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Alcohol Consumption Changes the Formation of Memory

A short memory lapse after drinking is an evidence of memory deterioration / Photo by Getty Images

 

In every celebration, most people enjoy the parties because of the overflowing foods and the alcoholic drinks that are served during the party. It brings out the good times and it will let the person ease out and feel jovial. However, after the party, they would feel nauseous and hungover but despite these unwanted and embarrassing things that they do, most people still want to do it again since they tend to forget about it and remember the happier times when they are with their friends and families while they drink. Experts believe that having a short memory lapse after drinking could be a sign of damage within the brain.

According to research, it only takes one or two drinks to show evidence of memory deterioration. Blackouts or partial memories can happen with higher levels of alcohol consumption and having blackouts while the person is under the influence of alcohol could be a safety risk for them since they could be a victim of unsafe sexual behavior or be a victim of sexual assault, spending money foolishly, getting into an accident, becoming lost and left in an unsafe location, and driving despite obvious intoxication.

Meanwhile, a recent study from the Brown University proved that there is an effect in someone’s memory if they consume alcoholic drinks. In a web post by Science Daily, it is stated that this study was conducted in flies to find out how the alcoholic drink could affect the memory formation and the neurons in the brain that leads to people to crave more drink.

Karla Kaun, assistant professor of neuroscience at Brown University and senior author of the paper expressed that she started conducting the study in order to understand how substance abuse could have a rewarding effect on addicted people. Kaun and her team also wanted to know how they could decrease the cravings of recovering alcoholics and addicts by studying the changing molecules in the brain.

 

Alcohol drinks could affect the memory formation and neurons leading to crave for more drinks / Photo by Getty Images

 

Beers and Genetics

In a web post by NDTV, they explained that the researchers used genetic tools in order to manipulate the genes of the flies in order to crave for alcohol. They used fruit flies since they found out that these flies have a good molecular signal that is very similar to humans that would lead the researchers to identify the response of the fruit flies in alcohol.

Research shows that heavy alcohol use can damage short and long-term memory and affect brain structure. There may be ways to lessen alcohol’s effect on memory by reducing the amount of alcohol consumed and by using memory techniques to overcome memory loss issues. Alcohol also decreases energy consumption in the cerebellum, a brain structure that coordinates motor activity. With a cerebellum running at half-speed, it would be hard to walk a straight line or operate heavy machinery.

According to News Medical, 15 million people in the United States have an alcohol addiction. Alcohol addiction could have a health complication including heart and liver disease which could be very fatal if not treated immediately. The development of alcohol addiction also has something to do with the psychological, genetic, and behavioral elements of an individual.

Alcohol also interferes with the brain’s development of new memories and this means people who drink heavily are more likely to forget anything that happened during the time they were drinking but will remember events before it. This is known as an alcohol-induced blackout.

Alcohol Blackouts

There are two different types of blackouts: one known as an en-bloc and the other a fragmentary episode. An en-bloc blackout is when people forget everything they did during the time of alcohol consumption. A fragmentary blackout is not as serious as an en-bloc, while people can still forget events, they do usually retain some memory.

A subsequent group of researchers found that drinking increases the level of norepinephrine, the neurotransmitter responsible for arousal, which would account for heightened excitement when someone begins drinking. Norepinephrine is the chemical target of many stimulants, suggesting that alcohol is more than merely a depressant. Elevated levels of norepinephrine increase impulsivity, which helps explain why people lose their inhibitions while drinking. Drunken brains are primed to seek pleasure without considering the consequences.

Another study found out that most cases of memory loss occurred because of binge drinking, or drinking large quantities of alcohol very quickly. This causes their blood alcohol levels to shoot up rapidly. Binge drinking is recognized as the consumption of five or more standard drinks in any two-hour period. It is prevalent among youngsters, mainly students, who are encouraged to drink large amounts of alcohol by their friends. Young people who are alcohol dependent may experience poor school performance due to the memory loss associated with binge drinking.

Alcohol acts as a general central nervous system depressant, but it also affects some specific areas of the brain to a greater extent than others. Memory impairment caused by alcohol has been linked to the disruption of hippocampal function which particularly affecting gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) neurotransmission which negatively impacts long-term potentiation (LTP). Alcohol hinders the ability of the brain to transfer information from short-term memory to long-term storage.

 

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