About

Developmental fMRI Study of Alcohol Use in Adolescence

Duration: 2017 - Present
Funding: NIH/NIAAA
Principal Investigator: Diana Fishbein

Description

The adverse effects of alcohol use during adolescence is of particular concern to prevention researchers due to the vulnerability of developing neural systems that regulate executive cognitive, and emotion regulatory functions critical for emotional and behavioral self-control. Early alcohol use may lead to a decline in neurodevelopment, with potentially long-term consequences for the ability to succeed academically, socially, and economically. The adolescent’s particular sensitivity to these adverse effects could explain findings of impairment in adolescents with alcohol use problems and adults who began drinking at an early age.

In response to gaps in our knowledge regarding adolescent alcohol use, this project five-year longitudinal fMRI study seeks to identify functional neuroanatomical substrates of neurodevelopmental liability to initiate and escalate alcohol use while charting the progressive nature of neurological and behavioral consequences of alcohol use at a relatively young age. Information is being gathered from community-based and high risk samples of “drug naïve” 11-13 year olds over the course of three, 18 month waves of data collection.

Neurological markers of developmental delays have been associated with alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, providing direction for the present study in identifying vulnerability factors in alcohol abuse and its potential effects. Ultimately, this study aims to understand underlying mechanisms in the development of maladaptive social behaviors that increase risk for alcohol use initiation and escalation in order to suggest specific strategies for intervention.

Research Team

Publications

Neurodevelopmental precursors and consequences of substance use during adolescence: Promises and pitfalls of longitudinal neuroimaging strategies

Fishbein, D., Rose, E., Darcey, V. L., Belcher, A. M., & VanMeter, J. W. (2016). Neurodevelopmental precursors and consequences of substance use during adolescence: Promises and pitfalls of longitudinal neuroimaging strategies. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10, 116.