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Early alcohol use undermines academic success

With the new school year about to begin, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is warning parents about the potential harm alcohol can have on their children's academic success.

AUSTIN, Texas, -- More specifically, research has shown that teen brain development is adversely affected by alcohol, which could lead to poorer academic performance.

For teens, the negative consequences of alcohol consumption include the immediate concerns of engaging in risky behaviors – such as drinking and driving and other dangerous actions – that can lead to deadly consequences. Additionally, research led by Susan Tapert of the University of California, San Diego, also has shown how teen brain development and cognitive functions can be adversely affected by alcohol over the long term.

Tapert's research found that adolescents ages 12 to 18 who binge drink are more likely to do poorly in mathematics, engineering and subjects that require their focus for a sustained period of time.i For some teens, the difference can be equated to a 10 percent drop in academic performance – or the difference between getting an A or a B.ii Binge drinking is defined as drinking alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming intoxicated, which typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men in the period of about 2 hours.

MADD surveys show that parents are the single biggest influence on their children's decision not to drink. (SOURCE: Mothers Against Drunk Driving)

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