Binge-drinking students are permanently damaging their brains' ability to process information, a new study shows.
Having five or more beers for men, or in excess of four for women, within two hours leads to distinctive changes in brain activity.
Such changes, which can lead to muddled thoughts, are similar to those seen in alcoholics, Portuguese scientists claim.
The findings are worrying, as the researchers said for many students, this amount of drinking wouldn't equate to a particularly heavy night.
Binge-drinking students are permanently damaging their brains' ability to process information, a new study shows
Previous studies found binge drinking was linked to neurocognitive deficits, poor academic performance, and risky sexual behaviour.
While studies have found heavy drinking by alcoholics altered brain activity, there is also evidence that bingeing can change a teenager's brain too.
The new University of Minho study, based on 80 undergraduates, highlights the damage that can be done by alcohol.
Lead author Dr Eduardo López-Caneda said: 'A number of studies have assessed the effects of binge drinking in young adults during different tasks involving cognitive processes such as attention or working memory.
'However, there are hardly any studies assessing if the brains of binge drinkers show differences when they are at rest, and not focused on a task.'
One in four university students drink too much and are harming their job prospects, experts have warned on the back of a new survey.
A poll of 9,000 students, commissioned by Magnet, revealed the pressure to go out boozing often distracts many from their studies.
Thomas Johnston, a final year student at University of Exeter, told the researchers: 'The drinking