Brain News: Researchers Identify the three periods of life when the effects of alcohol are likely to be at their greatest – gestation (from conception to birth), later adolescence (15-19 years), and older adulthood (over 65 years).
Researchers in Australia and the UK found that dynamic brain changes during these three periods increases sensitivity to the effects of environmental exposures such as alcohol.
Alcohol intake during pregnancy even at moderate level is associated with poorer psychological and behavioural outcomes in offspring. Teenagers, especially 15-19 year olds in high income countries, engage in binge drinking, which is associated with small to moderate deficits in a range of brain and cognitive functions. In the older population, alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk of all types of dementia.
Whether it is low level prenatal alcohol exposure or adolescent binge drinking or low-to-moderate alcohol use in older adulthood, the brain health effects on individuals are less when compared to sustained heavy drinking. However, the overall burden of harm in populations is likely to be large.
Alcohol consumption puts the human brain at risk throughout life. According to experts global consumption of alcohol is forecast to rise further in the next decade. Therefore, there is a need for an integrated approach to reduce harm at all ages. These findings suggest that harm prevention policies must take the long view.
To Know More You May Refer To
Mewton, L., Lees, B., & Rao, R. T. (2020). Lifetime perspective on alcohol and brain health. BMJ, m4691. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4691