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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.

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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High BP Patients Prefer Pills and Tea Rather Than Exercise

Most survey respondents were under 45 and half were female and most had high blood pressure

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Representational Image. Pixabay

People are more likely to choose a daily cup of tea or a pill over exercise as the preferred treatment to control their high blood pressure, finds a survey.

In the survey, 79 per cent of respondents said they would be willing to take a pill for an extra month of life and 78 per cent said they would drink a daily cup of tea for one extra month of life. However, only 63 per cent said they would be willing to exercise for an extra month of life.

Exercise is less preferred by BP patients. IANS

“Our findings demonstrate that people naturally assign different weights to the pluses and minuses of interventions to improve cardiovascular health,” said lead author Erica Spatz, Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut.

While “we are good about discussing side effects, rarely do we find out if other inconveniences or burdens may be impacting a person’s willingness to take a lifelong medication or to exercise regularly”. Researchers asked nearly 1,500 US adults to imagine that they had high blood pressure and then asked about their willingness to adopt any of four “treatments” to gain an extra month, year or five years of life.

Also Read: Common BP Drug May Prevent Onset Of Type 1 Diabetes

The “treatments” proposed were — a daily cup of tea, exercise, pills or monthly or semi-annual injections. Only 68 per cent preferred taking semi-annual injections, if it would give them an extra month of life. In addition, a mere 20 per cent wanted to achieve gains in life expectancy beyond what any of the individual interventions could provide.

Parle g is staple to Indians and their tea. Facebook
Pills and Tea are prefered more by High BP patients. Facebook

Most survey respondents were under 45 and half were female and most had high blood pressure. Hypertension is a leading risk factor for heart and blood vessel, or cardiovascular, disease. Yet, it is often called the silent killer because it causes no symptoms.

The American Heart Association recommends getting regular physical activity, in addition to other lifestyle changes including eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol, managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking. IANS