Influence of alcohol on memory?
The consumption of alcohol can lead to negative consequences for body and mind. Researchers have now found that even small amounts of alcohol can affect memory for several hours and can also have a strong impact on our reward center in the brain.
In a recent study, Brown University scientists have found that even a single alcoholic drink can worsen memory for hours. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Neuron".
Research carried out on fruit flies
A single molecular change could explain why even a few glasses of wine affect memory for several days, and why alcoholics fall behind after decades of abstinence, the researchers say. In their research, the experts used fruit flies to understand how alcohol affects the brain. They discovered a previously unknown way in which alcohol alters certain regions of our brain associated with positive experiences and food cravings.
Alcohol disturbs the reward center
While flies have much fewer neurons than humans, they still have some central features. One of the areas disturbed by alcohol is the key to how animals store and process rewarding experiences. This may help explain why the harm of alcohol is ignored and accepted by addicts. Medications like alcohol, opiates, cocaine and methamphetamine have strong side effects. Alcohol, for example, often causes nausea and a hangover the next morning. The scientists wondered why people still drink alcohol and like to accept these effects for poisoning.
Notch-Weg played an important role
The doctors tried to understand at the molecular level what influence drugs and alcohol have on memory and our memories, and why they sometimes cause real hunger. By studying alcohol flies, researchers were able to monitor the neural pathways and the genetic signals that light up as they develop a craving. A key system has been a group of cellular mechanisms that play a crucial role in the development of the brain and nervous system of many living things (including fruit flies and humans) – the notch way. It works like a domino chain in the cell, starting with a Notch receptor that activates a chain of other cellular processes, the experts explain.
Dopamine receptor influences
In alcohol-dependent flies, the experts found that exposure to alcohol resulted in changes in the Notch cascade. One change involved the effect of a large receptor molecule on nerve cells, which can detect dopamine. It is known that this dopamine receptor is involved in the coding of whether a memory is stored as pleasant or aversive, say the authors of the study.
How do some glasses of wine affect the metabolic pathway?
If the process is similar in humans, a glass of wine is enough to activate the metabolic pathway. Within an hour, however, this process returns. After three glasses, each taking one hour break, the way does not normalize even after 24 hours. The researchers believe that this persistence is likely to alter gene expression in memory circuits. This would most likely apply to other forms of addiction if the results could be applied to humans.
Alcohol can control memory mechanisms
This study suggests that drug dependence and alcohol dependence persist, as memory mechanisms are influenced by alcohol and drugs and have been taken over and controlled. The study not only provides a model for understanding the persistence of drug addiction, but also identifies potential pharmacological targets for addiction treatment.