alexa Differential Effects of Binge Drinking on Learning and
ISSN: 2155-6105

Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy
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Research Article

Differential Effects of Binge Drinking on Learning and Memory in Emerging Adults

Jennifer T Sneider1,2*, Julia E Cohen-Gilbert1,2, David J Crowley1,2, Margot D Paul3 and Marisa M Silveri1,2

1Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health, McLean Imaging Center, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, USA

2Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

3Department of Psychology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA

*Corresponding Author:
Jennifer Tropp Sneider
McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School
McLean Imaging Center 115 Mill Street
Mail Stop 204 Belmont, MA 02478, USA
Tel: 617.855.3633
Fax: 617.855.2770

Received March 14, 2013; Accepted April 18, 2013; Published April 26, 2013

Citation: Sneider JT, Cohen-Gilbert JE, Crowley DJ, Paul MD, Silveri MM (2013) Differential Effects of Binge Drinking on Learning and Memory in Emerging Adults. J Addict Res Ther S7:006. doi:10.4172/2155-6105.S7-006

Copyright: © 2013 Sneider JT, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Alterations in memory function due to alcohol exposure have been observed in both animal models and human populations. The human literature on neurocognitive consequences of binge alcohol use in emerging adults has not systematically investigated its potential negative impacts on visuospatial memory. For instance, these impacts have not yet been assessed using a human analogue of the Morris Water Maze Task (WMT), a key memory measure in the animal literature. Accordingly, this study compared performance between emerging adult binge drinkers (BD, n=22) and age- and sex-matched light drinkers (LD, n=29) using the Morris WMT, as well as verbal memory using the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT). Emerging adult BD demonstrated worse performance on verbal learning and memory relative to LD. However, no significant group differences were observed on spatial learning and memory. Furthermore, no sex differences or interactions with drinking status were observed on either memory domain. These data suggest that in emerging adults who are at a heightened risk for alcohol abuse disorders, but who do not yet meet diagnostic criteria, verbal learning is uniquely impacted by the neurotoxic effects of binge drinking, whereas spatial learning is relatively spared between bouts of intoxication.


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