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Alcohol harms the brain in teen years –– before and after that, too

January 15, 2021

About the Author

photo of Claire McCarthy, MD

Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Claire McCarthy, MD, is a primary care pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In addition to being a senior faculty editor for Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. McCarthy … See Full Bio
View all posts by Claire McCarthy, MD


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January 23, 2021

I drank excessively from my late teens well into my mid-thirties. I’m now 44, and have been experiencing some memory loss. I’m wondering if I did permanent brain damage?

Lisa Tylor
January 18, 2021

Very informative post. Loved reading it. Thank You for sharing it.

Tractor Guru
January 18, 2021

I found a lot of information after reading your article. Thanks to the moderator of this site for writing such a beautiful article.

January 15, 2021

Is occasional drinking from 16 to 21 any worse then breathing in fumes from motor vehicles every day (if you walk anywhere, sit in traffic, etc), and from diesel trucks & pickups? Diesel buses where the towns/cities haven’t yet switched to natural gas fueled buses?

where’s the article on that type of exposure? Or health issues related exposure to the herbicides used on lawns, trees, etc., BPA & other endocrine-affected chemical compounds?

J Ballantine
January 16, 2021

@Azure: This article warns specifically about the effects of alcohol on brain development in adolescence, when the brain is going through a unique set of developmental changes. Overexposure to exhaust fumes, pesticides & herbicides is not good either, but the long term effects are of these on development are beyond the scope of this article.

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