Latest scientific news 04 December 2013

Excessive use of alcoholic beverages when young has lasting impacts on the brain

A study from the University of Sydney (Australia) highlights the significant and long-term effects that alcohol misuse, particu­lar­­ly binge drinking, can have on the developing brain’s functions and structure in young people.

The researchers reviewed 20 neuropsychological and neuro-imaging studies of young people between 13 and 24 years old, an age where the brain is particularly vulnerable to developmental changes. They found that excessive drinking in young people was marked by brain shrinkage and changes to white matter, and deficits in executive functioning, visual learning, and memory.

Hermens DF, Lagopoulos J, Webb TJ, et al. Pathways to alcohol-induced brain impairment in young people: a review. Cortex 2013;49:3-17