Binge Drinking Linked With Poor Declarative Memory

Impact of binge drinking on verbal declarative memory is independent of gender

THURSDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- Binge drinking (BD) is correlated with poorer verbal declarative memory, irrespective of gender, according to a study published online May 16 in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

María Parada, of Universidade de Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and colleagues investigated the association between BD and declarative memory in 122 male and female university students. Participants, aged between 18 and 20 years, included 62 BD (30 women) and 60 non-BD (29 women). Participants underwent a neuropsychological evaluation including the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) and the Weschler Memory Scale-3rd Edition (WMS-III) Logical Memory subtest, used to evaluate verbal declarative memory, and the WMS-III Family Pictures subtest, used to evaluate visual declarative memory.

The investigators found that BD students remembered fewer words from the interference list and had more proactive interference in the RAVLT compared with non-BDs. Their immediate and delayed recall was worse in the Logical Memory subtest. However no differences were observed between BD and non-BD groups in the Family Pictures subtest. The participants' gender was not correlated with the effect of BD on memory.

"The findings are consistent with the vulnerability of the adolescent hippocampus to the neurotoxic effects of alcohol. Longitudinal studies will help determine the nature of this relationship, the neurodevelopmental trajectories for each sex, and the repercussions on academic performance," the authors write.

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