The aim of our proposed study is to examine the effects of binge alcohol consumption on brain metabolites and cognitive function in 18-24 year olds using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and neuropsychological assessment. The final stages of fine-tuning in frontal and association cortices that occur during this period of "emerging adulthood" permit notable improvements in frontally mediated decision-making and response inhibition abilities, while decreasing impulsive behavior. Previous work has identified that heavy alcohol consumption is associated with structural and functional brain abnormalities, and altered cerebral metabolites. These alterations, which are particularly prominent in the prefrontal cortex, likely contribute to alcohol-related executive function deficits, supporting a frontal dysfunction hypothesis in alcohol use disorders. This proposal will use specialized proton (1H) MRS techniques to quantify and compare proton metabolites in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and parieto-occipital cortex (POC) of 18-24 year old male and female binge (BD) and light alcohol drinkers (LD). A novel component of this proposal is the ability to reliably detect and quantify GABA and glutamate, central targets of alcohol action, in the prefrontal cortex using MEGAPRESS and 2D-JPRESS. N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA), choline, and myo-inositol (myo-I), reported to show alterations in heavy alcohol users, will also be examined in this proposal. Spectroscopic data will be examined relative to cognitive performance, with a focus on executive functioning, a frontally mediated area of cognition most widely reported to show deficits in alcohol use disorders. The results of this study will have significant relevance for public health concern, as identification of neurobiological correlates associated with binge alcohol consumption during "emerging adulthood" will help fill a gap in the existing literature on brain alcohol effects in a population that demonstrates not only the highest rate of binge drinking, but also the highest rate of alcohol abuse and dependence.

Public Health Relevance

The overall aim of our proposed study is to examine the effects of binge alcohol consumption on brain metabolites in 18-24 year subjects by applying magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) single voxel methods to reliably detect and quantify GABA, glutamate, and other proton metabolites, in the anterior cingulate region of the prefrontal cortex at 4 Tesla. Spectroscopic data will be examined relative to cognitive performance, with a focus on executive functioning, a frontally mediated area of cognition most widely reported to show deficits in alcohol use disorders. The results of this study will have significant relevance for public health concern, as identification of neurobiological correlates associated with binge alcohol consumption during "emerging adulthood" will help fill a gap in the existing literature on brain alcohol effects in a population that demonstrates not only the highest rate of binge drinking, but also the highest rate of alcohol abuse and dependence.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01AA018153-03
Application #
8208226
Study Section
Neurotoxicology and Alcohol Study Section (NAL)
Program Officer
Matochik, John A
Project Start
2010-01-04
Project End
2014-12-31
Budget Start
2012-01-01
Budget End
2012-12-31
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$319,601
Indirect Cost
$114,144
Name
Mclean Hospital
Department
Type
DUNS #
046514535
City
Belmont
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02478
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