Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Preference For Alcohol In Adolescence May Lead To Heavy Drinking

Date:
May 5, 2008
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
Scientists have shown a connection between early drinking patterns and a tendency to be a heavy drinker in adulthood, in a study of adolescent rats. The scientists found that the rats that drank the most on the third day of the study also consumed the most alcohol in the later days of the study. The rodents sobered up for two days without any alcohol and again were given a choice. When the alcohol was returned, those that drank heavily at the beginning of the experiment returned to their habit.

Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have shown a connection between early drinking patterns and a tendency to be a heavy drinker in adulthood, in a study of adolescent rats.

Related Articles


"Drinking patterns in adolescents may be set after only a few exposures to alcohol," said Nicole L. Schramm-Sapyta, research associate in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke University School of Medicine. "Rats that demonstrated a 'taste' for alcohol after only three nights of drinking were very likely to be the biggest drinkers after longer-term exposure."

During the first three nights of the study, the rats were given only alcohol to consume. After that, for 10 days, they had a choice of water or alcohol. Their drinking was measured right after they had traveled through an elevated maze, a way to raise anxiety levels and measure stress-related hormone levels. They also were tested for drinking after scientists observed their preference for new objects and for exploring a new place.

"We decided to examine stress and novelty seeking because these are two characteristics we see among people who develop problem drinking," said Schramm-Sapyta, first author of the study published in the May issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. The study was funded by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The scientists found that the rats that drank the most on the third day of the study also consumed the most alcohol in the later days of the study. The rodents sobered up for two days without any alcohol and again were given a choice. When the alcohol was returned, those that drank heavily at the beginning of the experiment returned to their habit.

However, the scientists learned that stress and novelty seeking were not related to drinking outcomes. "This suggests that there are other traits that scientists should be looking for, that are related to the early experiences of drinking," said Schramm-Sapyta.

Based on the fact that rats are mammals with a genome similar to that of humans, Schramm-Sapyta said, "We can cautiously extrapolate from rodents to humans. The findings suggest that early 'big drinkers' are the people who should be targeted for alcoholism-prevention efforts."

"The studies that we have done in rats have not yet been done in humans to our knowledge," she added. "One reason that rats are particularly useful in studies like these is that we can control the opportunity for exposure to alcohol, which we can't do with human adolescents."

Controlling for environment and opportunities to drink is impossible and unethical to do in studies with teenagers, she explained. "We can't take a group of teenagers and experimentally dictate who drinks and who doesn't, because of the risk of long-term health consequences."

Future studies for this research team will focus on causes for those early drinking behaviors -- be it the sedative effect of alcohol, avoidance of after-effects or different types of metabolism.

Other contributing authors include Megan A. Kingsley, Kiayia Propst, and Cynthia Kuhn of the Duke Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology; Amir H. Rezvani and H. Scott Swartzwelder of the Duke Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the Durham VA Medical Center (Dr. Swartzwelder).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Preference For Alcohol In Adolescence May Lead To Heavy Drinking." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080504194249.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2008, May 5). Preference For Alcohol In Adolescence May Lead To Heavy Drinking. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080504194249.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Preference For Alcohol In Adolescence May Lead To Heavy Drinking." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080504194249.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins