Aug 01, 2013 09:45 AM EDT
Hangover Impairs Brain Function, Study
Apart from causing dizziness, nausea, anxiety and headaches, Hangovers impair brain function, affecting one's ability to think clearly, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Keele University's school of psychology.
'The symptoms of an alcohol hangover are not just physiological - they affect cognitive functioning and mood as well which may lead to numerous undesirable life consequences,' said Dr Lauren Owen, Marie Curie postdoctoral research fellow at Keele University's school of psychology. 'Although numerous scientific papers cover the acute effects of alcohol consumption, researchers have largely neglected the issue of alcohol hangover.'
Owen said that tasks such as mental arithmetic that depend on 'working memory' seem to be the most affected. 'Working Memory' oversees the way a brain holds and processes information.
The preliminary results revealed that performance of a working memory decreased by five to ten percent. Slower response time (similar to someone in their 40s) and a 30 percent increase in errors was noticed when participants were hungover.
"We are measuring a large range of cognitive functions using a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests which will reveal the associated brain functions that may be impaired. The findings are preliminary, but so far we are observing that tasks that rely on what psychologists call 'working memory' seem to be most reliably affected, Owen said.
"So far we have found there are statistically significant differences on these tasks compared to the 'no alcohol' condition however the magnitude will not be fully apparent until all the data is in."
The findings of the study will be presented at a conference at Keele University, Thursday.
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