March 27, 2021 – The old adage claiming alcohol “goes straight to the head” is actually true according to new research. Scientists say booze breaks down in the brain, rather than the liver.

The finding turns previous theories upside down and scientists believe it holds the key to combating binge drinking and alcoholism. Researchers hope the results could also one day be used to treat conditions such as strokes, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

“Alcohol metabolism may be regulated directly in the brain,” says lead author Dr. Li Zhang, of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in a statement per SWNS media. “It suggests the possibility of new targets for altering the effects – and potentially treating alcohol use disorder.”

The study sheds fresh light on why people can get tipsy after only one or two drinks. The response can trigger unsteadiness, slurred speech and slower reaction times.

“Alcohol suppresses human brain function and affects behavior,” says Zhang. “The possibility of brain alcohol metabolism has been a controversial topic within the field for several decades.”

But little is known about the neurological processes that control the action of metabolites in the brain. The behavioral effects are caused by metabolites made as the body breaks down beer, wine or spirits. One such chemical, acetate, is produced by an enzyme called ALDH2, which is abundant in the liver.



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