24 January 2020 In Drinking Patterns

This review provides the first systematic and quantitative synthesis of the literature examining the relationship between binge drinking, cognition, brain structure and function in youth aged 10 to 24 years. PubMed, EMBASE, Medline, PsychINFO and ProQuest were searched for neuroimaging, neurophysiological, and neuropsychological studies.

A total of 58 studies (21 neuroimaging, 16 neurophysiological, 21 neuropsychological) met the eligibility criteria and were included in the review. Overall, abnormal or delayed development of key frontal executive-control regions may predispose youth to binge drink.

These abnormalities appear to be further exacerbated by the uptake of binge drinking, in addition to alcohol-related neural aberrations in reward-seeking and incentive salience regions, indexed by cognitive deficits and maladaptive alcohol associations.

A meta-analysis of neuropsychological correlates identified that binge drinking in youth was associated with a small overall neurocognitive deficit (g = -0.26) and specific deficits in decision-making (g = -1.70), and inhibition (g = -0.39). Using the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) Evidence Profile, the certainty in outcomes ranged from very low to low.

Future prospective longitudinal studies should address concomitant factors, exposure thresholds, and age-related vulnerabilities of binge drinking, as well as the degree of recovery following discontinuation of use.

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