Brain Studies Point to Perils of Adolescent Alcohol Use

Image of a brain

The brain takes longer to develop and mature than any other organ in the body. Beginning in the third week of gestation and extending into the mid-20s, an ongoing interplay of genetic and environmental factors results in the mature human brain, a structure composed of more than 100 billion neurons. Some of the most rapid … Read more

New Prevalence Estimates of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Range From 1 to 5 Percent in U.S. Communities

children gather around a circle

Findings reflect a more comprehensive approach and larger sample size than previous studies A study of more than 6,000 first-graders across 4 U.S. communities has found that a significant number of children have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), with conservative rates ranging from 1 to 5 percent in community samples. The new findings represent more … Read more

Lack of sleep may be linked to risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease

Illustration of beta-amyloid accumulation

Preliminary NIH study shows increased levels of beta-amyloid Losing just one night of sleep led to an immediate increase in beta-amyloid, a protein in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a small, new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. In Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid proteins clump together to form amyloid plaques, … Read more

NIAAA Scientists Provide More Evidence that Binge Drinking May Indicate Vulnerability to Alcohol Use Disorder

An NIAAA study shows that people who drink socially and have certain risk factors for alcohol use disorder (AUD) self-administer more alcohol and at a faster rate during a single laboratory session of alcohol consumption than people at low risk for developing AUD. Participants with all three risk factors evaluated in this study—being male, having … Read more

Anti-Smoking Medication May Reduce Alcohol Craving

Varenicline, an anti-smoking medication, may reduce craving for alcohol in people who drink heavily and for people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) who are also depressed, according to two recent studies. The research, funded by NIAAA and led by Sherry McKee, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, provides more evidence that varenicline … Read more

Blackouts—Drowning Memories With Alcohol

Alcohol-induced memory loss for events that transpired while intoxicated—also known as a blackout —has achieved pop culture notoriety in recent years through social media and other outlets, especially among young adults. Given the focus on blackouts, a sober look at this all too common but dangerous consequence of alcohol misuse is in order. Blackouts are … Read more

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