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      Earlier Alcohol Use Onset Prospectively Predicts Changes in Functional Connectivity

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          Abstract

          Background

          Half of all new alcohol initiates are between 12-17 years old. This is a period of intense neurodevelopment, including changes in functional connectivity patterns among higher-order function areas. It is crucial to understand how alcohol-related neurotoxicity may be influenced by drinking onset age.

          Design

          This study prospectively examined the effects of age of first drink on frontoparietal context-dependent functional connectivity (cdFC) during a visual working memory task. Youth 13.5 years of age (SD=1.2) underwent a neuropsychological and neuroimaging session before drinking initiation and at follow-up six years later. Hierarchical linear regressions examined if youth with earlier ages of onset for first and weekly alcohol use showed higher follow-up cdFC between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and posterior parietal cortex regions of interest and whole-brain exploratory regions, controlling for pre-drinking cdFC. Higher follow-up cdFC was hypothesized to be correlated with poorer performances in neuropsychological performance.

          Results

          Exploratory whole brain analyses showed that, as hypothesized, earlier ages of weekly drinking onset were associated with higher cdFC between the bilateral posterior cingulate and cortical and subcortical areas implicated in attentional processes, which was in turn associated with poorer performance on neuropsychological tasks of attention, ps<.05. No relationship between age of onset and cdFC between the two ROIs were found.

          Conclusion

          Earlier ages of weekly alcohol use initiation may adversely affect neurodevelopment by reducing developmentally appropriate integration of attentional circuits during a cognitive challenge. Delaying the onset of weekly alcohol use patterns well after early adolescence may reduce the risk for harm of alcohol use on the brain.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          7608025
          6790
          Psychopharmacology (Berl)
          Psychopharmacology (Berl.)
          Psychopharmacology
          0033-3158
          1432-2072
          6 January 2018
          06 January 2018
          April 2018
          01 April 2019
          : 235
          : 4
          : 1041-1054
          Affiliations
          [1 ]San Diego State University/University of California San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego, California, USA
          [2 ]University of California San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, La Jolla, California, USA
          [3 ]Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Charleston, South Carolina
          Author notes
          [* ]Corresponding author: Susan F. Tapert, Ph.D.; University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive (0603), La Jolla, California, 92093, United States
          Article
          PMC5871543 PMC5871543 5871543 nihpa932883
          10.1007/s00213-017-4821-4
          5871543
          29306963
          7a700bba-ab97-457c-958b-e98c0fcf6e82
          Categories
          Article

          context dependent functional connectivity,alcohol use,alcohol onset,anticorrelations

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