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The prediction of resilience to alcohol consumption in youths: Insular and subcallosal cingulate myeloarchitecture

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Background The prediction of alcohol consumption in youths and particularly biomarkers of resilience, is critical for early intervention to reduce the risk of subsequent harmful alcohol use. Methods At baseline, the longitudinal relaxation rate (R1), indexing grey matter myelination (i.e. myeloarchitecture), was assessed in 86 adolescents/young adults (mean age = 21.76, range: 15.75-26.67 years). The Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) was assessed at baseline, 1- A nd 2-year follow-ups (12- A nd 24-months post-baseline). We used a whole brain data-driven approach controlled for age, gender, impulsivity and other substance and behavioural addiction measures, such as problematic cannabis use, drug use-related problems, internet gaming, pornography use, binge eating, and levels of externalization, to predict the change in AUDIT scores from R1. Results Greater baseline bilateral anterior insular and subcallosal cingulate R1 (cluster-corrected family-wise error p < 0.05) predict a lower risk for harmful alcohol use (measured as a reduction in AUDIT scores) at 2-year follow-up. Control analyses show that other grey matter measures (local volume or fractional anisotropy) did not reveal such an association. An atlas-based machine learning approach further confirms the findings. Conclusions The insula is critically involved in predictive coding of autonomic function relevant to subjective alcohol cue/craving states and risky decision-making processes. The subcallosal cingulate is an essential node underlying emotion regulation and involved in negative emotionality addiction theories. Our findings highlight insular and cingulate myeloarchitecture as a potential protective biomarker that predicts resilience to alcohol misuse in youths, providing novel identifiers for early intervention.

TidsskriftPsychological Medicine
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 1 jan. 2020

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