Genetics of Alcohol Dependence and Withdrawal in African Americans

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Study Overview

The purpose of this study is to learn things that will help us better understand alcohol dependence, other kinds of substance dependence, and aspects of personality and behavior in African Americans. DNA, the material that carries genetic instructions, will be taken from blood, and used to study genes for these traits. The major purpose of collecting this information and DNA is to test enough genetic markers throughout the whole genome to identify one or more markers, or gene sequence differences, influencing risk for alcohol dependence, and for other behaviors and characteristics (like features of personality and smoking). A marker is used to locate a specific place in the genome that varies between individuals. We may also study other substances in the blood to help us learn more about genetic variation, gene effects, characteristics, and different population groups. Once such sequence differences or markers are identified, we hope to locate and describe the genes influencing alcohol dependence or other characteristics. If we can do this, we might be able to learn what specific genetic factors influence risk for the traits that we are studying. Eventually, this could lead to new treatments, or new means of prevention, for some of these problems.

Study Description

The study will take place over a period of 5 years. The study visit will take up to 8 hours to complete and can be divided over 2 days if necessary. There will be approximately 1500 African American men and women enrolled in the study here at the University of Pennsylvania. 

To begin, our research staff will interview you briefly by phone or in-person to determine whether this study is a good fit for you. If you are eligible to participate, we will schedule a date and time for you to visit the Treatment Research Center.

Study staff will give you the study Informed Consent Form (ICF) to read and will answer all of your questions before asking you to sign the ICF. During the visit, you will be asked to fill out questionnaires, complete an interview about your use of any drugs or alcohol use, your medical history, and any psychological problems that you may have had.  You will also be asked to give blood (~3.5 tablespoons) for genetic tests.  

You will be paid $95.00 for full participation in this study. Additionally, if travel is required of you and you request the additional payment, we will provide you with $2.50 for travel and snacks. If, during the course of the interview, we determine that you are not eligible to complete the study, you will be paid $10 for each hour that you participated in the interview.

Additional Information:

Please call Dr. Kranzler’s study staff at 215-330-2262 for more information.

  • Study Identifier: 812856

Recruitment Status


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