Bobbi Padro and Dr. James Higley, Department of Psychology
The purpose of this project was to determine a correlation between the temperament of rhesus macaques and the amount of alcohol they consume. This project looked specifically at 16 juvenile rhesus macaques. Each juvenile had been tested to determine its temperament through the Biobehavioral Assessment (BBA) at the University of California Davis collected by Dr. John Captianio. The BBA data is collected while subjects are infants. Half of the monkeys tested were determined to have high anxiety and the other half low anxiety. Determining whether a correlation exists between temperament and alcohol consumption can help intervention programs and preventative
programs for alcoholism.
After a two-week adjustment period to being in the new location, all 16 of the rhesus macaques were given an intramuscular dose of ketamine. The time of ketamine injection for each subject was recorded. Subjects were then monitored until they “awoke” from the ketamine. A ketamine recovery time score is the amount of time that it takes a subject to reach a score of three on a scale of zero to three after the injection of ketamine. The changes that occur across ketamine exposures is considered to be representative of the rate at which subjects build a tolerance to ketamine. After the third exposure to ketamine, subjects were given access to an 8.4% alcohol/aspartame solution for two hours a day, five days a week, for five weeks. After the two hours were finished, we measured how much alcohol was consumed.
Since we collected our own data, we had to come up with a database for all of our data as well as the BBA data collected while the monkeys were infants. We thought that entering our data would be a simple process that would take a short amount of time. We did not realize how time consuming it is to come up with a database that is easy to access everything. Converting the data from collection to analyzing (e.g. changing minutes it took to wake up to seconds it took to wake up) was time consuming. Once this was finished we began
analyzing the data.
We took the mean of alcohol consumption each week to see if there was a correlation between the difference in ketamine recovery time. We found that each week of consumption positively correlated with the difference in ketamine recovery time. Meaning, as the weeks progressed if the mean of alcohol consumption increased then the ketamine recovery time decreased. The results from our analysis suggest that the change in ketamine tolerance can be used as another predictor of alcohol intake, and thus susceptibility to type II alcoholism.
We took our project to Brigham Young University College of Life Sciences Undergraduate Poster Session, Brigham Young University Mentored Student Research Conference, Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Conference, and the American Society of Primatology Conference. We won an honorable mention at the Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Conference.
We are currently comparing the BBA data with the alcohol consumption data we collected. The results look promising. We are also working on a publishable paper for the results we found comparing ketamine wake up time and alcohol consumption.