1. Human Brain Development Does Not Stop At Adolescence: Research

Background: This source explains that the human brain does not stop developing at adolescence, but it instead keeps on developing well into our 20’s. Research conducted at  the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta provides evidence that indeed confirms that fact. By using a type of imaging that examines brain wiring, researchers were able to see that in the white matter changes were still occurring, well into young adulthood. The changes were happening, for young adults, in the frontal lobe part of the brain.

How I Used It: This was one of the first sources that I found that educated me on how brain development does not stop by twenty-one like I originally thought. This is the article that peaked my interest and made me dive head first into this topic to build my argument on why alcohol four years before finished development is bad in the long run of things. I built my argument off of this single article, this is the one that made me sure of sticking to my topic. 

2. 3 Things That Happen To The Human Brain At 25

Background: In a certain section of this source, the final part of brain development (which is the prefrontal cortex) is discussed. The author explains how at twenty-five, the risk management and long-term planning skills are starting to kick in at this point. Scientists have said that this part of the brain takes the longest to fully develop, and that by the age of twenty-five, the so-called “remodel” of the brain comes to its end after its beginning at the age of thirteen. 

How I Used It: This article, just like the one before, is another one that made me want to dive further down this side of the argument. This article opened my eyes to the prefrontal cortex and why it is important for adults, and I used this article to help strengthen my argument by using the prefrontal cortex knowledge to go farther with that when discussing my side. 

3. Prefrontal Cortex

Background: This source delves deeper into the prefrontal cortex and what role it plays, how it develops, and the different parts of the prefrontal cortex. In terms of the role that the prefrontal cortex plays, it is a huge part of personality development, and like the previous source stated, this part of the brain deals with those complex emotions and behaviours. For how it develops, the brain does its development in a back to front order thus the prefrontal cortex is the last in line. For this development, experience plays a big role, so most neurologists can agree that by the time someone reaches twenty-five, the prefrontal cortex is fully developed. There are three different parts of the prefrontal cortex: the medial, the orbital, and the lateral. The medial cortex contributes to attention and motivation, and it can be simplified as a sort of start button. The orbital cortex controls impulses and ignores distractions, but it also helps keep strong emotions in check. The lateral cortex allows for plans to be created, organized in a certain sequence, and then be executed. It is safe to say that the prefrontal cortex is an important part of the human brain. 

How I Used It: This source was great in helping me build upon my knowledge of the prefrontal cortex and using that as a huge part of my entire argument, as my main focus. It offered valuable information about what this section of the brain does and explored more of its most known feature: the executive function. 

4. Effects of Alcohol on Brain: Damage and Treatment

Background: This source goes into both the short and long term effects of alcohol on the brain, and it also states the areas of the brain that are the most susceptible to being harmed by alcohol use. The prefrontal cortex is mentioned as one that changes personality and emotions drastically when damaged by alcohol and this is an important area of the brain, however another part controls an important part of the brain. The Hippocampus is in charge of memory creation and when this is messed with, it can be difficult for a person to create new memories. In terms of the short term effects of alcohol, blackouts are the most common and these have problems of their own with forgetting what happened while intoxicated, which can be very dangerous. The long term effects are more centered around worsened memory, thinking, and emotion control. Overall, both short and long term effects offer bad conclusions in their own way. 

How I Used It: This source added specifics into the effects of how alcohol affects the brain, these included short and long term effects, and this helped build my argument more by showcasing the damaging effects of using alcohol.  

5. How Does Alcohol Affect The Brain? (It’s Not Pretty)

Background: This source discusses specifics when it comes to alcoholism and the damaging effects that it can have on one’s brain and even the body as well. The main focus seems to be on alcoholism itself and how badly that affects those with that problem, but there are some effects around a sub-article that speak about certain parts of the brain, how alcohol affects those parts, and what outcomes can be expected for the long run.

How I Used It: This source helped me tie together the effects of alcohol, and while it was the last source I used on this portion of my paper, it did help me further understand how drastic the effects could really be. Even though this article mainly focused on alcoholism, which is something I never really mentioned in my paper, it did set up how drastic things could get over a long period of time of abuse.

6. Alcoholism and Brain Damage: Does Drinking Kill Brain Cells?

Background: This source is another one that focuses on the overall effect of alcohol on the brain, and how that in turn causes big problems for people in the future. This article branched on different circumstances, different effects and where they could then lead to, and how alcohol acts within a teenage brain. This source offered valuable information overall about how the brain works under the influence and how excessive consumption can cause irreversible damage to how the brain functions and develops, if said person is still under the age of twenty-five. 

How I Used It: I used this article to further strengthen my argument about the dangerous effects of alcohol use on the brain. While I had two other articles about the same thing, they all went into detail regarding different effects and had varying short term and long term effects when it came to alcohol, so it was useful to take information from all three. 

7. Should the Legal Drinking Age be Increased to 25

Background: This source discussed the issue around the drinking age and whether it should be raised to twenty-five or not. There were two sides introduced: the good of raising the age versus the bad of raising the age. The bad had more substance compared to the good, as raising the drinking age would just encourage young adults to drink in secret and basically smuggle drinks at that point. The good was based around brain development and how drinking stunts this process, but also how accidents are prevented with the rise in age.

How I Used It: I used this source more towards the rebuttal because it offered the opposing side of my argument, so I used their points from their why it would be bad section to build up strong arguments to tackle for my rebuttal essay and for that portion of my paper.

8. Why 21?

Background: This source discussed the reasons as to why the legal drinking age is twenty-one and not lowered or raised. There were also discussions surrounding what lowering the age would do and if parents can teach their teens to drink responsibly, but the main one I focused on was the reason as to why twenty-one is the perfect age for being able to drink. Many of the reasons for this being the acceptable age are the prevention of damage to the youth as well as there being less accidents if the age limit stays where it is now. 

How I Used It: I used this source for another article to build up the opposing side’s argument so I could efficiently tear them apart and use evidence against them to further build up my side of the argument. 

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