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 April 25, 2015 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 April 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

85 Killed in Niger by Meningitis Since Start of Year

85 Killed in Niger by Meningitis Since Start of Year

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) A meningitis outbreak in Niger has killed 85 people since the start of the year prompting authorities to close schools in the capital Niamey until Monday. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
C-Section Births a Trend in Brazil

C-Section Births a Trend in Brazil

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) More than half of Brazil&apos;s babies are born via cesarean section, as mothers and doctors opt for a faster and less painful experience despite the health risks. Duration: 02:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anti-Malaria Jab Hope

Anti-Malaria Jab Hope

Reuters - News Video Online (Apr. 24, 2015) The world&apos;s first anti-malaria vaccine could get the go-ahead for use in Africa from October if approved by international regulators. Paul Chapman reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) Developers of 3D food printing hope the culinary technology will revolutionize the way we cook and eat. (April 23) Video provided by AP
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