Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Article on Affects of Drinking on College students

Alcohol Consumption and Binge Drinking are Common Among College Students.
  • Alcohol Consumption: About four in five of all college students drink, including nearly 60 percent of students age 18 to 20.
  • Binge Drinking: Approximately two of every five college students of all ages—more than 40 percent—have reported engaging in binge drinking at least once during the past 2 weeks. However, colleges vary widely in their binge drinking rates—from 1 percent to more than 70 percent (Wechsler et al., 1994, 1998, 2000b and NSDUH 2006). 
Excessive Drinking in College Leads to Many Adverse Outcomes
  • Deaths: It is estimated that 1,700 college students between the  ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes (about half among students under 21)
  • Injuries: It is estimated that 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol each year (about half among students under 21)
  • Assaults: It is estimated that more than 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking each year (430,000 of them by a college student under 21)
  • Sexual Abuse: It is estimated that more than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape each year (about half among students under 21)
  • Unsafe Sex: It is estimated that more than 400,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 had unprotected sex as a result of their drinking and more than 100,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex each year.
  • Academic Problems: It is estimated that about 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall
  • Vandalism: About 11 percent of college student drinkers report that they have damaged property while under the influence of alcohol
Results of the Harvard School of Public Health 1999 College Alcohol Study show that in the past 30 days:
  • 60.5 % had study or sleep interrupted
  • 53.6 % had to take care of a drunken student
  • 29.3 % had been insulted or humiliated
  • 20.1 % experienced an unwanted sexual advance (women)
  • 18.6 % had a serious argument or quarrel
  • 13.6 % had property damaged
  • 9.5 % had been pushed, hit, or assaulted
  • 1.3 % had been a victim of sexual assault or date rape (women)


Academic Performance

Poor academic performance among college students is associated with alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse contributes to students missing class, failing tests, dropping out due to do poor grades, and compromising the academic mission of colleges and universities.

Alcohol Abuse’s Influence on Grades

One of the most common consequences of alcohol abuse by students is difficulty keeping up with academic responsibilities. The number of drinks a student consumes is directly associated with the student’s grades.Core Institute research shows the following correlation between grades and alcoholic drink consumption:
  • Students with B averages consume 1.1 more drinks per week than A students.
  • Students with C averages consume 2.7 more drinks per week than A students.
  • Students with D and F averages consume 6.4 more drinks per week than A students.

Other Academic Consequences

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about a quarter of college students report experiencing difficulty with academics due to alcohol use, including earning low grades, doing poorly on tests and papers, missing class, and falling behind.
Even students who don’t abuse alcohol may suffer academically as a result of their peers’ drinking. The so-called secondary effects of drinking, including taking care of a drunk friend, being the victim of an assault, and putting up with loud parties, can affect the school work of students who don’t drink.
These consequences can have dramatic end results. Campus administrators report that a significant number of students who drop out of college do so because alcohol interfered with their academics.


Alcohol's Effects on Cognitive Abilities Alcohol affects many parts of the brain, but the most vulnerable cells are those associated with memory, coordination, and judgment.
Short-term effects (usually lasts up to 72 hours after heavy use) Alcohol has several physiological and psychological effects, which will inhibit your performance as a student. Cognitive abilities are affected by even small amounts of alcohol (BACs > .03), and can persist for a substantial period of time after the acute effects of alcohol impairment disappear.
For example, alcohol impairs memory by inhibiting the transfer and consolidation of information in long-term memory—so alcohol reduces our ability to remember information that we learned prior to going out for drinks. Perhaps most importantly, your attention span is shorter for periods up to forty-eight hours after drinking.
Even in small doses, alcohol inhibits REM sleep. When REM sleep is suppressed we may feel tired when we wake up. In addition to cognitive impairments, consumption of alcohol and the resulting recovery period (i.e., hang-over) wastes time that might be better spent studying or having fun. Have you ever tried to study or even watch TV with a hangover?
With long-term use (one year of hevay use), alcohol can result in the adulteration and even death of brain cells, and those cells that support brain cells by providing energy and nutrients. Alcohol can cause damage to the connections between nerve cells and cause irreversible brain damage, including memory loss and personality changes.

Article on Drinking - Attention and Memory


If you are 25 years or younger and you drink to excess even once a week, your brain may exhibit some deficits as a result of your binge drinking. Your ability to pay attention and use your visual working memory could be compromised, according to researchers.
Binge drinking is defined as drinking five or more standard alcohol drinks for males, and four or more for females within a two-hour interval. In the United States, up to 45% of college students report binge drinking or heavy drinking episodes at least once a week.

Heavy Drinking Pattern Affects Brain

That intense pattern of drinking can cause more damage to your brain than consuming the same about of alcohol over a longer period. In fact, these heavy drinking episodes followed by "morning after"hangovers mimic the pattern usually observed in chronic alcoholics in their cycles of abuse and detoxification, researchers say.
Because some functions of the brain continue to develop and mature until age 25, damage to the brain by binge drinking before age 25 could have long-term effects. The regions of the brain that develop late may be the most vulnerable, according to Alberto Crego, a doctoral student at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain.

Binge Drinkers, But Not Alcoholics

Crego and his colleagues are the latest scientists to find negative consequences of binge-type drinking. They studied 95 first-year Spanish college students, ages 18 to 20. Of the 95, there were 42 who were binge drinkers and 53 "control" students who did not drink, or were light drinkers.
All of the students in the study were considered otherwise healthy. In other words, none of the students were diagnosed with alcohol-use disorder, alcohol dependence or any other alcohol-related disorders.

Problems With Working Memory

The researchers used event-related electrophysiological brain response (ERP) technique to measure the students' brain response to a visual working memory task. The study found:
  • Students who were binge drinkers displayed anomalies during execution of the task, even when they correctly executed the task.
  • Binge drinkers required greater attentional processing during the task to finish it correctly.
  • The binge drinking students had difficulties differentiating between relevant and irrelevant stimuli.
  • Binge drinking students displayed less efficiency in distributing attentional and working memory resources between the different information presented during the task.

Alterations In the Brain

The authors of the study concluded that healthy adolescents and young people who binge drink – even only once or twice a week, and who do not display chronic alcohol consumption or alcohol dependence, "may suffer alterations at the electrophysiological level in attentional and working memory processing."
The Spanish study is another in a long list of research that shows that binge-type drinking is harmful and can have long-term consequences. No matter which type of binge drinker you are, your health will benefit by changing your drinking pattern.

Communication is a Virus - article

  • Drinks Per Week: The average male freshman, according to the Core Institute, which surveyed 33,379 undergrads on 53 U.S. campuses in 2005, consumes 7.39 drinks – a bottle of beer, glass of wine, shot or mixed drink – per week, while the average female has 3.86. That’s considered heartening news in some quarters, because it implies that risky binge drinking is declining. But college administrators aren’t so heartened, and that's because of the...
  • Academic Impact: 31% of college students missed a class due to substance abuse, according to the Core statistics, and 22% tanked an exam or essay. And some 159,000 of the nation’s current freshmen will drop out of school because of alcohol or drug use.
  • Booze and Sex: Alcohol and sex make for a particularly unhealthy cocktail. Alcohol has been involved in 90% of all campus rapes – either the rapist and/or the victim were under the influence. And it's heavily involved in every other kind of hook up as well. Some 70% of college kids say they had unplanned sex - sex they wouldn't otherwise have had - while under the influence, and 20% didn’t take precautions, even though they practice safe sex when sober.

  • Toll on Relationships: Too many teens think booze helps their social lives, but alcohol use can take a toll on relationships with friends and roommates. If your teen thinks he may have a problem or ever says a friend implied it, urge him to take a self-assessment quiz, such as the simple one offered online by UC Berkeley's Tang Health Center. If a friend's alcohol use is impacting your child, he may find this article on "How to Help a Friend" helpful.

COMMUNICATION IS A VIRUS - research on affect of alcohol our body/brain


I found some shocking images in this article which compare brain scans

"The brain of this heavy caffeine and cigarette user looks in an even worse state than the drug users and heavy drinkers. Caffeine and cigarettes are stimulants in the short term, but in the long term they can narrow the blood vessels in your brain. This reduces brain activity, especially in the vital pre-frontal cortex and temporal lobes. The two large black holes at the top of the brain are in the prefrontal cortex - just under the forehead - which is the brain’s boardroom. This is where you learn from your mistakes; damage here makes you vulnerable to depression. The distorted temporal lobes (the large gaps in the middle) are linked to poor memory. This patient, a company chief executive, had complained of lack of energy and trouble concentrating. Dr Amen recommends no more than three cups of coffee a day, limited tea, fizzy drinks and chocolate, and giving up smoking."

"When this patient saw what his drinking had done to his brain, he burst into tears. Until then, he’d denied there was a problem. Large amounts of alcohol close up blood vessels in the brain, causing cells to die off, especially in the prefrontal cortex - these ‘dead spots’ are the two craters you can see at the top of this picture. The prefrontal cortex directs and supervises your behaviour - damage can lead to poor judgment, weak control of impulses and an increased risk of depression. Alcohol can affect temporal lobes frighteningly quickly - Dr Amen has seen 18-year-olds who have signs of serious damage in this area (the circular areas in the middle). Your temporal lobes are where you process language, music and, crucially, memories and mood. Too much or too little activity in this areamakes you unpredictable and moody - just the kind of behaviour that alcoholics exhibit."

Communication is a virus - research on affect of alcohol our body/brain


From the article below I have summed up a few key point on how excessive alcohol consumption will affect a person, in relation to students who are the prime examples of binge drinking on a regular basis - the information shows how it will affect their performance especially if they are trying to work for upcoming exams


Know… the effects of alcohol

Many people enjoy a drink without any problems. But binge drinking or drinking heavily over longer periods of time can have very serious consequences. Alcohol misuse not only harms the individual but is damaging to relationships and society in general in terms of violence and crime, accidents and drink driving.
In Northern Ireland, the number of alcohol-related deaths has more than doubled since 1994. The most recent figures show:
  • there were 283 deaths recorded as alcohol-related;
  • there were over 8,000 alcohol-related admissions to hospitals in Northern Ireland.

Long-term effects

As well as the recognised immediate effects of drinking too much, like nausea/vomitting, binge drinking and prolonged heavy drinking over longer periods of time can affect you in many different ways.
Brain damage
Binge drinking can cause blackouts, memory loss and anxiety. Long-term drinking can result in permanent brain damage, serious mental health problems and alcohol dependence or alcoholism. For more information on the effects of alcohol on mental health click here. Young people's brains are particularly vulnerable because the brain is still developing during their teenage years. Alcohol can damage parts of the brain, affecting behaviour and the ability to learn and remember.
Drinking alcohol is the second biggest risk factor for cancers of the mouth and throat (smoking being the first). People who develop cirrhosis of the liver (often caused by too much alcohol) can develop liver cancer. For more information on the effects of alcohol on women’s risk of breast cancer click here.
Heart and circulation
Alcohol can cause high blood pressure (hypertension) increasing the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It also weakens heart muscles, which can affect lungs, liver, brain and other body systems and can cause heart failure. Binge drinking and drinking heavily over longer periods can cause the heart to beat irregularly (arrhythmia) and has been linked to cases of sudden death.
People who drink a lot of alcohol have more lung infections and can be more likely to get pneumonia and for their lungs to collapse. When a person vomits as a result of drinking alcohol they may choke if vomit gets sucked into their lungs.
Drinking too much alcohol initially causes fat deposits to develop in the liver. With continued excessive drinking the liver may become inflamed resulting in alcoholic hepatitis which can result in liver failure and death. Excessive alcohol can permanently scar and damage the liver resulting in liver cirrhosis and an increased risk of liver cancer. Women are particularly susceptible to the effects of alcohol on the liver, for more information click here.
Drinking above recommended limits can lead to stomach ulcers, internal bleeding and cancer. Alcohol can cause the stomach to become inflamed (gastritis), which can prevent food from being absorbed and increase the risk of cancer.
Heavy or prolonged use of alcohol can cause inflammation of the pancreas, which can be very painful, causing vomiting, fever and weight loss, and can be fatal.
Heavy drinking may result in ulcers and cancer of the colon. It also affects your body's ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins.
Heavy drinking can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure – a leading cause of chronic kidney disease.
In men: impotence (lowered libido/sex drive) and infertility.
In women: infertility. Drinking alcohol when pregnant can seriously damage the development of the unborn baby. For more information on the effects of alcohol on fertility and pregnancy click here.
Alcohol interferes with the body's ability to absorb calcium. As a result, your bones become weak and thin (osteoporosis).
Weight gain
Alcohol is high in calories. Weight for weight, the alcohol in a drink contains almost as many calories as fat. The average bottle of wine contains 600 calories while four pints of average strength lager contains 640.
Alcohol dehydrates your body and your skin; it also widens blood vessels causing your skin to look red or blotchy.
Sexual health
Binge drinking makes you lose your inhibitions and affects your judgement. This might make you less likely to use a condom, increasing your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia, HIV or hepatitis or result in an unplanned pregnancy.

Mental health
People may think alcohol helps them to cope with difficult situations and emotions, to reduce stress or relieve anxiety, but alcohol is in fact associated with a range of mental health problems including depression, anxiety, risk-taking behaviour, personality disorders and schizophrenia.
Alcohol has also been linked to suicide. The Mental Health Foundation1 reports that:
  • 65% of suicides have been linked to excessive drinking;
  • 70% of men who kill themselves have drunk alcohol before doing so;
  • almost one third of suicides among young people take place while the person is intoxicated.
Excessive drinking can disrupt normal sleeping patterns resulting in insomnia and a lack of restful sleep which can contribute to stress and anxiety.
1Mental Health Foundation. Cheers! Understanding the relationship between alcohol and mental health. London: Mental Health Foundation, 2006.

Other effects

Alcohol affects the parts of your brain that control judgment, concentration, coordination, behaviour and emotions. If you are binge drinking, you may be at greater risk of:
  • becoming a victim of crime, eg rape, domestic violence, mugging or assault;
  • being involved in antisocial or criminal behaviour, eg fights, domestic violence, vandalism or theft;
  • having an accident, eg a road accident, fall, accident at work or accidental fire;
  • losing your job, eg repeated absence or poor performance. Think about the financial consequences;
  • damaging relationships with family or friends.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Communication is a Virus - visual idea exploration




Communication is a Virus - quotes

"Always do what you are afraid to do."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Take calculated risks. 
That is quite different from being rash.
George S. Patton

Storms make oaks take roots.

If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.
St. Clement of Alexandra

Seek the lofty by reading, hearing and seeing great work at some moment every day.
Thornton Wilder

The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.
Arthur C. Clarke

Without inspiration the best powers of the mind remain dormant. There is a fuel in us which needs to be ignited with sparks.
Johann Gottfried Von Herder

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, 
is not an act but a habit.

Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.
Samuel Smiles

Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice, and need.

Men's best successes come after their disappointments. 
Henry Ward Beecher

You cannot plough a field by 
turning it over in your mind.
Author Unknown

The best way out is always through.
Robert Frost

Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.
William B. Sprague

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
Samuel Johnson

Fortune favors the brave.
Publius Terence

When the best things are not possible, the best may be made of those that are. - Richard Hooker
He who hesitates is lost.

If you want to succeed in the world must make your own opportunities as you go on. The man who waits for some seventh wave to toss him on dry land will find that the seventh wave is a long time a coming. You can commit no greater folly than to sit by the roadside until some one comes along and invites you to ride with him to wealth or influence.
John B. Gough

Believe with all of your heart that you will do what you were made to do.
Orison Swett Marden

Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

We are still masters of our fate.
We are still captains of our souls.
Winston Churchill

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

For hope is but the dream
of those that wake.
Matthew Prior

Constant dripping hollows out a stone.

Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose--
a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.
Mary Shelley

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.
Helen Keller

Happiness does not consist in pastimes and amusements but in virtuous activities. 

Happiness resides not in posessions and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul.

People with many interests live, not only longest, but happiest. 
George Matthew Allen

In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.
Albert Schweitzer

Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.
Aldous Huxley

Happiness is not a matter of events, it depends upon the tides of the mind.
Alice Meynell

Fortify yourself with contentment, for this is an impregnable fortress.

Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.
Benjamin Franklin

There is only one way to happiness, and that is to cease worrying things which are beyond the power of our will. 

I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than attempting to satisfy them.
John Stuart Mills

You're happiest while you're making the greatest contribution.
Robert F. Kennedy

Benjamin Disraeli

Great effort from great motives is the best definition of a happy life.
William Ellery Channing

There is more to life than increasing its speed.
Mahatma Ghandi

The rays of happiness, like those of light, are colorless when unbroken.
Henry W. Longfellow

Happiness grows at our own firesides, and is not to be picked in strangers' gardens.
Douglas Jerrold

Happiness is where we find it, but rarely where we seek it.
J. Petit Senn

To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others. 
Albert Camus

Happiness depends upon ourselves.

Try to be happy in this present moment, and put not off being so to a time to come,—as though that time should be of another make from this which has already come and is ours.
Thomas Fuller

Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.
George Santayana

No man is happy who does not think himself so.
Publilius Syrus

Our minds are as different as our faces: we are all traveling to one destination; --happiness; but few are going by the same road.
Charles Caleb Colton