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Addict Biol. 2017 Mar;22(2):490-501. doi: 10.1111/adb.12332. Epub 2015 Dec 21.

Altered white matter integrity in whole brain and segments of corpus callosum, in young social drinkers with binge drinking pattern.

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Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience, School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.
Groupe de Recherche sur l'Alcool et les Pharmacodépendances, Equipe Région INSERM 24, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France.
Cognition, Health, Socialization Laboratory (C2S, EA6291), University of Reims, Reims, France.
Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.


Binge drinking is associated with impaired cognitive functioning, but the relationship of cognitive impairments and white matter integrity is less known. We used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to investigate the relationships of binge drinking, whole brain white matter integrity and cognitive performance during young adulthood (18 to 25 years), a period of continued brain development in two sessions 1 year apart. Binge drinkers (n = 20) and non-binge drinkers (n = 20) underwent DTI and completed measures of spatial working memory and motor impulsivity. Fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure derived from DTI, was estimated from whole brain and from five segments of the corpus callosum (CC): prefrontal, premotor/supplementary motor, motor, (SMA) sensory and parietal/temporal/occipital (PTO). FA was lower for binge than for non-binge men but not women at Session 1 and 2 for all measurements except for FA in the motor segment, which was significantly increased from Session 1 to Session 2. Lower FA in the prefrontal and PTO CC segments was associated with higher binge score, whereas lower FA in all five segments was associated with greater drug use in men and worse spatial working memory both in men and women. These findings extend the literature by showing that in early adulthood, binge drinking and drug use are linked with degradations in neural white matter and that compromised white matter at this period of brain development is linked with impaired cognitive functioning.


Addiction; corpus callosum; diffusion tensor imaging

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