Study Finds that Heavy alcohol use in Teens Alters electrical Activity in the Brain

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Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland studied the effects of long-term heavy alcohol use in adolescence and found it altered certain brain functions.

The study, the first of its kind to analyze long-term effects of alcohol in adolescents, found that heavy alcohol use can alter the cortical excitability and functional connectivity in the adolescent brain.

The research was part of the Adolescents and Alcohol Study.

The changes in the brain occurred in otherwise healthy adolescents who were heavy alcohol users but did not fit the criteria for a substance abuse disorder.

In a study published in Addiction Biology, researchers found that heavy alcohol use causes alterations in the electrical and chemical neurotransmission in study participants.
Earlier studies have shown the detrimental effects of heavy alcohol use in adolescence alters the function of the GABA neurotransmission system and causes cortical thinning, all among adolescents who did not meet the criteria for having a substance abuse disorder.

These results have researchers questioning the diagnostic criteria for substance abuse disorders and if it should be altered for adolescents.

Source: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency

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