Flies, Too, Drink to Get Over It
Posted on Mar 15, 2012
While studying the relationship between stress and alcohol in fruit flies, a group of neuroscientists found that sexually frustrated male flies were more likely to prefer food spiked with alcohol than their carnally satisfied peers, suggesting that humans aren’t the only species to self-medicate. —ARK
The New York Times:
The study, posted online in the journal Science, suggests that some elements of the brain’s reward system have changed very little during evolution, and these include some of the mechanisms that support addiction. Levels of a brain chemical that is active in regulating appetite predicted the flies’ thirst for alcohol. A similar chemical is linked to drinking in humans.
“Reading this study is like looking back in time, to see the very origins of the reward circuit that drives fundamental behaviors like sex, eating and sleeping,” said Dr. Markus Heilig, the clinical director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.