Scientist Say They Might Be Able to Reverse Binge Drinking With Gene Editing

Everybody makes mistakes, and people who struggled with binge drinking in their teen years may soon have the choice to hit a "factory reset" button on their brains, according to scientists who released a new study on alcohol and how it affects our brains.

Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago released a new study in the journal ScienceAdvances earlier this month. The team used CRISPR to edit genes in adult mice. The team first studied animals equivalent to 10 to 18 human years old, according to a press release the university's media site published in early May.

"Early binge drinking can have long-lasting and significant effects on the brain and the results of this study offer evidence that gene editing is a potential antidote to these effects, offering a kind of factory reset for the brain, if you will," study senior author Subhash Pandey said in the statement.

When studying mice exposed to drinking in their teenage rodent years, those who'd undergone the gene editing technique didn't seem to exhibit quite as much anxiety while completing mazes, nor as much desire to drink.

Just how much we can learn about human health and medicine from mice has been called into question in the past because our species are very different, but Pandey and his team have been studying alcohol abuse for years. Back in 2019 Pandey worked on a study that illustrated how alcohol changes our amygdala, the core part of the brain that's responsible for a lot of emotional regulation. People who started binge drinking before 21 were more likely to have related problems, according to that study.

It's also pretty heartening to see that the government's own National National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded the newest study, so here's hoping people who've struggled with addiction in the past can find new relief.

We'll toast to that with non-alcoholic beer, of course.

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