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Adolescent Brains Are Insensitive To Alcohol For A Short Time, But At Great Cost

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TI found it interesting that the brain prioritizes area development while drinking.


Hi willow,


I'm not really sure you've read that part correctly. My impression from the article was not that certain areas of the brain develop in a prioritized way while under the influence of alcohol. My impression is that younger animals are still undergoing significant brain development at all times... their brains are more "plastic." For this reason, the effects of alcohol tend to be better attenuated, and they adapt more quickly in the short-term. This is partially what allows them to "binge drink" without getting sick so quickly, and also partially what allows them to have minimal psychomotor impairment while under the influence of alcohol. Perhaps I missed something?

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"These findings support the notion that the adolescent brain functions quite differently than the adult brain, particularly in its response to alcohol. Even though the adolescent brain has the capacity to adapt to an alcohol challenge, this will likely come at great cost as valuable cerebral resources are redirected from the important role of brain development to instead adapting to an alcohol challenge, and then restoring the system back to status quo once alcohol is eliminated or the challenge is removed."

From this I understand that the brain is coping with different areas activated while under the influence of alcohol. These different areas being activated might bring some "development" to such areas by being used. Developing acute tolerance could have some other areas activated in the adolescent than the normal adult. Hope I made sense there.

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It does not mean that at all. It means that it exhibits some kind of tolerance, but the mechanism is not described. It could be, for instance, that certain receptors that generally become inhibited or under ethanol, become responsive faster in adolescents (or the reverse may happen). It does not mean, however that specific brain areas are activated to counteract these effects.

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