Wednesday October 17, 2018

Excessive Drinking May Affect Teenage Girls’ Bone Mass, Up Risk of Osteoporosis In Adulthood

Binge drinking in teenage may affect girls' bone mass

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In the experiments, rats were trained to drink alcohol in a way that mimics human binge-drinking behaviour. Pixabay
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Girls who binge on alcohol may fail to reach their peak bone mass, increasing their risk of fractures in adulthood as well as osteoporosis — a condition in which bones become weak and brittle, according to researchers.

Up to 90 per cent of peak bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and by 20 in boys, which makes youth the best time to “invest” in one’s bone health.

However, the findings showed that regularly binge drinking lowered bone mass in girls’ spine.

This was true even when researchers accounted for other factors that affect bone density — such as exercise, nutrition and smoking habits.

“When we consider bone health, we always talk about things like exercise, calcium and vitamin D, and not smoking. We may also need to talk about avoiding binge drinking,” said lead researcher Joseph LaBrie, Professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, US.

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Representational image.

LaBrie noted that anything that keeps a young woman from reaching her peak bone mass will probably raise her odds of developing osteoporosis years down the road.

Osteoporosis is a costly bone disease characterised by low bone mineral density (BMD) that primarily affects postmenopausal women and failure to reach peak bone mass in early adulthood might be one reason for the condition.

“This study identifies a potential lifetime consequence of binge drinking in young women,” LaBrie noted.

Also Read: Dieting May Spike up Smoking, Binge Drinking in Teenaged Girls, Claims Study

For the study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, the team included nearly 100 college women, aged between 18 to 20 years.

The study expands previous research linking heavy drinking to lower bone mass and higher fracture risk in older adults, suggesting that later in life bone issues may be linked to drinking early in life.

Previous animal research has suggested that alcohol hinders the healthy development of young bones. (IANS)

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Stimulating Brain Cells Stops Binge Drinking

The researchers activated the dopamine neurons through a type of deep brain stimulation using a new technique called optogenetics

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drinking
In the experiments, rats were trained to drink alcohol in a way that mimics human binge-drinking behaviour. Pixabay

It is now possible to use gene therapy in the brain to not only treat binge drinking but other substance abuse, neurological diseases and mental illnesses.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo have found a way to change alcohol drinking behaviour in rodents, using the emerging technique of optogenetics – using light to stimulate neurons.

In the experiments, rats were trained to drink alcohol in a way that mimics human binge-drinking behaviour.

“By stimulating certain dopamine neurons in a precise pattern, resulting in low but prolonged levels of dopamine release, we could prevent the rats from binging. The rats just flat out stopped drinking,” said Caroline E. Bass, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Interestingly, the rodents continued to avoid alcohol even after the stimulation of neurons ended, Bass added.

drinking
Representational image. Pixabay

The researchers activated the dopamine neurons through a type of deep brain stimulation using a new technique called optogenetics.

“Optogenetics allows you to stimulate only one type of neuron at a time,” said the study published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

Also Read- Controlling Diet a Remedy For Metabolic Syndrome

“The results have application not only in understanding and treating alcohol-drinking behaviours in humans, but also in many devastating mental illnesses and neurological diseases that have a dopamine component,” said Bass.

The findings are the first to demonstrate a causal relationship between the release of dopamine in the brain and drinking behaviours of animals. (IANS)