Grant: $51,983 - National Institutes of Health - Jul. 13, 2009
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Award Description: Alcohol abuse continues to be a major problem in the United States with an estimated 14 million adults meeting the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse or alcoholism at an estimated cost of $185 billion. Chronic alcohol exposure has been shown to impact structure and function of the brain. Since most of what is known of alcohol's effects on the brain is based on studies of individuals who have abused for a long time, it is unclear whether some of the effects might occur early in the abuse process. Additionally, human studies are often complicated by many factors including polydrug abuse, poor nutritional states and other medical conditions. Another complicating factor is the interaction of stress and alcohol. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we will examine the effects of chronic alcohol self- administration on brain structure and function in a group of monkeys that have been mother-reared or nursery-reared. MRI scans will be acquired to determine whether there are differences in structure or functions as a result of alcohol exposure and whether rearing conditions play a role in these effects. MRI techniques will also be used to examine how chronic alcohol consumption affects cerebral blood flow, which is a measure of neuronal activity. Because we will conduct these measures both before and after alcohol exposure in the same 'young adult' animals, we will be able to track any changes that might occur early in alcohol abuse which is something that cannot be accomplished in human studies. Another goal is to adapt imaging tools and computer software that are used to measure the brains of humans to the monkey brain. To accomplish this, we will collaborate with the National Alliance for Medical Computing (NA-MIC), an existing NIH Center for Biomedical Computing. We can control all variables associated with alcohol self-administration in these monkeys. They will be monitored both before and after exposure to alcohol, thus, we will be able to monitor the progression of any changes in structure or function that directly result from alcohol exposure. These studies will help identify how exposure to long-term alcohol might affect how the brain works. The research supplement was funded to purchase equipment, test equipment, and support personnel for primate imaging. An 8-channel phase array coil was purchased that will provide increased sensitivity and resolution of MRI imaging modalities. Coil fabrication has been imitated at the University of Washington. The new coil is designed to permit scanning techniques to produce images that show detail of soft tissue, differences between various tissue densities, show inflammation and swelling, reveal the condition of blood vessels with blood flow, and show three dimensional and cross-section images of the brain at varying angles. Provide nonhuman primate images by placing the coil elements is close and precise proximity to the animal head to capture detailed images of the brain. Once the coils is built, the laboratory at Wake Forest University Health Sciences will use existing research personnel to generate images with the new coil and compare those to data collected with current equipment. Part of the effort will be validating MR measures that acquire both in phantoms as well as in the nonhuman primate brain. The grant supplement was funded July 15 and progress is limited at stage 1. Stage 2 will begin once the unit is delivered.
Project Description: As defined in Award Description field.
Jobs Summary: Laboratory Technician (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jul. 13, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.