A preliminary study led by a UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country researcher in collaboration with the Autonomous University of Nayarit, in Mexico, indicates that weekend alcohol consumption might affect DNA.
A study analysed the effect of weekend alcohol consumption on the lipids comprising cell membrane and its genetic material, DNA.
"When we talk about youth alcohol abuse, we are referring to youngsters who drink alcohol without having become addicted. Addiction involves a more complex issue socially and psychologically speaking," said researcher Adela Rendon.
"This is social alcohol abuse, but causes damage in the long term and you have to be aware of that," the researcher added.
The results have been published in the journal Alcohol.
The harmful consumption of alcoholic beverages is a global problem and constitutes a significant health, social and economic problem.
According to World Health Organisation data, alcohol is responsible for 2.5 million deaths a year worldwide. Youngsters between the ages of 19 and 25 account for 320,000 of them; it causes harm that goes beyond the drinker's physical and mental health.
The effects of alcohol abuse have been mostly studied in people who have been consuming alcohol for a long time, who therefore display symptoms ranging from liver damage to various types of cancer, depression and disorders of the nervous system.
That is why this study is pioneering because it deals with the effect of alcohol on young, healthy people.