Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, CA, have established that binge-drinking in youngsters does not cause hangovers alone but affects the brain, too, with irreversible damage.
Binge-drinking is consuming large amounts of alcohol within a short period of time.
Researchers conducted their study on adolescent rhesus macaques monkeys for a period of 11 months.
Analysis revealed that monkeys consuming alcohol continually produced fewer brain cells and reportedly suffered more brain damage to the hippocampus. The hippocampus, a major component of the brain in humans and other mammals, plays a vital role in long-term memory and spatial navigation (the process of reading and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle).
Study-collaborator Michael Taffe found that even after two months of total abstinence, monkeys' hippocampus had fewer signs of fresh, immature neurons. The worst part was, stated Taffe, that there were indications that the existing supply had begun to deteriorate.
The study appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.