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Scientists find brain circuit responsible for alcohol cravings

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Posted at 1:59 PM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 16:59:43-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Scripps Research scientists have figured out how to reverse the desire to drink in alcohol-dependent rats.

According to a news release, the researchers were able to use lasers to temporarily inactivate a specific circuit in the brain to reverse the behavior.

“This discovery is exciting—it means we have another piece of the puzzle to explain the neural mechanism driving alcohol consumption,” says Olivier George PhD, an associate professor at Scripps Research and senior author of the new study.

Though the discovery is exciting news for science, researchers say the treatment is far from ready for human use.

George says he believes that the discovery will open the door to developing drug and gene therapies to treat alcohol addiction.

“We need compounds that are specific to this neuronal circuitry,” George says.

In the U.S., more than 15 million adults suffer from alcohol use disorder, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.