Teens that binge drink risk damaging the part of the brain used for concentration, a new report by the University of Cincinnati has revealed.

The scientists carried out brain scans of 29 weekend binge drinkers aged in their teens and early twenties, and found that high alcohol intake was linked to a thinning of the pre-frontal cortex. This part of the brain is used for attention and concentration, for making decisions and also for processing emotions.

Tim McQueeny, who led the research, said: "We have seen evidence that binge drinking is associated with reduced integrity in the white matter, the brain's highways that communicate neuron messaging, but alcohol may affect the gray matter differently than the white matter."

The team discovered that greater number of drinks per binge is associated with cortical thinking. This led Mr McQueeny to warn that binge drinking may alter the ways in which the brain grows.

Another of the researchers, Professor Krista Lisdahl Medina, however, claimed that abstinence could help the grey matter to recover. She said: "Our preliminary evidence has found a correlation between increased abstinence of binge drinking and recovery of gray matter volume in the cerebellum."

She called for additional research to be carried out in this field.

Posted by Robert Mair on 29.6.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com 

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