Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Drinking during puberty increases the risk of later alcohol problems

04.06.2013
Puberty, the time period during which sexual maturity is achieved, is a very critical developmental period due to ongoing neurodevelopmental processes in the brain.

It is exactly during this period that substances like alcohol may induce the most destructive and also persistent effects on the still developing brain, which may in some cases even result in neuropsychiatric disorders, such addictive disorders.

A new study at the CIMH shows that individuals who have their first drink during puberty subsequently have higher drinking levels than do individuals with a post-pubertal drinking onset.

“Most teenagers have their first alcoholic drink during puberty. However, most research on the risks of early-onset alcohol use up to now has not focused on the pubertal stage during which the first alcoholic drink is consumed,” said Miriam Schneider, corresponding author for the study and leader of the Research Group Developmental Neuropsychopharmacology at the CIMH.

The study revealed a peak risk of alcohol use disorders for youth beginning to drink alcohol at 12 to 14 years of age, while even earlier beginners seemed to have a slightly lower risk. “Common thinking in alcohol research was that the earlier adolescents begin, the more deleterious become their drinking habits. However, since timing of puberty is not a simple function of chronological age, and also greatly differs between the sexes, the pubertal phase at first drink may therefore represent a stronger and better indicator for subsequent alcohol-related problems than simply the age”, said Schneider.

The crucial point is that adolescents have their first drink at very different ages, so this variable required a longitudinal epidemiological study and experimental animal research to assess drinking behavior. Also, the determination of the pubertal stage at the age at first drink (AFD) is very complex, therefore the study of Schneider and her team had to rely on estimations. Furthermore, it took longitudinal studies to assess drinking data in early adulthood. Finally, both drinking behavior and pubertal development could be traced back to common factors such as psychosocial adversity.
Schneider points out that, while puberty and adolescence are overlapping time periods, with puberty being a part of adolescence, the terms cannot be used interchangeably. Whereas ‘puberty’ refers to the time period during which sexual maturity is achieved (girls ~ 10-14, boys ~ 12-17), ‘adolescence’ on the other hand refers to the gradual period of behavioral and cognitive transition from childhood to adulthood, where adult behavioral abilities are acquired, and the boundaries of this period are not precisely defined. Therefore, for the study it had to be taken into consideration that girls complete puberty much earlier than boys, indicating a difference in timing of neurodevelopmental processes.

Schneider and her colleagues determined pubertal age at first drink in 283 young adults (152 females and 131 males) that were part of a larger epidemiological study. In addition, the participants’ drinking behavior – number of drinking days, amount of alcohol consumed, and hazardous drinking – was assessed at ages 19, 22, and 23 years via interviews and questionnaires. Furthermore, a rodent study concurrently examined the effects of mid-puberty or adult alcohol exposure on voluntary alcohol consumption in later life.

“This study indicates that the period of puberty might serve as a risk window for the initiation of alcohol use. Results also show a higher Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) score later in life in those individuals who had their first drink during puberty. A higher AUDIT score is indicative of a high likelihood of hazardous or harmful alcohol consumption. This information is of great relevance for intervention programs”, said Rainer Spanagel, head of the Institute of Psychopharmacology at the Central Institute of Mental Health.

The results of the study will be published in the October 2013 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (ACER), the official journal of the Research Society on Alcoholism and the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism.

Contact:
Miriam Schneider, PH.D.
Leader of the Research Group Developmental Neuropsychopharmacology
Institute of Psychopharmacology, Central Institute of Mental Health
Tel.: +49 (0) 621 1703-6269
E-Mail: miriam.schneider@zi-mannheim.de

Sigrid Wolff | idw
Further information:
http://www.zi-mannheim.de

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

New players, standardization and digitalization for more rail freight transport

16.07.2018 | Transportation and Logistics

Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide

16.07.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>