According to a new study, blocking a certain brain pathway may help alcoholics avoid relapse. During the study, which was conducted with rats, scientists found that there are certain neural pathways leading to the brain that may hold the key to preventing relapse among those suffering from alcohol abuse.
Led by Dorit Ron, a neuroscientist, the study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). It was discovered that by blocking the mTORC1 neural pathway associated with learning, past memories of alcohol drinking could be interrupted.
Study co-author Patricia Janak, a UCSF neuroscientist, said, “We don’t know what the specific memory is that we’re messing with, but we know the cue that’s triggering it.”
“It’s really excellent,” says Charles O’Brien, director of the Center for Studies of Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, referring to the study. “Fundamentally, addiction is a memory, and [the authors] are going straight at what is actually going on in the brain.”
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