Tuesday, March 01, 2011

University of Maryland School of Medicine Study Identifies Genes Associated with Binge Drinking

Discovery Could Lead to New Therapies for Alcoholism [and why not the propensity for aggression and criminality ]
BALTIMOREFeb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers have identified two genes associated with binge drinking that may open doors to new, more effective treatments for excessive alcohol drinking. The scientists found that manipulating two receptors in the brain, GABA receptors and toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), "caused profound reduction" of binge drinking for two weeks in rodents that had been bred and trained to drink excessively. The study was published online the week of Feb. 28 in the journal theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences....
The new study found that treatments that manipulate both the GABA receptor and toll-like receptor 4 have the potential to reduce anxiety and control cravings, with little to no risk for addiction, according to lead investigator Harry June, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine...
Compounds exist that would stimulate the receptors in the same way the scientists did in the study. "It's very likely that, down the road, these compounds could become new therapies for binge drinking," says Dr. June. "These compounds would act like a substitute for alcohol, much like methadone acts as a substitute for heroin. They would help alcoholics stop drinking, giving them relief from their cravings and from the anxiety that they try to alleviate with drinking."

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