Dr. J. Leigh Leasure
Approximately 18 million people in the U.S. have an alcohol use disorder (AUD), according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Alcohol consumption can lead to such symptoms as blurred vision, impaired memory and gait, decreased reaction time and slurred speech, which can become evident after just one or two drinks and diminish after drinking has ceased. However, for those who have an AUD or participate in binge episodes, alcohol consumption may lead to long-term brain deficits that linger long after drinking. As a result, methods to help recover from alcohol-induced cognitive insufficiencies are of importance to clinicians. Dr. J. Leigh Leasure, associate professor of developmental psychology and Director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Lab in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston (UH), received a $407,500 award from the NIAAA to investigate the restorative effects of exercise post binge drinking. Continue reading
Dr. Clayton Neighbors
In the United States, alcohol consumption is a common occurrence. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states approximately 72 percent of men and 60 percent of women reported consuming at least one adult beverage in the past year. While greater than four or five drinks per day can be considered heavy drinking for adults, it is alarming that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 90 percent of all alcohol consumed by underage drinkers is in the form of a binge episode. According to the CDC, individuals between the ages of 12 to 20 years old consume 11 percent of the total amount of the alcohol consumed in the United States. As underage drinking contributes to 4,300 annual deaths and approximately 189,000 emergency room visits among this age group, methods to understand youth drinking patterns is imperative, particularly on college campuses. Dr. Clayton Neighbors, professor in the Department of Psychology, Director of Social Psychology, and Director of the Social Influences and Health Behaviors Lab at the University of Houston (UH), received a five-year $114,528 award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop implicit measures to uncover the mechanisms that can predict hazardous drinking on college campuses. Continue reading
Dr. Carla Sharp, Carolyn Ha and Amanda Venta
Oxytocin, a naturally occurring hormone in the brain, has been the subject of multiple recent studies within psychology. Amanda Venta and Carolyn Ha, doctoral candidates in the Child and Family track of the Clinical Psychology Program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston, received awards from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to study the effects of intranasal oxytocin on attachment and social cognition in adolescents. Though commonly thought of as a love hormone, the researchers hope to uncover oxytocin’s effects on participant’s attachment and social cognition in the context of significant relationships. Dr. Carla Sharp, associate professor of clinical psychology and director of the Developmental Psychopathology Lab at the University of Houston, will serve as their advisor and guide the researchers as they work in collaboration with other students in the UH Developmental Psychopathology Lab and clinicians at a local inpatient treatment facility.