The Scripps Research Institute Alcohol Research Center

The Scripps Research Institute ARC


Clinical Neurobehavioral

The overall objective of the proposed research is to enhance understanding of the relationship between risk and protective factors for binge drinking and alcohol use disorders in Mexican American young adults. This project will be an extension of our previous cross-sectional study to a longitudinal study in this population. Hispanics are the second largest ethnic minority group in the U.S. and the largest in the city of San Diego, yet biopsychosocial vulnerability factors for alcohol problems in this population remain relatively unexplored. We now have preliminary data that suggests a distinct cluster of risk factors may be associated with binge drinking and alcohol use disorders in Mexican American young adults. These associated factors include: age of onset of drinking, sleep quality, electrophysiological and behavioral measures of pre-pulse inhibition of the startle response, co-morbidity with other psychiatric disorders, measures of stress and acculturation, and distributions of alcohol metabolizing enzymes unique to this population. We propose to increase the participant population in order to have enough power to fully evaluate our findings. Additionally, we will be using our data to translate the findings to the development of valid animal models. In addition we will be testing, in humans, the overall theoretical construct of the grant related to stress, the development of binge drinking, and alcohol dependence in this population of Mexican Americans. This study has the potential to provide critical information for understanding how select genetic and environmental factors might interact in the development of alcohol use disorders among Mexican American men and women living in San Diego County.

Homepage: Cindy Ehlers, Ph.D.

Various Publications from this data:

Criado JR, Ehlers CL. Electrophysiological responses to affective stimuli in Mexican Americans: relationship to alcohol dependence and personality traits. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 88(2):148-57, 2007. PMC: 2042967

Ehlers CL, Phillips E. Association of EEG alpha variants and alpha power with alcohol dependence in Mexican American young adults. Alcohol 41(1): 13-20, 2007. PMC: 2047338

Gilder DA, Lau P, Corey L, Ehlers CL. Co-morbidity of alcohol dependence with other psychiatric disorders in young adult Mexican Americans. J Addict Dis 26 (4) 31-40, 2007.

Hodgkinson CA, XU K, Yuan Q, Shen P-H, Heinz E, Ehlers CL, Roy A, Gelernter J, Mann J, Riley B, Tabakoff B, Todd R, Zhou Z, Goldman D. Addictions Biology: Haplotype based analysis for 130 candidate genes on a single array. Alcohol Alcohol, 43(5): 505-515, 2008. PMC: 2724863

Ehlers CL., Gilder DA., Criado JR., and Caetano R. Acculturation stress, anxiety disorders, and alcohol dependence in young adult Mexican Americans. Journal of Addictive Medicine, Dec 1;3(4):227-233., 2009. PMC 2805002

Ehlers CL, Gilder DA, Criado JR, and Caetano R. Sleep quality, alcohol use disorders and acculturation stress in a select population of young adult Mexican Americans. Journal of Studies of Alcohol and Drugs Nov;71(6):879-84 2010. PMC 2965486

Ehlers CL, Phillips E, Criado, JR, Gilder DA. N4 component responses to pre-pulse startle stimuli in young adults: relationship to alcohol dependence. Journal of Psychiatric Research,188(2):237-244, 2011. PMC: 3114177

Ehlers CL, Liang T, Gizer I. ADH and ALDH polymorphisms and alcohol dependence in Mexican and Native Americans. American Journal of Drug Alcohol Abuse. In submission.