Binge drinking affects female teens negatively
Washington: Female teens may be particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of binge drinking.
Heavy alcohol use has been linked with diminishing mental processes among both adults and adolescents, particularly in tasks of spatial working memory (SWM).
SWM is the ability to perceive the space around you, which is critical to logical thinking and reasoning, said study co-author Susan F. Tapert, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego.
The study examined gender-specific influences of binge drinking on SWM, reports the journal, Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
"Even though adolescents might physically appear grown up, their brains are continuing to significantly develop and mature," said Tapert, according to a California statement.
"Heavy alcohol use may interrupt normal brain cell growth during adolescence. . . which may interfere with teens' ability to perform in school and sports, and might have long-lasting effects," she said.
"We chose to examine spatial working memory because previous studies have shown it is impaired in adults and adolescents who drink alcohol heavily," she said.
Tapert and her colleagues recruited 95 participants from San Diego-area public schools.
"Our study found that female teenage heavy drinkers had less brain activation in several brain regions than female non-drinking teens when doing the same spatial task," said Tapert.