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Alcohol has lasting impact on memory in teenagers

Tue, Apr 28, 2015, 05:17 PM
New York, April 28 , 2015: Drinking alcohol heavily during adolescence results in long-lasting changes in parts of the brain that control learning and memory, says a study.

"In the eyes of the law, once people reach the age of 18, they are considered adult but the brain continues to mature and refine all the way into the mid-20s," explained lead author Mary-Louise Risher, post-doctoral researcher at Duke University.

It is important for young people to know that when they drink heavily during this period of development, "there could be changes occurring that have a lasting impact on memory and other cognitive functions," Risher noted.

The researchers periodically exposed young rodents to a level of alcohol during adolescence that, in humans, would result in impairment, but not sedation.

Afterward, these animals received no further exposure to alcohol, and grew into adulthood -- which in rats occurred within 24 to 29 days.

Using small electrical stimuli applied to the hippocampus, a brain region where memory and learning are controlled, the researchers measured a cellular mechanism which is the strengthening of brain synapses as they are used to learn new tasks or conjure memorie
Agency: IANS

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