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Dr. Barbara Banz and DrivSim Lab Faculty Present Research at 42nd Annual RSA Scientific Meeting

August 22, 2019


B.C. Banz, J. Wu, D. Camenga, M.J. Crowley, L.C. Mayes, F.E. Vaca

Yale University School of Medicine, Developmental Neurocognitive Driving Simulation Research Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA Yale University School of Medicine, Child Study Center, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA

Purpose: Binge-drinking (BD) can be problematic among youth. BD-related consequences can be immediate (e.g., blackouts) or remain after intoxication (e.g., neural response differences during attentional processing). It’s unclear how these consequences may make performing complex behav-iors, such as driving, more difficult. It’s also unknown if attentional processing differences translate to differences in a contextual setting e.g., secondary task engagement while driving. We sought to study the relationship between self-reported drinking severity and attentional processing during high-fidelity driving simulation.

Methods: Drinking severity measures were BD in the last 30-days (No-BD, BD groups), and fre-quency of drinking symptomology (e.g., black outs, hangovers) in the last 6-months (LOW, HIGH groups). Event-related potentials were used to study the neural response to cognitive load on atten-tional processing. Participants attended and responded to target stimuli in two conditions, driving simulation (LOAD) and in the simulator but not driving (No-LOAD). Frontal P2 and P3 components were used to evaluate attentional processing between LOAD and No-LOAD for attended and unat-tended stimuli. One-way ANOVAs were used to compare those reporting No-BD (n = 10) and those reporting BD (n = 11), and those with LOW drinking symptomology (n = 10) to those in the HIGH group (n = 11). RM-ANOVAs were used to evaluate interactions between load and attention condi-tions between groups. DATA: Twenty-one young adults (18–25 years old (9 = men)) were enrolled to study the relationship between drinking severity and secondary task engagement during high-fide-lity driving simulation.

Results: Significant differences (p = 0.05) for P3 were found between BD groups in the No-LOAD-attend condition; No-BD amplitudes were larger than the BD group. A significant interaction

(p = 0.04) was found for P3 when comparing load and attention conditions between BD groups; lar-ger responses among No-BD. Significant differences (p = 0.03) for P2 in the LOAD-attend condition were found between symptomology groups; LOW-symptom group amplitudes were larger than HIGH-symptom group amplitudes.

Conclusions: These data show significant relationships for recent BD and frequent drinking symp-toms with attentional processing which may translate to limitations in performing secondary task engagement during driving simulation. Our brain-based data offer insight into a contextual setting where attentional faculties are critical for safety. These data hold important implications for distracted driving and crash risks among sober young drivers with a history of heavy drinking.

Submitted by Federico Vaca on August 22, 2019