Scientists discover brain cells that compete to sustain or suppress traumatic memories

Two clusters of brain cells compete to promote either the persistence or disappearance of traumatic memories, according to a new study conducted in mice. The findings could provide important insights into human conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, and associated problems such as alcohol use disorder (AUD) that can arise from the … Read more

Insights on Alcohol-Related Brain Inflammation, and Hints About How to Reduce It

Research suggests that long-term alcohol exposure leads to inflammation and damage to tissue in the brain and other organs—and inflammation could also potentially be involved in alcohol use disorder (AUD). A recently published mouse study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) suggests a mechanism that contributes to this process: the migration and … Read more

Brain Research: A Focus on Childhood Trauma and Alcohol Misuse

News reports of college drinking tragedies, and concerns about increased access to alcohol in the home during the pandemic, make clear that COVID-19 has provided no reprieve from the problems of underage drinking. A perennial public health priority, alcohol misuse by young people increases the likelihood of myriad serious consequences, including altered brain development, academic … Read more

Prenatal alcohol exposure changes mouse brain circuitry involved in decision making

Prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading preventable cause of birth defects and neurodevelopmental abnormalities in the United States. It can lead to learning, memory, and impulsivity problems in both children and adults. In a new study conducted with mice, NIAAA scientists report that specific changes in a brain circuit involved in learning and decision making could … Read more

NIH-funded rodent study finds molecular link between adolescent alcohol use and adult anxiety

Wine glass and beer bottle over brain graphic

New preclinical research in rats has identified a link between adolescent alcohol exposure and specific molecular changes in the brain that contribute to increased anxiety in adulthood. A large body of evidence demonstrates a strong relationship between alcohol and anxiety problems in humans. “These findings provide insight into the mechanisms through which alcohol-induced brain changes … Read more

NIH study of brain energy patterns provides new insights into alcohol effects

Image of brain scans

Assessing the patterns of energy use and neuronal activity simultaneously in the human brain improves our understanding of how alcohol affects the brain, according to new research by scientists at the National Institutes of Health. The new approach for characterizing brain energetic patterns could also be useful for studying other neuropsychiatric diseases. A report of … Read more