Increased forebrain activations in youths with family histories of alcohol and other substance use disorders performing a Go/Nogo task

Ashley Acheson, Malle A. Tagamets, Laura M. Rowland, Charles W. Mathias, Susan N. Wright, L. Elliot Hong, Peter Kochunov, Donald M. Dougherty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Youths with a family history of alcohol and other drug use disorders (FH+) are at a greater risk of developing substance use disorders than their peers with no such family histories (FH-), and this increased risk may be related to impaired maturation of forebrain circuitry. FH+ individuals have shown altered forebrain activity at rest and while performing cognitive tasks. However, it is not fully understood how forebrain activity is altered in FH+ individuals, and ultimately how these alterations may contribute to substance use disorder risk. Methods: In this study, we tested 72 FH+ and 32 FH- youths performing a go/no-go task and examined activations in blocks with only go trials (Go Only), blocks with 50% go and 50% no-go trials (Go/NoGo), and a contrast of those 2 blocks. Results: FH+ youths had significantly greater cerebral activations in both the Go and Go/NoGo blocks than FH- youths in regions including the posterior cingulate/precuneus, bilateral middle/superior temporal gyrus, and medial superior frontal gyrus with no significant group differences in the subtraction between Go Only and Go/NoGo blocks. Additionally, FH+ youths had moderately slower reaction times on go trials in the Go Only blocks. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that global activation increase in FH+ youths are modulated by FH density and are not specific to the inhibitory components of the task. This pattern of increased activations in FH+ youths may be at least partially due to impaired forebrain white matter development leading to greater activations/less efficient neural communication during task performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2944-2951
Number of pages8
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Family History
  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Go/No-Go
  • Risk
  • Substance Use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Increased forebrain activations in youths with family histories of alcohol and other substance use disorders performing a Go/Nogo task'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this