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Age-Related Effects of Alcohol from Adolescent, Adult, and Aged Populations Using Human and Animal Models

Authors

  • Lindsay M. Squeglia,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California
    • Reprint requests: Lindsay M. Squeglia, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, 8950 Villa La Jolla Drive, San Diego, CA 920037; Tel.: 858-822-2306; Fax: 858-822-3933;

      E-mail: lsquegli@ucsd.edu

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  • Jeff Boissoneault,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
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  • Candice E. Van Skike,

    1. Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
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  • Sara Jo Nixon,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
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  • Douglas B. Matthews

    1. Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
    2. Division of Psychology, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore City, Singapore
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI.
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Abstract

Background

This review incorporates current research examining alcohol's differential effects on adolescents, adults, and aged populations in both animal and clinical models.

Methods

The studies presented range from cognitive, behavioral, molecular, and neuroimaging techniques, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of how acute and chronic alcohol use affects the brain throughout the life span.

Results

Age of life is a significant factor in determining the effect of alcohol on brain functioning. Adolescents and aged populations may be more negatively affected by heavy alcohol use when compared to adults.

Conclusions

Investigations limiting alcohol effects to a single age group constrains understanding of differential trajectories and outcomes following acute and chronic use. To meaningfully address the sequencing and interaction effects of alcohol and age, the field must incorporate collaborative and integrated research efforts focused on interdisciplinary questions facilitated by engaging basic and applied scientists with expertise in a range of disciplines including alcohol, neurodevelopment, and aging.

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