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Journal Article

Citation

Luczak SE, Rosen IG. Alcohol Clin. Exp. Res. 2014; 38(8): 2243-2252.

Affiliation

Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California; Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, California.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2014, John Wiley and Sons)

DOI

10.1111/acer.12478

PMID

25156615

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Transdermal alcohol sensor (TAS) devices have the potential to allow researchers and clinicians to unobtrusively collect naturalistic drinking data for weeks at a time, but the transdermal alcohol concentration (TAC) data these devices produce do not consistently correspond with breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) data. We present and test the BrAC Estimator software, a program designed to produce individualized estimates of BrAC from TAC data by fitting mathematical models to a specific person wearing a specific TAS device.

METHODS: Two TAS devices were worn simultaneously by 1 participant for 18 days. The trial began with a laboratory alcohol session to calibrate the model and was followed by a field trial with 10 drinking episodes. Model parameter estimates and fit indices were compared across drinking episodes to examine the calibration phase of the software. Software-generated estimates of peak BrAC, time of peak BrAC, and area under the BrAC curve were compared with breath analyzer data to examine the estimation phase of the software.

RESULTS: In this single-subject design with breath analyzer peak BrAC scores ranging from 0.013 to 0.057, the software created consistent models for the 2 TAS devices, despite differences in raw TAC data, and was able to compensate for the attenuation of peak BrAC and latency of the time of peak BrAC that are typically observed in TAC data.

CONCLUSIONS: This software program represents an important initial step for making it possible for non mathematician researchers and clinicians to obtain estimates of BrAC from TAC data in naturalistic drinking environments. Future research with more participants and greater variation in alcohol consumption levels and patterns, as well as examination of gain scheduling calibration procedures and nonlinear models of diffusion, will help to determine how precise these software models can become.


Language: en

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