How Does Alcohol Affect Your Memory?

On Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford will take the stand at the Supreme Court confirmation proceedings for Brett Kavanaugh, who she has accused of sexual assault when they were in high school. Several other women have also come forward with similar stories in recent days. At the center of the investigation is the question of how alcohol affects memory and the brain, and whether these women could reliably remember something that happened to them under the influence.

The answer, experts tell Popular Science, is that while drinking can dull a person’s recollection significantly, traumatic situations can indeed leave a lasting imprint no matter the level of intoxication.

Alcohol spares no part of the brain, including our memory. “It’s a systemic effect,” says William Barr, director of neuropsychology at NYU Langone Health, “So the alcohol is elevated in your blood levels and that’s going to all parts of the brain, so general brain functioning is reduced.”

Excerpted from Popular Science

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