Neuroimaging studies have shown that extensive cortical maturation (e.g., reductions in gray matter cortical thickness) occurs during adolescence, which correspond to more efficient and mature brain functioning. These ongoing maturational processes parallel significant increases in adolescent risk taking, particularly binge drinking (i.e., >4 drinks for females, >5 drinks for males on one occasion), with almost 25% of high school seniors reporting binge drinking in the past 2 weeks [34]. Binge drinking is of great public health concern as it increases an adolescent's likelihood of engaging in other risky behaviors like drunk driving, riding with an impaired driver, violence, unsafe sex, and other substance use [40]. Proclivity to engage in risk taking behaviors such as binge drinking during adolescence appears to have a large neurobiological component, but the link between brain functioning and risky binge drinking has not been clearly defined. Emerging evidence suggests that abnormalities in alcohol-naive adolescents'brain response might contribute to future substance use [41, 63], particularly reaction to tasks of working memory [7, 20, 68]. Understanding the neurological contribution to the initiation or substance use will help disentangle predisposing risk factors from insults incurred due to binge drinking and will help determine appropriate prevention and intervention techniques for adolescents. Therefore, the aim of this investigation is to prospectively examine brain structure using: (1) cortical thickness indices and (2) brain response to a working memory task using fMRI in a sizable longitudinal sample of adolescents (N>120), first studied before they have ever drank alcohol, to see if brain structure and function predispose adolescents to future heavy drinking. This research will clarify the effects of brain structure and functioning on initiating heavy drinking during adolescence, using advanced multimodal imaging techniques, and will identifying neural risk markers to target prevention and intervention efforts.

Public Health Relevance

Understanding the brain features behind adolescent binge drinking and other substance use will aid clinical assessment and help in design of prevention and intervention programs and strategies that limit risk taking opportunity and construct healthier outlets for teenagers. In the future, multi-domain risk taking assessment (e.g., neuropsychological testing, brain imaging, personality) may be used to identify and guide high-risk teenagers, which could advantageously reduce costs to the healthcare and criminal justice system overall.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Type
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
Project #
5F32AA021610-02
Application #
8718764
Study Section
Health Services Research Review Subcommittee (AA)
Program Officer
Matochik, John A
Project Start
2013-08-01
Project End
2015-07-31
Budget Start
2014-08-01
Budget End
2015-07-31
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$55,094
Indirect Cost
Name
University of California San Diego
Department
Psychiatry
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
804355790
City
La Jolla
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
92093
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Squeglia, Lindsay M; Jacobus, Joanna; Nguyen-Louie, Tam T et al. (2014) Inhibition during early adolescence predicts alcohol and marijuana use by late adolescence. Neuropsychology 28:782-90
Squeglia, Lindsay M; Rinker, Daniel A; Bartsch, Hauke et al. (2014) Brain volume reductions in adolescent heavy drinkers. Dev Cogn Neurosci 9:117-25
Squeglia, Lindsay M; Boissoneault, Jeff; Van Skike, Candice E et al. (2014) Age-related effects of alcohol from adolescent, adult, and aged populations using human and animal models. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 38:2509-16
Ray, Lara A; Bujarski, Spencer; Squeglia, Lindsay M et al. (2014) Interactive effects of OPRM1 and DAT1 genetic variation on subjective responses to alcohol. Alcohol Alcohol 49:261-70
Squeglia, Lindsay M; McKenna, Benjamin S; Jacobus, Joanna et al. (2013) BOLD response to working memory not related to cortical thickness during early adolescence. Brain Res 1537:59-68
Wetherill, Reagan R; Squeglia, Lindsay M; Yang, Tony T et al. (2013) A longitudinal examination of adolescent response inhibition: neural differences before and after the initiation of heavy drinking. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 230:663-71
Jacobus, Joanna; Squeglia, Lindsay M; Infante, M Alejandra et al. (2013) White matter integrity pre- and post marijuana and alcohol initiation in adolescence. Brain Sci 3:396-414
Squeglia, Lindsay M; Jacobus, Joanna; Sorg, Scott F et al. (2013) Early adolescent cortical thinning is related to better neuropsychological performance. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 19:962-70