A new study has shown that the immune cells in your brain can contribute to how you respond to alcohol, and treatment could soon be available for people known as 'one drink wonders'.
The study conducted by the University of Adelaide, Australia published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, found significant implications for understanding the way alcohol affects us, by studying the effects on both the immunological and neuronal response on laboratory mice, finding the brains immune response was involved in behavioural responses to alcohol.
The mice were given a single shot of alcohol in which the behavioural changes included decreased motor impairment and slow recovery time. But when researches genetically altered the mice or used drugs that blocked the brains toll-like receptors (related to the immune system), it reduced the effects of the alcohol and recovery time.
Lead researcher Dr Mark Hutchinson, ARC Research Fellow with the University's School of Medical Sciences, said, "It's amazing to think that despite 10,000 years of using alcohol, and several decades of investigation into the way that alcohol affects the nerve cells in our brain, we are still trying to figure out exactly how it works."
"Medications targeting this specific receptor — toll-like receptor 4 — may prove beneficial in treating alcohol dependence and acute overdoses," Dr Hutchinson said. "Such a shift in mindset has significant implications for identifying individuals who may have bad outcomes after consuming alcohol, and it could lead to a way of detecting people who are at greater risk of developing brain damage after long-term drinking."
This is good news as alcohol has an intoxicating and psychoactive effect on many Australians, which can lead to the many accidents, injuries, diseases, and disruptions in every day family life.
"Alcohol is consumed annually by two billion people world-wide with its abuse posing a significant health and social problem," says Dr Mark Hutchinson "Over 76 million people are diagnosed with an alcohol abuse disorder.