Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Orexin: Possible gateway to relapse prevention

Science Daily today reports further research by the Australian team that discovered the intriguing role of the brain chemical orexin in the craving for alcohol. A team led by Andrew J Lawrence of the Brain Injury and Repair Group of the University of Melbourne, Australia, published a paper in the July issue of the British Journal of Pharmacology, reporting that rats who were bred to crave alcohol lost interest in it after their orexin receptors were blocked. The alcoholic rats would not drink alcohol even when put in situations where they had been trained to drink in response to olfactory stimuli. See abstract.

The orexin system has also been implicated in overeating and addiction to other drugs. Dr. Lawrence says that the drug that blocks the orexin receptors in rats may lead to medications useful in preventing relapse in humans, but that the safety of the drug had not been examined and commercial products were not yet around the corner. Source. More.

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