Alcohol hijacks a memory pathway in the brain, forming the cravings that fuel addiction. The pink areas are the fly's memory centers and the green dots are where Notch has been activated. Image: Kaun Lab / Brown University
Alcohol: happy memories - neuroscience news

Using the fruit fly as a model system, researchers have found that alcohol intake induces molecular and genetic changes in the reward memory pathway in the brain. The first molecule involved is known as Notch, which switches on a whole cascade of changes. One of the genes affected downstream of Notch is the dopamine-2-like receptor, which, when stimulated with dopamine, makes you feel good. This could explain why people remember preferentially only the good part of alcohol use, not the aversive effects such as nausea and hangover. This could also be at the basis of relapse following a period of abstinence, researchers say.

Read the full story: Brown University
Scientific publication: Neuron