NIH Uses a Fake Bar to Test Anti-drinking Drug

Jan. 2, 2015

Inside the National Institutes of Health, researchers are testing a potential treatment to help heavy drinkers cut back, according to an article in Yahoo! News. Volunteers sit in the dimly lit bar-laboratory to cue their brains to crave a drink, and help determine if the experimental pill counters that urge.

"The goal is to create almost a real-world environment, but to control it very strictly," said lead researcher Dr. Lorenzo Leggio, who is testing how a hormone named ghrelin that sparks people's appetite for food also affects their desire for alcohol, and if blocking it helps, the article said.

Alcohol use disorders affect about 17 million Americans, and only a small percentage seeks help. There's no cure-all treatment, and the NIH is looking for new meds that target the brain's addiction cycle in different ways. Read the full story