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Calling all booze lovers: Alcohol addiction can legit restructure your brain

Updated on:15 January 2020, 12:03pm IST
A recent study states that alcohol addiction may restructure your brain which might take your cognitive behavior for a toss.
ANI
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The overlapping of binge drinking with anorexic tendencies creates serious health damage. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

Peer pressure, stress, or just to look cool–whatever your reason might be to start drinking alcohol, it’s important that you’re mindful that you don’t reach the stage of addiction.  

A new study has found that alcohol addiction and abstinence both may lead to a restructuring of the brain or cause changes in its functioning. 

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These findings were published in an online journal PNAS and it identifies several regions in the brain, which were previously unrecognised, as new research targets for better understanding and treatment of alcohol dependence in humans.

“The neuroscience of addiction has made tremendous progress, but the focus has always been on a limited number of brain circuits and neurotransmitters, primarily dopaminergic neurons, the amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex,” said senior author Olivier George, associate professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

George added:

Research groups have been fighting for years about whether ‘their’ brain circuit is the key to addiction. Our results confirm these regions are important, but the fact that we see such a massive remodelling of the functional brain architecture was a real shock.

Too much of alcohol may also lead to seizures and more
The researcher also said that the findings further undermine the idea that addiction to alcohol is simply a psychological condition or consequence of lifestyle.

“The brain-wide remodelling of the functional architecture observed here is not ‘normal.’ It is not observed in a naive animal. It is not observed in an animal that drinks recreationally. It is only observed in animals with a history of alcohol dependence and it is massive,” George added.

mental health
Did you know that alcoholism can also lead to hallucination. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Such a condition or a decrease in brain modularity may lead to numerous brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and seizure disorders, the researcher noted.

Study explains how change in brain modularity can wreck your cognitive behaviour
The theory of brain modularity suggests that there are functionally specialised regions in the brain responsible for different, specific cognitive processes. For example, the frontal lobes of the human brain are involved in executive functions, such as reasoning and planning, while the fusiform face area located in the lower rear of the brain is involved in recognising faces.

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Reduced modularity, said George, likely interferes with “normal neuronal activity and information processing and contributes to cognitive impairment, emotional distress and intense craving observed in mice during abstinence from alcohol.”

However, the researcher said it was not clear if the reduced modularity was permanent.

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“So far, we only know that it lasts at least one week into abstinence. We have not tested longer durations of abstinence, but it’s one of our goals,” he stressed.

Science proves it and you have read it by yourself too that overdoing alcohol can make you pay a hefty price if not stopped. We wish well for you peeps and believe us alcoholism is a real disease and not just a lifestyle choice. So, do it slow but it’s better to call it a quits.   

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