A Scientific Breakthrough In Treating Alcohol Addiction!

Alcohol misuse or addiction is one of the biggest risk factors for death, disability, and ill health of many across the globe.  A research study led by a researcher at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine has found a new hope to treat Alcohol misuse! Let’s dive in to know more about how the treatment works.

The study was conducted on monkeys. This one-off gene therapy is injected into the brains of monkeys who were exposed to alcohol. It shows to ‘reset’ the reward system in the brains. How so? Well, it shows an increase in the production of ‘Dopamine‘ or the ‘feel-good’ hormone.

Research Findings

The results showed a considerable decrease in primates’ alcohol consumption. This could be one of the most incredible ways to battle alcohol addiction as it is a one-off therapy. If the treatment gets approval for clinical trials in humans, this could hopefully be a “one-time” treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD)

National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) research in 2021 shows that 29.5 million people ages 12 and older in the USA had AUD within the year. Not just that, excessive drinking causes approximately 140,000 deaths a year in the U.S. This shows how significant of an issue this is.

Even though this is a pressing issue, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved three drugs as treatment so far. But None of those drugs actually targets the brain changes that patients carry with alcohol addiction. The study paper is available in the journal Nature Medicine.

Journal Reference:

Ford, M.M., George, B.E., Van Laar, V.S. et al. GDNF gene therapy for alcohol use disorder in male non-human primates. Nat Med (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-023-02463-9

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