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Studies say immigration, aging, and economy are reasons people drink more

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Studies from various universities in Texas confirm that immigration, aging and the economy are influencing more people to drink than they did 20 years ago.

A UT Southwestern Medical Center analysis of national alcohol consumption patterns, gathered from more than 85,000 respondents, suggests that a variety of factors causing the increases.

"Changes in the population due to aging, the influx of immigrant groups, and a decline in mean income level because of economic recessions can all impact trends in drinking and problems associated with drinking,” reported Dr. Raul Caetano, dean of the UT Southwestern School of Health Professions.

Meanwhile scientists at Baylor University discovered a major reason why adolescents and adults response to alcohol differently. They found the particular cellular and molecular mechanisms that may cause age-dependent effect of alcohol in teens resulting in reduced motor impairment.

"This study is a significant advancement in understanding why adolescents are insensitive to alcohol and provides some insights into why teens might consequently consume alcohol to dangerous levels," said Dr. Doug Matthews, a research scientist at Baylor who led the study.

The recent findings indicate:

•Caucasian women are consuming more drinkers per person than any other group.

•Males younger than 60 who did not have a college degree were likely to consume more drinks per month.

•Being unemployed or unmarried were identified as risk factors for males getting intoxicated more than once a month.

•Reduced sensitivity in teens is concerning considering that binge and heavy alcohol consumption increases throughout human adolescence and peaks at 21 to 25 years of age.

•The firing rate of a particular neuron called the cerebellar Purkinje neuron is insensitive to large alcohol doses in adolescents, while the firing rate of those neurons was significantly depressed in adults.

•College students who drank more than one energy drink a week were more likely to start drinking at an earlier age, drink more per session, and develop alcohol dependence.

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