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Brain Chemical Linked to Appetite May Also Affect Alcohol Consumption

November 26, 1998

A brain chemical previously linked to controlling appetite also influences alcohol consumption, researchers from the University of Washington report in today's Nature. Studying genetically engineered mice, they found that those having very small amounts of the chemical, called neuropeptide Y, drank significantly more alcohol than normal mice and were less affected by its sleep-inducing properties.

Those with high amounts of neuropeptide Y, in contrast, drank less alcohol, but took longer to awaken from alcohol-induced sleep. Scientists are already looking for ways to change the concentration of neuropeptide Y in the brain.

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Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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