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DNA Analysis in the Oklahoma Family Health Patterns Project

Posted by William R. Lovallo on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 @ 10:11 AM

Guest author, William R. Lovallo, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Director of the Behavioral Sciences Laboratories at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and VA Medical Center, Oklahoma City OK. I hope you enjoy his story.

My lab is devoted to understanding the biological and psychological characteristics of persons at risk for alcoholism. Alcohol addiction is a behavioral disorder with both genetic and environmental contributions. Persons with a positive family history of alcoholism are 4 – 6 times as likely to develop an alcohol use disorder as persons with no such history. Our guiding hypothesis is that a genetic predisposition toward alcohol and other substance-use disorders involves altered function of brain regions regulating reward motivation. We are studying four domains of function related to prefrontal cortex and limbic system regulation of motivated behavior: 1) Behavioral under control: the person's temperamental balance of positive to negative affect should be less stable and weighted toward dysphoria.  2) Cognitive processing on tests or working memory.  3) Decision-making during a reward based delay discounting calling for choices between immediate, but small rewards vs. waiting over a time delay to gain a larger reward. 4) Visceral responses to psychological stress using the stress hormone, cortisol, and autonomic control of the heart.

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Tags: DNA collection, DNA saliva, SNP, Genome wide association studies, genetics and addiction

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Welcome to The Genetic Link, a blog providing new insights into DNA and RNA sample collection by DNA Genotek. DNA Genotek is a subsidiary of OraSure Technologies, Inc.

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