The purpose of these Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOAs) is to support the Neurobiology of Adolescent Drinking in Adulthood (NADIA) consortium. The overarching goal of the NADIA consortium is to elucidate the mechanisms mediating persistent neurobiological pathology and behavior caused by adolescent alcohol exposure. The FOAs solicit collaborative research projects (U01 and U24s) from multiple research institutions focused on investigating repeated adolescent alcohol exposure and its effects on brain maturation and adult abilities. In this initiative, NIAAA is interested in supporting experimental studies of the mechanisms of pathology produced by controlled alcohol doses and exposure periods. Therefore, the U01 is limited to animal studies only. Applications for administrative and resources cores, both under the U24 mechanism, should be submitted in response to the companion FOAs: RFA-AA 20-004 and RFA AA-20-005, respectively.
Adolescent alcohol abuse is common, with the highest rate of hazardous drinking occurring between the ages of 19 to 25. People ages 12 through 20 drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States. In 2015, 7.7 million young people reported that they drank alcohol beyond “just a few sips” in the past month. While 5.1 million young people reported binge drink at least once in the past month, 1.3 million reported binge drinking on 5 or more days over the past month. Although, the percentage of teens who drink decreased by one-third in the past decade, it is still a very high consumption to have serious long-term consequences. Drinking during adolescence greatly increases the lifelong risk of alcohol use disorders due to impaired cognition, decision-making skills and increased negative emotional states associated with dysregulated stress responses. During adolescence, the brain undergoes growth and remodeling that focuses responses and improves cognitive efficiency through changes in neurogenesis, synaptic remodeling, as well as changes in neurotransmitter and hormone levels. The high levels of neuroplasticity during adolescence allow optimization of brain function through adaptation to training and other experiences. Morphological changes in brain development during adolescence contribute to global intelligence (IQ), executive function, including refinement of reasoning, goal and priority setting, attention-impulse control, information processing efficiency, responses to reward, stress and the negative emotional states, and control over violence. The adolescent brain has critical periods of cortical development that are defined by adaptive changes causing persistent changes in brain structure and function. The emergence of many phobias, compulsive, and psychotic disorders as well as alcohol use disorders starts between the ages of 10-25 years, emphasizing the potential of adolescence as a vulnerable period. For example, recent data from National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescence (NCANDA) show accelerated frontal cortical gray matter trajectory and executive dysfunction in adolescent alcohol users that is related to risk for alcohol use and poor sleep quality. Thus, it is important to understand the mechanisms for the long-term neurobehavioral consequences of alcohol exposure during this period of brain maturation. The projects of the Consortium will investigate the neurobiology of adolescent alcohol exposure with the special focus on the molecular, cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying behavior changes.
Filed Under: Funding Opportunities