Friday May 24, 2019

Early Exposure To Alcohol Can Increases The Risk For Anxiety Later in Life

A study showed adolescent binge drinking, even if discontinued, increases the risk for anxiety later in life due to abnormal epigenetic programming. 

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"Binge drinking early in life modifies the brain and changes connectivity in the brain, especially in the amygdala, which is involved in emotional regulation and anxiety, in ways we don't totally understand yet," said Subhash Pandey, Professor at the University of Illinois in the US. Pixabay

Are you a heavy drinker? Take note. Alcohol exposure early has lasting effects on the brain and increases the risk of anxiety in adulthood, say researchers, including one of an Indian-origin.

A study showed adolescent binge drinking, even if discontinued, increases the risk for anxiety later in life due to abnormal epigenetic programming.

“Epigenetics” refers to chemical changes to DNA, RNA or specific proteins associated with chromosomes that change the activity of genes without changing the genes themselves.

“Binge drinking early in life modifies the brain and changes connectivity in the brain, especially in the amygdala, which is involved in emotional regulation and anxiety, in ways we don’t totally understand yet,” said Subhash Pandey, Professor at the University of Illinois in the US.

DNA
“Epigenetics” refers to chemical changes to DNA, RNA or specific proteins associated with chromosomes that change the activity of genes without changing the genes themselves. 
Pixabay

“But what we do know is that epigenetic changes are lasting and increase susceptibility to psychological issues later in life, even if drinking that took place early in life is stopped,” said Pandey.

For the study, adolescent rats that underwent an assessment for anxiety were exposed to ethyl alcohol for two days on and two days off or to the same protocol using saline for 14 days.

The rats were allowed to mature to adulthood without any further exposure to alcohol.

brain
“Epigenetics” refers to chemical changes to DNA, RNA or specific proteins associated with chromosomes that change the activity of genes without changing the genes themselves. 
Pixabay

The rats exhibited anxious behaviour later in life, even after the binge drinking regimen stopped in late adolescence. They also had lower levels of a protein called Arc in the amygdala.

Arc is important for the normal development of synaptic connections in the brain.

The findings were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

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Rats with less Arc also had about 40 per cent fewer neuronal connections in the amygdala compared with rats that weren’t exposed to alcohol.

The decrease in Arc levels is caused by epigenetic changes that alter the expression of Arc, and an enhancer RNA, which modifies the expression of Arc. These changes are caused by adolescent alcohol exposure, said Pandey. (IANS)

Next Story

Study Reveals, Screen Time Before Bed May Not Effect Well-Being in Adolescents

For the study, the team analysed data from Ireland, the US, and the UK and used a rigorous methodology to gather how much time an adolescent spends on screens per day, including both self-reported measures and time-use diaries. 

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The research examined more than 17,000 teenagers and found that adolescents' total screen time per day had little impact on their mental health, both on weekends and weekdays. Pixabay

Spending time online, gaming or watching TV, especially before bedtime, may not damage young people’s mental health, finds a new research challenging previous notions on screen time.

The study, published in Psychological Science journal, casts doubt on the widely-accepted relationship between screen time and well-being in adolescents.

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“We found little clear-cut evidence that screen time decreases adolescent well-being, even if the use of digital technology occurs directly before bedtime,” added Professor Andrew Przybylski, at the University of Oxford. Pixabay

The research examined more than 17,000 teenagers and found that adolescents’ total screen time per day had little impact on their mental health, both on weekends and weekdays.

It also found that the use of digital screens 2 hours, 1 hour or 30 minutes before bedtime didn’t have clear associations with a decrease in adolescent well-being, even though this is often taken as a fact by media reports and public debates.

“We found little clear-cut evidence that screen time decreases adolescent well-being, even if the use of digital technology occurs directly before bedtime,” added Professor Andrew Przybylski, at the University of Oxford.

screen

It also found that the use of digital screens 2 hours, 1 hour or 30 minutes before bedtime didn’t have clear associations with a decrease in adolescent well-being, even though this is often taken as a fact by media reports and public debates.
Pixabay

Also Read: Think Twice Before Smoking, It is Slowly Turning You Blind

For the study, the team analysed data from Ireland, the US, and the UK and used a rigorous methodology to gather how much time an adolescent spends on screens per day, including both self-reported measures and time-use diaries.

“Implementing best practice statistical and methodological techniques, we found little evidence for substantial negative associations between digital-screen engagement and adolescent well-being,” said Amy Orben, researcher at the varsity. (IANS)