Event-related oscillations in offspring of alcoholics: neurocognitive disinhibition as a risk for alcoholism

Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Apr 1;59(7):625-34. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.08.017. Epub 2005 Oct 6.


Background: Event-related oscillations (EROs) are increasingly being used to assess neurocognitive functioning in normal and clinical populations. The current study compares different frequency activities in offspring of alcoholics (OA) and in normal control subjects (NC) to examine whether the OA group exhibits any abnormality in oscillatory activity while performing a Go/NoGo task.

Methods: The S-transform algorithm was employed to decompose the electroencephalographic (EEG) signals into different time-frequency bands, and the oscillatory responses in the P300 time window (300-700 milliseconds) were statistically analyzed in both groups.

Results: The OA group manifested significantly decreased activity in delta (1-3 Hz), theta (4-7 Hz), and alpha1 (8-9 Hz) bands during the NoGo condition, as well as reduced delta and theta activity during the Go condition. This reduction was more prominent in the NoGo than in the Go condition.

Conclusions: The decreased response in delta, theta, and alpha1 oscillations, especially during the NoGo condition in high-risk individuals, is perhaps suggestive of cognitive and neural disinhibition and may serve as an endophenotypic marker in the development of alcoholism and/or other disinhibitory disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alpha Rhythm
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Cognition Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders* / physiopathology
  • Delta Rhythm
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Risk Factors
  • Theta Rhythm