Texas Family Health Patterns: A Study Across Generations

Age Range:18 - 30
Start Date:September 2014
End Date:April 2019
Contact:Ashley Acheson, PhD

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Oklahoma Family Health Patterns: A Study Across Generations

The researchers are studying factors that may increase the risk for alcohol and drug use in
individuals who do not have any problems with these substances. This study will be looking
at health behaviors in young adults compared to their family's health behaviors and

The investigators plan to study genetic differences in people with and without a family
history of alcoholism. The researchers hope to learn how a family history of alcoholism,
early life adversity and different genotypes shape personal characteristics associated with
a risk for alcoholism.

The Oklahoma Family Health Patterns project is an intensive study of psychological,
behavioral, and stress reactivity characteristics in healthy young adults with a family
history of alcoholism (FH+) with a goal of identifying characteristics that place these
persons at elevated risk for the disorder. The investigators have recently identified early
life adverse experience (ELA), including physical and sexual abuse and separation from
parents, as occurring with disproportionate impact in FH+, and the investigators have shown
that ELA accounts for diminished stress reactivity, behavioral impulsivity, and poor mood
regulation, all of which are risk factors for alcohol and other substance use disorders. The
impact of ELA in the FH+ population demands to be studied further in a Gene x Environment
interaction given the known positive feedbacks between FH+ and ELA. The investigators' goal
is to carry out a G x E interaction study by genotyping the investigators' FH x ELA and
examining the impact of genotype on the broad range of personal characteristics currently
under study in this project. Aim 1. Examine the differential impact of ELA on psychological
and behavioral characteristics of FH+ vs. FH- groups using an expanded sample of volunteers.
Aim 2. Use the investigators' larger sample to carry out a Gene x Environment analysis to
test specific alleles that are strongly suspected of influencing activity in brain
motivational systems, expanding on work the investigators initiated with NIAAA thanks to a
supplement to this R01 (AA012207-S1). Aim 3. Test specific aspects of temperament as
endophenotypes linking FH and ELA to behavioral, cognitive, and stress reactivity as aspects
of the person's phenotype. Aim 4. Increase the investigators' recruitment base by screening
and testing volunteers at a second site, the University of Texas HSC, San Antonio, where the
investigators currently conduct our neuroimaging studies. Alcoholism is a costly burden to
society, but risk factors for alcoholism are poorly understood. The vast majorities of
studies focuses on alcoholic patients but are unable to disentangle preexisting influences
from the effects of alcohol intake history. The investigators' high-risk study design can be
of value by contrasting FH+ and FH- with regard to environmental contributors and genetic
vulnerabilities that contribute to behavioral risk factors.

Inclusion Criteria:

- Male or female sex

- Age 18-29 years

- Normal health based on routine history and physical

- Willingness to provide a DNA sample

- No required CNS-acting medications, history of neurological impairment, or diabetes

- Normal color vision

- Normal intelligence based on Shipley Institute of Living verbal scale score ≥ 20
(John & Rattan, 1992)

- Negative urine drug screen at entry and each lab visit (icup, Alcopro, Knoxville, TN)
and alcohol breath test (AlcoMate CA2000, KHN Solutions, San Francisco)

- Volunteers must have been raised by at least one biological parent and have knowledge
of and contact with same

Exclusion Criteria:

- Pregnancy

- Any failure to meet inclusion criteria

- Rearing by other than a biological parent

- Suspected maternal alcoholism during pregnancy with proband, determined by interview
with subject or parent

- AUDIT score > 12

- Inability of parent to provide credible report of family alcohol use patterns for two

- Current Axis I disorder by DIS-IV, excepting past depression or abuse of alcohol or
drugs (all > 60 days)

- Axis II disorder in Clusters A or C by SCID II. AXIS II symptoms in Cluster B are not
exclusionary because antisocial and behavioral undercontrol variables related to
substance use disorders overlap with Cluster B symptoms. Past abuse of alcohol and
other substances is not exclusionary in order to allow a wide range of intake while
still avoiding severe consequences of intake history.
We found this trial at
4502 Medical Drive
San Antonio, Texas 78284
(210) 567-7000
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio The University of Texas Health Science...
San Antonio, TX
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