Link Between Nicotine Users and Alcohol Drinkers Identified
“Alcohol and nicotine use have long been known to go hand in hand,” states a release published by Science Daily. “Previous research shows that more than 85 percent of US adults who are alcohol-dependent also are nicotine-dependent.”
Now reserachers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine have found a link between this co-dependence. According to a new study published in the Journal of Neurochemistry, nicotine cancels out the sleep-inducing effects of alcohol.
“We have found that nicotine weakens the sleep-inducing effects of alcohol by stimulating a response in an area of the brain known as the basal forebrain,” said Mahesh Thakkar, Ph.D., associate professor and director of research in the MU School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology and lead author of the study. “By identifying the reactions that take place when people smoke and drink, we may be able to use this knowledge to help curb alcohol and nicotine addiction.”
During this study, rats were given both alcohol and nicotine and fitted with sleep-recording electrodes. Researchers found nicotine acts via the basal forebrain to suppress the sleep-inducing effects of alcohol.
“This reserach has implications to improve health, not only for heavy drinkers and smokers, but also for individuals with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, which often is associated with smoking,” the release states.