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Journal Article


Cadaveira Mahía F. Adicciones 2009; 21(1): 9-14.

Vernacular Title

Alcohol y cerebro adolescente.


(Copyright © 2009, Socidrogalcohol)






Binge Drinking (BD) pattern is firmly established among adolescents and young people. This pattern has raised a strong concern within the neuroscience community due to its possible impact on specific brain regions still maturing. Research with animal models demonstrates that BD may have serious structural and functional effects during these ages. Some regions like the prefrontal cortex or the hippocampus and the cognitive processes in which these structures play a role seem to be specific targets of alcohol. Results provided by the scarce studies carried out in humans support the evidence from previous animal experiments. However, we are far from being able to answer if this pattern of consumption has a special effect in the adolescent brain and what the short and long-term consequences are. Common limitations in human studies include the insufficient control of powerful confounding factors, the use of designs that does not allow differentiation between markers and effects, the use of reduced samples and the lack of replication studies. Although the innocuousness hypothesis is no longer sustained and experimental evidence has accumulated showing the risk associated with BD, results have been somewhat over-interpretated. The valuable contributions of cross-sectional designs should be complemented by the contributions of prospective longitudinal studies with appropriated sample sizes and a higher control of critical variables in order to identify short and long-term structural and neurocognitive consequences.

Language: es


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