Prediction of Heavy Alcohol Use

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Prediction of Heavy Alcohol Use

New research finds that we may be able to predict which adolescents and teenagers will become heavy alcohol consumers, according to researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina.

Researchers studied 137 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 14 in the Youth at Risk Study that all had little knowledge on alcohol and drug use. Each participant went through clinical interviews, magnetic resonance imaging, annual checkups and neuropsychological tests. By the age of 18, 51 percent of the participants had admitted to heavy alcohol use. Heavy drinking was common among males with high socioeconomic statuses.

It was found that when tested at a young age, those with poor mental functioning and different brain structures were the ones that ended up consuming the most alcohol. The researchers were able to predict accurately which adolescents would become the heavy consumers. This means, with more research, a model can be created that can be used in education and prevention of underage alcohol consumption.