Effects of Alcohol on the Brain

Topics: Brain, Cerebral cortex, Cerebellum Pages: 11 (2485 words) Published: January 10, 2014
J.G Fehr

Effects of Alcohol on the Brain

The Effects of Alcohol on the
Human Brain

By
John Gabriel Fehr

Submitted on April 3, 2013

Prepared for:
Dr. A.M. Wittman
( English 199, Section B02 )

J.G Fehr

Effects of Alcohol on the Brain 2

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations……………………………………………………………………………………………… ii Abstract……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… iii Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………..……………… 1 What you’ll need to know about the human brain………………………………..……………. 2 Cerebellum…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 2 Cerebral Cortex………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2 Hippocampus…………………………………………………………………………………….…………… 3 Hypothalamus……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3 Medulla………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3 Central Nervous System………………………………………………………………..……………….. 3 Alcoholism from Youth to Adult………………………………………………………………………….. 4 Youth and college students……………………………………………………………..……………… 4 Adulthood…………………………………………………………………………………..………………….. 5 How Alcohol Affects the Human Brain………………………………………………………………… 5 Effects on Memory…………………………………………………………………………………………. 5 Effects on Motor Control…………………………………………………………………..…………… 6 Learning Disabilities……………………………………………………………………………………….. 7 References………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8

J.G Fehr

Effects of Alcohol on the Brain 2

List of Illustrations
Figures:
1. Labelled diagram of human brain…………………………………………………………………… 2 2. Brain activity of a 15 year old heavy and non-drinker…………………………………..… 4 3. Activity in normal and alcoholic brain at different levels of activity………………… 6

J.G Fehr

Effects of Alcohol on the Brain 2

Abstract
The implications of alcohol abuse are far-reaching and cumulative. With the misuse of alcohol by young and old people today, medical research is delving further into the possible damaging effects; however, we know enough already to explain how terrible alcoholism can be to the human brain. The implications of heavy intake of alcohol all at once or continually for a long period of time can be detrimental to the human brain, even fatal. This article describes first, the functions of the human brain that are affected by alcohol so readers can understand the article further. Next delving into possible reasons why people consume alcohol in the mass amounts they do today. Lastly, the specific implications alcohol has on each individual section of the brain and simple human functions that can be altered forever following the binging of alcohol throughout a lifetime. The human brain is a very complex yet delicate organ; its memory storage and body function capabilities are nearly endless and simple alcoholic beverages can truly destroy these capabilities forever for both men and women.

J.G Fehr

Effects of Alcohol on the Brain 2

Introduction
Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading preventable cause of death in many countries [1]. The abuse in young teens is becoming increasingly widespread in North America. Due to the advancements in medical technology, we are now able to analyze all affected regions of the human body. The human brain is by far the most complex organ in the world and the use of alcohol negatively affects its memory capabilities, especially in developing teenagers. Of course the addiction does not stop at a young age; the effects worsen dramatically with continued alcohol abuse further into adulthood. Although alcohol affects many organs in the human body, I will focus strictly on the brain. There are several affected regions of the brain, of which the functions will be described shortly; these regions include: the cerebellum for motor control, the cerebral cortex mainly for decision making, the hippocampus controls memory, the medulla or brain stem for breathing and body temperature and lastly the central nervous system which not only includes the brain but also the spinal cord and nerves [2]. The affects behind the abuse of alcohol are...

References: [2]”The Immortal Alcoholic Blog”. December 27, 2011. [Online]. Available
http://immortalalcoholic.blogspot.ca/20111201archive.html
http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d05/d05cr/d05crher/d05crher.html. [Accessed: March 31, 2013].
[7] S. Campbell and G. MacQueen. “The role of the hippocampus in major depression,” J Psychiatry
Neurosci., 2004 November; 29(6): 417–426.
[Accessed: March 31, 2013].
[13]R. W. M Zoethout, “Functional biomarkers for the acute effects of alcohol on the CNS,” British
Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2009 September, 71:3, pp
[16] R. A. Zucker, “Anticipating problem alcohol use developmentally from childhood into adulthood,”
Society for the Study of Addiction, 2008, 100:1, pp
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