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Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 108, Issue 7, pp 887–894 | Cite as

Alcohol-associated stimuli activate the ventral striatum in abstinent alcoholics

  • D. F. Braus
  • J. Wrase
  • S. Grüsser
  • D. Hermann
  • M. Ruf
  • H. Flor
  • K. Mann
  • A. Heinz
Rapid Communication

Summary.

Alcohol-associated cues may act as conditioned stimuli that activate the brain reward system and motivate alcohol intake in alcoholics. Alcohol-associated visual stimuli were presented during functional magnetic resonance imaging. An activation of the ventral putamen was observed in alcoholics but not in control subjects. Patients with a strong activation of the ventral putamen relapsed during the next three months. This observation supports the hypothesis that alcohol use affects areas involved in brain reward circuits and that their stimulus-induced activation may be associated with an increased risk for relapse.

Keywords: Brain reward system alcohol cues cue-induced craving relapse risk functional brain imaging. 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. F. Braus
    • 1
  • J. Wrase
    • 1
  • S. Grüsser
    • 2
  • D. Hermann
    • 1
  • M. Ruf
    • 1
  • H. Flor
    • 1
  • K. Mann
    • 1
  • A. Heinz
    • 1
  1. 1.Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, and
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Humboldt University Berlin, Federal Republic of GermanyDE

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