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Health Team

Study: Binge drinking damages teen brains

Posted April 4, 2011 10:31 p.m. EDT
Updated April 4, 2011 10:53 p.m. EDT

— A new study on the effects of heavy alcohol use on teenage brains shows that binge drinking among teens can lead to lower intelligence and impulsive behavior, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Researchers used laboratory mice to simulate the teenage brain. They found that brains that are still growing are more open to damage from heavy alcohol drinking than adult brains.
 
Between the ages of 12 and 20, researchers say, a lot of critical brain development takes place and surveys show that people in this age group are drinking more and more.

 
When eighth graders were asked if they had done any heavy alcohol drinking in the last two weeks, 12 percent said "yes."
 
That's compared to 22 percent of tenth graders and 28 percent of high school seniors. When teens go to college, that number jumps to 44 percent.