Friday, April 14, 2017

Changes of the Brain Causing the Drive of Alcohol Dependence

Alcoholism is a dangerous addiction in which neurotransmitters are the pathways of addiction. Each person is different and handle the affects differently.

Recently, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute conducted a study in alcoholism that could possibly help develop personalized treatments for individuals. Both alcohol-dependent and nondependent rats were used to show the main difference in their brains when given alcohol. It was shown that when given alcohol, there was increase in activity in the central amygdala. According to their studies, the activity was due to two separate signaling pathways in the brains. In nondependent rats, their brain activity increased L-type voltage-gated calcium channels (LTCCs) which boosted the release of GABA, a neurotransmitter, and when blocked, it reduced voluntary alcohol consumption. In the alcohol dependent rats, it was the opposite and there was a decrease in LTCCs. They researchers had found that a stress hormone (CRF) and its type 1 receptor (CRF1) drove the increase of activity and by blocking the CRF1s, voluntary alcohol consumption had decreased.

This could help researchers in developing more personalized treatments to those who have problems with alcoholism by seeing how the individual’s brain react to the different therapeutics. I think this would be great for those who seek out help if they have an alcohol problem. It would make it less stressful to go through therapy knowing what happens to the brain and how it could be addressed.

Scripps Research Institute. "Surprising brain change appears to drive alcohol dependence." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2017.

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