Treating alcoholism, the physical addiction to alcohol in humans has taken a step in the right direction.
A peer-reviewed study published in Cell Metabolism on Tuesday states that it found that a hormone known as “FGF21” can suppress alcohol consumption in “non-human primates.” The researchers used a colony of green vervet monkeys on St. Kitts island that are predisposed to finding and consuming alcohol to conduct the study.
“Just as in humans, a certain percentage of monkeys exhibit an innate preference for alcohol,” Kyle Flippo, a neuroscientist and pharmacologist at the University of Iowa, told The Daily Beast. He explained it could be due to genetic traits that are passed down from earlier generations.
The group of monkeys saw a 50% reduction in alcohol intake after exposure to the hormone. The findings are “the first illustration that FGF21 analogs potentially reduce alcohol consumption in non-human primates,” Flippo said.
Due to primates being closer to humans in physiology than mice which are commonly used in studies like these, the researchers believe this can help get “clinical trial testing” approved at a quicker rate.
The researchers are confident that FGF21 can eventually lead to a new kind of treatment for alcoholism in humans.
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, there are around 15 million people in just the U.S. that have an alcohol use disorder, and about 95,000 people die every year from alcohol-related deaths.
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