Scientists taught a computer to detect future teen binge drinkers

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When it comes to drug and alcohol abuse, the best interventions are those implemented as early as possible. That’s why researchers are increasingly focused on determining which risk factors spur behaviors like binge drinking and alcohol addiction, as well as how they interact. But integrating all that information accurately hasn’t always been easy. Now, a study published today in Nature describes how researchers “taught” a computer to weigh the risk factors associated with teenage binge drinking using data from 14-year-olds. And the results, says lead study author and cognitive neuroscientist Robert Whelan, are promising: the computer was able to predict future adolescent binge drinkers with “70 percent accuracy.”

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