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:12/8/2016)... MA (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) officially opened registration today for its 33rd ... Hotel in Boston, MA . , The theme of the conference is “Persistent ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... 08, 2016 , ... CURE Media Group, the nation’s leading digital and print ... Upstage Lung Cancer in efforts to combat lung cancer, announced CURE Media Group President ... “CURE Media Group is honored to team up with Upstage Lung Cancer in order ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... development continuity to its innovative Unified Instance Manager architecture, meeting the needs ... this new version optimizes the unattended auto-dialing system without agents, Presence Robodialer, ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... City, Ga (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 ... ... moving as soon after surgery as possible. With this in mind, SIGVARIS has ... thrombosis (DVT or blood clot) during bed rest and provide the benefits of ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... planning services from offices headquartered in Jefferson County, is announcing the launch of ... in Birmingham. , The number of homeless women and children in Birmingham has ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) has been recognized by the Detroit ... Standard. To learn more about Diplomat,s career opportunities, visit ... ... ... LLC, a research firm specializing in organizational health and workplace improvement. ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 8, 2016  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: ... phase 3 EXPEDITION3 trial at the 9 th ... disclosed, solanezumab did not meet the primary endpoint in ... in people with mild dementia due to Alzheimer,s disease ... solanezumab for the treatment of mild dementia due to ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Dec 8, 2016 Research and Markets has ... and Trends - Adhesion Type, Application, Usability - Forecast to 2025" ... , ... Electrodes Market is poised to grow at a CAGR of around ... the market is witnessing include advancements in extracellular microelectrode arrays and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: