Teens And Young Adults Who Binge Drink Risk Negative Brain Effects Later In Life

Binge drinking when you're young could have negative effects on your brain later on in life, according to a review of studies published in the journal Cortex.

The review examined the effects of alcohol on the brain in people who began misusing alcohol between the ages of 13 and 24.

The researchers found a wide range of effects, including impaired memory and visual learning, brain shrinkage, and changes in the brain's white matter. They also noted that this period of life is especially critical for identifying problem drinking because the brain is still developing.

"In young alcohol misusers, these preventable and potentially reversible deficits may be progressive but if left unresolved such deficits eventually become major contributors to poor outcome (long term) and hamper adherence to treatment," they wrote in the study.

However, the authors noted that more research is needed to understand which brain changes existed before, and which were alcohol-induced.

The findings come on the heels of another study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine and conducted in animals, showing that binge drinking is linked with an inability of the brain to process glucose -- which could then lead to Type 2 diabetes, Everyday Health reported.

And recently, a study in the journal Pediatrics showed that best friends are the biggest predictor of when a child drinks alcohol for the first time, having a bigger impact than his or her family history of alcoholism or his or her rebellious nature, LiveScience reported.