Binge Drinking May Cause Brain Damage in Teenagers

Binge drinking can not only affect your liver and physical health, but it may cause damage to the brain too.

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Binge Drinking May Cause Brain Damage in Teenagers

Highlights

  1. Teenagers may be more vulnerable to the harmful effects of alcohol abuse
  2. Binge drinking may alter brain activity in teenagers and adolescents
  3. The new study was conducted by researchers from the University of Minho
Binge drinking can not only affect your liver and physical health, but it may cause damage to the brain too. According to a new study, published in the Journal Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience, shows that binge drinking may alter brain activity in teenagers and adolescents. The scientists warn that altered brain activity may be linked to delayed brain development and could be an early sign of brain damage. 

Researchers from the University of Minho in Portugal have discovered that the brains of adolescents, which are yet in the developing stages, might be more vulnerable to the harmful effects of alcohol abuse than that of adults. 

For the study, researchers examined the electrical activity in various brain regions in college students and found that binge drinkers had altered brain activity at rest. It was also seen that teenagers who binge drink had significantly higher measurements of specific electrophysiological parameters, known as beta and theta oscillations, in brain regions called the right temporal lobe and bilateral occipital cortex.

Scientists suggest that these changes may indicate a decreased ability to respond to the external stimuli and potential difficulties in information processing capacity in young binge drinkers. They may also represent some of the first signs of alcohol-induced brain damage. 

According to lead author Eduardo Lopez-Caneda, from the varsity, "These features might be down to the particularly harmful effects of alcohol on young brains that are still in development, perhaps by delaying neuromaturational (child development) processes. It would be a positive outcome if educational and health institutions used these results to try to reduce alcohol consumption in risky drinkers." 

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Binge drinking has been described as drinking five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women within a two-hour period. Previous studies have also linked binge drinking with various complications and side effects such as neurocognitive deficits and poor academic performance. 

With inputs from IANS

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