September 2019
Vol 5, Issue 9

About The Cover

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ONLINE COVER Alcohol addiction remains a major health issue worldwide. It has been shown that chronic ethanol consumption reduces β-endorphin neuron activity and input to a region of the brain associated with reward and stress responses. Acupuncture at a treatment point located on the wrist is believed to activate β-endorphin neurons in the hypothalamus, suggesting that it may help suppress alcohol dependence. Chang et al. provide direct evidence that acupuncture therapy triggered brain activity that reduced alcohol dependence symptoms in rats, including withdrawal tremors, anxiety-like behaviors and ethanol self-administration. While additional research is needed, the findings suggest acupuncture could also be useful for treating alcohol addiction in humans. The authors say it will be important for future studies to identify specific links between acupuncture-induced sensory stimulation and hypothalamic β-endorphin neurons. [CREDIT: ENMYO/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO]