Study: Researchers Find Neurons Control Drinking HabitsJuly 20, 2016 Addiction in the News
When most people think of celebrating a special event or occasion, they usually do it with a glass of champagne. Just think of New Year, for example. And we see that as a normal thing to do. However, more and more people are suffering from alcohol addiction which leads researchers to try to find out more about how they can help these people.
The most recent study done around this was led by Texas A&M University researchers when they were trying to find out the brain reactions when someone drinks alcohol. According to the researchers, we have specific neurons in our brain that alert you to stop drinking.
This same researchers team had already conducted a study where they demonstrated that when you drink alcohol you can change not only your physical structure as you can also change some specific neurons functions – the medium spiny neurons. Along with the same study, it was also shown that the activation of the D1 neuron can establish if just one drink can lead to more drinks.
You can see neurons as trees with many different branches and small protrusions that allow these brain cells to connect to each other.
How Neurons Control Drinking Habits
Each neuron, according to the researchers findings, has two dopamine receptors: D1 and D2.
The D2 neurons are the ones that, when they are activated, they tell you to stop drinking, to do nothing. They are the ones that help prevent alcohol addiction since they stop drinking behavior. Besides, it’s already known that when the dopamine level rises, the body usually rejects certain types of beverages and even food.
While the D2 neurons are seen most times as “no-go” pathway, the D1 neurons are seen as a “go” pathway in the brain.
However, when you drink alcohol, you are not only increasing the D1 neurons (the “go” pathway), as well as you are ceasing the d2 neurons (the “no-go” pathway). This means that when you’re drinking, your body won’t have the ability to respond and to alert you to stop drinking, even if you’re not an alcohol addict.
When researchers observed this, they decided to test it on animals to see what they could come up with. So, they performed a study on mice, by altering the D2 activities. The result was that the alcohol consumption was reduced and that the most D2 neurons were activated the better the effects.
Despite there hasn’t been any study conducted on humans, researchers hope they can find ways to treat alcoholism.