Thursday January 24, 2019

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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risk of cancer
Drinking behavior can alter risk of developing cancer. Pixabay
  • 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)

Next Story

Reducing Alcohol Intake Can Help In Quitting Smoking

The findings, published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, showed that as the men in the study group reduced their drinking

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FILE - New findings show that smoking causes devastating genetic damage, or mutations, in the cells of various organs in the body. VOA

If quitting smoking is one of your New Year’s resolutions, you might want to consider cutting back on your drinking too, a study has found.

The study found that heavy alcohol drinkers who are trying to stop smoking may find that reducing their alcohol intake can also help them quit their daily smoking habit.

In addition, heavy drinkers’ nicotine metabolite ratio — a biomarker that indicates how quickly a person’s body metabolises nicotine — reduced as they cut back on their drinking.

smoking
Smoking causes failure of Dental fillings. Pixabay

Slowing a person’s nicotine metabolism rate through reduced drinking could provide an edge when trying to stop smoking, which is known to be a difficult task, said lead researcher Sarah Dermody, Assistant Professor at the Oregon State University in the US.

“It takes a lot of determination to quit smoking, often several attempts,” Dermody said.

For the study, the researchers considered a small group of daily smokers to study the nicotine metabolite ratio, the medical term for severe problem drinking.

Smoking
Heavy drinkers’ nicotine metabolite ratio as they cut back on their drinking. Pixabay

The findings, published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, showed that as the men in the study group reduced their drinking — from an average of 29 drinks per week to seven — their nicotine metabolite rate also dropped.

Also Read: Social Media addiction Linked to Binge Drinking in Students

The women, however, did not see reductions in their nicotine metabolite ratio. (IANS)