Brain scans may be able to detect changes in the brain in preteens that predict future alcohol abuse, a new study suggests.
The study included 135 preteen and teenage boys and girls who were an average of 12.6 years old, and who had not yet tried alcohol. They underwent MRI scans to evaluate their brain connections, Medical Daily reports. The scans focused on the brain’s executive control network (ECN), which includes the areas that process emotion, impulsivity and self-control.
Participants’ parents filled out a questionnaire about their children’s behavior, such as irritability, anger and sadness. The questionnaire is predictive of future alcohol misuse. The researchers compared the answers with the preteens’ MRI results.