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Alcohol Could Damage Youngsters' Brain

Alcohol could cause damage to the brain of youngsters, says a study, which stresses that teenagers should know what liquor misuse can do to them. //

Thomas Heffernan, a psychologist at Northumbria University, examined over 100 college students for the research presented at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in York, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.

Half the students were 'excessive drinkers', consuming an average of 27 units of alcohol a week - the equivalent of a bottle of spirits. The others drank rarely or not at all.

The subjects were asked how often they had forgotten things they planned or needed to do in the future, such as locking the door or posting a letter.

The heavy drinkers were much more forgetful, and found remembering to carry out immediate simple tasks particularly difficult.

A parallel study of youngsters who smoked around two packets of cigarettes a week tended to have problems remembering more distant future events, such as meeting a friend in a week's time.

While earlier studies have shown that smoking and drinking affect teenagers' ability to recall past events, this is the first time they have been shown to harm the ability to remember future tasks.

Heffernan said it was likely that both substances are damaging the brain at a crucial point in its development.

"Parents need to take much more responsibility. That includes providing their children with as much information as they can about what alcohol misuse can do to them," the researcher said.

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