Publications by authors named "Carina Carbia"

17 Publications

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Going with the grain: Fiber, cognition, and the microbiota-gut-brain-axis.

Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2021 Apr 28;246(7):796-811. Epub 2021 Feb 28.

APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork, Cork T12 YT20, Ireland.

Healthy dietary intake has been acknowledged for decades as one of the main contributors to health. More recently, the field of nutritional psychiatry has progressed our understanding regarding the importance of nutrition in supporting mental health and cognitive function. Thereby, individual nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols, have been recognized to be key drivers in this relationship. With the progress in appreciating the influence of dietary fiber on health, increasingly research is focusing on deciphering its role in brain processes. However, while the importance of dietary fiber in gastrointestinal and metabolic health is well established, leading to the development of associated health claims, the evidence is not conclusive enough to support similar claims regarding cognitive function. Albeit the increasing knowledge of the impact of dietary fiber on mental health, only a few human studies have begun to shed light onto the underexplored connection between dietary fiber and cognition. Moreover, the microbiota-gut-brain axis has emerged as a key conduit for the effects of nutrition on the brain, especially fibers, that are acted on by specific bacteria to produce a variety of health-promoting metabolites. These metabolites (including short chain fatty acids) as well as the vagus nerve, the immune system, gut hormones, or the kynurenine pathway have been proposed as underlying mechanisms of the microbiota-brain crosstalk. In this minireview, we summarize the evidence available from human studies on the association between dietary fiber intake and cognitive function. We provide an overview of potential underlying mechanisms and discuss remaining questions that need to be answered in future studies. While this field is moving at a fast pace and holds promise for future important discoveries, especially data from human cohorts are required to further our understanding and drive the development of public health recommendations regarding dietary fiber in brain health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1535370221995785DOI Listing
April 2021

Emotional processes in binge drinking: A systematic review and perspective.

Clin Psychol Rev 2021 Jan 13;84:101971. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology research group (LEP), Psychological Sciences Research Institute, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Electronic address:

Binge drinking is a widespread alcohol consumption pattern commonly engaged by youth. Here, we present the first systematic review of emotional processes in relation to binge drinking. Capitalizing on a theoretical model describing three emotional processing steps (emotional appraisal/identification, emotional response, emotional regulation) and following PRISMA guidelines, we considered all identified human studies exploring emotional abilities among binge drinkers. A literature search was conducted in PubMed, Scopus, and PsychINFO, and a standardized methodological quality assessment was performed for each study. The main findings offered by the 43 studies included are: 1) regarding emotional appraisal/identification, binge drinking is related to heightened negative emotional states, including greater severity of depressive and anxiety symptoms, and have difficulties in recognizing emotional cues expressed by others; 2) regarding emotional response, binge drinkers exhibit diminished emotional response compared with non-binge drinkers; 3) regarding emotional regulation, no experimental data currently support impaired emotion regulation in binge drinking. Variability in the identification and measurement of binge drinking habits across studies limits conclusions. Nevertheless, current findings establish the relevance of emotional processes in binge drinking and set the stage for new research perspectives to identify the nature and extent of emotional impairments in the onset and maintenance of excessive alcohol use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2021.101971DOI Listing
January 2021

Electroencephalographic signatures of the binge drinking pattern during adolescence and young adulthood: A PRISMA-driven systematic review.

Neuroimage Clin 2021 17;29:102537. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Psychological Neuroscience Laboratory (PNL), Research Center in Psychology (CIPsi), School of Psychology, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, Portugal. Electronic address:

Research on neurophysiological impairments associated with binge drinking (BD), an excessive but episodic alcohol use pattern, has significantly increased over the last decade. This work is the first to systematically review -following PRISMA guidelines- the empirical evidence regarding the effects of BD on neural activity -assessed by electroencephalography- of adolescents and young adults. A systematic review was conducted in 34 studies (N = 1723). Results indicated that binge drinkers (BDs) showed similar behavioral performance as non/low drinkers. The most solid electrophysiological finding was an augmented P3 amplitude during attention, working memory and inhibition tasks. This increased neural activity suggests the recruitment of additional resources to perform the task at adequate/successful levels, which supports the neurocompensation hypothesis. Similar to alcoholics, BDs also displayed increased reactivity to alcohol-related cues, augmented resting-state electrophysiological signal and reduced activity during error detection -which gives support to the continuum hypothesis. Evidence does not seem to support greater vulnerability to BD in females. Replication and longitudinal studies are required to account for mixed results and to elucidate the extent/direction of the neural impairments associated with BD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2020.102537DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7803655PMC
December 2020

Microbiota-gut-brain axis as a regulator of reward processes.

J Neurochem 2020 Dec 25. Epub 2020 Dec 25.

APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

Our gut harbours trillions of microorganisms essential for the maintenance of homeostasis and host physiology in health and disease. In the last decade, there has been a growing interest in understanding the bidirectional pathway of communication between our microbiota and the central nervous system. With regard to reward processes there is accumulating evidence from both animal and human studies that this axis may be a key factor in gating reward valence. Focusing on the mesocorticolimbic pathway, we will discuss how the intestinal microbiota is involved in regulating brain reward functions, both in natural (i.e. eating, social or sexual behaviours) and non-natural reinforcers (drug addiction behaviours including those relevant to alcohol, psychostimulants, opioids and cannabinoids). We will integrate preclinical and clinical evidence suggesting that the microbiota-gut-brain axis could be implicated in the development of disorders associated with alterations in the reward system and how it may be targeted as a promising therapeutic strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jnc.15284DOI Listing
December 2020

Own and others' perceived drinking among freshmen as predictors of alcohol consumption over 10 years.

Adicciones 2020 Dec 5;0(0):1510. Epub 2020 Dec 5.

CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP). Departamento de Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública. Universidade de Santiago de Compostela.

The alcohol use perceptions young people have of those close to them can affect their expectations regarding alcohol and, thus, their own drinking. We aim to identify the predictive ability of own and significant others' perceived drinking at age 18-19 in the alcohol use patterns at 27-28. A cohort study was carried out among university students in Spain (n=1,382). Binge Drinking (BD) and Risky Consumption (RC) were measured with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test at ages 18, 20, 22, 24 and 27. Multilevel logistic regression for repeated measures was used to calculate the adjusted Odds Ratios (ORs). College students perceive their family's alcohol consumption as very low or nothing, while the perception of their own alcohol use or that of their friends is higher. Perceiving higher alcohol use among their siblings and friends increases the risk of BD for both sexes and RC for women. Living away from the parental home increases the risk of RC and BD. In conclusion, the perception of their friend's alcohol use at age 18-19 is the most influential variable in BD among both sexes and in RC among men throughout 10 years of follow-up. Parental alcohol consumption does not affect college student drinking patterns when friends and siblings are considered. Living with one's family acts as a protective factor. Preventive measures focused on young people should take a contextual approach and include those closest to them.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.20882/adicciones.1510DOI Listing
December 2020

A biological framework for emotional dysregulation in alcohol misuse: from gut to brain.

Mol Psychiatry 2021 Apr 7;26(4):1098-1118. Epub 2020 Dec 7.

APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) has been associated with impairments in social and emotional cognition that play a crucial role in the development and maintenance of addiction. Repeated alcohol intoxications trigger inflammatory processes and sensitise the immune system. In addition, emerging data point to perturbations in the gut microbiome as a key regulator of the inflammatory cascade in AUD. Inflammation and social cognition are potent modulators of one another. At the same time, accumulating evidence implicates the gut microbiome in shaping emotional and social cognition, suggesting the possibility of a common underlying loop of crucial importance for addiction. Here we propose an integrative microbiome neuro-immuno-affective framework of how emotional dysregulation and alcohol-related microbiome dysbiosis could accelerate the cycle of addiction. We outline the overlapping effects of chronic alcohol use, inflammation and microbiome alterations on the fronto-limbic circuitry as a convergence hub for emotional dysregulation. We discuss the interdependent relationship of social cognition, immunity and the microbiome in relation to alcohol misuse- from binge drinking to addiction. In addition, we emphasise adolescence as a sensitive period for the confluence of alcohol harmful effects and emotional dysregulation in the developing gut-brain axis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-00970-6DOI Listing
April 2021

The Use of Non-Prescribed Prescription Drugs and Substance Use Among College Students: A 9-Year Follow-Up Cohort Study.

Front Psychiatry 2020 27;11:880. Epub 2020 Aug 27.

CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Department of Public Health, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

The use of non-prescribed prescription drugs (NPPD) is common in post-modern societies and a significant proportion of youth consume NPPD concomitantly to other drugs. We studied the prevalence of this consumption among university students in Spain, and its relationship to different patterns of alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use. A cohort study among university students (n=1,380) (2005-2015) was carried out. Students completed self-administered questionnaires at initial (n=1,363, 98.7%), at 2 years (n=875, 75%) and 9 years of follow-up (n=415, 30.5%). Consumption of medicines (last 15 days), risky alcohol consumption (RC), heavy episodic drinking (HED), and tobacco and cannabis use were measured. Multilevel logistic regressions for repeated measures were generated using consumption of medicines with or without medical prescription as dependent variables. Prevalence of RC, HED, tobacco and cannabis had significant reductions during the follow-up. The use of NPPD increased over time, from 35.5% and 33.3% at 18 and 22 years old, respectively, to 49.6% at 27 years old. The highest rates were found among cannabis, tobacco, RC and HED users. For females, cannabis and RC constitute signitifant risk factors for use of NPPD. Conversely, for males, tobacco and cannabis were risk factors for such use of medicines. Later onset of alcohol consumption constitutes a protective factor for females. Our results reveal high prevalence of NPDD among university students. Those who consume NPPD are -at the same time- more likely to be alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis users than those who take medication under prescription. Preventive strategies should be reinforced and focused on this target population to decrease these high levels of poly-consumption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00880DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7481469PMC
August 2020

A specific dietary fibre supplementation improves cognitive performance-an exploratory randomised, placebo-controlled, crossover study.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2021 Jan 20;238(1):149-163. Epub 2020 Sep 20.

APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

Rationale: The impact of the microbiota on the gut-brain axis is increasingly appreciated. A growing body of literature demonstrates that use of dietary fibre and prebiotics can manipulate the microbiota and affect host health. However, the influence on cognition and acute stress response is less well understood.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of a dietary fibre, polydextrose (PDX), in improving cognitive performance and acute stress responses through manipulation of the gut microbiota in a healthy population.

Methods: In this double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, crossover design study, 18 healthy female participants received 12.5 g Litesse®Ultra (> 90% PDX polymer) or maltodextrin for 4 weeks. Cognitive performance, mood, acute stress responses, microbiota composition, and inflammatory markers were assessed pre- and post-intervention.

Results: PDX improved cognitive flexibility as evidenced by the decrease in the number of errors made in the Intra-Extra Dimensional Set Shift (IED) task. A better performance in sustained attention was observed through higher number of correct responses and rejections in the Rapid Visual Information Processing (RVP) task. Although there was no change in microbial diversity, abundance of Ruminiclostridium 5 significantly increased after PDX supplementation compared with placebo. PDX supplementation attenuated the increase of adhesion receptor CD62L on classical monocytes observed in the placebo group.

Conclusions: Supplementation with the PDX resulted in a modest improvement in cognitive performance. The results indicate that PDX could benefit gut-to-brain communication and modulate behavioural responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-020-05665-yDOI Listing
January 2021

Response to "Is there room for attentional impairments in binge drinking? A commentary on Carbia et al. (2018)."

Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2019 05 8;100:250-251. Epub 2019 Mar 8.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Campus Universitario Sur, s/n, Galicia, Spain. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2019.03.004DOI Listing
May 2019

[Alcohol outlet density and alcohol consumption in Galician youth].

Gac Sanit 2020 Jan - Feb;34(1):15-20. Epub 2018 Dec 21.

CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), España; Departamento de Medicina Preventiva, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, España.

Objective: To assess the influence that alcohol outlet density, off- and on-alcohol premises, and alcohol consumption wield on the consumption patterns of young pre-university students in Galicia (Spain).

Method: A cross-sectional analysis of a cohort of students of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Compostela Cohort 2016) was carried out. Consumption prevalence were calculated for each of the municipalities from the first-cycle students' home residence during the year prior to admission. The association with risky alcohol consumption (RC) and binge-drinking (BD) was assessed with a logistic model considering as independent variables the municipality population, alcohol outlet density of off- premises, density of off- and on- premises and total density of both types of premises in the municipality.

Results: The prevalence of RC was 60.5% (95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 58.4-62.5) and the BD was 28.5% (95%CI: 26.7-30.2). A great variability was observed according to the municipality of provenance. The multivariate logistic model showed municipalities with a density of 8.42-9.34 of both types of premises per thousand inhabitants presented a higher risk of RC (odds ratio [OR]: 1,39; 95%CI: 1.09-1.78) and BD (OR: 1.29; 95%CI: 1.01-1.66).

Conclusion: These data suggest the importance of including environmental information when studying alcohol consumption. Knowing our environment better could help plan policies that encourage healthier behaviour in the population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gaceta.2018.09.005DOI Listing
November 2020

A systematic review of neuropsychological studies involving young binge drinkers.

Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2018 07 18;90:332-349. Epub 2018 Apr 18.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. Electronic address:

Binge drinking (BD) is a public health concern with serious implications for brain development. This review is the first in which neuropsychological studies of healthy young BDs are synthesized following PRISMA guidelines. We conducted a literature search in PsycINFO, Web of Science, and PubMed. Articles were screened using strict inclusion criteria. Two authors independently assessed the methodological quality. Of the 27 studies included, 14 (52%) were of intermediate quality, 7 (26%) of poor quality and 6 (22%) of high quality. BD is associated with deficits in verbal memory and executive functions, principally poor inhibitory control. Tentatively, BD may be related to deficits in cognitive flexibility and monitoring of information in working memory. Further studies are needed to determine potential impairments in prospective memory and decision-making. BDs do not seem to show difficulties in planning, short-term memory, attention, processing speed or visuospatial construction. The evidence does not seem to support greater vulnerability in females. Future longitudinal studies should identify the characteristics of extreme trajectories, explore recovery deficits and design intervention programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.04.013DOI Listing
July 2018

Trends in alcohol use among young people according to the pattern of consumption on starting university: A 9-year follow-up study.

PLoS One 2018 9;13(4):e0193741. Epub 2018 Apr 9.

CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Department of Public Health, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Aim: To identify differences in Risky Consumption (RC) and Binge drinking (BD) trends in students who already followed these patterns of alcohol consumption on starting university and those who did not, and also to try to understand what leads students to engage in these types of behaviour at university.

Material And Methods: Cohort study among university students in Spain (n = 1382). BD and RC were measured with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test at ages 18, 20, 22, 24 and 27 years. Multilevel logistic regression for repeated measures was used to calculate the adjusted Odds Ratios (ORs).

Results: The prevalence rates of RC and BD were lower throughout the study in students who did not follow these patterns of consumption at age 18. For RC and BD, the differences at age 27 years, expressed as percentage points (pp), were respectively 24 pp and 15 pp in women and 29 pp and 25 pp in men. Early age of onset of alcohol use increased the risk of engaging in RC and BD patterns at university, for men (OR = 2.91 & 2.80) and women (OR = 8.14 & 5.53). The same was observed in students living away from the parental home for BD (OR = 3.43 for men & 1.77 for women). Only women were influenced by having positive expectancies for engaging in RC (OR = 1.82) and BD (OR = 1.96).

Conclusions: The prevalence rates of both RC and BD at age 27 years were much higher among university students who already followed these patterns of consumption at age 18 years, with the differences being proportionally higher among women. Focusing on the age of onset of alcohol consumption and hindering access to alcohol by minors should be priority objectives aimed at preventing students from engaging in these patterns of alcohol consumption at university.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0193741PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5890966PMC
July 2018

The dual-process model in young adults with a consistent binge drinking trajectory into adulthood.

Drug Alcohol Depend 2018 05 14;186:113-119. Epub 2018 Mar 14.

Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain.

Background: Binge Drinking (BD) generally declines once students have left university. However, many individuals continue to partake in BD into adulthood, constituting a scarcely investigated high-risk group towards whom interventions should be prioritized. Following the dual-process model, we examined the relationship between BD and both the reflective system (executive functions) and the affective system (alcohol bias) in young adults with a consistent BD trajectory. We considered impulsivity as a moderator in the relationship between BD and alcohol bias.

Methods: A cohort of 63 (31♀) young adults were followed for eleven years (18-29 years old). In the last assessment, participants, with high and low drinking trajectories underwent neuropsychological assessment of executive functions (working memory [SOPT], cognitive flexibility [TMT -Verbal Fluency], inhibition [Stroop]) and alcohol bias (Addiction Stroop). The Barratt Impulsivity Scale measured impulsivity. Generalized linear mixed models and regression-based moderation models were applied.

Results: BD was associated with weak inhibitory control, poor working memory and greater alcohol bias moderated by non-planning impulsivity. At moderate levels of non-planning impulsivity, BD was associated with greater alcohol bias. This association was not found at high levels of impulsivity. These deficits were related to loss of control over drinking and severity of alcohol use.

Conclusions: The imbalance between poor cognitive control and greater alcohol bias may contribute to the persistence of BD into adulthood. The findings highlight the complexities of the dual-process model, with intervention implications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.01.023DOI Listing
May 2018

Binge Drinking Trajectory and Decision-Making during Late Adolescence: Gender and Developmental Differences.

Front Psychol 2017 15;8:783. Epub 2017 May 15.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universidade de Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de Compostela, Spain.

Impaired affective decision-making has been consistently related to alcohol dependence. However, less is known about decision-making and binge drinking (BD) in adolescents. The main goal of this longitudinal study was to determine the association between BD and decision-making from late adolescence to early adulthood. A second aim is to assess developmental changes and performance differences in males and females. An initial sample of 155 1st-year university students, (76 non-BDs, 40 females; and 79 BDs, 39 females), was followed prospectively over a 4-year period. The students were classified as stable non-BDs, stable BDs and ex-BDs according to their scores in item 3 of the AUDIT and the speed of alcohol consumption. Decision-making was assessed by the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) three times during the study. Dependent variables were net gain and net loss. Results were analyzed using generalized linear mixed models. A stable BD pattern was not associated with either disadvantageous decision-making or sensitivity to loss frequency. Performance improved significantly in both genders over the study period, especially in the last blocks of the task. Females showed a higher sensitivity to loss frequency than males. No gender-related differences were observed in gains. Performance in affective decision-making continues to improve in late adolescence, suggesting neuromaturational development in both genders. Females are more sensitive to loss frequency. Stable BD during late adolescence and emerging adulthood is not associated with deficits in decision-making. Poor performance of the IGT may be related to more severe forms of excessive alcohol consumption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00783DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5430068PMC
May 2017

Binge drinking affects brain oscillations linked to motor inhibition and execution.

J Psychopharmacol 2017 07 7;31(7):873-882. Epub 2017 Feb 7.

2 Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, University of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain.

Introduction: Neurofunctional studies have shown that binge drinking patterns of alcohol consumption during adolescence and youth are associated with anomalies in brain functioning. Recent evidence suggests that event-related oscillations may be an appropriate index of neurofunctional damage associated with alcoholism. However, there is no study to date that has evaluated the effects of binge drinking on oscillatory brain responses related to task performance. The purpose of the present study was to examine brain oscillations linked to motor inhibition and execution in young binge drinkers (BDs) compared with age-matched controls.

Methods: Electroencephalographic activity was recorded from 64 electrodes while 72 university students (36 controls and 36 BDs) performed a visual Go/NoGo task. Event-related oscillations along with the Go-P3 and NoGo-P3 event-related potential components were analysed.

Results: While no significant differences between groups were observed regarding event-related potentials, event-related oscillation analysis showed that BDs displayed a lower oscillatory response than controls in delta and theta frequency ranges during Go and NoGo conditions.

Conclusions: Findings are congruent with event-related oscillation studies showing reduced delta and/or theta oscillations in alcoholics during Go/NoGo tasks. Thus, BDs appear to show disruptions in neural oscillations linked to motor inhibition and execution similar to those observed in alcohol-dependent subjects. Finally, these results are the first to evidence that oscillatory brain activity may be a sensitive indicator of underlying brain anomalies in young BDs, which could complement standard event-related potential measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881116689258DOI Listing
July 2017

Binge drinking during adolescence and young adulthood is associated with deficits in verbal episodic memory.

PLoS One 2017 2;12(2):e0171393. Epub 2017 Feb 2.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Binge drinking (BD), a harmful pattern of alcohol consumption, is common during adolescence. Young adults with alcohol use disorders exhibit hippocampal alterations and episodic memory deficits. However, it is not known how these difficulties progress in community BD adolescents. Our objective was to analyze the relationship between BD trajectory and verbal episodic memory during the developmental period spanning from adolescence and to early adulthood. An initial sample of 155 male and female first-year university students with no other risk factors were followed over six years. Participants were classified as stable non-BDs, stable BDs and ex-BDs according to the third AUDIT item. At baseline, participants comprised 36 ♂/ 40 ♀ non-BDs (18.58 years), 40 ♂/ 39 ♀ BDs (18.87 years), and at the third follow-up, they comprised 8 ♂/ 8 ♀ stable non-BDs (25.49 years), 2 ♂/ 2 ♀ stable BDs (25.40) and 8 ♂/ 12 ♀ ex-BDs (24.97 years). Episodic memory was assessed four times with the Logical Memory subtest (WMS-III) and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT). Generalized linear mixed models were applied. The results showed that, relative to non-BDs, stable BDs presented difficulties in immediate and delayed recall in the Logical Memory subtest. These difficulties remained stable over time. The short-term ex-BDs continued to display difficulties in immediate and delayed recall in the Logical Memory subtest, but long-term ex-BDs did not. The effects were not influenced by age of alcohol onset, frequency of cannabis use, tobacco use or psychopathological distress. In conclusion, BD during adolescence and young adulthood is associated with episodic memory deficits. Abandoning the BD pattern may lead to partial recovery. These findings are consistent with the vulnerability of the adolescent hippocampus to the neurotoxic effects of alcohol.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0171393PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5289570PMC
August 2017

Early alcohol use and psychopathological symptoms in university students.

Psicothema 2016 Aug;28(3):247-52

Universidade de Santiago de Compostela.

Background: Adolescent brain may be particularly vulnerable to alcohol.  Plus, psychopathological disorders tend to emerge in this period. Consequently, early alcohol use may increase the risk of psychopathological disorders, with time and sex-dependent effects. However, few studies have analyzed the relationship between alcohol consumption and adolescent psychopathology in the general population. The objective was to determine the association between age of onset of alcohol use and psychopathological symptoms in university students, separately for both sexes.

Method: A cross-sectional study involving first-year university students (n = 3,696) was conducted. Symptoms were measured by the Symptom Checklist-R (SCL-90-R). The independent variable was age of first alcohol use. Dependent variables were the SCL-90-R dimensions, dichotomized. Alcohol consumption was considered a mediator variable. Data were analyzed separately for males and females.

Results: The findings showed that a younger age of onset is a risk factor for the following global indexes: Global Severity Index, Positive Symptom Total for females, and Positive Symptom Distress Index, for males. Alcohol consumption showed a higher mediator effect for females than for males.

Conclusion: Early age of alcohol use is associated with increased psychopathological symptomatology in both sexes during the college freshman year. The pattern of symptomatology is different in each sex.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7334/psicothema2015.251DOI Listing
August 2016