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Monday, August 26, 2013

Genetic and Neurophysiological Correlates of the Age of Onset of Alcohol Use Disorders in Adolescents and Young Adults

Discrete time survival analysis was used to assess the age-specific
association of event-related oscillations (EROs) and CHRM2 gene variants on the onset of regular alcohol use and alcohol dependence.
The subjects were 2,938 adolescents and young adults ages 12–25.

Results showed that the CHRM2 gene variants and ERO risk factors had hazards which varied considerably with age. The bulk of the significant age-specific associations occurred in those whose age of onset was under 16. These associations were concentrated in those subjects who at some time took an illicit drug.

These results are consistent with studies which associate greater rates of alcohol dependence among those who begin drinking at an early age.

The age specificity of the genetic and neurophysiological factors is consistent with recent studies of adolescent brain development, which locate an interval of heightened vulnerability to substance use disorders in the early to mid teens.

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