Sunday, December 03, 2006

Alcohol, nicotine hit same spots in brain

Swedish researchers have found that alcoholics' craving for alcohol is controlled by the same mechanism that nicotine uses to stimulate the brain. The findings could lead to new treatments for alcohol abuse.

It has been known for some time that there is a link between alcohol and nicotine. 'Alcoholism is ten times stronger among smokers than among non-smokers, and this connection between alcohol and nicotine is not just because many people smoke at parties,' said Elin Löf, research at the Göteborg University, Sweden.

As part of her doctoral dissertation, Dr Löf studied the brains of rats to find out more about this link. She found that when alcoholics are tempted to drink, the so called 'nicotine receptors' are activated. Furthermore, chronic use of nicotine can reinforce the rewarding effects of alcohol, while decreasing the sleep-inducing effects of alcohol. Source.

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