Wednesday June 19, 2019

Researchers Identify Gene To Prevent And Treat Alcoholism

Researchers discovered that when they increased the levels of the gene encoded protein in mice, they reduced alcohol consumption by almost 50 per cent without affecting the total amount of fluid consumed or their overall well-being.

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The study highlights the importance of using cross-species approaches to identify and test relevant drugs for the treatment of alcohol use disorder. Pixabay

Researchers have identified a gene that could provide a new target for developing medication to prevent and treat alcoholism, according to a new study on mice.

Researchers at Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) in the US discovered a gene that had lower expression in the brains of non-human primates which voluntarily consumed heavy amounts of alcohol compared to those that drank less.

Furthermore, the team unraveled a link between alcohol and how it modulates the levels of activity of this particular gene.

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The study modified the levels of the protein encoded by a single gene known as GPR39.  Pixabay

Researchers discovered that when they increased the levels of the gene encoded protein in mice, they reduced alcohol consumption by almost 50 per cent without affecting the total amount of fluid consumed or their overall well-being.

The study modified the levels of the protein encoded by a single gene known as GPR39.

The prevalence rates of co-occurring mood and alcohol use disorders are high, with individuals with alcohol use disorder being 3.7 times more likely to have major depression than those who do not abuse alcohol.

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Using a commercially available substance that mimics the activity of the GPR39 protein, the researchers found that targeting this gene dramatically reduced alcohol consumption in mice, showed the findings of the study published in the journal, Neuropsychopharmacology.

“The study highlights the importance of using cross-species approaches to identify and test relevant drugs for the treatment of alcohol use disorder,” noted senior author Rita Cervera-Juanes, Research Assistant Professor at ONPRC. (IANS)

Next Story

High Costs Preventing People to Take Vital Asthma Medication

The results were published in the journal JACI : In Practice

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Out-of-pocket costs are preventing many people from taking vital asthma medication, says a new study, calling for urgent interventions to promote discussions between patients and doctors about the cost of medicines to treat asthma.

The most commonly prescribed preventer treatments for asthma contain inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) which, if taken regularly, reduce the severity of the disease and the number of asthma-related deaths, said the researchers.

According to reports, at least one in every 10 asthma patient globally lives in India and the economic costs associated with asthma exceed those of TB and HIV/AIDS combined.

To reach this conclusion, researchers led by The George Institute for Global Health and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research at UNSW Sydney, surveyed 1,400 people with asthma in Australia and found that half of the adults and one-third of the children in the study were either decreasing or skipping doses of asthma medicines to make them last longer.

“We know that preventer inhalers can be incredibly effective at controlling symptoms and preventing people from being hospitalised or even from dying of asthma, yet our study has found that out-of-pocket costs are preventing many from accessing medicines which can be life-saving,” said senior research fellow Tracey-Lea Laba of The George Institute.

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The study provides new insight that could help us predict and manage diseases like asthma – which are a significant public health burden. IANS

The study found that young male adults were the most likely to under-use asthma treatments.

This was compounded by doctors being largely unaware that out-of-pocket costs were a significant concern for many of their patients, or that some preventers had lower out-of-pocket costs for patients than others.

According to fellow study author Professor Helen Reddel of the Woolcock Institute at UNSW Sydney, asthma is a long-term disease and one where people really need to keep the inflammation under control by taking a preventative medicine and not just relying on short-term symptom relief from a blue inhaler.

Also Read- Researchers to Develop Wearable Devices to Help People with Mobility Issues Walk

“We need doctors to talk to their patients to stress that this Band-Aid approach does not work, and can leave them hospitalised or even worse as a result,” said Reddel.

The results were published in the journal JACI : In Practice. (IANS)