Duke – The researchers studied the effect of binge drinking in young and adult rats and found that it increased heart attack risk by 70%. The researchers specifically focused on the hippocampus part of the brain, which is directly associated, with the learning and memory. Excessive drinking during younger days made the brain cells more susceptible to the trauma and injuries in the adult life.

A group of girls drinking. Lineker's Bar, Playa de las Américas. Tenerife, Canary Islands. 2007

Mary-Louise Risher of the Duke Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is the lead author of this research. According to her, although law considers 18 years to be the adult, the brain keeps on maturing until late 20s. Hence, when people drink during their late teens or twenties, the development of the brain is hampered and creates a lasting impact on the cognitive functions as well as memory.

During the research, the researchers studied the brains of the rodents that were in developing stage and started giving them alcohol right from adolescence so that the impairment can be judged. However, the researchers ensured that the alcohol quantity was controlled and was not at the level of a blackout. Later on, the team stopped giving alcohols to the rodents and observed their growth into adulthood.

Alcohol Affects Functioning of Hippocampus

After the rodents had grown into adults, the researchers sent a small electrical pulse to the portion of the hippocampus of the brain and measured the working of the brain synapses. The findings showed that too much alcohol exposure had affected the functioning of the hippocampus. The binge drinking during the youth leads to increase in blood pressure that automatically affects the working of the heart. Hence, such young people have more chances of getting a heart attack than those who never had the habit.

Boston’s Harvard School of Public Health investigative team has said that the risk of heart disease depends upon the percentage of alcohol a person consumes during youth.

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