Only you can make the decision not to use tobacco, alcohol or drugs. This Web site is designed to give
you the facts about tobacco, alcohol and drug use in Columbia. It will also provide you with resources
to find factual information about the effects of alcohol and drugs, real stories from teenagers like
yourself and answer any questions you might have.
What Brain Studies Reveal About the Risk of Adolescent Alcohol Use and Abuse
Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) are zeroing in on brain factors and behaviors that put teens at risk of alcohol use and abuse even before they start drinking.
Four abstracts from the Adolescent Development Study exploring these factors will be presented at Neuroscience 2014, the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting in Washington. The Adolescent Development Study, a collaboration between the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and GUMC funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is a wide-ranging effort to understand how a teen brain “still under construction,” as the NIH puts it, can lead to risky behaviors such as alcohol and drug use.
One abstract provides new evidence that adolescents at higher risk of alcoholism have reduced connections in key brain networks; another links impaired brain connections to impulsivity; and two abstracts examine impulsivity in relation to sugar intake and intake of DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid.
“What this study is attempting to do is identify the differences in the brains of adolescents who go on to misuse alcohol and other drugs,” says VanMeter. “If we know what is different, we may be able to develop strategies that can prevent the behavior.”