Excessive Alcohol Consumption Can Damage Brain
A new study has highlighted significant changes in brain function and structure that can be caused by excessive alcohol use in young people.
The study, published in Cortex stated that functional signs of brain damage caused by alcohol abuse in young people mainly include deficits in visual learning and memory, and executive function.
These functions are controlled by the hippocampus (the main component of the human brain) and frontal brain structures, which are not fully mature until about 25 years. Structural signs of alcohol abuse in young people, among others, the shrinking of the brain and significant changes to the white matter tracts.
The minimum age allowed by the state to consume alcoholic beverages could open up a gap or trigger alcohol abuse. But according to the researchers changed the minimum age a person is allowed to drink alcohol is not an appropriate answer or solution.
In Australia the age of 18 years is the minimum age allowed to consume alcoholic beverages, three years earlier than in the United States. Despite the differences in the legal drinking age, age of first use (and related problems) are the same between the two countries.
Instead, the authors emphasize the need for early intervention, to identify markers and threshold-risk drinking behavior in the early stages.