A single dose of alcohol also causes ‘cellular changes’ in the brain, study finds

According to research, a single dose of alcohol permanently alters the “morphology of neurons” and causes “cellular changes”.

German researchers have concluded that even a single “drinking event” of alcohol can lay the foundation for alcohol dependence. Research has found that “alcohol intoxication at an early age is a risk factor for the development of addictive behavior”.

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The researchers studied brain scans of mice to show “lasting changes” after drinking, as the data revealed “plastic changes” induced by a single exposure. The researchers said they found “acute and long-lasting molecular, cellular, and behavioral changes following a single poisoning in mice.”

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Scientists also tested fruit flies and found similar changes. “Mice and fruit flies showed increased alcohol consumption and alcohol relapses later in life,” the researchers said. The researchers concluded that the first “alcohol intoxication at an early age is a critical risk factor for later alcohol intoxication” and that it plays a key role in “alcohol dependence”.

The researchers said identifying changes related to alcohol dependence is an important first step in understanding how alcohol consumption can develop into “chronic alcohol abuse”.

(With agency contributions)

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