Intoxicated Teenage Rats Wearing “Fitbits” Experience Sleep Disturbance Long After Withdrawing from Alcohol, Underlining Ongoing Struggles for Humans who Drink Heavily in Adolescence

Adolescent rats exposed to alcohol vapor experience persistent sleep disruption after withdrawal, as measured by Fitbit-like tracking devices, a new study has shown. The findings, published in Alcohol: Clinical & Experimental Research, provide insight into the relationship between sleep disturbance and heavy drinking in humans. Although adolescents and young adults may be particularly affected by sleep disturbances associated with drinking, little is known about that connection or its mechanisms. Plausibly, the link between disrupted circadian rhythm and substance use may operate in both directions; for example, irregular sleep cycles, including daytime sleepiness, have been implicated in teen substance use. Daytime sleepiness and disrupted activity in humans can be measured using wearable tracking devices, complementing EEG metrics taken at night. Nevertheless, genetic and lifestyle factors make the relationship between alcohol and sleep problems challenging to study in humans, and ro

Early-life stress can disrupt maturation of brain’s reward circuits, promoting disorders

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 27, 2023 — A new brain connection discovered by University of California, Irvine researchers can explain how early-life stress and adversity trigger disrupted operation of the brain’s reward circuit, offering a new therapeutic target for treating mental illness. Impaired function of this circuit is thought to underlie several major disorders, such as depression, substance abuse and excessive risk-taking.

Human Cocaine and Heroin Addiction Is Found Tied to Impairments in Specific Brain Circuit Initially Implicated in Animals

Study results suggest the pre-frontal cortex-habenula circuit is potentially amenable for targeted interventions and prevention.