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Neurology behind Drinking in Teenagers

ege campuses, said, "There is no doubt about it now: there are long-term cognitive consequences to excessive drinking of alcohol in adolescence".

The hippocampus in the brain is a structure crucial for learning and memory. Researchers have found that alcohol drastically suppressed the activity of specific chemical receptors in the region with the suppressive effect being found to be significantly stronger in adolescent rat brain cells than in the brain cells of adult rats.

Researchers have related this to the alcohol "blackouts" in human teenagers where there is a lack of memory for events that occur during a night of heavy drinking without a loss of consciousness.

Other research has also found that while drunken adolescent rats become more sensitive to memory impairment, their hippocampal cells become less responsive than adults' to the neurotransmitter gamma-amino butyric acid, or GABA, which helps induce calmness and sleepiness.

This probably explains why teenagers can drink more than adults before they get sleepy enough to stop. However impairment of their cognitive functions is another side effect of this.

The frontal areas of the adolescent brain are crucial for controlling impulses and thinking through consequences of intended actions — capacities many addicts and alcoholics of all ages lack.

According to Fulton Crews, a neuropharmacologist at the University of North Carolina during human adolescence, the frontal portions of the brain are heavily remolded and rewired, as teenagers learn — often excruciatingly slowly — how to exercise adult decision-making skills, like the ability to focus, to discriminate, to predict and to ponder questions of right and wrong.

"Alcohol creates disruption in parts of the brain essential for self-control, motivation and goal setting," Dr. Crews said, and can compound pre-existing genetic and psychological vulnerabilities. ‘Early drinking is affecting a sensi
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