Researchers identify key brain circuits for reward-seeking and avoidance behavior

microscopy image of a rodent brain cross-section; pathways in the extended amygdala related to reward-seeking and aversion are labeled in fluorescent green

Previously unrecognized pathways in mice have relevance for mental health and addiction research Researchers have identified connections between neurons in brain systems associated with reward, stress, and emotion. Conducted in mice, the new study may help untangle multiple psychiatric conditions, including alcohol use disorder, anxiety disorders, insomnia, and depression in humans. “Understanding these intricate brain … Read more

Steep Increase in Rate of Alcohol-Related Emergency Department Visits

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The rate of alcohol-related visits to U.S. emergency departments (EDs) increased by nearly 50 percent between 2006 and 2014, especially among females and drinkers who are middle-aged or older, according to a new study conducted by NIAAA researchers. “In just 9 years, the number of people transported to the ED annually for medical emergencies caused … Read more

Hunger Hormone Affects Alcohol Intake

X-ray of human body

A new study by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) provides further evidence that a hormone produced in the stomach influences alcohol consumption in humans. As reported in Molecular Psychiatry, researchers led by Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D., demonstrated that the hormone, called ghrelin, may be a promising target for developing … Read more

MicroRNAs May Have Therapeutic Potential for Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury

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MicroRNAs, or miRNAs, are short strands of RNA that play important roles in gene regulation. In two recent studies, researchers supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) identified two miRNAs that may help protect against alcohol-induced liver injury. Paramananda Saikia, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic, in studies conducted in … Read more

Behavioral Interventions That Address Alcohol Use Help People Living With HIV/AIDS

Doctor speaking to a patient

There are more than 36 million people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) worldwide. Alcohol misuse is a significant concern for this population because it contributes to risky sexual behavior, reduces adherence to HIV medication regimens, and exacerbates other health conditions. Interventions that address alcohol misuse among PLWHA have the potential to help improve their health outcomes. … Read more

Rehabilitating the Addicted Brain With Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Recent studies have highlighted the potential of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as an innovative, safe, and cost-effective treatment for alcohol and other substance use disorders. A new review article by Antonello Bonci, M.D., of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), with Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism … Read more

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