Nav: Home

Young binge drinkers show altered brain activity

September 14, 2017

Researchers have studied the brain activity of young binge-drinking college students in Spain, and found distinctive changes in brain activity, which may indicate delayed brain development and be an early sign of brain damage.

For many students, college involves a lot of socializing at parties and at bars, and alcohol is a common factor in these social environments. Excessive alcohol use, in the form of binge drinking, is extremely common among college students, and one study has estimated that as many as one third of young North Americans and Europeans binge drink.

So, what defines binge drinking? The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism describes a binge as drinking five or more drinks for men and four or more for women within a two-hour period, and for many college students, these limits wouldn't equate to a particularly heavy night. Previous research has linked binge drinking to a variety of negative consequences including neurocognitive deficits, poor academic performance, and risky sexual behavior.

While numerous studies have shown that the brains of chronic alcoholics have altered brain activity, there is also evidence that bingeing can change adolescents' brains. Eduardo López-Caneda, of the University of Minho in Portugal, investigates this phenomenon.

"A number of studies have assessed the effects of binge drinking in young adults during different tasks involving cognitive processes such as attention or working memory," says López-Caneda. "However, there are hardly any studies assessing if the brains of binge drinkers show differences when they are at rest, and not focused on a task."

In a recent study published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, López-Caneda and colleagues set out to see if the resting brains of binge-drinking college students showed any differences compared with those of their non-bingeing counterparts.

The researchers recruited first year college students from a university in Spain, and asked them to complete a questionnaire about their drinking habits. Students that had participated in at least one binge within the previous month were considered to be binge drinkers, whereas non-bingers had never binged before. By attaching electrodes to the students' scalps, the scientists could assess electrical activity in various brain regions.

Compared with the non-bingers, the binge drinkers demonstrated altered brain activity at rest. They showed significantly higher measurements of specific electrophysiological parameters, known as beta and theta oscillations, in brain regions called the right temporal lobe and bilateral occipital cortex.

Surprisingly, previous studies have found very similar alterations in the brains of adult chronic alcoholics. While the young bingers in this study might occasionally consume alcohol to excess, they did not fit the criteria for alcoholism. So, what does this mean?

The changes might indicate a decreased ability to respond to external stimuli and potential difficulties in information processing capacity in young binge drinkers, and may represent some of the first signs of alcohol-induced brain damage.

The brains of adolescents are still developing, meaning that they might be more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol abuse. "These features might be down to the particularly harmful effects of alcohol on young brains that are still in development, perhaps by delaying neuromaturational processes," says López-Caneda.

The researchers stress that they need to carry out further studies to confirm if the features they have observed in these young binge drinkers are caused by their bingeing, and if their brain development might be impaired. However, the results suggest that bingeing has tangible effects on the young brain, comparable with some of those seen in chronic alcoholics. "It would be a positive outcome if educational and health institutions used these results to try to reduce alcohol consumption in risky drinkers," says López-Caneda.
-end-


Frontiers

Related Binge Drinking Articles:

How serious is binge drinking among college students with disabilities?
A new study finds that college students with disabilities binge drink more often than their non-disabled student peers.
Effective intervention for binge drinking in adolescents
An intervention program based on school class groups has a preventive effect on subsequent drinking behavior, especially binge drinking, in adolescents who had previously consumed alcohol.
Binge drinking may quickly lead to liver damage
Alcohol consumed during just seven weeks of intermittent binge drinking harms the liver in ways that more moderate daily drinking does not, according to researchers at UC San Francisco.
Teenage binge drinking can affect brain functions in future offspring
Repeated binge drinking during adolescence can affect brain functions in future generations, potentially putting offspring at risk for such conditions as depression, anxiety, and metabolic disorders.
Questionnaire predicts likelihood of unprotected sex, binge drinking
Researchers in the social sciences have been searching for a holy grail: an accurate way to predict who is likely to engage in problematic behavior, like using drugs.
Study pinpoints behavior type linked to binge drinking in young adults
While there are a number of studies on alcohol misuse, most of the research has been focused on the adult population.
Gene and tonic: Genetic link in binge-drinking teens
Scientists have identified the KALRN gene in a search to determine factors at play in underage alcohol abuse.
Researchers find brain circuit that controls binge drinking
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have identified a circuit between two brain regions that controls alcohol binge drinking, offering a more complete picture on what drives a behavior that costs the United States more than $170 billion annually and how it can be treated.
Binge drinking dangerous for young adults
Having an occasional drink is fine, but 'binge' drinking is a known health hazard and now high blood pressure may need to be added to the list of possible consequences.
Binge drinking with chronic alcohol use more destructive than previously thought
A new study by MU School of Medicine researchers shows that chronic alcohol use, when combined with repeated binge drinking, causes more damage to the liver than previously thought.

Related Binge Drinking Reading:

Binge Drinking (Pocket Puritans)
by John Flavel (Author)

In this book titled Binge Drinking, John Flavel, a Puritan minister in the naval port of Dartmouth, England, pulls no punches as he confronts the sin of drunkenness head on. Often considered a modern phenomenon, binge drinking is in fact an age-old problem. Flavel's treatment is a highly relevant exposé of the soul-destroying evils of this 'detestable sin'. View Details


The Binge Drinking Solution: Control Alcohol Consumption and Stop Binge Drinking for Life (Alcohol, Alcoholism, Alcoholic) (Volume 1)
by Benjamin Tideas (Author)

The Solution to End Binge Drinking for Life! Limited Time Offer: Go to www.plaid-enterprises.com/freebook to get your FREE bonus book! You're about to discover how to finally gain control over binge drinking, and improve your quality of life in the process. Each and every day, so many good people go out to a party or a night on the town with friends and accidentally overdo it with their alcohol consumption. You or someone close to you has felt the effects of this mistake time and again: the loss of memory, the embarrassing photos, the terrible hangover, and possibly an aftermath of... View Details


Beat Binge Drinking: A Smart Drinking Guide for Teens, College Students and Young Adults Who Choose to Drink
by Donna J. Cornett (Author)

Beat Binge Drinking is the first and only comprehensive guide to alcohol use designed for young people who choose to drink - empowering them with smart drinking guidelines and tips to manage and reduce their alcohol consumption. It's the first book to offer youngsters an alcohol education, just like we offer them sex education and drivers education, and it will prevent alcohol abuse and alcoholism before it even starts!

Young people will always experiment with alcohol and it's a huge health, social and economic problem. Even the National Institute on... View Details


Binge Drinking (Straight Talk About...(Crabtree))
by James Bow (Author)

Binge drinking can lead to high-risk behavior and health risks, including alcohol poisoning, impaired judgment, mental and physical health issues, and alcoholism. This informative title discusses the social pressure to binge drink, symptoms, treatment, and prevention. Compelling testimonials provide a candid examination of the issue of underage alcohol abuse. View Details


Binge Drinking (Essential Issues)
by Stephanie Watson (Author)

This book examines the history, causes, and effects of binge drinking. View Details


Binge Drinking and Alcohol Misuse in Young Adults in the series Advances in Psychotherapy, Evidence Based Practice
by Kenneth J. Sher (Author), Rachel P. Winograd (Author)

This book provides clear guidance about effective, evidence-based approaches to treating alcohol misuse in young adults.

Heavy drinking and its associated problems are an integral part of many college students and other young adults lives. Though some young drinkers are able to consume alcohol without incident, many face significant negative fallout from their excessive consumption. This volume in the series Advances in Psychotherapy: Evidence-Based Practice describes the nature of alcohol misuse, its epidemiology, its causes, and methods for treatment, specifically as they pertain to... View Details


High Heels and Dirty Deals - Globetrotting Tales of Debauchery from a binge-drinking Nymphomaniac
by Brett Tate (Author)

Hilarious, riveting tales from a photo-journalist in his relentless pursuit of fast money, exotic women, and debauchery. Brett Tate and his posse of Russian gazillionaire gangsters blast through Moscow's fast paced nightlife living large, leaving a carnal train wreck in their wake. Devious adventures with bizarre twists. They somehow manage to set new highs and new lows for depravity at the same time. The stories are packaged with screaming funny observation humor and candid to erotic photography as they tear up the town. Like a Beverly Hills mafia, the wealthy businessmen/degenerates spend... View Details


The Party's Over: The Quick Guide to Ending Binge Drinking
by Crystal Clay Lola M. Clay (Author)

This thorough guide is written to help people overcome their binge drinking problem. The text offers insightful strategies to identify and conquer destructive alcoholic consumption patterns. After reading this manual, individuals will be able to better understand their motives for excessive drinking and begin the journey towards embracing positive coping mechanisms. View Details


Binge Drinking Help: Recognize Binging, Remove Triggers and Deal With Your Alcohol Abuse (Eating Disorders) (Volume 3)
by Thomas F. More (Author)

Causes and effects to why we binge are different from one person to another, but whichever the causes, there is a line defining the answer to the question: why? The first step towards getting over binging, in this case getting over binge drinking, is to recognize the problem in the presence of this disorder. Following, we are defining Binge Drinking disorder with the cause of helping you help someone get over it or aid you in getting over Binge Drinking yourself. We are starting off with psychological study of Binge Drinking so you could be able to gain a better understanding over this... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Person You Become
Over the course of our lives, we shed parts of our old selves, embrace new ones, and redefine who we are. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the experiences that shape the person we become. Guests include aerobatics pilot and public speaker Janine Shepherd, writers Roxane Gay and Taiye Selasi, activist Jackson Bird, and fashion executive Kaustav Dey.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#478 She Has Her Mother's Laugh
What does heredity really mean? Carl Zimmer would argue it's more than your genes along. In "She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity", Zimmer covers the history of genetics and what kinship and heredity really mean when we're discovering how to alter our own DNA, and, potentially, the DNA of our children.