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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.

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“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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Limit Alcohol Intake to cut Risk of Cancer, Say Experts

Drinking alcohol whether, in light, moderate or heavy quantity is linked with increasing the risk of cancer of various types, including those of the breast, colon, esophagus and head and neck

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Drinking behavior can alter risk of developing cancer. Pixabay

New Delhi, November 10, 2017 : Regular consumption of alcohol may significantly increase your risk of developing several cancers, experts have warned.

Drinking alcohol whether, in light, moderate or heavy quantity is linked with increasing the risk of cancer of various types, including those of the breast, colon, esophagus and head and neck, experts from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) said in a statement. Moreover, not only does excessive alcohol consumption cause cancer, it also can delay or negatively impact cancer treatment, the experts noted.

“Even moderate alcohol use can cause cancer. Therefore, limiting alcohol intake is a means to prevent cancer,” said lead author Noelle K. LoConte, Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin in the US.

“Just like people wear sunscreen to limit their risk of cancer of the skin, limiting alcohol intake is one more thing people can do to reduce their overall risk of developing cancer.”

Further, while many studies have considered some type of alcohol to be beneficial, experts noted that alcohol in all forms raises the risk of cancer.

“People typically don’t associate drinking beer, wine, and hard liquor with increasing their risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes,” said Bruce Johnson, President at the ASCO.

“However, the link between increased alcohol consumption and cancer has been firmly established and gives the medical community guidance on how to help their patients reduce their risk of cancer,” said Johnson in a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Besides raising awareness on the link between alcohol and cancer, the experts also recommended some measures – such as regulating alcohol outlet density, increasing alcohol taxes and prices, maintaining limits on days and hours of sale, enhancing enforcement of laws prohibiting sales to minors and restricting youth exposure to advertising of alcoholic beverages – to reduce excessive alcohol consumption.  (IANS)

 

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