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Binge-drinking Results In Female Memoryloss

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July 18th, 2011

Watch out teenage binge drinkers!  You may be damaging parts of your brain that controls your memory!

A study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research tested four groups; male and female binge-drinkers and non-drinkers to evaluate their neurophyschology and “spatial working memory”.  Binge-drinking was defined as more than three pints of beer for women and four pints for men in one sitting.  Using MRI scans, findings showed that female teenage bingers had less brain activation in several brain regions than female non-drinking and both groups of males while performing the same tasks.  Like they actually needed a test to figure that out?

Although all binge drinkers showed some abnormality in “working memory” when compared to non-drinkers, the abnormalities in males didn’t show to the same extent that females demonstrated.  Working memory can be described as using and working with information that is kept in your mind, rather than writing down on paper, and is critical to reasoning and logical thinking.  Not only that, but these negative affects may also play a role in tasks such as; driving, using a map, remembering directions or doing things that involve complex movements.

This isn’t anything really that new as previous research has shown that women who are alcoholics are more vulnerable to damaging effects of alcohol on the brain when compared to their male counterparts.  A psychiatry and behavioral science professor at Stanford University, Edith Sullivan, says this may be because the brains of females develop earlier than males, so that drinking during that time could account for the difference in the effects of each gender.  But it could be also attributed to the difference in hormones, slower metabolic rates, or body type.  The higher fat percentage in women and lower metabolism causes the alcohol to stay and their system a little longer than it would for males and that slightly extended period of time, cumulative over their teen drinking years may cause the differences.

Either way, now women can blame their sense of direction, or lack thereof, on alcohol.  “I can’t remember what happened last night.  Must be because I drank too much as a teenager.”

Resource: Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research

Memory loss is just one side effect of teen alcohol abuse that young alcoholics could suffer in the future.

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