DRINKING DURING ADOLESCENCE and early adulthood can slow down brain development, according to researchers who studied alcohol’s effects on monkeys.
The brain undergoes crucial developments as we transition from adolescence to adulthood, right as many people start drinking for the first time.
The authors of fresh research published in the journal eNeuro tried to determine what alcohol does to brains of teens by examining its effects on 71 rhesus macaque monkeys who were given unrestricted access to booze.
The paper found that heavy alcohol use reduced the rate of brain growth by an alarming amount, 0.25 millilitres per year for every gram of alcohol consumed per kilogram of body weight to be exact. This is roughly equivalent to four beers per day.
The strictly controlled experiment saw the scientists precisely measure the monkeys drinking and diet as well as their daily activities. This ruled out other factors that have undermined similar studies involving people.
“Human studies are based on self-reporting of underage drinkers,” one of the study’s authors, Christopher Kroenke, Ph.D., explained. “Our measures pinpoint alcohol drinking with the impaired brain growth.”
Source: Ceimin Burke, The Journal, 2nd April 2019