Excessive drinking during adolescence may interfere with the activity of brain cells needed for sustaining short term memory, according to new research in adolescent male mice published in JNeurosci. The study could help scientists better understand the development of alcohol use disorders in adults.
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the behavior-management abilities it supports — both of which continue to mature throughout the teenage years — are particularly vulnerable to the effects of heavy alcohol use during adolescence. Teenage binge drinking is associated with reduced PFC activity, cognitive deficits, and later alcohol abuse. Yet, the mechanisms underlying these observations are unclear.