World Mental Healthcare Association

Drinking May Block A Chemical That Promotes Attention, Claims Science

excessive drinking may lead to inattentiveness
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In a new research paper, the experts from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) have reported that excessive drinking may cause the development of the inattentive attribute in the drinkers, while under the influence.

The researchers have suggested that when humans focus on something or when they stand up from a chair and become active, a brain stem nucleus releases a chemical called norepinephrine. However, excessive exposure to alcohol inhibits this signal in the brain. When a task calls for complete attention, norepinephrine is secreted by a brain structure called the locus coeruleus. While scientists were previously unable to understand the next step, Dr. Martin Paukert, senior author of the study, and team showed that norepinephrine attaches to receptors on cells called Bergmann glia. This, in turn, results in the calcium rise in these cells.

Bergmann glia is astrocytes (caretaker or supporting cells), located in the cerebellum, a region near the brain stem. The researchers concentrated on the Bergmann glia while explaining the fact that the same can occur in cortical astrocytes. The study continues by saying that individuals happen to be off-balance while walking under the influence and the experts thought the inhibition of calcium rise in Bergmann glia would also explain this. However, it was found out that Bergmann glia is not critical for motor coordination and that the cerebellum plays critical roles in non-motor functions.

To Know More, You May Refer To:

Liang Ye, Murat Orynbayev, Xiangyu Zhu, Eunice Y. Lim, Ram R. Dereddi, Amit Agarwal, Dwight E. Bergles, Manzoor A. Bhat, Martin Paukert. Ethanol abolishes vigilance-dependent astroglia network activation in mice by inhibiting norepinephrine release. Nature Communications, 2020; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-19475-51

  1. Ye, L., Orynbayev, M., Zhu, X. et al. Ethanol abolishes vigilance-dependent astroglia network activation in mice by inhibiting norepinephrine release. Nat Commun 11, 6157 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19475-5 []