Brain chemical linked to alcohol desire

Dec 25, 2006

Australian scientists have identified a brain system that could not only blunt an alcoholic's craving for booze, but also the addiction.

The BBC reported Monday researchers at Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute discovered how to block the action of the brain's orexin system, which can also stop the desire for alcohol in its tracks.

Orexin cells, also known as hypocretins, are a pair of highly excitatory neuropeptides found in the brain. The chemical is involved in the "high" felt after drinking alcohol or taking illicit drugs or even eating a great meal.

Dr. Andrew Lawrence used a drug that actually blocked orexin's euphoric effects in the brain. Test rats, in fact, turned their noses up when faced with the oportunity of swilling unlimited alcohol, even those that had gone through detox chose to not imbibe.

"Orexin reinforces the euphoria felt when drinking alcohol, so if a drug can be developed to block the orexin system in humans, we should be able to stop an alcoholic's craving for alcohol," Lawrence told the BBC.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Unsteady on your feet? Little touches could make all the difference

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Apple issues security warning for iCloud

10 minutes ago

Apple has posted a new security warning for users of its iCloud online storage service amid reports of a concerted effort to steal passwords and other data from people who use the popular service in China.

Review: Better cameras, less glare in iPad Air 2

12 minutes ago

If I've seen you taking photos with a tablet computer, I've probably made fun of you (though maybe not to your face, depending on how big you are). I'm old school: I much prefer looking through the viewfinder ...

Recommended for you

Neutralising antibodies for safer organ transplants

19 hours ago

Serious complications can arise following kidney transplants. If dialysis is required within the first seven days, then the transplanted organ is said to have a Delayed Graft Function (DGF), and essentially ...

User comments : 0