Drinking and driving: a decrease in executive frontal functions in young drivers with high blood alcohol concentration

8 de dezembro de 20092min10

Simone Cristina Aires Dominguesa, Josideia Barreto Mendoncaa, Ronaldo Laranjeirab,
Ester Miyuki Nakamura-Palaciosa,*

aDepartamento de Ciencias Fisiolo´gicas, Universidade Federal do Espırito Santo (UFES), Vitoria, Espırito Santo, Brazil b Departamento de Psiquiatria, Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo (UNIFESP), Sao Paulo, Brazil Received 15 March 2009; received in revised form 30 September 2009; accepted 7 October 2009
This study correlated the executive frontal functions with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in night drivers in a Brazilian city. Of 592 drivers randomly recruited between December 17, 2005 and May 5, 2006, during nighttime hours on main streets or avenues with intense vehicle traffic in Vitoria, Brazil, 444 had the BAC determined by a portable digital breath alcohol analyzer and 389 were submitted to
a frontal function examination by a frontal assessment battery (FAB). A high percentage (24.4%) of drivers presented alcohol in their blood.
Most of these drivers were male (82%), and nearly half (43.7%) were young adults (aged between 20 and 30 years). The results showed an inverse relationship between the BAC and FAB total scores, with a higher BAC corresponding to a smaller FAB total score, delineating a progressive decrease in frontal function with increasing concentrations of alcohol. The most intriguing result was that alcohol-induced impairment on frontal executive function was particularly important in young adults, and more specifically in the motor programming subset of FAB, an executive function highly involved in driving skills. Considering the worldwide evidence of the high-risk involvement of youth in automobile crashes, the effects of alcohol in young adults need to be more thoroughly examined by cognitive studies, and more direct preventive solutions need to be taken focusing on this age range.  2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Sobre a UNIAD

A Unidade de Pesquisa em álcool e Drogas (UNIAD) foi fundada em 1994 pelo Prof. Dr. Ronaldo Laranjeira e John Dunn, recém-chegados da Inglaterra. A criação contou, na época, com o apoio do Departamento de Psiquiatria da UNIFESP. Inicialmente (1994-1996) funcionou dentro do Complexo Hospital São Paulo, com o objetivo de atender funcionários dependentes.


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