Navigation Links
When 'Just Say No' Isn't Enough: Try Science
Date:12/3/2008

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Teens are fascinated by their brains, the way they work, change, and even "freeze" sometimes. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recommends that parents, teachers and caregivers use that fascination to engage middle and high school students this holiday season in a discussion of why they shouldn't drink alcohol.

"Parents need every tool they can find to convince their teens not to drink alcohol, particularly during the holiday season," says Shirley Malcom, head of the Education & Human Resources Directorate at AAAS. "Science is such a tool, and it is providing new insights on alcohol's effects on the maturing brain."

Scientists used to believe that human brains finished developing before adolescence. But according to The Science Inside Alcohol Project, an alcohol education effort of the AAAS that is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), new and ongoing brain research shows that important brain regions and their interconnections are still developing well into a person's twenties.

The brain is made up of more than 100 billion neurons, each making tens of thousands of connections. Alcohol can damage or even kill neurons, perhaps altering development of those parts of the adolescent brain that are still forming. Research suggests that alcohol can cause teens to:

Make bad decisions. The prefrontal cortex, which is involved in planning and decision-making, does not completely mature until after the teen years. Using alcohol can harm a teen's ability to reason and weigh options instead of just doing something because it is fun or feels good.

Develop a tolerance for alcohol and drink more over time. When adolescents drink on multiple occasions, their brains develop tolerance to alcohol, requiring more alcohol to obtain the same effects as previously. This encourages higher levels of use, potentially leading to alcohol abuse and even dependence. The highest rates of abuse and dependence on alcohol have been reported among youth in their late teens and early twenties, followed by 12-17 year olds.

Take risks they usually would not take. Connections between regions of the prefrontal cortex and the ventral striatum, an important part of the brain's reward system, are important in regulating impulsive behavior and are still maturing during adolescence. Alcohol can affect those connections, making teens more likely to do impulsive things they later may regret -- like drinking and driving or having sex.

Harm their memories. The hippocampus, or the area in the brain that stores memory, is still maturing during adolescence. Research shows that ingesting even small amounts of alcohol can make teens less likely to recall something they learned earlier or remember what they did while drinking.

Cause problems with medications. Medication for attention deficit disorder, bipolar disorder or other problems with the brain may react badly with alcohol. For instance, if a teen takes Ritalin and drinks alcohol it may increase the effects of Ritalin, affecting the ability to perform tasks that require complete concentration. For those taking lithium for bipolar disorder, drinking alcohol, particularly in large quantities, can impair judgment, thinking and motor skills.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science. For more information on the nonprofit AAAS, please visit http://www.aaas.org.


'/>"/>
SOURCE AAAS
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. When just say no isnt enough: Try science
2. Study: Childhood constipation just as serious as asthma
3. Experts on JustAnswer(R) Projected to Help Thousands During the Thanksgiving Holiday
4. New Consumer Health Guide -- Pass Up the Poison Plastic, The PVC-Free Guide for Your Family & Home Released Just in Time for the Holiday Shopping Season
5. State Farm Bayou Classic and KaBOOM! Team Up to Build New Playground in Just One Day
6. Rutgers Center for Behavioral Health Services, Criminal Justice Research gets NIMH grant
7. The miseries of allergies just may help prevent some cancers, study finds
8. Abington Memorial One of Just Six Hospitals in the U.S. to Win Magnet Prize
9. Cone-beam CT: Just as useful as MDCT before and after percutaneous vertebroplasty
10. Sanofi-aventis Q3 2008 Adjusted EPS Excluding Selected Items(1):
11. Healthcare Staffing Company, Medical Solutions Now Offers More Than Just Cash as Part of its Referral Rewards Program
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor and Overseer ... one of the most popular and least understood books in the Holy Scriptures, Revelation. ... descriptions that have baffled scholars for centuries. Many have tossed it off as mere ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to ... to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains to the ... teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches a class ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent and San Francisco dentists, Dr. ... Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million Americans are estimated to suffer ... Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about 75 percent of people with ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( https://isocomforter.com ), one of the Nation’s premier ... of the shoulder pad. The shoulder pad provides optimal support and full contact ... using cold therapy. By utilizing ice and water that is circulated from an insulated ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Information about ... intend to develop to enable prevention of a major side effect of chemotherapy ... especially in pediatric patients. For cisplatin, hearing loss is FDA listed on-label as ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... Denmark , Oct. 2, 2017 The Rebound ... in the struggle to reverse the tide of prescription drug ... for regulating their medicine intake and stepping down their dosage ... set to launch in December 2017; the first 100,000 people ... Learn more at http://www.rebound-solution.com/ ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... 2017   Montrium , an industry leader ... the IQPC Trial Master Files & Inspection Readiness ... EastHORN Clinical Services has selected eTMF Connect ... management. EastHORN, a leading European contract research organization ... transparency to enable greater collaboration with sponsors, improve ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Mich. , Sept. 19, 2017 HistoSonics, Inc., a venture-backed medical device company ... destruction of targeted tissues, announced three leadership team developments today:   ... PhD ... ... Veteran medical device executive Josh ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: