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New Work on the Biochemistry of Alcoholism Could Lead to Better Treatments & Medicines

Posted in Alcoholism Treatment

Researchers from the University of Texas in Austin are studying the way alcohol affects brain chemicals. Their findings may change the way scientists think about the biochemistry of alcoholism, and may help them develop new medications for treating it.

Earlier research found that alcohol dissolves inside the membranes of brain nerve cells. Cocaine, marijuana, and heroin, on the other hand, bind to brain proteins and change their functioning. Newer research indicated that alcohol interacts with different kinds of proteins, not just one, the way many other drugs do.

The new Texas study determined that alcohol actually interacts with specific amino acids in specific parts of the brain and in specific ways. Because the effect is more orderly than previously believed, the Texas team believes their work could lead to new medications to treat those who are chemically dependent on alcohol.