Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a worldwide and frequent problem. Data from the World Health Organization (2018) show that about 2.3 billion people around the world are alcohol consumers, having many consequences in their lives, families, and society. Young people are increasingly consuming alcohol and during the Covid-19 pandemic, this problem got worse. Alcohol is the most consumed substance of abuse, with mental, physical, and behavioral effects. The multifactorial character of this disorder is influenced by genetic and psychosocial factors (closer interpersonal relationships and the social context in which one lives). The neural structures most suffer from neuroplasticity because of the alcohol effects are those involved with the reward, stress, and cognition systems. Cognition, precisely the decision-making, is the target of the harmful alcohol effects, leading to the maintenance of alcohol-seeking behaviors. Thus, the aim of this study is to assess changes in cognitive abilities in individuals with AUD, with a focus on decision-making, associating them with emotional, neurotrophic, epigenetic, and neuromorphofunctional factors, understanding the disorder by the relation between the genotype and the phenotype of the patient. For this, 100 individuals were selected, 50 in the control group (CG) and 50 in the group of individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUDG). Both groups have already gone through cognitive tests (Verbal Learning Auditory Test, Stroop Color and Iowa Gambling Task); and emotional tests (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and Beck Depression Inventory). Blood samples have already been collected for BDNF plasma concentration analysis and subsequent epigenetic analysis. Morphological and functional magnetic resonance images will be acquired for morphological and connectivity analysis of neural networks involved in decision-making. Thus, we hope to establish clear parameters regarding the loss of cognitive abilities, with a focus on decision-making, in individuals with AUD, understanding their intrinsic ability to deal with the disease. Also, we pretend to understand whether the cognitive alterations are more linked to epigenetic alterations, in the concentration of BDNF, in the emotional pattern, or in the morphofunctional alteration, providing more concrete elements for diagnosis and treatment.
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