Alcohol's effects on the adolescent brain: What can be learned from animal models
Because of legal and ethical constraints on alcohol research in human adolescents, many studies of alcohol's effects on the developing brain have been conducted in animal models, primarily rats and mice. The adolescent brain may be uniquely sensitive to alcohol's effects because major changes in brain structure and function occur during this developmental period. For example, adolescent animals are more sensitive than adults to the effects on memory and learning that result from alcohol's actions on the hippocampus. Conversely, adolescent animals appear to be less sensitive than adults to alcohol-related motor impairment, alcohol-induced sedation, and the development of seizures during withdrawal. Alcohol exposure during adolescence can have long-lasting effects and may interfere with normal brain functioning during adulthood.
Hiller-Sturmhöfel, S; Scott Swartzwelder, H
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