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This June 16, 2016, file photo, taken with a fisheye lens, shows bottles of alcohol during a tour of a state liquor store, in Salt Lake City. Cheap liquor, wine and beer have long been best-sellers among Utah alcohol drinkers, but new numbers from Utah's tightly-controlled liquor system show local craft brews, trendy box wines and flavored whiskies are also popular choices in a largely teetotaler state. VOA

Scientists have found that they can reverse the urge to drink alcohol, finds a study, which may open the door to developing drug or gene therapies to control alcohol addiction.

The team at US-based Scripps Research used a laser treatment to temporarily inactivate a specific neuron, which not only reversed alcohol-seeking behaviour but also reduced the physical symptoms of withdrawal.


“This discovery is exciting. It means we have another piece of the puzzle to explain the neural mechanism driving alcohol consumption,” said Olivier George, Associate Professor at Scripps.

Although the treatment is far from ready for human use, George believes identifying these neurons opens the door to developing drug therapies or even gene therapies to control alcohol addiction.

For the study, reported in Nature Communications journal, the team tested the role of a subset of neurons in the ensemble, called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) neurons. They found these CRF neurons make up 80 per cent of the ensemble.


Liquor (Representational image).

Rats were surgically implanted with optic fibres aimed to shine light on the CRF neurons — to make them inactive at the flip of a switch.

Once rats were alcohol dependent, the researchers withdrew alcohol, prompting withdrawal symptoms in rats. When they were offered alcohol again, rats drank more than ever. The CeA neuronal ensemble was active, telling rats to drink more.

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When the CRF neurons were inactivated, rats immediately returned to their pre-dependent drinking levels. The intense motivation to drink had gone. Inactivating these neurons also reduced the physical symptoms of withdrawal, such as abnormal gait and shaking.

“We were able to characterise, target and manipulate a critical subset of neurons responsible for excessive drinking,” said Giordano de Guglielmo, staff scientist at Scripps. (IANS)


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Apart from damaging the lungs, the virus can also cause acute myocardial injury and chronic damage to the cardiovascular system.

By TS Kler

COVID-19 has led to complications and health risks manifold for patients with non-communicable diseases. Almost 75-80 percent of the COVID patients don't require hospitalisation and can recover at home with teleconsultation, but COVID-19 infections can leave the patient with long-term side effects. There are many instances where symptoms of COVID-19 have persisted for several months. Apart from damaging the lungs, the virus can also cause acute myocardial injury and chronic damage to the cardiovascular system.

According to research published in the European Heart Journal, Covid-19 patients who suffer cardiac arrest have a higher possibility of dying as compared to those who are not infected with it, and especially women are at an increased risk of death for the same reason. The virus may directly breach the ACE2 receptor cells, within the myocardium tissue and cause direct viral harm. COVID can result in inflammation of the heart muscles which is known as myocarditis and it can lead to heart failure over time, if not taken care of.

People with a pre-existing heart problem need to be extra cautious. A significant number of patients have suffered cardiac arrest during the recovery period, often resulting in death. Expert suggests that even though the COVID virus wanes, the immune response continues to be hyper-active and that often ends up attacking other organs. It has been observed that almost 80 per cent of these patients have had cardiac arrests 2-3 weeks after testing COVID positive.

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When we are experiencing loneliness, it can be easy to slip into the habit of saying no to social activities.

By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

The festive season is a time of joy. Some people truly love it, but for many, it can trigger feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Feeling lonely is common and completely normal -- whether or not we're living through this pandemic. The social pressure to "be happy" can be relentless, but it is important to take a proactive approach to meet not only our emotional needs but also to maintain our mental stability and well-being. With the pandemic, holidays are likely to be challenging, instead, meet them head-on with a renewed dedication and a proactive mindset to avoid 'holiday blues'.

Kanchan Rai, Mental and Emotional Well-being Coach, Founder, Let Us Talk, mentions ways to turn your loneliness into action this season:

Say yes to socializing: When we are experiencing loneliness, it can be easy to slip into the habit of saying no to social activities. Seclusion can make it challenging to feel driven and the mere thought of physically seeing people can lead to stress. Hence it is recommended to saying yes to mingling to help build your confidence. Something as simple as going for a walk with a friend or chatting with your loved ones over the phone can make a huge difference.

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Ahead of the Windows 11 launch, Microsoft is rolling out some updates to Edge

Ahead of the Windows 11 launch, Microsoft is rolling out some updates to Edge that include the addition of tab groups. Users will be able to assemble collections of tabs to make their browser a little less chaotic.

To create a group, hold the control button and choose the tabs you want to include, then select "Add tabs to new group" from the right-click menu, Engadget reported on Friday. Users can customise the label with a different colour for each group. When users hover over a tab, they will be able to see a preview of the web page as well.

Microsoft Edge is also getting some handy shopping features, the report said. The browser can give swift access to reviews and ratings for more than 5 million products. When users are on a product page, they can click the blue tag on the address bar and see expert reviews from reliable sources, as well as the average consumer star rating from various retailers.

When they do figure out what to buy, Microsoft aims to help them complete the transaction a bit faster. The new personalised news feed called Microsoft Start is integrated into the browser. Users will see headlines and articles relevant to their interests from a range of publishers when they open a new tab. (IANS/ MBI)


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