This has been demonstrated in a doctoral dissertation at the Sahgrenska Academy at Göteborg University in Sweden. The discovery may lead to new treatment for alcohol abuse.
The connection between nicotine and alcohol has been known for some time.
“Alcoholism is ten times stronger among smokers than among non-smoker, and this connection between alcohol and nicotine is not just because many people smoke at parties,” says Elin Löf.
By studying the brains of rats, the research team has found several biological explanations.
When sober alcoholics find themselves in an environment that reminds them of what it was like to drink, they can easily be tempted to drink again. The studies show that the craving for alcohol is then controlled by the same mechanisms that nicotine uses to stimulate the brain. In both cases the brain’s reward system is stimulated via receptors on the surface of nerve cells that are called nicotine receptors.
“Drugs that affect the proteins that control the effects of nicotine ought to be able to help former alcoholics stay sober. It should be a mild drug that has a low level effect on other behaviors that are controlled by these nicotine receptors,” says Elin Löf.
A drug that functions according to that principle was recently launched by an international pharmaceutical company as an aid to quitting smoking.
Both smokers and alcoholics often experience a craving for sweets when they have abstinence problems. The studies show that conditioned craving for sweets is also conveyed via nicotine receptors.
“In other words, a future drug that impacts nicotine receptors ought to be able to help curb the hankering for sweets. This is an important discovery, since weight gain is a common reason that former smokers start smoking again,” explains Elin Löf.
The findings also show that chronic use of nicotine can reinforce the rewarding effects of alcohol. At the same time, nicotine appears to decrease the sleep-inducing effects of alcohol.
Title of dissertation: Conditional and non-conditional reward-related responses to alcohol-nicotinic mechanisms
Elin Lindström Claessen | alfa
Routing gene therapy directly into the brain
07.12.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital
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01.12.2017 | Berliner Institut für Gesundheitsforschung / Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."
Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
05.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Life Sciences
08.12.2017 | Information Technology
08.12.2017 | Information Technology