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How Alcohol Affects the Brain

How Alcohol Affects the Brain
General Effects of Alcohol on the Brain Alcohol can affect several parts of the brain, but in general, alcohol contracts brain tissue and depresses the central nervous system. Also, alcohol destroys brain cells and unlike many other types of cells in the body, brain cells do not regenerate. Excessive drinking over a prolonged period of time can cause serious problems with cognition and memory. When alcohol reaches the brain, it interferes with communication between nerve cells, by interacting with the receptors on some cells. The alcohol suppresses excitatory nerve pathway activity and increases inhibitory nerve pathway activity. Chemical Effects of Alcohol on the Brain To understand how alcohol interferes with brain function, it is necessary to know a little bit about normal brain function. The gap between cells where neurotransmitters are active is called the synapse. When alcohol is introduced to the synapse, the normal neurotransmission may be affected. The cerebral cortex and alcohol

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