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Monday 18th June 2018

Memory loss from binge drinking

4th April 2008

A team of UK scientists has warned that binge drinking could be harming the developing brains of teenagers.


They say that teenagers remain at risk of absent-mindedness and forgetfulness days after a heavy drinking session.

The team from Northumbria and Keele universities, which presented their findings to the British Psychological Society conference, compared 26 binge drinkers with 34 people who had not been drinking heavily in memory tests and found the drinkers fared worse.

The scientists focussed on students aged 17 to 19 – an age where the brain is still developing – and were asked a series of questions three or four days after they had stopped drinking to ensure their body was free of alcohol. They were also shown video clips and asked to memorise the content.

Dr Thomas Heffernan from the University of Northumbria, who led the study, said: “We found no differences between binge drinkers and non-binge drinkers in the self-reporting questionnaires, but when it came to the video the binge drinkers recalled significantly less than the non-binge drinkers.

“Although from their own reports they appeared to have good memories, they didn’t perform as well in the video test. The binge drinkers recalled up to a third less of the items, a significant difference.?

He said there was evidence that binge drinking damaged parts of the brain that underpin everyday memory.

The charity Addaction said a small group of young people are drinking earlier in life and at dangerously high levels with uncertain consequences for their future development.


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