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Front Psychiatry. 2013 Jul 1;4:53. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00053. eCollection 2013.

Dare to delay? The impacts of adolescent alcohol and marijuana use onset on cognition, brain structure, and function.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee , Milwaukee, WI , USA.

Abstract

Throughout the world, drug and alcohol use has a clear adolescent onset (Degenhardt et al., 2008). Alcohol continues to be the most popular drug among teens and emerging adults, with almost a third of 12th graders and 40% of college students reporting recent binge drinking (Johnston et al., 2009, 2010), and marijuana (MJ) is the second most popular drug in teens (Johnston et al., 2010). The initiation of drug use is consistent with an overall increase in risk-taking behaviors during adolescence that coincides with significant neurodevelopmental changes in both gray and white matter (Giedd et al., 1996a; Paus et al., 1999; Sowell et al., 1999, 2002, 2004; Gogtay et al., 2004; Barnea-Goraly et al., 2005; Lenroot and Giedd, 2006). Animal studies have suggested that compared to adults, adolescents may be particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of drugs, especially alcohol and MJ (see Schneider and Koch, 2003; Barron et al., 2005; Monti et al., 2005; Cha et al., 2006; Rubino et al., 2009; Spear, 2010). In this review, we will provide a detailed overview of studies that examined the impact of early adolescent onset of alcohol and MJ use on neurocognition (e.g., Ehrenreich et al., 1999; Wilson et al., 2000; Tapert et al., 2002a; Hartley et al., 2004; Fried et al., 2005; Townshend and Duka, 2005; Medina et al., 2007a; McQueeny et al., 2009; Gruber et al., 2011, 2012; Hanson et al., 2011; Lisdahl and Price, 2012), with a special emphasis on recent prospective longitudinal studies (e.g., White et al., 2011; Hicks et al., 2012; Meier et al., 2012). Finally, we will explore potential clinical and public health implications of these findings.

KEYWORDS:

MRI; adolescence; age onset; alcohol; binge drinking; cognition; marijuana; neuropsychology

PMID:
23847550
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3696957
Free PMC Article
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