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:1/16/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 16, 2017 , ... ... editor, attorney, science teacher, http://www.ageofautism.com/legal , Sharon Kleyne, America’s leading water ... Heckenlively to her nationally syndicated radio program, The Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of ...
(Date:1/16/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 16, 2017 , ... San Francisco ... iTero Element, the latest in 3-D scanning device which is capable of taking digital ... latest advances in dentistry, such as CAD CAM restorations , in terms of ...
(Date:1/15/2017)... ... January 15, 2017 , ... Going above and ... that strives to better communities around the world by offering the Gensuite team ... the opportunity for team members to become involved in a cause that is ...
(Date:1/15/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 15, 2017 , ... ... choice of best physicians in eight Bay Area counties for 2017. Almost 1,000 ... healthcare research company managing the award process. Results were announced the magazine’s ...
(Date:1/14/2017)... , ... January 14, 2017 , ... ... distinctions among their expanding line of activated charcoal products. With more and more ... of categorizing their products according to how they cater to specific needs. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/13/2017)... 2017 Constant research ongoing in the ... contribute to the demand for western blotting technique. The global  ... US$ 551.0 Mn by 2016 end. Developing economies in ... markets for western blotting, whereas North America ... ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... 13, 2017  Alfalfa, cattle, leafy greens and rosy cheeked ... film , which emphasizes the food industry,s shift from response ... COPAN,s Swab Rinse Kit (SRK™) ... sampling process in the wake of the new FDA ... COPAN is expanding the U.S. production of the ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... -- This morning, Stock-Callers.com draws attention to ... at yesterday,s closing bell: Clovis Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: ... GALE ), and ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... to develop technologies and products that combat debilitating and ... use less and cleaner energy, and provide safer, cleaner ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: