Posted by on Sep 2, 2012 in Medical Innovation | 0 comments

Drinking a lot will make your brain go crazy. Just read about this in a magazine during I’m on a transit from Singapore to UK. Scientists have long recognized a link between anxiety disorders and alcoholism such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). People who drink heavily are at increased risk for traumatic events like domestic violence, car accidents, and other unusual activities that normal people don’t normally do.

Those things only partially explains the connection. There’s a new research using mice reveals heavy alcohol use actually rewires brain circuitry. Yep, it will jumble the wires (if there’s any) inside your gray matter. It will be really hard for alcoholics to recover psychologically following a traumatic experience.

Thomas Kash, an assistant professor of pharmacology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, said that “There’s a whole spectrum to how people react to a traumatic event,”. He added that “It’s the recovery that we’re looking at — the ability to say ‘this is not dangerous anymore.’

Their research shows that heavy drinking can cause a deficit with regard to the cognitive brain centers control the emotional brain centers. This research was published today, September 2, 2012, by the journal Nature Neuroscience. It was conducted by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Here’s the experiment. There are two groups of mice. The scientists gave one group of mice doses of alcohol over a course of one month. It’s equivalent to double the legal driving limit in humans. On the other group, they didn’t give any alcohol. Subsequently, they used mild electric shocks to train all the mice to fear the sound of a discreet tone. When the tone was repeatedly played without the accompanying electricity, the mice with no alcohol exposure stopped fearing it gradually. On the other hand, the group of mice with chronic alcohol exposure froze in place each time the tone was played. It’s like they’re really drunk. They still stopped and did nothing, even though the electric shocks were stopped. This is similar to what is seen in patients with PTSD. They have trouble dealing in emergency situations like this. It’s like, they don’t know what to do at all because they can’t concentrate.

The people who did the experiment traced the aftermath of differences in the neural circuitry of the drunk mice. Comparing the brains of the mice, researchers noticed nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex of the mice with chronic alcohol exposure. They actually had a different shape than those of mice with no alcohol exporuse.

Isn’t it amazing? So that’s why we shouldn’t drink heavily, just moderately.