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Human Stem Cell Treatment Helps 'Alcoholic Rats' Consume 90 Percent Less Booze

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A new study involving human stem cell treatment and rats might potentially be the key to discovering a cure for alcoholism.

How They Conducted This Study

Researchers at the University of Chile were determined to find a potential treatment for alcoholism. To conduct their study, the researchers turned to lab rats.

During a period of up to 17 weeks, the researchers provided the rats with both water and vodka as a daily supply. Each day, the rats consumed the human equivalent of over one bottle of vodka. Although the rats were given a choice of drinking water, they were bred to consume alcohol.

After this period of binge drinking, the rats were without any alcohol for two weeks. At the conclusion of this period, the researchers turned to human stem cells as a cure for the rats' alcoholism.

The researchers injected the rats with small-sized human mesenchymal stem cells.

"Mesenchymal stem cells were separated from fat cells and grown in conditions that reduce their size, facilitating an intravenous administration," professor Yedy Israel told ResearchGate.

The Results

After the stem cell injection, the lab rats were re-introduced to alcohol. After 48 hours, researchers concluded that the rats were drinking up to 90 percent less alcohol.

"This research suggests that the intravenous administration of MSC-spheroids may constitute an effective new approach for the treatment of alcohol-use disorders," the researchers wrote in their published study in Nature.

The results revealed that the stem cell injection diminished the brain inflammation and oxidative stress in the alcoholic rats.

The Link Between Humans And Rats

Although this study seems like a promising opportunity to potentially find a cure for alcoholism, more research is needed. Researchers with this study said that clinical trials with humans must be conducted in order to test to viability of it.

This is not the first time that researchers used rats to study alcoholism. In a 2016 study from Purdue and Indiana University, researchers discovered 930 different genes associated with alcoholism that could be used to determine a cure someday.

According to the CDC, approximately 88,000 people are lost every year to alcoholism. The disease has shortened the lives of those who died by 30 years. Currently, 17 million adults have an alcohol use disorder.

One of the leading aspects of alcoholism is binge drinking, which often involves consuming several alcoholic beverages during a short period. A recent study revealed that American adults consume 17.5 billion drinks every year.

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