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07-09 Study establishes link between adolescent drinking and decreased grey matter volume

Study establishes link between adolescent drinking and decreased grey matter volume

Adolescent drinking is linked to changes in the metabolite profile, which is related to decreased brain grey matter volume, particularly in young females who consume alcohol in excess, says a recent study by the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital. The findings throw light on the biological implications of drinking in young people, especially teens and adolescents, and could make way for the development of new treatments.

“For instance, heavy-drinking adolescents showed increased concentrations of 1-methylhistamine, which, in turn, was associated with reduced brain grey matter volume,” said researcher Noora Heikkinen from the University of Eastern Finland. “Although adolescent drinking is declining on average, we can see polarization, as some adolescents are not only heavy drinkers, but also use other substances,” he added.

The researchers also said that brains of adolescents who drink heavily produce more histamine. They believe this observation can assist in developing new methods to detect the harmful outcomes of alcohol in the initial stages. Moreover, there is also a great possibility of developing new therapies and treatments to offset these harmful effects.

The findings were the outcome of a 10-year follow-up study involving adolescents living in eastern Finland. The scientists determined the metabolite profiles of young adults engaging in heavy-to-light drinking, and used MRI technology to measure the volume of the brain grey matter of each participant. A combination of these two methods has not been used in the past, even though previous studies have demonstrated a link between heavy drinking and metabolite profile changes. The findings also show that even drinking amounts that don’t qualify as excessive can lead to detrimental consequences on young individuals, both on their metabolism as well as brain grey matter volume.

Alcoholism is treatable

Consuming alcohol is legal in the U.S., and is a popular social drug associated with almost every celebration. In fact for most Americans, drinking is an essential element of festivity. Unfortunately, it is during such celebratory instances that individuals cross the line from normal use of alcohol and tread into the dangerous zone of problem drinking. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), alcohol is the most commonly used recreational drug in the U.S., with 17.6 million Americans battling alcohol use disorder (AUD). Besides, several millions people engage in risky drinking patterns, and for them seeking timely alcohol addiction help is the only way forward.

Experts believe there is a very thin line of demarcation between moderate and harmful drinking, a line that can be easily crossed. While popularly accepted standards may restrict moderate drinking to not more than seven drinks per week and not exceeding three on any given day, those levels aren’t carved in stone. Getting rid of alcohol addiction is never easy. In order to ensure a complete recovery from the malaise, it is essential to seek professional detox in order to purge the body of all the toxins accumulated due to heavy drinking.

If your teen child is struggling with alcoholism, do not hesitate to seek professional help. Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego specializes in treating alcoholism in teenagers. For information about our world-class teen alcohol addiction treatment therapies, you may call our 24/7 helpline. You may also chat with our online counselor for more information on our teen alcohol rehab centers available in your vicinity. Remember that alcohol addiction can be life-threatening, if left untreated for long.

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