Responses to such cues that are associated with the positive effects of drinking are a lead cause of relapse in abstinent alcoholics. Using a behavioral animal model, researchers of a new study, scheduled for publication in the August 1st issue of Biological Psychiatry, have found that the physical surroundings where alcohol cues are experienced can greatly influence the ability of those cues to trigger relapse.
Specifically, Chaudhri and colleagues taught rats to learn that a brief tone signaled when a small amount of alcohol would be available in a fluid receptacle for them to drink. This learning occurred in a distinctive environment consisting of a particular appearance, smell, and lighting. They were then put into a second, unique context with a different appearance, smell, and lighting, and were repeatedly exposed to the tone but never given alcohol.
After several sessions in this new context, the rats gradually learned that the tone no longer predicted alcohol and consequently stopped checking the fluid receptacle. However, upon re-exposure to the original context where alcohol was available, presentation of the tone once again caused the rats to immediately check for it. “This finding demonstrates the power of environments to trigger relapse to alcohol-seeking in response to alcohol-predictive cues,“ said lead author Nadia Chaudhri, Ph. D., with the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at UCSF. “This effect is highly detrimental to humans who are trying to abstain from drinking.”
Additionally, the authors also found that the capacity of an alcohol-associated context to trigger relapse to alcohol cues can be greatly diminished by presenting the cues repeatedly in multiple distinct contexts without alcohol. If used in the clinic, this technique of extinguishing responses to alcohol cues in multiple contexts could greatly increase the efficacy of current behavioral treatments for alcoholism.
John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, further elaborates on this idea, commenting that “it is possible that exposure-based therapies could occur in a broader range of contexts so as to enhance their effectiveness.
These contexts could be real, i.e., visiting bars or liquor stores, could be created using virtual reality techniques, or could simply be recreated by patients as they imagined visiting places that triggered their urges to drink.” Additional research will clearly need to be undertaken to determine the effectiveness of such a technique, but these findings indicate that it may be a promising addition to addiction therapies.
Jayne Dawkins | alfa
Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School
Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences
14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
14.11.2018 | Life Sciences