Washington: Heavy drinking is known to affect teenagers’ developing brains, but certain patterns of brain activity may also help predict which kids are at risk of becoming problem drinkers, a study has revealed. Using special MRI scans, researchers looked at 40 12- to 16-year-olds who had not started drinking yet, then followed them for about 3 years and scanned them again. Half of the teens started to drink alcohol fairly heavily during this interval. The investigators found that kids who had initially showed less activation in certain brain areas were at greater risk for becoming heavy drinkers in the next three years.Then once the teens started drinking, their brain activity looked like the heavy drinkers’ in the other studies – that is, their brains showed more activity as they tried to perform memory tests. This pattern of heavy drinking typically included episodes of having four or more drinks on an occasion for females and five or more drinks for males.
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