Binge drinking appears to hamper young adults’ ability to perform simple language and memory tests, a new study shows. The research suggests that drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short period may have an effect on the region of the brain involved in learning.
CNN reports that the study involved 122 college students between the ages of 18 and 20, about half of whom said they were binge drinkers. The other half drank alcohol moderately. All of the students performed learning and memory tests. First, they read lists of words and tried to remember as many as they could. Then they heard two stories and tried to retell them as accurately as they could.
The binge drinkers, both male and female, remembered fewer words and remembered about 4 percent less information from the stories compared with the moderate drinkers. The researchers said the results do not prove that binge drinking causes memory impairment. Students who have memory and learning problems may be more inclined to binge drink, they noted.
However they say the findings indicate a clear association between binge drinking and problems performing tasks linked to the hippocampus, the region of the brain that is involved in learning and is susceptible to the effects of alcohol.
The study appears in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.