Brain Science of Alcohol Research Findings often Confused

The findings of brain science of alcohol research can often be confusing. They’re also distorted.

Many news reports and groups warn us that any consuming alcohol by those under age 21 harms their brains. They tell us that early drinking can

alcohol brain scienceReduce intellectual ability.

Harm brain development.

Cause learning problems.

Lead to permanent brain damage.

Harm critical neurological development.


However, they never mention that this research is based on two sources. (1) One is rats that are fed large amounts of alcohol. (2) The other is people in treatment for alcohol and/or drug abuse.

The research does not examine the effects of light or moderate drinking on young people. Yet there is good evidence that such levels are not at all harmful.

For example, consider Greeks, Italians, French, Spaniards, Portuguese, Jews and many other groups. They typically begin drinking at a very early age. And they drink often. Yet there is no evidence that these groups suffer any cognitive or other brain disability as a result.

Concern Over the Confusion

One of the leading neuroscientists in the U.S. is Dr. Harry Scott Swartzwelder at Duke University. He does major work on the effects of alcohol on the brain. Because of his expertise, he serves on review panels for the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Also for the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse. And for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Dr. Swartzwelder is very concerned over the confusion and distortions about alcohol brain research findings. Therefore, he joined the board of directors of Choose Responsibility. That’s a group devoted to promoting reasoned discussion about how to reduce alcohol abuse among young people.

Resources: Brain Science of Alcohol Findings


    • This site gives no advice. Thus, it gives none about the brain science of alcohol.