TEENAGE DRINKING CORRODES MEMORY
Binge drinking as a teenager could damage memory for years, says researcher Dr Thomas Heffernan, A Northumbria University psychologist, at the British Psychological Society ‘s annual conference in Dublin. This is critical, given that children of 12 are being treated for alcoholism.
“Excess alcohol and binge drinking damages parts of the brain which underpin memory,” he said. “And as teenagers’ brains are still developing, they could be storing up problems.”
Heffernan looked at the effect of alcohol on memory in 60 youngsters aged 16-19 years old. Half were “effectively binge alcoholics” while the other half drank rarely or never. They played a computer game which required them to remember and complete tasks as they walked along a fictional high street. Binge drinkers did significantly worse, completing up to a third fewer tasks properly.