Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New insight into how alcohol affects brain function

Date:
May 5, 2010
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
New research defines alcohol's impact on signaling in nerve pathways. It shows that withdrawal symptoms could be relieved by small doses of alcohol. However, easing the effects can increase dependency.

Drinking alcohol over a long period of time profoundly affects the brain, which adapts to the intoxicant and causes withdrawal symptoms when consumption stops.

Related Articles


Neuroscientists from the University of Southampton's School of Biological Sciences investigated alcohol dependency and withdrawal using tiny 1mm long C. elegans worms. Despite the worm's evolutionary distance from humans, and very simple brain of just 302 nerve cells, it exhibits similar alcohol-dependent behaviours.

The research showed that withdrawal symptoms could be relieved by small doses of alcohol. However, easing the effects can increase dependency.

In humans, the symptoms are manifested in anxiety, agitation and, in extreme cases, seizures. The worms, as video footage shows, also became overactive in alcohol withdrawal and showed spontaneous and deep body bends -- a behaviour rarely seen in 'teetotal' worms.

Professor Lindy Holden-Dye, a neuroscientist of the University's School of Biological Sciences and member of Southampton Neurosciences Group (SoNG), led the study. She comments: "This research showed the worms displaying effects of the withdrawal of alcohol and enables us to define how alcohol affects signalling in nerve circuits which leads to changes in behaviour."

Funding for the research came from a joint Medical Research Council/Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council initiative in the 'Neurobiology of Mental Health'.

The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, also showed evidence that a particular class of brain-signalling molecule, the neuropeptide, is required for the chronic effect of alcohol on the worm's nervous system.

Professor Holden-Dye adds: "Neuropeptides are also involved in chronic alcohol effects in humans and this is leading to new ideas for the treatment of alcoholism, but their precise role is unclear. Our study provides a very effective experimental system to tackle this problem."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Philippa Mitchell, Richard Mould, James Dillon, Steven Glautier, Ioannis Andrianakis, Christopher James, Amanda Pugh, Lindy Holden-Dye, Vincent O'Connor, Anne C. Hart. A Differential Role for Neuropeptides in Acute and Chronic Adaptive Responses to Alcohol: Behavioural and Genetic Analysis in Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS ONE, 2010; 5 (5): e10422 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010422

Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "New insight into how alcohol affects brain function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100505113247.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2010, May 5). New insight into how alcohol affects brain function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100505113247.htm
University of Southampton. "New insight into how alcohol affects brain function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100505113247.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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