Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Finally Explains My Past Need To Commiserate With Fellow Losers


Sex-Deprived Male Fruit Flies Turn to Alcohol, Research Shows

"Male fruit flies become barflies when rejected by females, choosing alcohol-spiked food more often than their successful brothers in a study that suggests it may be due to a brain chemical also found in humans.

The spurned flies had lower levels of a molecule in their brains called neuropeptide F than the males who were allowed to mate, according to findings published today in the journal Science. Neuropeptide Y, the version found in humans, has been tied to addiction and mental illness, said Ulrike Heberlein, one of the researchers.

The molecule may begin to explain how experience and environment shape human addictions, said Heberlein. About half of a person's risk of addiction is genetic, and environment is known to play a role. The experiment may help explain the biological triggers that affect certain behavior or cravings and could help research into treatments for addiction.

"We wanted to really find a molecular mechanism that links experiences to drug-related behavior," said Heberlein, who is a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, in a telephone interview. "We are really hoping that this will encourage those working with mice and rats and humans to look at what happens to this neuropeptide in psychiatric conditions."

Male flies that mated were less likely to drink the alcohol solution than either virgin or rebuffed ones, and had higher levels of neuropeptide F in their brains, the research showed."

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