Alcoholics lack an important substance in the brain
Many people in the world drink too much alcohol. With regular drinkers we speak of alcoholics. But what actually makes a person drink larger amounts of alcohol every day? Researchers have now found that alcoholics lack a substance in the brain. This usually helps control alcohol addiction.
Alcohol addiction is a serious and widespread problem. The scientists at Linkoping University in Sweden found in an investigation that alcoholics lack an important methyltransferase in the brain. This helps control alcohol addiction. The doctors published their results in the journal "Molecular Psychiatry".
PRDM2 usually helps control alcohol consumption
The experts found that when alcohol addiction develops, the production of important enzymes is switched off. The methyl transferase PRDM2 is said to help us better control alcohol consumption. The lack of the substance causes us to drink alcohol more often, despite negative consequences for our health, say the doctors.
Effects of PRDM2 on the brain examined
The new results will hopefully lead to better treatment for alcohol problems, the doctors say. The affected PRDM2 enzyme has already been investigated for cancer research. So far, however, nobody has analyzed the effects on the human brain, the experts add.
Alcohol addicts suffer from an impairment of the frontal lobe
It has long been suspected that alcohol-dependent people suffer from impaired functions of the frontal lobe in the brain. So far, however, the underlying biological mechanisms were not known, the authors say. The new study was the first to determine the molecular mechanisms for this.
Effects of impairment of functions of the frontal lobe
If the frontal function is impaired, it becomes difficult for those affected to control their impulses. A person with impulse control intact can walk past a bar on a warm day without buying a beer. The person concerned thinks it would be nice to have a cool beer, but he doesn't do it because, for example, he still has to work a little two hours later, the scientists explain. An alcoholic does not have sufficient impulse control. Such people then think, for example, that they are hot, thirsty and therefore have to drink a beer immediately.
Germans drink too much alcohol
Heavy alcohol consumption is a major health hazard, experts say. In Germany in particular, people drink an above-average amount of alcohol. Another study recently found that alcohol triggers at least seven different cancers. This is just one of the reasons why Germans should drink less alcohol.
Parents significantly influence their children's alcohol consumption
Parents in particular play a particularly important role when dealing with alcohol. Parents have a huge impact on their children. A while ago, doctors announced that parents have a significant influence on the alcohol consumption of minors. So talk to your kids about the dangers of alcohol and be a good role model.
PRDM2 enables effective communication between nerve cells
The methyl transferase PRDM2 controls the expression of various genes. These are necessary for effective communication by nerve cells, explains study leader Markus Heilig. If too little of the enzyme is produced, no effective signals are sent from the cells. For this reason, the pulse occurring is not stopped.
The alcohol-related decrease in PRDM2 leads to disturbance of the impulse control
The new study showed that alcohol addiction in rats leads to a decrease in PRDM2 production. The existing impulse control is thereby disturbed, explain the doctors. The rats then drank more alcohol, even if the consequences were actually uncomfortable. Experts also found that stressed rats drink alcohol more often.
Deactivating PRDM2 also interferes with the pulse control
In the next step of the study, the researchers deactivated the production of PRDM2 in the frontal lobe of the rats. These experimental animals were not previously dependent on alcohol. Nevertheless, the doctors could observe the same behavior. The rats' impulse control was clearly disturbed.
Molecular manipulation leads to the properties of an addiction
A single molecular manipulation leads to important properties of an addiction, explains Professor Heilig. Hopefully now that we begin to understand the implications, we will be able to intervene better soon. In the long term, we need to develop more effective drugs, in the short term the results should help alcoholism to be less stigmatized in the future, the doctor adds.
Reduce your alcohol consumption
The results of the new investigation show us that we should limit our alcohol consumption. There are several ways to reduce your alcohol consumption. A really simple but effective way is to use smaller glasses when drinking alcohol. A medical study found that larger glasses tempt you to drink more. (as)