May 9, 2021

Adolescent Binge Drinking is Associated with Accelerated Decline of Gray Matter Volume

The age- and time-dependent effects of binge-drinking on adolescent brain development have not been well characterized even though binge drinking is a health crisis among adolescents. The impact of binge drinking on gray matter volume development was examined using longitudinal data from the National Consortium on Alcohol and NeuroDevelopment in Adolescence (NCANDA). Non-binge drinkers (n=177) were matched to binge drinkers (n=164) on potential confounders. Number of binge drinking episodes in the past year was linked to decreased volumes for total gray matter, frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes (ps<.001). Interactions of binge drinking episodes and age demonstrated stronger effects in younger subjects for total gray matter, frontal, temporal, and occipital lobes (ps<.001). Subsequent models included binge drinking coded in multiple ways. Models sensitive to number of episodes and temporal proximity to outcomes provided the best fits. Declines in gray matter volume association with binge drinking are potentially related to changes in cognition frequently reported among binge drinking adolescents. Results underscore the potential importance of delaying initiation of binge drinking and provide evidence for a dose-response relationship of binge drinking to gray matter decline. Temporally proximal binge drinking was associated more strongly with gray matter decline, suggesting the potential for recovery.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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