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New Medical Research Attempts To Make Normal Drinkers Out of Alcoholics

by | Research

Home Research New Medical Research Attempts To Make Normal Drinkers Out of Alcoholics

alcoholicThe disease of alcoholism is classified as a spiritual malady that can only be treated by a spiritual transformation as a result of a daily application of the principles outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Those who entreat the solution to their addictions through active participation in Alcoholics Anonymous have most likely exhausted every other effort to get clean off drugs and alcohol: hypnotherapy, rigorous exercise, more drugs, fewer drugs, or complete abstinence. The result was usually relapse and progression of alcoholism. If only there were a medication that one could take in order to cease being an addict. A new study conducted by researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, may have developed just that.
An enzyme studied in the research was shown to be effective in controlling the response to nicotine and alcohol in the brains of laboratory mice and may be a potential candidate for development of a drug that would simultaneously treat nicotine and alcohol addiction, as well as addiction to other habit-forming substances, in people suffering from addiction.
Researchers observed that mice genetically engineered to lack protein kinase C (PKC) epsilon consumed less of a water solution containing nicotine than “normal” mice. They also appeared to return to the chamber where they were given nicotine in decreasing intervals. Conversely, the “normal” mice in the experiment progressively increased their consumption of the nicotine solution while the mice lacking in PKC epsilon did not.
Protein kinase C (PKC) is a family of serine- and threonine-specific protein kinases that can be activated by calcium and the second messenger diacyglycerol. PKC family members are known to be involved in diverse cellular signaling pathways. Molecular studies in mice suggest that this kinase is important for regulating behavioural response to morphine and alcohol. It also plays a role lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated signaling in activated macrophages and in controlling anxiety-like behavior.
Nicotine binds to nicotinic receptors found on dopamine neurons, which allow for dopamine to be released in the brain. Dopamine elicits a feeling of enjoyment and euphoria, leading to a sense of reward. The mice lacking PKC epsilon appear to be deficient in these nicotinic receptors.
The enzyme studied appears to regulate the part of the reward system (a complex of areas in the brain that affect craving for nicotine, alcohol, and other addictive substances) that involve these nicotinic receptors, so the mice in the experiment likely did not receive the same sense of reward from the nicotine solution, and are likely to get the same reward from the consumption of alcohol.
What does this mean for human beings who, as a result of using themselves as their own lab rats in playing pharmacist, have become addicts? The next step would be to synthesize compounds that inhibit the PKC epsilon, this leading to the development of medication that could be applied to decreasing the phenomenon of reward craving in addicts and alleviating the discomfort of addiction.
The progressive nature of the disease of alcoholism is not arrested by abstinence, and daily application of spiritual principles is necessary to affect a transformation and build a new character. Although there is currently no making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic, new research indicates that a medication could potentially play a role. Indeed, science may one day accomplish this (but it hasn’t done so yet.)