Research & Resources

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

In this study, researchers examined the impact of binge drinking on gray matter volume (GMV) development using five waves of longitudinal data from the National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescence study. The number of binge drinking episodes in the past year was linked to decreases in GMV, with the strongest effects observed in frontal regions of the brain. Interactions between binge drinking episodes and baseline age demonstrated stronger effects (i.e., decreased GMV) in younger participants. Consistent with prior research, results of this study highlight the negative effects of binge drinking on the developing brain. Results indicate that decreases in cortical GMV occur more frequently when in close proximity to binge drinking episodes in a dose-response manner. This relation suggests a causal effect and raises the possibility that normal GMW growth trajectories may be reinstated with alcohol abstinence.

This paper, “Adolescent binge drinking is associated with accelerated decline of gray matter volume,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published in the journal Cerebral cortex.

Link to full item