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Study finds alcoholism in the family affects the brain

Research by the Indiana University School of Medicine and Purdue University concludes that alcoholism in the family can affect the brain, even in non-drinkers.

It needs only one parent to be an alcoholic for this to be true.

Before resting, following a mentally demanding task, the brain needs to reconfigure itself.

The process often resembles closing a computer programme – your computer needs to free up allocated memory, clean up temporary files, reorganise the cache, and so on.

For someone whose parent has a history of alcohol abuse, this process is altered.

Although this seems not to affect how well-suited a person is for such mental tasks, it surfaces as less patience when waiting for rewards, a trait often linked to addiction.

To reach these results, MRI scans were carried out on 54 subjects doing mentally demanding tasks, with about half having some form of alcohol abuse in the family.

Questions such as “would you prefer to take $20 now or $200 in a year” took place outside the MRI scanner.

It seems that the brain needs about three minutes to adjust after the completion of the task.

Your parents’ drinking habits may affect the subtleties of how your brain functions.

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