Five Facts about Alcohol and the Developing Brain

It’s Brain Awareness Week—a great time to teach kids about their developing brains. In honor of this special week created by the Dana Foundation, we want to encourage you to remind kids about what the developing brain does, what alcohol does to it, and what that does to them. Check out these five facts about the impact alcohol has on different parts of the developing brain, share them at home or in class, and then discuss ways and reasons to say “NO” to underage drinking. 

  1. When the developing brain is impaired by alcohol, the cerebellum slows down impairing all voluntary and learned motor controls such as walking and talking. 
  2. The hypothalamus works with the pituitary glands to balance hormones. When impaired by alcohol, it can cause an imbalance leading to decreased body temperature and a slowed heart rate. 
  3. The medulla is the most important part of the developing brain. When impaired by alcohol, it can slow down or stop working, causing you to stop eating, breathing or, pumping blood to the body. 
  4. The frontal lobe, part of the cerebral cortex, helps control the five senses. When impaired by alcohol, it can become harder to make smart choices.   
  5. Long-term use of alcohol can cause the developing brain to become dependent on it, making it difficult to work properly. 

Thank you for all the work you do to keep kids healthy and alcohol-free. We have so much more in store for you—we can’t wait to share even more resources with you in April, Alcohol Responsibility Month!