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New evidence that drinking alcohol releases endorphins

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Many things can cause pleasure hormones, or endorphins, to release in your brain — from exercising to eating chocolate, or having a good laugh. Now there's evidence that drinking alcohol also leads to the release of endorphins. According to study leader Jennifer Mitchell at the University of California, San Francisco's Ernest Gallo Center, this is the first time that scientists have observed direct evidence of how alcohol makes people feel good.

Mitchell:         We found that this endorphin release occurs in two very important brain regions, one which is known as a reward and motivation center and the other region's more involved in decision making and executive function.

Narrators:      Mitchell hopes that the results of this study will help develop novel therapies for alcoholism and drug abuse disorders related to impulsivity.

Mitchell:         I think that we have a tendency to demonize people who have problems with drug and alcohol abuse. Fifteen, 20 years ago, we thought similarly about people with major depression before we recognized that there could be brain level imbalances in neurochemicals that could be ameliorated by therapeutics.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.