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Neurology behind Drinking in Teenagers

For as long as one can remember concerned adults have tried to limit teenage alcohol consumption. Public health experts often warn that teenage drinkers //show increased risks of involvement in car accidents, and fights.

But while early drinking was blamed for time away from homework acquiring social skills, and other related tasks of growing up mounting research has shown that alcohol damages the developing brains of teenagers, injuring them significantly more than it does adult brains.

These findings have lain to rest the assumption that people can drink heavily for years before significant neurological injury is caused to themselves. In addition the research has suggested that early heavy drinking may even undermine the precise neurological capacities needed to protect oneself from alcoholism.

This probably explains why people who begin drinking at an early age tend to have greater risks of becoming alcoholics. A national survey of 43,093 adults have revealed that 47 percent of those who begin drinking alcohol before the age of 14 become alcohol dependent at some time in their lives, compared with 9 percent of those who wait at least until age 21. The results of this survey are published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Federally financed laboratory experiments on the brains of adolescent rats subjected to binge doses of alcohol have shown significant cellular damage to the forebrain and the hippocampus.

And although it is unclear how directly these findings can be applied to humans, there is some evidence to suggest that young alcoholics may suffer analogous deficits.

It was found that alcoholic teenagers performed poorly on tests of attention focusing verbal and nonverbal memory, and exercising spatial skills.

According to Aaron White, an assistant research professor in the psychiatry department at Duke University and the co-author of a recent study of extreme drinking on coll
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