Disclaimer: The information, articles, and tips portrayed on this blog, while based on research, do not constitute medical advice. The opinions expressed are meant to educate and inform, but not to dictate lifestyle choices or personal beliefs. These articles are meant to provoke thought on issues surrounding college health and to inform the Hopkins community of healthy information and resources.

11.11.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

11.11.2010
It should come as no surprise that when it comes to beverages, alcohol is not the best option if you want to promote full cognitive function. Few (though, hopefully none) would chug a beer before taking a final in hopes it would improve their performance. Yet come Friday, many student choose to drown their busy week via Solo Cups and cheap beer. Your brain is easily the most useful organ in your body. Before you decide to reach for that extra drink, here are some effects of EtOH it may help to know!
  • The more you drink, the more areas of your brain that are affected. Different areas control different body functions, so as your BAC increases, your brain has more trouble regulating normalcy. Feeling drunk is a result of your brain losing it's ability to regulate your body.
  • It takes a lot to actually kill your brain cells, but alcohol does inhibit them. A 1993 study found no difference between alcoholics and non-alcoholics in density of brain cells. However, alcohol does inhibit the ability of your brain to fire off neurons to send messages to allow you to think, act, and process information properly.
  • An obvious fact, alcohol impairs your decision making. Not only that, it slows down your reaction time and increases your likelihood to make errors. What seems like a good idea at 1am may seem like a terrible decision in hindsight.
  • Think your brain bounces right back the next day? Nope! One night of heavy drinking can impair your ability to think abstractly for up to 30 days, limiting your ability to relate textbook reading to what your professor says.
  • According to JHU Professor Dr. Gorman, your body continues to develop myelin until the age of 25. When you drink, it disrupt normal brain myelination. This process allows for the transmission of signals between the brain and the body. Heavy binge drinking could limit your myelin production.
Your brain is important, especially if you want to excel at Hopkins. Don't damage it by drinking to excess. A small amount of alcohol will offer the euphoric effects without the risks of impairment. If you choose to drink, keep it to one drink an hour for your body and brain, Stop@Buzzed! For other facts on alcohol's impact on the brain and body, click here.

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