ABCD study completes enrollment, announces opportunities for scientific engagement

The National Institutes of Health announced today that enrollment for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study is now complete and, in early 2019, scientists will have access to baseline data from all ABCD Study participants.

There are 11,874 youth, ages 9-10, participating in the study, including 2,100 young people who are twins or triplets. All will be followed through young adulthood.

The ABCD Study is a landmark study on brain development and child health that will increase understanding of environmental, social, genetic, and other biological factors that affect brain and cognitive development and can enhance or disrupt a young person’s life trajectory. Coordinated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the study is supported by eight other NIH institutes and offices, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal partners.

Full story at drugabuse.org

Study investigates how MDMA affects cooperation and trust

The drug MDMA makes people more cooperative toward those they trust, according to new research. The finding offers new insights into how MDMA could aid the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Commonly known as ecstasy or Molly, MDMA is a synthetic compound that alters perception and mood by changing brain chemistry.

The recent study by King’s College London in the United Kingdom also identifies alterations in brain activity that accompany MDMA’s impact on cooperative behavior.

Full story at Medical News Today

Can you drink alcohol if you have COPD?

Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, are risk factors for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Alcohol may be a contributing factor because of its relationship with tobacco, but researchers have found it difficult to identify an independent link between alcohol and the disease.

People who drink often smoke, which can make it challenging to distinguish a relationship between drinking alcohol and developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

However, the currently established links between COPD and alcohol use are significant enough that they may discourage people at risk of COPD from drinking.

No research has proved that drinking alcohol causes COPD, but some evidence suggests that drinking has specific adverse effects on people with the condition.

Full story at Medical News Today

More young people are choosing not to drink alcohol

Young people in England aren’t just drinking less alcohol — a new study published in BMC Public Health shows that more of them are never taking up alcohol at all, and that the increase is widespread among young people.

Researchers at University College London analysed data from the annual Health Survey for England and found that the proportion of 16-24 year olds who don’t drink alcohol has increased from 18% in 2005 to 29% in 2015.

The authors found this trend to be largely due to an increasing number of people who had never been drinkers, from 9% in 2005 to 17% in 2015. There were also significant decreases in the number of young people who drank above recommended limits (from 43% to 28%) or who binge drank (27% to 18%). More young people were also engaging in weekly abstinence (from 35% to 50%)

Full story at Science Daily

Teen cannabis use is not without risk to cognitive development

Although studies have shown that alcohol and cannabis misuse are related to impaired cognition in youth, previous studies were not designed to understand this relationship and differentiate whether cannabis use was causal or consequential to cognitive impairment. A new study by researchers at CHU Sainte-Justine and Université de Montréal, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, shows that beyond the role of cognition in vulnerability to substance use, the concurrent and lasting effects of adolescent cannabis use can be observed on important cognitive functions and appear to be more pronounced than those observed for alcohol.

Beyond acute intoxicating effects, alcohol and cannabis misuse has been associated with impairments in learning, memory, attention and decision-making, as well as with lower academic performance. “While many studies have reported group differences in cognitive performance between young users and non-users, what had yet to be established was the causal and lasting effects of teen substance use on cognitive development,” said co-author and PhD student at Université de Montréal, Jean-François G. Morin. Senior author and investigator Dr. Patricia Conrod, from the Department of Psychiatry at Université de Montréal, added that “very few studies are designed to look at this question from a developmental perspective. Our study is unique in that it followed a large sample of high school students from 7th to 10th grade using cognitive and substance-use measures. Using this big-data approach, we were able to model the complex nature of the relationship between these sets of variables.”

Full story at Science Daily