Researchers have found a new drug that may eventually help to reduce alcohol addiction in adults who used to binge during their adolescent years.
A new drug found which can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers
“During our teen years, the brain is still in a relatively immature state. Binge drinking worsens this situation, as alcohol undermines the normal developmental processes that affect how our brain matures,” said lead author Jon Jacobsen, a Ph.D. student at the University of Adelaide, Australia.
“Therefore, when an adolescent who has been binge drinking becomes an adult, they’re often left with an immature brain, which assists in the development of alcohol dependence,” Jacobsen added.
For the study, published in the Journal Neuropharmacology, researchers observed that adolescent mice involved in binge drinking behavior developed an increased sensitivity to alcohol as adults and engaged in further binge drinking.
The researchers were able to prevent some of these detrimental behaviors observed in adulthood, by giving mice a drug that blocks a specific response from the immune system in the brain.
The drug is (+)-Naltrexone, known to block the immune receptor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4).
“This drug effectively switched off the impulse in mice to binge drink. The mice were given this drug still sought out alcohol, but their level of drinking was greatly reduced,” says senior author Professor Mark Hutchinson, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics at the University of Adelaide.
“We’re excited by the finding that we can potentially block binge drinking in an adult after they have experienced such behavior during adolescence, by stopping the activation of the brain’s immune system. It’s the first time this has been shown and gives us hope that our work has implications for the eventual treatment of alcohol addiction in adults,” Hutchinson noted.(IANS)
Some diabetics with plaque buildup in their arteries might have less debris in these blood vessels after adding wine to their diets, a recent study suggests.
For the study, researchers examined data on 224 people with type 2 diabetes who normally didn’t drink alcohol but were randomly assigned to follow a Mediterranean diet and drink approximately one glass of red wine, white wine or water for days. Among the subset of 174 people with ultrasound images of their arteries, 45 percent had a detectable plaque at the start of the study.
Two years later, researchers didn’t see any significant increase in plaque for any of the participants with ultrasounds, regardless of whether they drank wine or water.
However, among the people who started out with the most plaque in their arteries, there was a small but statistically meaningful reduction in these deposits by the end of the study, researchers report in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“Among patients with well-controlled diabetes and a low risk for alcohol abuse, initiating moderate alcohol consumption in the context of a healthy diet is apparently safe and may modestly reduce cardiometabolic risk,” said lead study author Rachel Golan, a public health researcher at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel.
“Our study is not a call for all patients with type 2 diabetes to start drinking,” Golan said by email.
In addition to plaque in the arteries, other risk factors include high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, high cholesterol, smoking and having poor diet and exercise habits.
In the current study, all of the participants had the most common form of the disease, known as type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and aging and occurs when the body can no longer produce or use the hormone insulin to convert sugars in the blood into energy.
Participants were part of a larger study looking at people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
They were typically in their late 50s or early 60s and most of them were overweight or obese. Roughly 65 to 70 percent of them took medications to lower cholesterol or other blood fats and the majority of them also took diabetes drugs to control blood sugar.
Patients were told to follow a Mediterranean diet, which typically includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. This diet also tends to favor lean sources of protein like chicken or fish over red meat, which contains more saturated fat.
Participants were provided with wine or mineral water throughout the study period along with a 150-milliliter (5.07-ounce) glass to measure the daily dose of their assigned beverage, which was consumed with dinner.
Some previous research has linked a Mediterranean diet to weight loss and a reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers as well as better management of blood sugar in people with diabetes.
Another drawback is that researchers only had ultrasound images of plaque buildup for a small proportion of patients, and the two-year follow-up period might not be long enough to detect meaningful differences in plaque accumulation.
Alcohol may help, but it also isn’t risk-free, noted Dr. Gregory Marcus, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who wasn’t involved in the study. It can increase the risk of heart rhythm problems, which can cause stroke, Marcus said by email.
Even though alcohol might help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in some circumstances, there isn’t enough evidence yet to suggest that people who avoid alcohol should start drinking, Marcus said.
“I would certainly recommend against starting to drink alcohol in the hopes of obtaining beneficial health effects among anyone that currently abstains,” Marcus said. “And among those who drink, these sorts of positive results should never be used to consume more alcohol, particularly beyond drinking in moderation.” (VOA)