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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2016 Nov;70:244-259. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.06.042. Epub 2016 Jul 1.

Neurobiological signatures associated with alcohol and drug use in the human adolescent brain.

Author information

1
Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, USA; McLean Imaging Center, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. Electronic address: msilveri@mclean.harvard.edu.
2
Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, Hartford, CT, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
3
Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, USA; McLean Imaging Center, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

Magnetic resonance (MR) techniques provide opportunities to non-invasively characterize neurobiological milestones of adolescent brain development. Juxtaposed to the critical finalization of brain development is initiation of alcohol and substance use, and increased frequency and quantity of use, patterns that can lead to abuse and addiction. This review provides a comprehensive overview of existing MR studies of adolescent alcohol and drug users. The most common alterations reported across substance used and MR modalities are in the frontal lobe (63% of published studies). This is not surprising, given that this is the last region to reach neurobiological adulthood. Comparatively, evidence is less consistent regarding alterations in regions that mature earlier (e.g., amygdala, hippocampus), however newer techniques now permit investigations beyond regional approaches that are uncovering network-level vulnerabilities. Regardless of whether neurobiological signatures exist prior to the initiation of use, this body of work provides important direction for ongoing prospective investigations of adolescent brain development, and the significant impact of alcohol and substance use on the brain during the second decade of life.

KEYWORDS:

Addiction; Adolescence; Alcohol; DTI; Development; Frontal lobe; Hippocampus; Impulsivity; MRI; MRS; Marijuana; Nicotine; Resting state; Reward sensitivity; Substance abuse; fMRI

PMID:
27377691
PMCID:
PMC5494836
DOI:
10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.06.042
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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