Navigation Links
Alcohol Targets Brain 'Reward Centers' in Heavy Drinkers
Date:1/11/2012

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A small study that offers new insight into how alcohol affects the brain could help lead to more effective treatments for people with drinking problems.

Researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) imaging to observe the effects of alcohol in the brains of 13 heavy drinkers and a control group of 12 people who were not heavy drinkers.

In all of the participants, drinking alcohol triggered the release of endorphins in areas of the brain [the nucleus accumbens and orbitofrontal cortex] that produce feelings of pleasure and reward. Endorphins are proteins that are produced naturally in the brain and have opiate-like effects.

The more endorphins released in the nucleus accumbens, the greater the feelings of pleasure reported by people in both groups. Among heavy drinkers, the more endorphins released in the orbitofrontal cortex, the greater the feelings of intoxication. This did not occur among people in the control group, the researchers found.

The study is published in the Jan. 11 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

This is the first time that the release of endorphins in these two brain areas after drinking alcohol has been observed in humans, said the researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

"This is something that we've speculated about for 30 years, based on animal studies, but haven't observed in humans until now," lead author Jennifer Mitchell, clinical project director at the Gallo Center and an adjunct assistant professor of neurology at UCSF, said in a university news release. "It provides the first direct evidence of how alcohol makes people feel good."

Pinpointing the exact locations in the brain where endorphins are released could lead to the development of more effective drugs to treat alcohol abuse, the study authors suggested.

The findings show "that the brains of heavy or problem drinkers are changed in a way that makes them more likely to find alcohol pleasant, and may be a clue to how problem drinking develops in the first place," Mitchell said. "That greater feeling of reward might cause them to drink too much."

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCES: University of California, San Francisco, news release, Jan. 10, 2012


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Energy Drinks, Alcohol a Dangerous Mix
2. Rhode Island Settlement Reflects Homeowner Liability for Serving Alcohol to Those Under 21, Says Providence Lawyer Mark Gemma
3. Cluster of Genes Tied to Alcoholism
4. Blacks Less Likely to Abuse Alcohol
5. Alcohol Influences How Memorable Trauma Might Be
6. Alcoholics Relapses Better Understood
7. Mother of Binge Drinking Victim Urges Students and Parents to Discuss Signs of Alcohol Poisoning, Emphasize Peer Responsibility Prior to Spring Break
8. Hair Alcohol Test Kit to Help in Third of Care Cases
9. Combination Treatment May Help Depressed Alcoholics
10. Smoking, but not past alcohol abuse, may impair mental function
11. Meth Exposure May Be Worse for Fetus Than Alcohol
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Alcohol Targets Brain 'Reward Centers' in Heavy Drinkers
(Date:6/25/2016)... FL (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial ... Plant City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the ... closing for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Dr. Calvin ... injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating his ... of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Marne, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... To deal with these feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or ... Center of Marne, Michigan, has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that ... chosen by their peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent ... special honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening their pencils and honing ... contest in which patients and their families pay tribute to a genetic counselor by ... Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this September. , In ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has announced ... Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... the patients with kidney failure, it replaces the function of ... patient,s blood and thus the treatment helps to keep the ... balance. Increasing number of ESRD patients & ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; ... for its Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) assay as a ... septic shock. With this clearance, Roche is the first ... integrated solution for sepsis risk assessment and management. ... infection and PCT levels in blood can aid clinicians ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Bracket , a leading clinical trial technology ... outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) 6.0, at the 52 ... 30, 2016 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.  A ... product of its kind to fully integrate with RTSM, will ... 6.0 is a flexible platform for electronic clinical outcomes assessments ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: