Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research Offers Hope For Alcoholics

Date:
December 13, 2006
Source:
Howard Florey Institute
Summary:
Scientists at Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute have discovered a system in the brain that stops an alcoholic's craving for alcohol, as well as prevent relapse once they have recovered from alcohol addiction.

Scientists at Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute have discovered a system in the brain that stops an alcoholic's craving for alcohol, as well as prevent relapse once they have recovered from alcohol addiction.

Related Articles


The 'Orexin' system is a group of cells in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. These cells produce Orexin, which was originally implicated in the regulation of feeding, but it soon became apparent that Orexin was also involved in the 'high' felt after drinking alcohol or taking illicit drugs.

In studies conducted with rats, Dr Andrew Lawrence and his Florey colleagues used a drug that blocked Orexin's euphoric effects in the brain and the results were remarkable.

"In one experiment, rats that had alcohol freely available to them stopped drinking it after receiving the Orexin blocker." Dr Lawrence said.

"In another experiment, rats that had gone through a detox program and were then given the Orexin blocking drug, did not relapse into alcohol addiction when they were reintroduced to an environment in which they had been conditioned to associate with alcohol use.

"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, as well as preventing relapse once the alcoholic has recovered," he said.

Dr Lawrence said that this research could also lead to treatments for eating disorders, such chronic over-eating, which leads to obesity.

"Our research shows that alcohol addiction and eating disorders set off common triggers in the brain, so further investigations may uncover drug targets in the Orexin system to treat both conditions," Dr Lawrence said.

The Florey scientists are now conducting multiple experiments to discover the precise circumstances that activate the Orexin system.

"To explore this discovery further we are now investigating how different experimental paradigms and environmental situations impact on the Orexin system, which will hopefully pinpoint therapeutic drug targets," Dr Lawrence said.

"Before a therapeutic Orexin-blocking drug can be developed, we need to ensure that it will be safe to use in the long-term and that issues surrounding a person's compliance in taking the drug are considered," he said.

According to the World Health Organisation, alcohol is one of the most widely used and abused substances in the world and causes as much, if not more death and disability as measles, malaria, tobacco, or illegal drugs.

Dr Lawrence and his colleagues were the first in the world to demonstrate the Orexin system's involvement in alcohol addiction and their research paper was recently published in the prestigious British Journal of Pharmacology. Dr Lawrence's paper was downloaded 658 times by researchers from around the world in the first three months of its publication, making it the most downloaded research paper in that issue and supporting the research's importance.

The Howard Florey Institute is Australia's leading brain research centre. Its scientists undertake clinical and applied research that can be developed into treatments to combat brain disorders, and new medical practices. Their discoveries will improve the lives of those directly, and indirectly, affected by brain and mind disorders in Australia, and around the world. The Florey's research areas cover a variety of brain and mind disorders including Parkinson's disease, stroke, motor neuron disease, addiction, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, autism and dementia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Howard Florey Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Howard Florey Institute. "Research Offers Hope For Alcoholics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061212213910.htm>.
Howard Florey Institute. (2006, December 13). Research Offers Hope For Alcoholics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061212213910.htm
Howard Florey Institute. "Research Offers Hope For Alcoholics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061212213910.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids React to Lammily, The Realistic Barbie Alternative

Kids React to Lammily, The Realistic Barbie Alternative

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) Artist Nickolay Lamm's Kickstarter-funded Lammily doll, based on his 'What Would Barbie Look Like as a Real Woman' project, is finally available to buy. Jen Markham explains how the doll's realistic proportions are going over with a test group of second-graders who are used to the impossible measurements of Barbie dolls. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trans-Fat Foods Now Linked To Poor Memory

Trans-Fat Foods Now Linked To Poor Memory

Newsy (Nov. 19, 2014) A study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions shows a link between diets high in trans fats and decreased memory recall. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creating Lifelong Love of Science and Math

Creating Lifelong Love of Science and Math

AP (Nov. 18, 2014) Kelly Mathews is a new mom on a mission to get girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math, and it starts with her own daughter. The Girl Scouts are doing their part, too, by promoting S.T.E.M. through badges and activities. (Nov. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Fun Improves Child Therapy in Poland

3D Fun Improves Child Therapy in Poland

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 17, 2014) Scientists in Poland are helping children with autism and Down's Syndrome better focus on therapeutic exercises by taking them out of their real world environment and into a specially-designed 3D cave in which their imagination can flourish. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins