(NaturalPath) A study, conducted by the Research Society on Alcoholism, has shown that alcohol consumption can lead to lower verbal learning and memory performance, in a dose-response relationship.
Adolescence is a unique time in neurological development, as rapid changes and maturation are occurring. Adolescents are also in a time of their life where substance use and abuse starts to occur. Studies suggest that alcohol is the most commonly used substance between grades eight and 12. Researchers were interested in studying if moderate, binge, and extreme alcohol consumption had an effect on visual learning and memory (VLM) performance. Researchers also examined whether specific changes were dose related.
One hundred and twelve participants, known to binge drink during their adolescent years, were given VLM performance assessments prior to starting drinking. These assessments were conducted between the grades of 12 to 16, and again at a six-year follow-up. Participants were categorized and placed in groups based on their alcohol consumption habits. Moderate drinkers were identified if they drank less or equal to 4 drinks on occasion. Binge drinkers were classified as drinking more than five drinks on occasion. Extreme-binge drinking was classified as consuming more than ten drinks per occasion.
Results demonstrated that alcohol consumption was associated with reduced VLM performance, and that this relationship was dose-dependent. Acquisition of new verbal information was particularly affected, and more so in the participants who consumed higher amount of alcohol.
This study emphasizes the negative verbal and memory consequences that can occur with teen drinking.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.
Tam T. Nguyen-Louie, Ashley Tracas, Lindsay M. Squeglia, Georg E. Matt, Sonja Eberson-Shumate, Susan F. Tapert. Learning and Memory in Adolescent Moderate, Binge, and Extreme-Binge Drinkers. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/acer.13160