract stress-induced alcoholism and relapse behaviors. The present study examined the effects of topiramate (intraperitoneal injections of 10, 20, and 30 mg/kg) in its ability to attenuate alcohol consumption on exposure to restraint...
Article
In the present study, we examined the effects of acamprosate for its ability to reduce handling induced convulsions (HICs) during alcohol withdrawal. Diazepam was used as a positive control. Swiss Webster male mice received three daily IP injections of alcohol (2.5 g/kg) or alcohol (2.5 g/kg)+methylpyrazole (4-MP) (9 mg/kg). (4-MP, being an alcohol...
Article
This study examined the effects of binge-like ethanol (ETOH) exposure in neonatal rats on a cerebellar-mediated balance task, and the ability of agmatine, an n-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) modulator, to reverse such effects. Five neonatal treatments groups were used, including ETOH (6.0 g/kg/day), AG (20 mg/kg), ETOH plus AG (6.0 g/kg/day an...
Article
Topiramate has emerged as one of the promising drugs for the treatment of alcoholism and alcohol addiction. Recent studies have shown that topiramate reduces harmful drinking and initiates abstinence in humans, but little is known as to why this drug is effective. In the present study, we examined the effects of topiramate in reducing convulsions d...
Article
During the last decade, there has been a strong increase in the use of the mu-opioid receptor agonist fentanyl. The aim of these studies was to investigate the effects of fentanyl withdrawal on brain reward function and somatic withdrawal signs. Fentanyl and saline were chronically administered via minipumps. An intracranial self-stimulation proced...

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Projects (3)
Archived project
There has been increasing attention to potential cardiovascular and quality of life benefits associated with a moderate drinking lifestyle, particularly in middle aged to older adults. However, little systematic work has focused on the acute effects of these moderate doses on cognitive and performance variables critical to effective higher order functions including decision-making and tracking information. Building on our pilot work, this project compares performance between male and female older and younger moderate drinkers under 3 alcohol conditions designed to achieve zero blood alcohol concentration (placebo (0), a low level (~.04%) or a moderate level (~ .065%) to examine 1) to what extent and under what low-to-moderate alcohol doses older adults may demonstrate differential sensitivity and 2) whether older drinkers can accurately anticipate alcohol- related deficits. The findings will not only allow us to disentangle age from alcohol effects on neurocognitive tasks, but also shed light on differential risk for injury and negative outcome associated with episodes of moderate drinking among non-problem, older drinkers. (Funding: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism R01AA019802)
Archived project
The effects of alcoholism among women remain understudied. This project addresses this gap in knowledge by comparing treatment-seeking men and women and community controls in both cognitive and emotional processing. The proposed work is guided by a conceptual framework which will enhance the theoretical and clinical relevance of the study. (Funding: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism R01AA022456)
Project
This pilot project addresses two understudied questions related to the neurocognitive deficits often observed in treatment-seeking alcoholics. The first is whether cognitive training, shown to impact performance in other populations, improves performance and outcomes in alcoholics and whether men and women differ in their response to this training. The second is whether directed training using affective materials (e.g., emotional faces) is differentially effective compared to that using traditional (i.e., neutral) stimuli and whether the benefit differs for men and women. (Funding: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism R03AA025430)