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: Growing a blood vessel in a week

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

Growing a blood vessel in a week

Oct 24, 2014

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

Oct 24, 2014

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

Oct 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments : 0