Binge Drinking Is More Likely To Affect Teen Girls Than Teen Boys

According to a study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, binge drinking is more likely to affect teen girls than teen boys — due in part to the fact that the brains of young women develop before those of their male counterparts.

Researchers recruited 27 binge-drinking males and 13 females and gave them neurophsychological tests and "spatial working memory" tests to complete.

Binge-drinking young women were defined as those drinking more than three pints of beer or more than four glasses of wine at one sitting. Binge-drinking men drank four pints of beer or a bottle of wine.

The same tests were then carried out on 31 males and 24 females who did not have episodes of drinking heavily and the results compared.

Using MRI scans, the study team found that female teenage heavy drinkers had less brain activation in several brain regions than female non-drinking teens when doing the same spatial task.

They suggested that this could cause problems when driving, playing sports involving complex moves, using a map or remembering how to get somewhere.

The young male binge drinkers they surveyed only showed "some, but less, abnormality as compared to male non-drinkers. This suggests that female teens may be particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of heavy alcohol use."

However, there is another theory in this study that is also worth noting — in case "their brains are different!" wasn't cutting it for you:

"Hormonal levels and alcohol-induced fluctuations in hormones could also account for the gender differences. Finally, the same amount of alcohol could more negatively affect females since females tend to have slower rates of metabolism, higher body fat ratios, and lower body weight."

Binge drinking 'can damage memory skills' in teen girls [BBC]