Sunday September 23, 2018

Brain’s immune system affects the drinking behavior at night, suggests study

The team switched off the impulse to drink alcohol by giving mice a drug that blocks a specific response from the immune system in the brain

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Drinking behavior can alter risk of developing cancer. Pixabay
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  • Brain’s immunity has been found to affect one’s drinking behavior at night
  • The team switched off the impulse to drink alcohol by giving mice a drug
  • A significant reduction in the mice’s alcohol drinking behavior was reported 

New Delhi, September 17, 2017: Love to drown yourself in a peg of whiskey each evening? It may be due to impulsiveness of the brain’s immune system, according to a study.

The findings showed a link between the brain’s immunity and the motivation to drink alcohol at night.

This may be because our body’s circadian rhythms affect the “reward” signals we receive in the brain from drug-related behaviour and the peak time for this reward typically occurs during the evening or dark phase, the researchers said.

“Alcohol is the world’s most commonly consumed drug and there is a greater need than ever to understand the biological mechanisms that drive our need to drink alcohol,” said lead author Jon Jacobsen, PhD student at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Also readMerry-making and Drinking can be Dangerous: Celebratory Firing leaves Trail of Deaths Weddings in Punjab

“We wanted to test what the role of the brain’s immune system might have on that reward and whether or not we could switch it off,” Jacobsen added.

In the study, published in the journal Brain, Behaviour and Immunity, the team switched off the impulse to drink alcohol by giving mice a drug that blocks a specific response from the immune system in the brain.

The researchers administered the drug (+)-Naltrexone, which is known to block the immune receptor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in mice.

The results showed a significant reduction in alcohol drinking behaviour by mice that had been given (+)-Naltrexone, specifically at night when the reward for drug-related behaviour is usually at its greatest.

“We concluded that blocking a specific part of the brain’s immune system did in fact substantially decrease the motivation of mice to drink alcohol in the evening,” Jacobsen said.

These findings point to the need for further research to understand the implications for drinking behaviour in humans, the researchers noted. (IANS)

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Alcohol Kills More People Than AIDS, Violence Combined: WHO

Alcohol consumption overall is unevenly distributed around the globe, with well over half of the world's population over the age of 15 abstaining completely.

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Alcohol
A pint of beer is poured into a glass in a bar in London, Britain, VOA

Alcohol kills three million people worldwide each year — more than AIDS, violence and road accidents combined, the WHO said Friday, adding that men are particularly at risk.

The UN health agency’s latest report on alcohol and health pointed out that alcohol causes more than one in 20 deaths globally each year, including drink driving, alcohol-induced violence and abuse and a multitude of diseases and disorders.

Men account for more than three quarters of alcohol-related deaths, the nearly 500-page report found.

Alcohol
An infographic from the World Health Organization about the effects of alcohol on health worldwide. VOA

“Far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol through violence, injuries, mental health problems and diseases like cancer and stroke,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

“It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies,” he added.

Drinking is linked to more than 200 health conditions, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers.

Alcohol abuse also makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV and pneumonia, the report found.

Alcohol
Middle-aged adults must have ‘drink-free’ days: UK health body. Pixabay

The some three million alcohol-related deaths registered globally in 2016 — the latest available statistics — account for 5.3 percent of all deaths that year.

In comparison, HIV/AIDS was responsible for 1.8 percent of global deaths that year, road injuries for 2.5 percent and violence for 0.8 percent, the study showed.

The latest numbers are lower than those in WHO last report on global alcohol consumption, published in 2014.

There are “some positive global trends,” the agency said, pointing to shrinking prevalence of heavy episodic drinking and of alcohol-related deaths since 2010.

Alcohol
Alcohol is linked with 7 cancers.

But it warned that “the overall burden of disease and injuries caused by the harmful use of alcohol is unacceptably high,” especially in Europe and the Americas.

Globally, an estimated 237 million men and 46 million women suffer from alcohol use disorders, WHO said.

Also Read: There’s No Healthy Level for Consuming Alcohol, Lancet Study Confirms

Alcohol abuse affects nearly 15 percent of men and 3.5 percent of women in Europe, and 11.5 percent of men and 5.1 percent of women in the Americas, it pointed out.

Alcohol consumption overall is unevenly distributed around the globe, with well over half of the world’s population over the age of 15 abstaining completely. (VOA)