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Hormone linked to alcoholism

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 Hormone linked to alcoholism

A stress hormone has been linked to the developments and maintenance of alcohol dependence in animals, according to scientists.

The hormone called the corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) chemically blocks the stress factor and the signs and symptoms of addiction, according to researchers.

CRF is a natural hormone which is involved when the human body feels stressed. It is found in the hypothalamus area of the brain, and in the pituitary, where it stimulates the secretion of corticotropin and other biologically active substances, and the amygdala, an area that has been implicated in the elevated anxiety, withdrawal, and excessive drinking associated with alcohol dependence.

The results of the study will be published in the journal Biological Psychiatry. Leader of the research Marisa Roberto said: “I’m excited about this study

“It represents an important step in understanding how the brain changes when it moves from a normal to an alcohol-dependent state.”

The new study highlights the central role that CRF plays in alcohol addiction and also shows when tested on rats, that the hormone can be blocked on a long-term basis to ease the symptoms of alcohol dependence.

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