Text Size

Researchers Find a Potential ‘Cure’ for Alcoholism

posted 12:30 AM EST, Tue January 26, 2010
Researchers Find a Potential ‘Cure’ for Alcoholism © Photo Credit: Sean Dreilinger

Scientists have found a brain hormone that they say plays a central role in the development and perpetuation of alcohol dependence (Alcoholism). They say that by blocking this hormone, they ‘cured’ alcoholic mice from their excessive drinking habits.

Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute think they’ve discovered the physiological underpinnings of alcohol dependence – a brain chemical called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). More importantly, they say that in animal models, blocking this hormone reverses the effects of alcoholism.

The Scripps researchers have been investigating CRF’s relationship to alcohol dependence for 6 years. In this latest experiment, the researcher gave mice enough alcohol over a period of weeks to induce alcohol dependence. The scientists then administered substances that block the CRF in the brain, and found that the mice then quickly returned to a normal state. When allowed access to alcohol, they drank only moderately (in similar quantities to mice not previously alcohol dependent) and far less than their previous consumption.

Significantly, this blocking effect was maintained for 23 days, with the mice showing no tolerance to the CRF blocking substances.

Associate Professor Marisa Roberto commented on the significance of the results by saying, "It represents an important step in understanding how the brain changes when it moves from a normal to an alcohol-dependent state."

The full study results can be read in the coming edition of Biological Psychiatry.

Subscribe Subscribe to this topic category
Creative Commons License
Copyright Notice
We welcome republishing of our content on condition that you credit Choose Help and the respective authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Helpful Information
Understanding How the Alcoholic Thinks
Understanding the Insanity of Alcoholism: How the Alcoholic Thinks © Flood
One of the finest compliments I receive from recovering alcoholics is that despite the fact that I am not an alcoholic, I understand how their minds work. I have profound respect for all the old sayings in AA. Some are open to interpretation - the "insanity of our disease" is a literal statement. Read Article
Alcoholism September 21, 2012 (329)
How to End an Addiction-Damaged Relationship
Guidelines for Ending an Addiction-Destroyed Relationship © Merlijen Hoek
What do you do when the person you love gets consumed by a disease (addiction) that's beyond your control? How do we know when it's time to leave and how do you manage to adjust to life without your actively addicted partner? Read Article

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.

Find Treatment
Browse by region »
Scan to call us
using your phone camera app