Sunday, March 12, 2006

New Scientist Premium- Inside the brain of an alcoholic - News

New Scientist Premium- Inside the brain of an alcoholic - News: "Inside the brain of an alcoholic

Alcohol dampens the expression of hundreds of genes in the amygdala, new research reveals - it might account for alcoholics' dysfunctional symptoms

WE MAY never understand the mind of every alcoholic, but we are starting to learn more about alcohol's specific effects on a region of the brain that regulates emotion and behaviour.

A team in Australia has found that alcohol dampens down the expression of hundreds of genes in the amygdala, which might account for why alcoholics suffer dysfunctional symptoms such as disrupted sleep and depression. It may also help explain why recovering alcoholics are prone to relapse.

The amygdala is a key structure in the brain's emotional system that acts as an interface between incoming sensory signals and behavioural responses. It is believed to play a key role in drug-seeking. Brain images suggest it is more active in alcoholics, so Rosemarie Kryger and Peter Wilce at the alcohol research unit of the University of Queensland in Herston decided to investigate whether gene expression in the amygdala also differs between alcoholics ..."

Some of these New Scientist article require registration, like this one, so what you see above is all you're going to see if you follow the link. I think the idea that depression, alcoholism, mental disorders, propensity to smoke, smoke marijuana, have PTSD, overeat all have genetic components is exciting. We'll be hearing much more about this in the years to come I'm sure, and New Scientist is a great place to read about this stuff. Too bad you have to pay for some of the articles.

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