Research potentially offers solution to drinking problems
Breakthrough for therapeutic treatment
Alcoholic monkeys known to steal alcohol from customers
Establish a baseline of drinking behaviour
Two separate studies to compare
Communication from the liver to the brain
Liver to brain feedback loop
Drinking a staggering 50% less
A similar drinking culture to humans
‘Drinking to intoxication’
Animals were into boozing well before the human race
A physiological approach
Research could help millions
A serious battle
Shocking figures
Pandemic effects?
Positive findings which will lead to future research
New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(1/17)
Research potentially offers solution to drinking problems

Scientists from the University of Iowa and the University of Copenhagen have made a breakthrough in possibly combating alcohol-use disorder in people.

Photo by Ivan Sabayuki on Unsplash

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(2/17)
Breakthrough for therapeutic treatment

This is a key moment in the fight against alcoholism, as therapeutic treatment was given to vervet monkeys with a very clear result. The animals, who have shown similarities to humans - including a preference for alcohol - have shown a huge decrease in boozing after treatment.

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(3/17)
Alcoholic monkeys known to steal alcohol from customers

Twenty male vervet monkeys were part of the research. These monkeys are so keen on alcoholic beverages that they have been known to steal alcoholic beverages from people in bars.

 

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(4/17)
Establish a baseline of drinking behaviour

The monkeys were given access to alcoholic drinks for four hours a day for four days to establish their drinking behaviour.

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(5/17)
Two separate studies to compare

These candidates were then split into two groups. One group received a placebo (injection, pill or other) and the other group received the new therapeutic treatment.

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(6/17)
Communication from the liver to the brain

The treatment focuses on an analogue to a hormone provided by the liver called fibroblast factor 21 (FGF21). This has allowed the scientists to successfully therapeutically target the neural pathways which dictate alcohol regulation.

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(7/17)
Liver to brain feedback loop

Dr Kyle Flippo, of the University of Iowa, said: "Our results provide a mechanism for a liver-to-brain endocrine feedback loop that presumably functions to protect the liver from damage.”

Photo by Lee Chinyama on Unsplash

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(8/17)
Drinking a staggering 50% less

The findings have been incredibly successful, with the group given the treatment drinking 50% less than they did when they first established their baseline drinking behaviour. As stated in the reports, this indicates it can "robustly suppress alcohol consumption”.

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(9/17)
A similar drinking culture to humans

These particular monkeys were given the treatment due to their ‘drinking culture’ similarities with the human race. "The vervet money population is comprised of alcohol avoiders, moderate alcohol drinkers, and a group heavy drinkers.”

Photo by Andrew Liu on Unsplash

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(10/17)
‘Drinking to intoxication’

“The heavy drinkers will consume alcohol to intoxication if possible, thereby offering a preclinical model of alcohol drinking that may more closely reflect aspects of harmful drinking in humans," the researchers stated, according to Sky News.

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(11/17)
Animals were into boozing well before the human race

“Mammals began consuming alcohol from fermented fruit long before humans developed methods to produce alcohol from distillation," report the researchers in the journal Cell Metabolism as stated by Sky News.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(12/17)
A physiological approach

"Given that excessive alcohol consumption negatively impacts health and survival, it is not surprising that numerous physiological systems have evolved to sense and regulate alcohol consumption in mammals.”

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(13/17)
Research could help millions

NSDUH data estimates that 5.8% of American adults over 18 (about 14.4 million people) have an alcohol use disorder. This includes 9.2 million men and 5.3 million women, or 7.6% of all adult men and 4.1% of all adult women.

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(14/17)
A serious battle

According to Drugabusestatistics.org, every day 261 Americans die as a result of excessive alcohol use.

Photo by George Bakos on Unsplash

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(15/17)
Shocking figures

Drug Abuse Statistics also stated that up to 3.3 million people die every year as a result of alcohol abuse.

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(16/17)
Pandemic effects?

There has been a recent rise in the alcohol-specific death rate in the UK in 2020. Could this be due to the effects of the pandemic? According to alcoholchange.org, 2020 recorded 14 deaths per 100,000 people, an 18.6% increase compared with 2019 - and the highest increase since the records began.

Photo by Luke Jones on Unsplash

New treatment reduces drinking by 50% in alcoholic monkeys
(17/17)
Positive findings which will lead to future research

There is a dire need to combat drinking abuse and these discoveries made by the Universities of Iowa and Copenhagen will pave the way for future research. Dr Flippo stated, according to Sky News, “…the present data indicates that FGF21 analogues may provide a potential treatment option against alcohol-use disorder and related diagnosis.” A big step in the right direction.

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