Friday, July 5, 2013

Memories ...

Are you having trouble with bingeing?

I don't mean having trouble to binge (most of us can figure that one out!).  I mean having trouble not bingeing? An interesting new study out of the University of California, San Francisco may be of some help in the future.

According to researchers, "memories" of past binges are one of the things that causes alcoholics to relapse. They pass a bar they used to go to. Or see a glass of white wine on a tray at a restaurant. Or hear ice tinkling in a glass. Any memory connected to past binges can trigger addicts to drink again. If only that connection could be broken, perhaps fewer relapses would happen ...

Working with a drug called Rapamycin, typically used to help transplant patients from rejecting new organs, researchers went to work on some lab rats - who were in for one helluva ride. They allowed the rats to binge on alcohol for several weeks. (Several weeks?! Did they have drunken rat fights? Sleep with skanky rats? Regret it in the morning? Crazy rats.)

After letting these critters party their tails off Rat World-style, they called the Rat Patrol and shut the party down. For ten days, the rats were not allowed to drink alcohol. I'm sure rat withdrawal ensued. Hallucinations of puddy-tats and all.

Then after this "dry" period, they allowed the rats to have a drop of alcohol. Something that other studies have shown triggers the memory of drinking in rats and causes them to binge again. However, rats who had been administered Rapamycin were "significantly less likely" to drink alcohol because the drug interrupted the mTORC1 signaling pathway - a neural mechanism responsible for memory. The rats who took the drug simply didn't have any memory of those crazy parties and, unlike their poor pals, could get on with living a full and constructive rat life.

Researchers believe the drug could also help curb bingeing in humans, but more research is needed at this point. That's good news for problem bingers. Not so good for the rats who didn't get the drug. They had to check into rat rehab - and are now sharing a dorm with Lindsay Lo-rat.

I couldn't resist. ;)

I'm glad my bingeing days are behind me. I really can't binge anymore - even if I wanted to. I finally have a shut-off valve! But all this talk of rats and memory pathways has 'triggered' another memory for me. The song 'Memory' from the musical Cats.

For the broadway phobic, here's the full article on the Rapamycin study from the New York Times. And if you already haven't seen it, check out hamster bingeing from a post during my April cleanse. Hilarz! 

Here it is! Memory! Rats wouldn't like it - drunk or sober. But with almost 14 MILLION views on YouTube, somebody did! (I never actually saw the musical btw. My mom sent me money to go see it for my birthday once ... but I spent it on bingeing instead. Go figure.)