Binge drinking in young university students is associated with alterations in executive functions related to their starting age A study investigated whether or not binge drinking is associated with alterations of memory and executive functions and the role of potential modulating factors on this association.
206 students who enrolled in academic year 2013- 2014 at Escuelas Universitarias Gimbernat-Cantabria in Spain participated in the study. Sociodemographic data and details were gathered regarding the lifestyle of 206 students (mean age 19.55 ± 2.39; 67.5% women). Participants were classified as binge drinkers and non-binge drinkers. Memory and executive functions were evaluated via a series of cognitive tests.
47.6% of the students were found to be binge drinkers. The binge drinkers differed significantly from the non- binge drinkers in the results of their executive functions test TMT B (43.41 binge drinkers ± 13.30 vs 37.40 ± 9.77 non- binge drinkers).
Adjusting by age, sex, academic records, age at which they started consuming alcohol, cannabis consumption, level of physical activity and other possible modifying variables, the association was statistically significant. There was a statistically significant inverse correlation (Pearson’s r2 = -0.192; p = 0.007) between TMT B and starting age of alcohol consumption. Differences were also observed in another executive functions test, TMT A, but only in the women (19.73±6.1 binge drinkers vs 17.78±5.4 non- binge drinkers).
In spite of the young age of the participants, binge drinkers was associated with a lower performance in the executive functions test (TMT B). These deficits were related to the age at which they started drinking alcohol, suggesting an accumulative effect.
Source: Binge drinking in young university students is associated with alterations in executive functions related to their starting age Salas Gomez D; Fernandez Gorgojo M; Pozueta A; Diaz Ceballos I; Lamarain M; Perez C; Sanchez Juan P. PLoS One, Vol 11, No 11, 2016, Art No e0166834, 12pp.