Virginia Tech Carilion researchers to begin groundbreaking alcohol abuse study

Study to test about 250 people over the next five years

ROANOKE, Va. – Researchers in Roanoke are paving the way to understand alcohol abuse disorders and the decision-making process of those who suffer from addiction.

Scientists at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC received a $3.45 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health.

“It’s very exciting. It’s a great extension of work that we’ve been doing for the past six years," said Stephen LaConte, an associate professor at the institute and one of the lead researchers.

The study will test about 250 people over the next five years. Scientists will use behavioral analysis, an in-laboratory drinking situation, neuroimaging and computational modeling.

The goal is to see if thinking about future events, consequences and feelings will impact their immediate decision-making and cause them to drink less.

“If you’re only worried about the next nine days, you can do a whole range of things that are not healthy for you and you’re not going to worry about what the consequences are because they fall outside of that time-frame,” said another lead researcher, Dr. Warren Bickel, the director of the Addiction Recovery Research Center.

The study is expected to start in the next few weeks.

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