The study led by the researchers at the University of Cambridge reveals that young adults at the risk of addiction develop differences in the brain’s important regions.
This study was published in the Neuropsychopharmacology Journal on February 15th, 2019.
According to the study, the biological system of an individual plays an important role in the development of the addiction. During the time of adolescence or young adulthood, people show certain behaviors linked with the addiction which can be risky.
To conduct the study, about 99 young adults between the ages of 16 to 26 went through a computer-based impulsivity calculator. The brains of volunteers were also scanned with the arrangement that is sensitive to myelin content. Myelin is a cover that is rich in protein and it is vital to conduct fast nerves in the body and brain.
The young adults who had higher behavioral impulsivity measure showed low levels of myelin in the putamen.
The impulsivity disorder is said to be a set of behavioral and brain alterations. This increases the general risk among people leading to psychiatric and neurological disorders.
In this study, a strong link between the behavioral impulsivity in young adults and irregularities in their nerve cells in the putamen is shown. The putamen is a key region in the brain which is involved with addictive disorders.
Dr. Camilla Nord, a lead author on the study said, "People who show heightened impulsivity are more likely to experience a number of mental health issues, including substance and behavioral addictions, eating disorders, and ADHD."
Dr. Nord also said, "We know that most mental health symptoms are not specific to particular disorders. This work provides an important piece of the puzzle in establishing brain signatures that are general across a number of mental health disorders, rather than specific to any single one."
The co-author of the study, Dr. Seung-Goo Kim said, "The degree of myelination alters the speed and efficiency of neuronal communication, meaning that if a population has decreased myelination only in one particular region, as we show, there is something highly local about any changes in neural speed and efficiency."
According to the researchers, it is yet impossible to declare that dropped myelination leads to impulsivity in individuals. This is because of the fact that all the participants of this study were recorded healthy and they did not have been through any diagnosis of the addiction or any other psychiatric diagnosis.
The findings of this study will definitely prove to be of some help while foreseeing the risk of an individual in developing the addiction disorder. For this, researchers will be doing further research and testing.