Teen Binges Linked to White Matter Changes in BrainLast Updated: April 24, 2009. In adolescents, binge drinking may be associated with reduced white matter integrity in the frontal, cerebellar, temporal, and parietal regions of the brain, according to research published online April 21 in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
FRIDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- In adolescents, binge drinking may be associated with reduced white matter integrity in the frontal, cerebellar, temporal, and parietal regions of the brain, according to research published online April 21 in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
Tim McQueeny, of the VA San Diego Healthcare System in California, and colleagues analyzed data from 14 teenagers with a recent history of binge drinking, as well as 14 controls matched by age, gender and education level. Subjects underwent diffusion tensor imaging -- a magnetic resonance imaging technique -- to evaluate fractional anisotropy (FA), which gives an estimate of white matter integrity.
The researchers found that binge drinkers showed lower FA, indicating compromised white matter fiber coherence, in 18 white matter areas compared to controls. No areas showed higher FA. In the binge-drinking teens, lower FA in six of these regions was associated with more lifetime hangover symptoms and greater estimated peak blood alcohol concentrations.
"In sum, this study shows differences in white matter quality in adolescents with histories of heavy episodic drinking, revealing widespread areas of compromised white matter in projections to networks underlying complex cognitive abilities of learning, memory, and executive functions. Although preliminary, these results bolster the importance of elucidating the neural sequelae of heavy episodic drinking during adolescence," the authors conclude.
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