Monday April 22, 2019

A Brain Circuit Can Help Reverse Craving for Liquor, Says Study

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

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A photo made with a fisheye lens shows bottles of alcohol in a liquor store in Salt Lake City. The National Institutes of Health said Friday that it was canceling a study of moderate drinking's health benefits because the results could not be trusted. Beer and liquor companies were helping to underwrite it.
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)

Next Story

Kerala High Court Permits the Employment of Women in Liquor Retail Shops

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Representaional Image. Pixabay.

December 21, 2016: The employment of women in foreign liquor retail shops got permission by Kerala High Court.

According to court, such orders and rules “are violative of Article 14 and 15 of the Constitution and are therefore unsustainable,” said the court in a recent order about the Foreign Liquor Rules of the state government.

According to PTI, “Justice Anu Sivaraman issued the order while disposing of a batch of writ petitions challenging constitutional validity of Clause No 37 of Rule 7 contained in Chapter VI of the Kerala Abkari Shops Disposal Rules, 2002 and Licence Condition No 36 of Foreign Liquor Rules to the effect that no women shall be employed in any capacity in a toddy or foreign liquor shop.”

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The women said in their petition that they had participated in the selection and they had been included in the ranked list for the appointment to the post of peon/helper in the Kerala State Beverages (Manufacturing & Marketing) Corporation Ltd.

However, they were not given appointment in the vacancies, citing the rules and government order. A notification issued by the Kerala Public Service Commission also stated that women will not be entitled to appointment in shop vacancies.

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PTI reported that the court directed the Kerala Public Service Commission to advise the petitioners to appoint to the post of peon/ helper in the corporation immediately, from the ranked list, as the people who are lower down in the ranked list have already been appointed.

Further said, “This shall be done within a period of two weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgement. The petitioners shall be accommodated against the available vacancies without reference to whether such vacancies are in shops or otherwise.”

The court ruled, “If no such vacancies are available to accommodate the petitioners, they shall be accommodated against the supernumerary vacancies and adjusted against the next arising vacancies.”

The court has also directed the Kerala State Beverages Corporation, Kerala Public Service Commission and the state government in accordance with the judgement and in accordance with law, they should re-work the appointments made from the ranked list.

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The high court said, “In view of the fact that all vacancies have already been reported to the PSC, the 3rd respondent (the PSC) shall also re-work the ranked list and pass orders accordingly within a period of one month from the date of receipt of a copy of the judgement.”

prepared by NewsGram team with PTI inputs