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Examining The Effect Of Alcohol On The Adolescent Brain

Over 1,400 adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 were studied for a massive research effort on the part of the Brain Foundation of the Netherlands, conducted by Leiden University and other academic participants. A longitudinal study, which is too rare when it comes to studying the effects of alcohol on the adolescent brain, subjects were followed for multiple years, distinguishing two points of time, Medical Xpress writes: a point when the young people have never drunk alcohol and a point after they have. For both periods, there is a brain scan of which the data will be heavily analyzed. More than 43% of the adolescents drank alcohol at some point. Researchers are seeking to discover what exactly the effect of alcohol is on the brain at different ages and when consumed in different quantities. Adults have discovered through various research efforts that one night of drinking once in a while, or one drink a day every day, can have effects on the brain. Cognitive impact on adults due to alcohol is different from cognitive impact on children because the adult brain is fully formed. Adolescents and teenagers are still developing their brain tissue in critical areas like the frontal lobe where the prefrontal cortex lives, which holds the source of all cognitive function. Numerous studies have proven that substance abuse in adolescent and teenage years can lead to cognitive impairments and a drastic halt in cognitive development. As a result, adolescents and teenagers grow up less emotionally mature, less able to make sense of the world around them, and more inclined to develop a very grown up drinking problem. In addition to the cognitive effects, there are real life consequences adolescents can face when they partake in consuming alcohol. Cognitive impairments happen in real time as much as they do in the timeline of an adolescent's development. Poor decision making, impaired judgment, and miscalculations can lead to car accidents, sexual misconduct, physical injury, and more. Alcohol is an influencer in tens of thousands of deaths every year, many of which belong to adolescents and teens.  

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