Anti-anxiety drug may reverse the effects of alcohol on the brain

Richard Laycock 10 February 2018 NEWS

DrunkShopping_Shutterstock738QUT researchers have found that this drug can reboot our brains.

An anti-anxiety drug has been found to have the ability to reboot our brains and reverse the negative effects alcohol has on our brains, according to researchers at the Queensland University of Technology.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, found that by treating mice with tandospirone for two weeks the researchers were able to reverse the effects of 15 weeks worth of binge-like alcohol consumption. The study also found that the drug was good for treating the anxiety-like behaviours associated with withdrawal symptoms.

"We know that with heavy drinking you are inhibiting your ability to grow new neurons, brain cells. Alcohol is specifically very damaging for neurons," said study leader neuroscientist Professor Selena Bartlett from QUT.

Professor Bartlett said that this study opens the door for ways to counteract the effects substance abuse has on the brain.

“This opens the way to look at if neurogenesis is associated with other substance-abuse deficits, such as in memory and learning, and whether this compound can reverse these.”

Professor Bartlett said that this drug shows real promise and this is not just another drug.

"While it could possibly have that effect, it might be able to help reboot the brain and reverse the deficits that alcohol abuse causes – both the inhibition to the brain’s ability to regenerate, and the behavioural consequences that come from what alcohol is doing to the brain, like increases in anxiety and depression,” said Bartlett.

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