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Can test predict binge drinkers?

Posted by: Colleen Stoxen Updated: July 7, 2014 - 12:30 PM

Scientists can predict teen binge drinkers before the pattern worsens into adulthood with 70 percent accuracy.

Researchers studied thousands of teenagers’ brain assessments and genes and found, with high accuracy, who will become binge drinkers in the future. Neuroscientists from the University of Vermont published a large study in the journal Nature.

"Our goal was to develop a model to better understand the relative roles of brain structure and function, personality, environmental influences and genetics in the development of adolescent abuse of alcohol," said lead author Dr. Robert Whelan, a former University of Vermont postdoctoral fellow in psychiatry. "This multidimensional risk profile of genes, brain function, and environmental influences can help in the prediction of binge drinking at age 16 years."

The best predictors of binge drinking were personality, sensation-seeking traits such as adrenaline junkies, lack of conscientiousness or self-awareness, teens who experienced several stressful events, and a family history of drug abuse. However, having just one drink at 14 years old was the biggest predictor of someone becoming a binge drinker.

Read more from Medical Daily.

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