PITTSBURGH, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say neurobiological variables measured as a child may be linked to risk of adult alcohol dependence.
"Better and earlier identification of those at highest risk makes it possible to develop targeted intervention/prevention efforts for these children," study leader Dr. Shirley Hill of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine says in a statement.
Hill and colleagues gathered information over an 11-year span on children recruited for their either high or low familial risk for developing alcohol dependence. The researchers looked at educational achievement scores, personality variables, self-esteem, and anxiety, along with three neurobiological variables.
The researchers say children had an eight-fold increase in likelihood of developing a substance use disorder as young adults if as a child they showed increased P300 -- a brain signal that is associated with the significance of events in the environment and may reflect an individual's ability to make optimal use of such information to guide future behavior.
The findings are published in Biological Psychiatry.