(Telegraph) Teenage drink and drug abuse linked to brain ‘wiring’
8:45AM BST 29 Apr 2012
Teenagers who binge drink and take drugs may have differently wired brains – meaning they could be screened for their risk of substance abuse.
Newly discovered networks of neurons suggest some youngsters are more likely to begin smoking, experimenting with cannabis or consuming large amounts of alcohol.
Scientists used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans to highlight abnormalities by comparing the brains of almost two thousand 14 year olds.
It is the first time the vast and chaotic actions of a teenage brain at work have been shown in such detail.
The findings, published online in Nature Neuroscience, helps answer a longstanding chicken-or-egg question about whether certain brain patterns come before drug use, or are caused by it.
Psychiatrist Professor Hugh Garavan, of the University of Vermont in New England, said: “The differences in these networks seem to precede drug use.”
Also see Don’t Worry… There’s A Name For It, Do You Really Drink More When the Economy Is Failing?, Does Decriminalization Lead to Lower Drug Abuse?, Who is More Likely to Become Alcoholic? and The Tiger Woods Effect