A National Directory of Drug Treatment Centers and Alcohol Treatment Centers, Therapists and Specialists. A free, simple directory providing assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, dependency and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul.
Call 800-580-9104 to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor.

Analysis of alcoholics' brains suggests treatment target

An analysis of brain tissue samples from chronic alcoholics reveals changes that occur at the molecular level in alcohol abuse – and suggests a potential treatment target, according to researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Reporting in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, the scientists said that a protein known as beta-catenin that is involved in cell signaling and development is found at higher levels in the brains of chronic alcoholics compared to people of the same age with no history of alcoholism.

The results were reported online this week and will appear in the June print issue.

“We have identified a protein that may be a cause of alcohol dependence and tolerance, suggesting the possibility of developing a drug to inhibit the molecule and treat the disease,” said Qiang Gu, Ph.D., senior author.

Gu and colleagues used cutting-edge technology to explore the idea that the complex behavioral, psychological, emotional and brain changes associated with alcoholism are likely due to how networks of proteins respond to chronic and excessive alcohol intake. Proteins, which are manufactured by genes, determine how an organism looks, how well its body metabolizes food or fights infection, and even how it behaves.

Using a newly emerging tool to study proteins, called antibody microarray analyses, Gu and colleagues are able to measure levels of more than 500 different proteins in tissue samples. In a pilot study, they noted that beta-catenin was increased in alcoholics, so they studied it in more detail. In the current study, they evaluated levels of 17 proteins associated with the catenin signaling pathway.

“This is a powerful tool for examining the abundance of large numbers of proteins simultaneously,” said Gu, an assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy.

He cautioned that more research is needed before scientists can use the information to develop a potential treatment. He said a next step is to study animals to determine exactly when levels of beta-catenin increase.

“If the change happens early, it may explain how the brain adapts and could be a potential treatment target,” he said. “If it shows up later, it could be from the toxic effects of alcohol. We need to further define its role.”

The researchers studied postmortem brain tissue samples from 14 male chronic alcoholics and 14 age-matched male individuals with no history of alcohol abuse. The samples were from the superior frontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with alcohol abuse that is a part of the brain pathway that involves feelings of desire and reward.

“This protein may play a role in the reward circuitry,” said Gu. “If that is true, a drug to block these effects could reduce dependence on alcohol.”

In addition to their findings about beta-catenin, the scientists also found higher levels of Myc, a protein that at high levels can cause a transformation of cells that leads to cancer. The findings could help explain a link between alcohol and cancer.

“The results may help to explain why excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer,” said Gu. “While an association has been established between alcohol consumption and various cancers, the mechanism remains obscure. Because the production of Myc in the cell is regulated by beta-catenin, our findings may suggest that alcohol activates beta-catenin production; that in turn activates Myc production, and that ultimately leads to cell transformation and cancer.”

More Treatment & Detox Articles

Parish tackles alcohol abuse

Louisiana is known for its joie de vivre — its love of life. Unfortunately, for many, along with its many festivals, parties and good times also comes a love of alcohol. According to state statistics, the people of St. Landry Parish do more than their share of drinking. The parish currently ranks among the top….

Continue reading

How much is too much alcohol?

For Filipinos, no celebration is complete without an abundance of food and alcohol drinks. This is clearly evident during the long Holiday season in the country, with Filipinos partying almost weekly until Christmas or New Year’s day. Experts, however, warn that people should take stock of the harm social bingeing and the occasional or regular….

Continue reading

Remember all the risks of binge drinking

Drinking heavily is not uncommon in Pullman. Whether it’s because of our age, peer pressure or some other reason straight out of the D.A.R.E. program, it happens. And while I’m sure you’re well aware drinking too much equals a hospital visit, there are a slew of other issues you should be aware of before going….

Continue reading

Types of Addiction Treatment Centers Available

Addiction treatment centers help people overcome their addiction by providing resources and support There are thousands of rehab centers located throughout the country No matter a person’s addiction problem, there is a treatment center out there to help them overcome their addiction Why People decide to go to an Addiction Treatment Center According to www.drugabuse,gov,….

Continue reading

Common Misconceptions About Addiction and Treatment

Substance abuse recovery

Substance abuse is commonly perceived as a weakness of the mind, body or spirit but misconceptions like this cannot be more wrong. Unfortunately, many common misconceptions persist in the eyes of addiction and even more so when it comes to treatment. Many people think that addiction is a flaw of character when if fact this….

Continue reading