Study Says Alcohol Helps Recall Good Times, Not Bad Ones

Researchers at Brown University have found that alcohol not only helps dismiss bad memories, it helps you focus only on the good times.

So grab your glasses of wine because these researchers claim this alcohol 'hijacks' the pathway that forms memory on a fundamental molecular level.

Many of you may be saying "duh, I already knew that!", well now we have actual scientific proof. The alcohol affects a gene involved with encoding whether a memory is 'pleasing/good/happy' or simply 'unpleasant'. It changes a protein the gene makes, which in turn makes you form 'craving memories'.

 

Now, get this: One drink only changes the pathway for an hour, but three can change the pathway for 24 hours, which could explain why we forget being sick or stumbling home. Now do you believe it?

The team, led by Brown University in Rhode Island, says its findings "may help explain why recovering alcoholics find it hard to stay on the wagon and that this could lead to forms of treatment that help decrease how long the craving memories last, or how intense they are."

The main reason for this study? Simply to know why drugs of abuse, be it alcohol or opiates, produce rewarding memories despite being neurotoxins.

The study used fruit flies because they are attracted to alcohol and the molecular signals that form their memories of reward and avoidance are similar to humans.

The researchers compared these molecular signal pathways to a domino effect -> When the first domino falls, or molecule activates, it triggers more to follow it. You get the drift here right?

Here is the official explanation of what happens: One of the downstream 'dominoes' is gene called the D2-like receptor. The gene makes a protein for neurons that recognize dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in our sense of reward; but in simple terms it means that alcohol takes over this memory formation pathway and, by changing the way proteins are expressed in these neurons, forms cravings.

Now if you're confused still, just know that these researchers discovered a whole new layer of plasticity and why memories are formed.

Now please be aware that addiction experts warn that while alcohol can make you ‘forget’ and even ease symptoms such as stress, worry, and negative thoughts - it is only for a short time before the effect wears off. 

What do you guys think of this study? Do you think it's helpful?

Photos: Getty Images

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