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Author: Ulrich S Zimmermann (71)


Jan
2018

The influence of Pavlovian conditioned stimuli on ongoing behavior may contribute to explaining how alcohol cues stimulate drug seeking and intake. Using a Pavlovian-instrumental transfer task, we investigated the effects of alcohol-related cues on approach behavior (i.e.

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Dec
2017

The premature aging hypothesis of alcohol dependence proposes that the neurobiological and behavioural deficits in individuals with alcohol dependence are analogous to those of chronological aging. However, to date no systematic neurobiological evidence for this hypothesis has been provided. To test the hypothesis, 119 alcohol-dependent subjects and 97 age- and gender-matched healthy control subjects underwent structural MRI.

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Jan
2018

Based on many clinical and preclinical findings the 'vigilance regulation model of mania' postulates that an unstable regulation of wakefulness is a pathogenetic factor in both mania and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and induces hyperactivity and sensation seeking as an autoregulatory attempt to stabilize wakefulness. Accordingly, stimulant medications with their vigilance stabilizing properties could have rapid antimanic effects similar to their beneficial effects in ADHD. The MEMAP study - a multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized clinical trial (RCT) - assessed the antimanic efficacy and safety of a 2.

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Oct
2017

Impulsive decision making relates to problematic substance use. Specifically, altered delay discounting (DD) has been suggested as a behavioral marker for addiction, while other relevant facets of choice impulsivity such as probability discounting (PD) or loss aversion are clearly understudied.
Two studies were performed collecting behavioral data on choice impulsivity with a value-based decision-making battery providing estimates of DD, PD for gains and losses, and loss aversion.

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Jul
2017

Alcohol-related cues can evoke explicit and implicit motivation to drink alcohol. Concerning the links between explicit and implicit motivation, there are mixed findings. Therefore, we investigated both concepts in 51 healthy 18- to 19-year-old males, who are less affected by neuropsychological deficits in decision-making that are attributed to previous alcohol exposure than older participants.

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Dec
2017

Addiction is supposedly characterized by a shift from goal-directed to habitual decision making, thus facilitating automatic drug intake. The two-step task allows distinguishing between these mechanisms by computationally modeling goal-directed and habitual behavior as model-based and model-free control. In addicted patients, decision making may also strongly depend upon drug-associated expectations.

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Dec
1969

Advances in neurocomputational modeling suggest that valuation systems for goal-directed (deliberative) on one side, and habitual (automatic) decision-making on the other side may rely on distinct computational strategies for reinforcement learning, namely model-free vs. model-based learning. As a key theoretical difference, the model-based system strongly demands cognitive functions to plan actions prospectively based on an internal cognitive model of the environment, whereas valuation in the model-free system relies on rather simple learning rules from operant conditioning to retrospectively associate actions with their outcomes and is thus cognitively less demanding.

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Apr
2017

Over the past several years, the number of first-time users of methamphetamine considerably increased within the Free State of Saxony. This number also, and especially, includes women of child-bearing age and young mothers. A supportive intervention aimed at reducing the effects of drug abuse should begin in a timely way - during pregnancy at latest, but better before it.

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Dec
1969


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Feb
2017

Self-harm is highly prevalent in adolescence, often serving an emotion regulation function. Social stressors such as bullying are associated with self-harm. The neurobiological background of the relationship between social stressors and self-harm needs to be further understood to inform prevention and therapy.

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Jan
2017

This study aims (1) to describe the context of drinking among adolescents with acute alcohol intoxication (AAI) by gender, (2) to explore temporal changes in the context of drinking and (3) to analyse the association between the context of drinking and blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A retrospective chart review of 12- to 17-year-old inpatients with AAI (n = 1441) of the years 2000 to 2006 has been conducted in five participating hospitals in Germany. Gender differences in the context of drinking were tested with t test and chitest.

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May
2017

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and addiction in general is characterized by failures of choice resulting in repeated drug intake despite severe negative consequences. Behavioral change is hard to accomplish and relapse after detoxification is common and can be promoted by consumption of small amounts of alcohol as well as exposure to alcohol-associated cues or stress. While those environmental factors contributing to relapse have long been identified, the underlying psychological and neurobiological mechanism on which those factors act are to date incompletely understood.

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Sep
2017

Investigations on the acute effects of alcohol in the human mesolimbic dopamine D/Dreceptor system have yielded conflicting results. With respect to the effects of alcohol on extrastriatal D/Ddopamine receptors no investigations have been reported yet. Therefore we applied PET imaging using the postsynaptic dopamine D/Dreceptor ligand [F]fallypride addressing the question, whether intravenously applied alcohol stimulates the extrastriatal and striatal dopamine system.

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Aug
2016

Adolescence is a critical period for the development of alcohol use disorders; drinking habits are rather unstable and genetic influences, such as male sex and a positive family history of alcoholism (FH), are often masked by environmental factors such as peer pressure.
We investigated how sex and FH modulate alcohol use in a sample of 18- to 19-year-olds from the Dresden Longitudinal Study on Alcohol use in Young Adults. Adolescents reported their real-life drinking in a TimeLine Follow-Back interview.

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May
2016

The long-term psychosocial development of adolescents admitted to in-patient treatment with alcohol intoxication (AIA) is largely unknown.
We invited all 1603 AIAs and 641 age- and sex-matched controls, who had been hospitalized in one of five pediatric departments between 2000 and 2007, to participate in a telephone interview. 277 cases of AIA and 116 controls (mean age 24.

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Jul
2016

Behavioral choice can be characterized along two axes. One axis distinguishes reflexive, model-free systems that slowly accumulate values through experience and a model-based system that uses knowledge to reason prospectively. The second axis distinguishes Pavlovian valuation of stimuli from instrumental valuation of actions or stimulus-action pairs.

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Jan
2016

Empirical data concerning the long-term psychosocial development of adolescents admitted to inpatient treatment with alcohol intoxication (AIA) are lacking. The aim of this study was to identify the factors that, at the time of admission, predict future substance use, alcohol use disorders (AUD), mental health treatment, delinquency and life satisfaction.
We identified 1603 cases of AIA treated between 2000 and 2007 in one of five pediatric departments in Germany.

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May
2015

In Germany and many other countries, the number of adolescent heavy episodic drinking-induced hospital admissions (HEDHA) in pediatric units markedly increased during the past decade. A low level of response to alcohol in young adults is associated with high risk for later development of alcohol use disorders (AUDs).
We performed a retrospective chart review of all 1,123 HEDHA cases in adolescents aged 11-17 years who were admitted to one of the pediatric inpatient units covering the cities of Dresden, Pirna, and Rostock, Germany, between 2000 and 2008.

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Dec
2015

Although alcohol consumption is linked to increased aggression, its neural correlates have not directly been studied in humans so far. Based on a comprehensive neurobiological model of alcohol-induced aggression, we hypothesized that alcohol-induced aggression would go along with increased amygdala and ventral striatum reactivity and impaired functioning of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) under alcohol. We measured neural and behavioral correlates of alcohol-induced aggression in a provoking vs non-provoking condition with a variant of the Taylor aggression paradigm (TAP) allowing to differentiate between reactive (provoked) and proactive (unprovoked) aggression.

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Jun
2015

While the utility of experimental free-access alcohol self-administration paradigms is well established, little data exist addressing the question of whether study participation influences subsequent natural alcohol consumption. We here present drinking reports of young adults before and after participation in intravenous alcohol self-administration studies.
Timeline Follow-back drinking reports for the 6 weeks immediately preceding the first, and the 6 weeks after the last experimental alcohol challenge were examined from subjects completing 1 of 2 similar alcohol self-administration paradigms.

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May
2016

In detoxified alcohol-dependent patients, alcohol-related stimuli can promote relapse. However, to date, the mechanisms by which contextual stimuli promote relapse have not been elucidated in detail. One hypothesis is that such contextual stimuli directly stimulate the motivation to drink via associated brain regions like the ventral striatum and thus promote alcohol seeking, intake and relapse.

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Dec
1969

Theories of decision-making and its neural substrates have long assumed the existence of two distinct and competing valuation systems, variously described as goal-directed vs. habitual, or, more recently and based on statistical arguments, as model-free vs. model-based reinforcement-learning.

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Nov
2014

Effect sizes of pharmacotherapy in alcoholism are modest. They might improve if subjects could be divided into more homogeneous subgroups and would then be treated targeted to their neurobiological profile. In such an effort, we tested neural cue reactivity as a potential predictor of treatment response to naltrexone.

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Dec
1969

Pavlovian processes are thought to play an important role in the development, maintenance and relapse of alcohol dependence, possibly by influencing and usurping ongoing thought and behavior. The influence of pavlovian stimuli on ongoing behavior is paradigmatically measured by pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer (PIT) tasks. These involve multiple stages and are complex.

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Dec
1969

Adolescent alcohol binge-induced hospital admissions (BIHAs) are an increasing problem in Europe. We investigated whether psychosocial factors (e.g.

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Dec
2014

Previous research on alcohol dependent patients has shown that variations in eyeblink startle response can be used as an indicator of their emotional responses to alcohol-related stimuli. Postulating that reactions on substance associated stimuli are controlled by either a negative or a positive affective processing system, we expect that abstinent alcoholics react differently (within-group) in the emotional evaluation of alcohol cues. Furthermore, we assumed the startle response to covary with medication response to acamprosate and naltrexone.

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Jul
2015

Endocrine signals such as ghrelin and leptin are known to modulate the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic system and, consequently, show associations with food and drug reward. In animal models, nicotine was demonstrated to reduce body weight by attenuating food intake and effects of leptin and ghrelin are partly modulated by nicotinic acetylcholine receptors which hint at potential interactions. However, the neuropharmacological modulation of endocrine signals by nicotine in healthy humans remains to be tested experimentally.

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Jan
2015

Genetic factors have as large role as environmental factors in the etiology of alcohol dependence (AD). Although genome-wide association studies (GWAS) enable systematic searches for loci not hitherto implicated in the etiology of AD, many true findings may be missed owing to correction for multiple testing. The aim of the present study was to circumvent this limitation by searching for biological system-level differences, and then following up these findings in humans and animals.

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Dec
1969

The appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin is a fundamental regulator of human energy metabolism. A series of studies support the notion that long-term appetite and weight regulation may be already programmed in early life and it could be demonstrated that the intrauterine environment affects the ghrelin system of the offspring. Animal studies have also shown that intrauterine programming of orexigenic systems persists even until adolescence/adulthood.

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Jul
2014

We studied whether suppressed secretion of the orexigenic peptide ghrelin might be involved in the anorexigenic effects of nicotine.
Fifty healthy non-smokers chewed gums containing 2 mg nicotine, or no nicotine in a double-blind randomised crossover design in two independent studies.
Plasma nonacylated ghrelin was not significantly affected by nicotine after 30 and 60 min.

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Nov
2014

A self-enhancing loop between impaired inhibitory control under alcohol and alcohol consumption has been proposed as a possible mechanism underlying dysfunctional drinking in susceptible people. However, the neural underpinnings of alcohol-induced impairment of inhibitory control are widely unknown.
We measured inhibitory control in 50 young adults with a stop-signal task during functional magnetic resonance imaging.

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Aug
2014

Considerable evidence suggests that genetic factors combine with environmental influences to impact on the development of aggressive behavior. A genetic variant that has repeatedly been reported to render individuals more sensitive to the presence of adverse experiences, including stress exposure during fetal life, is the seven-repeat allele of the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) gene.
The present investigation concentrated on the interplay of prenatal maternal stress and DRD4 genotype in predicting self-reported aggression in young adults.

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Jun
2014

Recent research suggests an important role of FKBP5, a glucocorticoid receptor regulating co-chaperone, in the development of stress-related diseases such as depression and anxiety disorders. The present study aimed to replicate and extend previous evidence indicating that FKBP5 polymorphisms moderate hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function by examining whether FKBP5 rs1360780 genotype and different measures of childhood adversity interact to predict stress-induced cortisol secretion. At age 19 years, 195 young adults (90 males, 105 females) participating in an epidemiological cohort study completed the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) to assess cortisol stress responsiveness and were genotyped for the FKBP5 rs1360780.

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Mar
2014

While a number of studies have established that moderate doses of alcohol increase brain perfusion, the time course of such an increase as a function of breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) has not yet been investigated, and studies differ about regional effects. Using arterial spin labeling (ASL) magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated (1) the time course of the perfusion increase during a 15-minute linear increase of BrAC up to 0.6 g/kg followed by a steady exposure of 100 minutes, (2) the regional distribution, (3) a potential gender effect, and (4) the temporal stability of perfusion effects.

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Dec
1969

Clock genes govern circadian rhythms and shape the effect of alcohol use on the physiological system. Exposure to severe negative life events is related to both heavy drinking and disturbed circadian rhythmicity. The aim of this study was 1) to extend previous findings suggesting an association of a haplotype tagging single nucleotide polymorphism of PER2 gene with drinking patterns, and 2) to examine a possible role for an interaction of this gene with life stress in hazardous drinking.

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Feb
2013

Treatment of patients with acute mania remains a considerable medical challenge since onset of action of antimanic medication is delayed for several days. Psychostimulants could have an earlier onset of action. This assumption is based on the 'vigilance regulation model of mania' which postulates that vigilance is unstable in manic patients.

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Aug
2013

Evidence from animal research has demonstrated the effect of early maternal care on the offspring's endocrine and behavioral stress response in adulthood. The present prospective study investigates, in humans, the long-term impact of maternal responsiveness and stimulation during early mother-child interaction on adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol response to a psychosocial laboratory stressor in adulthood. The data are from an epidemiological cohort study of the long-term outcome of early risk factors assessed at birth.

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Nov
2013

The results of placebo-controlled trials (RCTs) with acamprosate or naltrexone vary substantially. Those differences have been attributed to differing patient characteristics, recruitment strategies, treatment settings and remuneration systems. We tested these assumptions by comparing a new double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial conducted in Germany (called PREDICT Study) with data from the US COMBINE Study.

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Aug
2013

Recent studies have emphasized an important role for neurotrophins, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), in regulating the plasticity of neural circuits involved in the pathophysiology of stress-related diseases. The aim of the present study was to examine the interplay of the BDNF Val⁶⁶Met and the serotonin transporter promoter (5-HTTLPR) polymorphisms in moderating the impact of early-life adversity on BDNF plasma concentration and depressive symptoms. Participants were taken from an epidemiological cohort study following the long-term outcome of early risk factors from birth into young adulthood.

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Sep
2013

Ghrelin figures prominently in the regulation of appetite in normal-weighed individuals. The apparent failure of this mechanism in eating disorders and the connection to addictive behavior in general demand a deeper understanding of the endogenous central-nervous processes related to ghrelin. Thus, we investigated processing of pictures showing palatable food after overnight fasting and following a standardized caloric intake (i.

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Jan
2013

Operant responding paradigms quantify a subject's motivation for reward, but such studies employing ingested alcohol cannot assure the same incremental increase in brain exposure to alcohol across subjects because of substantial variability in absorption kinetics. We developed a human progressive ratio (PR) paradigm using the computer-assisted self-infusion of ethanol (CASE) system that overcomes such variability and conducted a pilot study to assess its utility for detecting an interaction of subjects' GABRA2 or GABRG1 genotype and pretreatment with 1 mg of lorazepam (LZ) vs. placebo on their willingness to work for alcohol rewards.

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Jun
2012

The instantaneous rate of change of alcohol exposure (slope) may contribute to changes in measures of brain function following administration of alcohol that are usually attributed to breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) acting alone. To test this proposition, a 2-session experiment was designed in which carefully prescribed, constant-slope trajectories of BrAC intersected at the same exposure level and time since the exposure began. This paper presents the methods and limitations of the experimental design.

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Oct
2013

Overweight and obesity pose serious challenges to public health and are promoted by our food-rich environment. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate reactivity to food cues after overnight fasting and following a standardized caloric intake (i.e.

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Sep
2013

Acute alcohol challenge studies in rodents and naturalistic observations in drinking alcoholics suggest that alcohol stimulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system. The literature on respective studies in healthy volunteers is more inconsistent, suggesting differential alcohol effects depending on dosage, recent drinking history, family history of alcoholism and alcohol-induced side effects. These papers and the putative pharmacologic mechanisms underlying alcohol effects on the HPA system are reviewed here and compared with a new study, in which we investigated how secretion of adrenocorticotrophin (ACTH) and cortisol is affected by ingestion of 0.

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Dec
1969

This review focuses on 27 studies employing experimental alcohol self-administration (ASA) in humans which were published between 1989 and 2010. Twelve studies enrolling healthy, non-dependent social drinkers (HSD) were aimed at evaluating physiological and behavioral determinants of alcohol-induced reward or modeling situations of increased risk to develop alcohol use disorders. The remaining 15 studies tested the effect of medications such as naltrexone, nalmefene, nicotine, mecamylamine, varenicline, gabapentin, aripiprazole, and rimonabant on ASA.

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Oct
2011

Evidence from animal research has revealed that less maternal care results in disturbed emotionality in the offspring. In the present study, the long-term impact of maternal responsiveness and stimulation during early mother-child interaction on depressive psychopathology was examined until adulthood. Data are from an epidemiological cohort study of the long-term outcome of early risk factors assessed at birth.

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Apr
2012

  Recently, first evidence has been reported for a gene-parenting interaction (G × E) with regard to adolescent alcohol use. The present investigation set out to extend this research using the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val(158) Met polymorphism as a genetic susceptibility factor. Moreover, the current study examined whether a potential G×E would be consistent with one of two models of gene-environment interplay (genetic vulnerability vs.

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May
2011

Alcohol abuse and dependence have proven to be complex genetic traits that are influenced by environmental factors. Primate and human studies have shown that early life stress increases the propensity for alcohol abuse in later life. The reinforcing properties of alcohol are mediated by dopaminergic signaling; however, there is little evidence to indicate how stress alters alcohol reinforcement.

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Aug
2011

Interindividual variability in the regulation of the human stress system accounts for a part of the individual's liability to stress-related diseases. These differences are influenced by environmental and genetic factors. Early childhood adversity is a well-studied environmental factor affecting an individual's stress response which has been shown to be modulated by gene-environment interaction (GxE).

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