Researchers have pin-pointed three key time periods in life when the harmful effects of alcohol on the brain are likely to be at their greatest.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, researchers in Australia and the UK suggest there are three periods of brain changes that may be particularly sensitive to the effects of alcohol. These are: gestation (from conception to birth), later adolescence (15–19 years), and older adulthood (over 65 years).

The experts suggest that population-based interventions, such as guidelines on low-risk drinking, alcohol pricing policies, and lower drink driving limits will help tackle this issue. They also suggest that these policies should be accompanied by the development of training and care pathways that consider the human brain at risk throughout life.