Pulses of Light Make Rodents Stop Drinking
Researchers have clearly established that a chemical dependence on alcohol occurs when repeated alcohol use changes the brain’s chemical requirements. However, they have never fully understood how alcohol exposure produces its characteristic alcoholism-related effects. In a study published in late 2013 in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Science, researchers from several U.S. institutions explored the usefulness of a new technology, known as optogenetics, for improving the understanding of alcoholism’s effects. Their findings are the first to demonstrate a causal relationship between the release of dopamine in the brain and drinking behaviors of animals and could lead to powerful new ways to treat alcoholism.