Adolescent Drinking Causes Changes in the Brain

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Adolescent Drinking Causes Changes in the Brain

Research done by the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, reports that drinking during adolescence can lead to changes in the brain that will last into adulthood. Researchers came to this conclusion after completing a study on rats.

Alcohol exposure here and there during adolescence can alter the activity of the genes that is necessary for brain maturation. This can lead to epigenetic changes, which are chemical modifications of DNA. These epigenetic changes manage important processes happening during adolescence. The changes can be permanent or long-lasting.

Researchers gave a group of 28 rats alcohol for two days in a row, then for the next two days they withheld the alcohol. They repeated this process for 13 days straight. They then studies the brains of the rats at that time and also into adulthood. The rats showed change in their behavior that lasted into adulthood, like anxiety or excessive drinking. They also found a change in their DNA, which could be an epigenetic change.

It has been proven before and will be proven again that drinking throughout adolescents only does harm on the body during adolescence and into adulthood.