Study: Alcoholism affects younger brains

Sep 15, 2005

A Duke University study indicates adolescents and young adults with alcohol-use disorders have a smaller prefrontal cortex.

Researchers said alcohol-use disorders are known to be associated with abnormalities of the prefrontal cortex, thalamus and the cerebellar hemispheres in adults' brains.

The new study of those same brain structures in adolescents and young adults with alcohol-use disorders has found a smaller prefrontal cortex.

But scientists said they are still uncertain whether that represents a vulnerability to, or a consequence of, early onset drinking.

"This is the first study to examine the sizes of these brain structures in adolescents and young adults," said Michael De Bellis, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Healthy Childhood Brain Development Research Program at Duke University Medical Center.

He said adolescents were defined as 13 to 17 years of age, and young adults were defined as 18 to 21 years of age. All of the study's subjects were recruited from substance-abuse treatment programs, and had co-existing mental-health disorders.

The research is detailed in the September issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Dinosaurs fell victim to perfect storm of events, study shows

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Videogame power harnessed for positive goals

Mar 17, 2013

Even as videogames come under scrutiny for potential harmful impacts, researchers and developers are touting digital games for positive effects on health, learning and other social goals.

How young is too young for life in prison?

Mar 21, 2012

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments related to two separate murder cases in which 14-year-olds were sentenced to life without parole. The court will take up the constitutionality of ...

Recommended for you

A word in your ear, but make it snappy

15 hours ago

To most, crocodiles conjure images of sharp teeth, powerful jaws and ferocious, predatory displays – but they are certainly not famous for their hearing abilities. However, this could all change, as new ...

Understanding the economics of human trafficking

16 hours ago

Although Europe is one of the strictest regions in the world when it comes to guaranteeing the respect of human rights, the number of people trafficked to or within the EU still amounts to several hundred ...

User comments : 0