Alcohol-induced changes in body sway in women at risk for alcoholism: a pilot study.J Stud Alcohol 1988; 49(4):346-56JS
Family history of alcoholism appears to influence acute alcohol responses in young men. We report pilot data from a study designed to expand these observations by measuring blood alcohol levels (BALs), subjective intoxication effects, body sway and cognitive-motor task performance in women. Six young women with (FHP) and six without (FHN) alcoholic first degree relatives provided informed consent and were given 0.56 g/kg ethanol under double-blind conditions. Groups were matched for age, drinking history and height-weight ratio. Subjects performed tasks in random order at 90, 60 and 30 min before drinking alcohol, and 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 min after drinking alcohol. BALs peaked at 80 mg/dl 30 to 60 min after drinking alcohol. BALs were comparable and disappearance rates were similar for both groups. BALs and intoxication ratings for both FHP and FHN women had highly significant correlations. Alcohol decreased accuracy on an automated version of the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) for both groups, but FHN women made significantly more errors 30 min after alcohol. Significantly greater alcohol effects on body sway were apparent in FHN women 15, 30, 60, 90 and 120 min after alcohol. Compared with previous findings for men, both FHP and FHN women reported less intoxication at similar BALs, but body sway in FHN women was more affected by alcohol. Small sample size limits generalization of these findings but suggests that some effects of familial alcoholism in women are similar to those observed in men.