According to NPR: “A recent study led by neuroscientist Susan Tapert of the University of California, San Diego compared the brain scans of teens who drink heavily with the scans of teens who don’t.
“Tapert’s team found damaged nerve tissue in the brains of the teens who drank. The researchers believe this damage negatively affects attention span in boys, and girls’ ability to comprehend and interpret visual information.
For the study, published last month in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Tapert looked at 12- to 14-year-olds before they used any alcohol or drugs. Over time, some of the kids started to drink, a few rather heavily — consuming four or five drinks per occasion, two or three times a month — classic binge drinking behavior in teens.
Comparing the young people who drank heavily with those who remained non-drinkers, Tapert’s team found that the binge drinkers did worse on thinking and memory tests. There was also a distinct gender difference. Read more.
About the image: The red specks in this brain scan highlight where the integrity of the brain’s white matter is significantly less in the teens who binge drink, compared to those who do not. [Souce: UCSD/NPR]