Teens, especially teen women, who binge on alcohol may risk other troubles than underage possession of alcohol or underage DUI. A recent study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has shown that teen girls who binge drink may actually damage the parts of their brains that deal with spatial awareness and memory. According to the BBC, researchers at several universities in the U.S. conducted tests on 95 teens ages 16 to 19.
The men and women who participated in the study underwent tests that measured their “spatial working memory” and other neuropsychological tests. Teens who do not binge drink also underwent the same tests. The researchers found through the study that teen women who were binge drinkers were missing certain activities in their brain during certain spatial memory tests. The researchers said that this could lead to problems with using maps or remembering the way to a place they have been before.
The researchers said that the binge drinking could also damage areas of the brain that add numbers or help a person focus on a task. Logical reasoning can also be affected. The researchers believe that the heavy drinking does more damage to young women because their brains develop sooner than men. Women also have a larger body fat percentage, lower overall body weight and slower metabolism than men, which could lead the alcohol to do more damage.
Public health advocates believe that the research shows that more should be done to prevent underage abuse of alcohol on college campuses and elsewhere. They agree that young people need to be educated as to the potential long-term damages that could come about due to binge drinking.
Source: BBC News, “Binge drinking ‘can damage memory skills’ in teen girls,” 15 July 2011