COGA Blog

Here is a place to read about research findings from COGA. You can learn about the development and progression of AUD, risk and protective factors, genetic findings, treatment for and recovery from AUD, disorders that sometimes occur along with AUD, and more. A complete list of the scientific papers that have been published using COGA data can be found here.

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High Polygenic Risk Scores Are Associated With Age of Onset of Alcohol Use Disorder in Adolescents and Young Adults at Risk

A polygenic risk score is a measure of a person’s genetic vulnerability for a particular disorder. In this study we have used the polygenic risk score for alcohol use disorder, in combination with other characteristics such as sex and family history of alcohol problems, to see whether that might help identify young people who may [...]

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Sensation Seeking and Social Support Partially Mediate Polygenic Influences on Adult Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms

Genetic predispositions play an important role in the development of alcohol use disorders (AUD). Understanding the psychosocial mechanisms through which genetic risk unfolds to influence AUD is critical for identifying modifiable targets and developing prevention and intervention efforts. In this study, we examined the role of sensation seeking and social support from family and friends [...]

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Binge and High-Intensity Drinking – Laboratory Assessment and Underlying Risk Factors

Some patterns of alcohol consumption are riskier than others. How rapid consumption of alcohol contributes to the increased risk of alcohol use disorder is unclear. We developed an experiment in which participants specific control over how quickly their breath alcohol concentration changes and tested for relationships to risky drinking patterns. How fast participants reached the [...]

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The Role of Adolescent Social Relationships in Promoting Alcohol Resistance: Interrupting the Intergenerational Transmission of Alcohol Misuse

Genes play an important role in whether someone develops alcohol use disorder or engages in other risky alcohol behaviors, but not all individuals who are at-risk due to genetic factors go on to misuse alcohol. Yet, little is known about what the “active ingredients” are for promoting resistance to alcohol misuse. In this study, we [...]

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The Role of Parental Genotype in the Intergenerational Transmission of Externalizing Behavior: Evidence for Genetic Nurturance

In this analysis, we examined the pathways by which genetic risk associated with externalizing is transmitted in families. We used phenotypic and genetic data from parents and offspring to test the genetic and environmental pathways contributing to adolescent externalizing behavior. Genetic liability for externalizing problems was operationalized in the form of polygenic scores. In addition [...]

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Genetic Nurture Effects for Alcohol Use Disorder

Genetic factors play an important role in the intergenerational transmission of alcohol use disorder. Typically, when we think about how genetic risk is passed from generation to generation, we think about the genotypes that children inherit from their parents. Yet, this represents only one potential way that genetic risk may be transmitted in families. This [...]

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Parsing Genetically Influenced Risk Pathways: Genetic Loci Impact Problematic Alcohol Use Via Externalizing and Specific Risk

  In this analysis, we parsed the genetic variance of problematic alcohol use (ALCP) into that which is shared with other externalizing traits and that which is not. The genetic correlations for the ALCP-specific variance differ for correlations with ALCP that includes variance which overlaps with externalizing. The ALCP-specific variance is primarily associated with alcohol [...]

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Alcohol Reverses the Effects of KCNJ6 (GIRK2) Noncoding Variants on Excitability of Human Glutamatergic Neurons

People diagnosed with alcohol use disorder have been studied to identify genes linked with their diagnosis as well as other measurements such as EEG/behavioral tests.  Previous work has linked these EEG measurements with variations in and near KCNJ6, a gene encoding a potassium channel protein.  To study this, we prepared induced pluripotent stem cells using [...]

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How Do Our Genes Influence Risk for Alcohol Problems?

Some people are more at risk for developing alcohol problems than others and part of the reason lies in our genes. Researchers are working on finding the specific genes associated with alcohol problems, and then mapping the complex pathways by which these genes influence alcohol use outcomes and interact with the environment. Check out Translational [...]

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Alcohol Use Disorder, Psychiatric Comorbidities, Marriage and Divorce in a High-risk Sample

  Previous studies demonstrate the associations between alcohol use disorders (AUD) and marital outcomes in general population samples, and the associations between AUD and marital outcomes have tangible costs, because a body of work shows links between marriage with better health and well-being. This study made use of data from the Collaborative Study on the [...]

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