Researchers Discover Disordered Alcohol Use Leads to Poor Functional Brain Connectivity

March 9, 2022 12:55:22

A recently published study has found that modified neural activity patterns may compromise the ability of some individuals to interpret facial expressions. The researchers found that individuals predisposed to alcohol problems and heavy drinking may have altered signaling patterns in regions of the brain that process social situations and emotions.

In their report, the researchers explained that differences in brain connectivity could help forecast future alcohol use for an individual as well as offer the basis for new interventions for the prevention and treatment of alcohol use disorder. The risk of developing alcohol use problems has been linked to a person’s level of response to alcohol, or how many drinks they must down before experiencing the alcohol’s effects.

Unlike individuals with a high level of response, those with low-response levels tend to consume more alcohol, which leads to the development of disordered alcohol use as time goes by. Previous research has shown that people with low-response levels noted reduced activity in certain regions in the brain, including the amygdala, or the region the brain that processes rewards and emotions.

Ben McKenna, the first author of the study, explained that the ability of people to read facial expressions affected the way they interpreted a situation and shifted their behavior, noting that not being able to process this emotional and social information properly would impact a person’s behavior, including their choice to continue or stop drinking.

For their study, the researchers recruited more than 100 young individuals with no history of issues with alcohol. The participants were characterized as having high or low levels of response to alcohol with each being asked to consume a nonalcoholic placebo drink or a small amount of alcohol then carry out a task to identify fearful, angry and happy faces while their brain activity was measured using fMRI.

They discovered that even without consuming alcohol, individuals with low-response levels had lower functional connectivity between the frontal lobes and the amygdala, and the parietal and insula regions when they processed the emotional faces. The researchers noted that this connectivity decreased further after alcohol was consumed in those with low-response levels and increased in participants with high levels of response.

The study was carried out by researchers at the School of Medicine at the University of California San Diego. Its findings were published in “Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.” This study’s coauthors were Tom L. Smith and Robert M. Anthenelli.

Alcohol use disorder has been on the rise, and now more than ever before the world needs a new line of treatment, perhaps in line with what entities such Cybin Inc. (NYSE American: CYBN) (NEO: CYBN) are researching, including evaluating psychedelics to combat this epidemic.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (NYSE American: CYBN) are available in the company’s newsroom at

About BioMedWire

BioMedWire (BMW) is a bio-med news and content distribution company that provides (1) access to a network of wire services via InvestorWire to reach all target markets, industries and demographics in the most effective manner possible, (2) article and editorial syndication to 5,000+ news outlets (3), enhanced press release services to ensure maximum impact, (4) social media distribution via the Investor Brand Network (IBN) to nearly 2 million followers, (5) a full array of corporate communications solutions, and (6) a total news coverage solution with BMW Prime. As a multifaceted organization with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, BMW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, BMW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. BMW is where news, content and information converge.

To receive SMS text alerts from BioMedWire, text “STOCKS” to 77948 (U.S. Mobile Phones Only)

For more information, please visit

Please see full terms of use and disclaimers on the BioMedWire website applicable to all content provided by BMW, wherever published or re-published:

BioMedWire (BMW)
San Francisco, California
415.949.5050 Office

BioMedWire is part of the InvestorBrandNetwork.