Another study on binge drinking, this one reported yesterday and published this week in the journal “Alcoholism: Clinical Experimental Research.” The new study says that youthful binge drinking could lead to brain issues as you get older. According to the study, the part of the brain that controls learning and memory might be affected. In addition, your brain may take on abnormalities that may affect your behavior. Brain cells may become more vulnerable to injury from trauma or disease.
This is just the latest in a series of studies in the past 18 months regarding how alcohol affects the body. Surprisingly, the studies can be somewhat contradictory. A study at the University of Chicago in December, 2014, said that research suggests a “little bit” of alcohol could go a long way to enhancing creative thinking. The researchers determined that a person’s “creative peak” is reached when the person hits a blood alcohol level of .075 percent.
A Loyola University study in December, 2014, revealed that binge drinking in young, healthy adults significantly disrupts the immune system. In that study, in addition to increasing the risk of traumatic injuries, binge drinking impairs the body’s ability to recover from such injuries. Wounds heal more slowly, there is increase in blood loss, and you may increase your susceptibility to pneumonia and infection.
A February, 2015, study published in the journal ‘Alcohol and Alcoholism’ by researchers at the University of Bristol, suggested that a moderate amount of alcohol makes you more appealing to the opposite sex.
A study in December, 2013, reported by the London School of Economics, suggested that smarter people tend to drink wine, and college graduates drink more than non-graduates. However, a study in February, 2015, claims that heavy drinkers have the lowest IQs. This Swedish study of 49,000 men suggested a high correlation between “cognitive ability and alcohol-related problems.” Conversely, that report stated that in 2010, a study by the London School of Economics claimed that, in sharp contrast to the Swedish study, the cleverest women are the heaviest drinkers.
And where do most of the heavy drinkers in the U.S. live? An April, 2015, study suggests that, in general, the highest rates of overall and problem drinking is in New England, along the Pacific coast and in the northern parts of the West and Midwest.
According to the U.S. Department of Health, rates of alcohol consumption rise with education level, with 68.4 percent of college graduates describing themselves as drinkers, compared with 35.2 percent for adults without high school diplomas, perhaps reflecting people bringing the binge-drinking habits they learn on campus into adulthood. Heavy drinking, defined as more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women, is linked to heart disease, cancer, liver damage and many other health problems. Binge drinking, defined as at least five drinks on one occasion for men and at least four drinks for women, is linked to car crashes, injuries and alcohol poisoning.
If you do choose to drink, make sure there’s always a designated driver on hand. Or take a cab home.