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Teenage Binge Drinking Affects Spatial Working Memory

Teenage binge drinking is unfortunately popular, but a new study discovered another reason not to engage in heavy drinking. Heavy drinking has been associated with lessening cognitive functioning, especially on spatial working memory. The study found that female teenagers may be especially vulnerable to the negative effects of binge drinking. “Even though adolescents might physically appear grown up, their brains are continuing to significantly develop and mature, particularly in frontal brain regions that are associated with higher-level thoughts, like planning and organization,” said Susan F. Tapert, acting chief of psychology at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, and the lead author of the study. “Heavy alcohol use could interrupt normal brain cell growth during adolescence, particularly in these frontal brain regions, which could interfere with teens’ ability to perform in school and sports, and could have long-lasting effects, even months after the teen uses.”

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