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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2019 Feb 13. pii: S0890-8567(19)30111-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2018.12.008. [Epub ahead of print]

Association Between Age and Familial Risk for Alcoholism on Functional Connectivity in Adolescence.



Youth with a family history of alcohol use disorder (family history positive; FHP) are at increased risk for developing maladaptive substance use relative to family history negative (FHN) peers. Building on earlier studies demonstrating morphological differences and distinct patterns of neural activation in FHP, the purpose of the present study was to investigate differential intrinsic functional connectivity among brain networks indexing premorbid risk of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD).


The current study examined intrinsic functional connectivity using resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 191 adolescents 13 to 18 years with and without family history of alcohol use disorder (AUD) via independent component analysis (ICA), a method enabling data-driven investigation of internetwork and intranetwork connectivity among brain regions at rest.


Analyses revealed significantly lower intranetwork connectivity in FHP compared to FHN participants between dorsal premotor cortex and other sensorimotor network regions. Reduced intranetwork connectivity in this region was further correlated with the number of biological family members with AUD and mood disorders. Robust differences were also evident in internetwork connectivity as a function of age. However, there was no evidence for family history by age interactions.


Intra- but not inter-network connectivity appears to differentiate FHP and FHN adolescents whereas age differences within adolescence are marked by differences in internetwork connectivity.


adolescence; alcohol; family history; functional connectivity; resting state


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