Binge Drinkers' Brain

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I'm Nicholas Garlow with HHS HealthBeat.

Thinning the Prefrontal Cortex
Images of the brains of binge drinkers indicates binge drinking thins the brain's prefrontal cortex, which handles things like paying attention, making decisions, and controlling impulses.

University Study Information
At the University of Cincinnati, Tim McQueeny saw it in a pilot study of 29 weekend binge drinkers ages 18 to 25. McQueeny says the amount of drinking during binges has an effect, too: "Those who've had the most number of drinks per binge episode had the greatest thinning in the prefrontal cortex." (6 seconds) A "binge" is drinking 5 or more drinks at a time for males and 4 or more for females. And it's common among almost 1/2 of young adults.

The study was presented at the Research Society on Alcoholism annual meeting.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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