Teens who drink a lot of alcohol run the risk of brain abnormalities? A Finnish study suggests that this is the case. According to the study, teens who drink heavily had less brain gray matter. Gray matter is important because it helps with memory, self-control, and decision making.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), alcohol is the most commonly “abused drug” in the United States (“US”) among youth. Excessive drinking, according to the CDC, is responsible for more than 4,300 underage youth deaths a year. In addition, the statistics show that underage drinking is responsible for $24 billion dollars in economic loss for 2010.
CDC statistics reveal that people between the ages of 12-20 account for 11% of all the alcohol consumed in the US, with 90% of the alcohol consumed in the form of “binge drinking.” On average, underage drinkers consume more alcohol per drinking occasion than do adults.
The CDC’s statistics also report that based on The 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (within the last 30 days), 33% of youth reported drinking, 18% reported binge drinking, 8% drove after drinking alcohol, and 20% said they rode with someone who had been drinking alcohol.
The Finnish study reviewed data from questionnaires completed between 2013 and 2015. The questionnaires asked the participants how often did they drink and how many drinks were consumed. Everyone who participated on the 2013 and 2015 questionnaire had previously completed similar questionnaires 5 and 10 years previous, starting at age 13.
Based on news reports, “…when participants underwent brain scans to look at gray matter and other brain structures that may be affected by alcohol use, the heavy drinkers had smaller volumes of gray matter in several brain areas when compared with the light drinking group.”
To read more about the study, and the news report I which this post is based, please follow the link HERE.