Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Binge drinking and the adolescent brain.

Deficits in hippocampus-associated cognitive tasks are observed in alcoholic humans. Taffe et al. show that binge drinking in adolescent macaque monkeys causes long lasting decreases in hippocampus cell division, turnover, and migration. Their results:
...demonstrate that the hippocampal neurogenic niche during adolescence is highly vulnerable to alcohol and that alcohol decreases neuronal turnover in adolescent nonhuman primate hippocampus by altering the ongoing process of neuronal development. This lasting effect, observed 2 mo after alcohol discontinuation, may underlie the deficits in hippocampus-associated cognitive tasks that are observed in alcoholics.

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