Dear men, cut back on alcohol. Binge drinking in early 20s can affect your brain

If you needed one reason to limit your booze binges, this is it. Researchers have found it can change the way you brain functions.

fitness Updated: Sep 04, 2017 10:45 IST
Asian News International, Washington DC
Alcohol,Binge drinking,Harmful effects of alcohol
Long-term alcohol usage has different effects on men and women.(Shutterstock)

While drinking alcohol daily may raise skin cancer risk, moderate drinking is fine. But be careful to not get carried away. Binge drinking in early 20’s can alter your brain functioning, especially for men. According to researchers, brain functions in young men and women, aged 23 to 28, are changed by long-term alcohol use, but that these changes are significantly different in men and women.

The results indicate that men are possibly at increased risk of long-term harm from alcohol use. Researcher Outi Kaarre from the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital, Finland said that they found more changes in brain electrical activity in males, than in females, which was a surprise, as they expected it would be the other way around.

The team worked with 11 young men and 16 young women, who had a heavy 10-year alcohol use and compared them with 12 young men and 13 young women, who had little or no alcohol use. All were between 23 to 28 years old at the time the measurements were taken. They examined the responses of the brain to being stimulated by magnetic pulses - known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which activates brain neurons. The brain activity was measured using EEG (electroencephalogram).

They found that young men and young women responded differently, with males showing a greater increase in electrical activity in the brain in response to TMS pulse. Dr Kaarre continued, “Generally, our work showed that alcohol causes more pronounced changes in both electrical and chemical neurotransmission in men than women. There are two types of GABA receptors, A and B. Long-term alcohol use affects neurotransmission through both types in males, but only one type, GABA-A, is affected in females. The research is presented at the ECNP meeting in Paris.

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First Published: Sep 04, 2017 10:41 IST