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May 2018

Age, Alcohol Use, and Brain FunctionYoda Says, “With Age and Alcohol, Confused Is the Force”

Author Affiliations
  • 1National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland
JAMA Psychiatry. 2018;75(5):422. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.0009

In a new study by Sullivan et al,1 cortical brain structure was examined across a 50-year adult age range in 222 individuals with alcohol dependence and an age-matched control group of 199 individuals. The authors used atlas-based, quantitative magnetic resonance imaging and criteria for substance dependence on alcohol based on the DSM-IV, which likely represents moderate to severe alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the DSM-5. Regionally selective volume deficits were observed most extensively in the lateral and medial frontal, parietal, and insular cortices, with additional deficits in temporal and cingulate regions. These effects remained in participants without comorbidity of drug dependence or hepatitis C virus infection, although there was evidence of compounded untoward effects of drug dependence and hepatitis C infection on AUD.