Drinking impairs the brain at a lower consumption rate than you might think. According to a new study, it only takes drinking three pints of beer or three medium-sized glass of wine to slow our brains by 20 percent.
The study was conducted over a three-year period at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain and compared 26 "binge-drinking" students who drank a minimum of six units of alcohol, or around three pints. The students drank their alcohol in one sitting and once per week. Researchers then observed 31 students who did not regularly drink.
After consuming the alcohol or abstaining from the drinks, students were asked to react as different flashing symbols were displayed.
Researchers first discovered no measurable difference in speed or accuracy of response between the two groups and no deterioration over time.
However, when researchers examined how hard the brain worked, they found that "binge-drinkers" had to work harder to receive the same result.
The study discovered that non-drinkers brain activity peaked around 18 microvolts while drinkers started at 20 microvolts and peaked at 22 microvolts three years later.
The research published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism suggests that drinkers "experience anomalies in neural activity" which affects attention and working memory.
Emily Robinson, director of the campaign group Alcohol Concern, tells The Daily Mail:
"This shows why we need to change the culture where it’s seen as the norm to drink excessively at university.Robinson continues:
"Binge-drinking carries lots of risks in terms of the immediate safety of students, but also in terms of their future health and the likelihood of developing an alcohol problem later in life.’It is no surprise that college students like to partake in a good amount of drinking, and some experts argue that the social aspect of learning outweighs the results of this study. In fact, we recently covered a story that showed how binge-drinking leads to a happier social life for college students.
Are you surprised to learn that drinking impairs brain function in this particular way?