Thursday, November 30, 2006

The biological problem with binge-drinking

Binge dinking is not a new phenomenon...especially with college students. These parties can last for days, an the impact on academic success is often dramatic resulting in failures and, lets face it, money loss.

A study by a french group found that teenage haevy drinkers can lose more than marks on a test. Brain scans of alcohol-dependant individuals aged from 30-50 years showed a definitive loss of white matter. What is important here is this, the age at which these individuals started drinking is related to decreased grey matter volume in the cerebellum, brainstem and frontal region.

Reference: Chanraud et al. 2006. Brain Morphometry and Cognitive Performance in Detoxified
Alcohol-Dependents with Preserved Psychosocial Functioning. Neuropsychopharmacology, October issue, p. 1-10.

Image by Ottmar Liebert taken from Flickr under creative commons (CC) license